When asked to reflect on what the students had learned over the past year, one 11-year old’s answer was this: “I thought that my biggest lesson learned was not to procrastinate. But now, I realize I was actually not procrastinating. I was just giving up every time something was difficult.”
It’s insightful when the Eagles are given the power to think about who they are and reflect on what has happened with their daily experiences. Here at Acton, we have a circle time every morning called our Morning Launch. It is one of the best ways to give the Eagles time for reflection. It is where everyone can share their feelings, listen to others, ask simple questions, and dive deep into answers.
During this time of the day, the Eagles learn to be encouraging and vulnerable at the same time. They create a safety net for each other so that everyone can share about their realities, character development, strengths, weaknesses, regrets, mistakes, and everything else. However, it doesn’t happen right away. It takes time to build this community. Sometimes, it even takes a year for others to be comfortable. But once it happened, it’s truly beautiful.
There was one time when a guide overheard two Eagles talking to each other during Writer’s Workshop and one learner said, “How can I challenge you to be better?” Hearing that was so amazing for us because it’s what we strive for at this school.
People do better when they are challenged and motivated. That is the culture we are instilling to the Eagles – to challenge each other to be the best version of themselves and do better than they have done before. The goal is to always be better today than they were yesterday, with a plan to become even better tomorrow.