PELHJAM, N.Y. -- One might think, well, of course, every child matters! It’s a school. However, words are one thing. Actions are certainly another -- and actions are what you see at Siwanoy!
Siwanoy has taken these important words and raised them to personify a critical concept. If you want to see evidence of democracy at work, you need look no further than this school. In fact, the United States government could learn a thing or two from the Student Government at Siwanoy.
In my meeting with the fifth-graders, the students talked about how bills are introduced to move initiatives forward at their school. In doing so, there is clear evidence of a thoughtful, deliberate approach to decision-making.
In fact, students drive the process. I asked the students to reflect upon what they considered to be key factors in the success of their school. Here are some of their responses:
- Our teachers never let students fall behind.
- Everyone has a voice at Siwanoy.
- We don’t leave anyone behind.
- We get our Student Government bills to the right person.
- Our teachers make sure everyone “gets it.”
Be it at a Town Meeting where the entire school has an opportunity to talk about the 13 tenets of the Siwanoy Constitution or important Habits of Mind, there is a sense of persistence, joyfulness and purpose to the work at Siwanoy.
Students talked about teachers helping other teachers, providing support to families and students in need, and students supporting other students.
This is what the students see in their school on a daily basis. They understand and know from personal experience the important and complicated concepts of fairness and equality.
Stay tuned for my next entry when I “Imagine my Prospects!” at Prospect Hill.
Peter Giarrizzo is superintendent of Pelham schools.
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