“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them,
and pretty soon you have a dozen.”
– John Steinbeck(as quoted in his biography by Jay Parini)
The impact of COVID-19 on our world will likely be one of the most significant global events of the 21st century. Much of the impact will not be known for years to come, but there are already signs of how this pandemic has served to accelerate change and drive innovation. The urgency for businesses and individuals to adapt for their survival has been a source of anxiety for some, and has energized others. No sector has been left untouched by the pandemic. As we all know now, the impact on education has been profound.
For Roycemore families whose children were enrolled with us last year, you witnessed how our faculty quickly pivoted to respond to the need to teach remotely. For our families who are new to Roycemore, there are many innovations that we have employed that are likely invisible to you, as you weren’t necessarily familiar with what existed previously. Some of these are accelerations of innovations we had already been discussing and planned to roll out more slowly and deliberately. Other innovations were born of necessity to either support the academic experience for both on-campus and off-campus learners or to simply make school more safe. The new schedules that allow for time to dig deeper into context in addition to the content; our school-wide mindfulness practices that reduce stress and enhance focus; new approaches to music and physical education to safely engage in these important co-curricular programs, and novel approaches to teaching are just a few of the innovations that students are benefiting from. Meanwhile, our EAGLE programs (theme week, P3, and JST) continue to offer innovative experiences that advance experiential learning opportunities for our students. Our EAGLE programs allow students to learn a new skill or strengthen an old one, explore a career interest, participate in a service project, or try out an area of interest for which there has never been time. Ultimately (launch date TBD), our Tuesday EAGLE Hour will further enhance these programs.
In addition to the innovations that we have already adopted, work is going on behind the scenes to accelerate other ideas that have been generated through our “NextGen Roycemore” conversations over the last couple of years. For example, our membership with the Mastery Transcript Consortium last year was a result of these conversations and indicates our commitment to advance our focus on ensuring students master important skills that are essential for their success in a world that is changing at an exponential rate. We are influenced by the work of the World Economic Forum that has identified critical skills that will be needed in the changing economy.
As part of our journey, this year we will be defining our “portrait” of a Roycemore graduate. This process will involve input from our entire community to ensure that we are being responsive to the students we serve from early childhood through graduation. If you are interested in being involved more deeply in this process, please reach out to Upper School Head, Stefanie Rivera, who is coordinating this important community effort. In addition to this initiative, we are developing exciting new learning opportunities for evenings and weekends this winter as well as for our Roycemore Summer term.
As John Steinbeck so eloquently stated, ideas ARE like rabbits! Perhaps something you have read in this piece has generated an idea of your own. We would love to hear your ideas about how to advance our mission at Roycemore. With that in mind, we have created this form for you to share those ideas with us. It will serve as a kind of “fuel tank” for our innovation engine. We promise we’ll read every one and respond. And if you have skills of your own to share that can help us further accelerate, please let us know! There are many ways to be involved. We need you whether you have time to offer, expertise to share with students, connections to leverage, or some other way you can help.
COVID-19 presented us with a bit of a speed bump, but we don’t intend to let it derail us. With your support, we can continue to accelerate our critical work to prepare young people for their future in powerful ways. We look forward to sharing more with you in the weeks and months ahead as we advance joyfully into this innovation journey.