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Thought for the week 25-09-23

PThe Hill We Climb’ is a poem of hope, unity, healing and resilience.

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I was mulling on National diversity week as a focus for this bulletin when my mind drifted to the poem read by Amanda Gorman at President Biden’s inauguration. I found myself re-reading it again.
‘The Hill We Climb’ is a poem of hope, unity, healing and resilience. As I read the article about Amanda Gorman and her poetry, there were some other words of hers which resonated with me. She was speaking about her talent for poetry and how the fight for social justice inspires her. She goes on to say that through her poetry she ‘can speak to both the world’s problems and solutions’.
These days we only have to listen to the news headlines to realise the problems and challenges in our world and country. We turn on our TVs, open our phones and are bombarded. Our day to day work also brings us face to face with problems and challenges in our own communities and schools.
School leaders are known for their incredible resilience; creative solutions to problems and ability to steer things on the right path even when there is potential for a wrong turn. Too often problems can occupy our days and sometimes our nights. It is easy to be consumed by things which need our attention. We can all too easily neglect the smaller achievements; the solutions we have found; the plans we have realised and the little successes that are taking place every day in front of our eyes. This is especially true of things which become deeply embedded in the everyday culture and practice of our schools.
I was in a meeting this week when this passage from Philippians 4 v 8-9 was shared.
‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.’
This is part of one of Paul’s letters written to a persecuted community. In it he thanks them for a gift and also for their service. His prayer of thanksgiving is designed to encourage the community to stand strong in all the Christ-like foundations they have managed to establish. He urges them to be joyful in all that they find they have achieved e.g. truth, purity, loveliness and righteousness. He expresses joy for their partnership in the work of sharing the gospel and urges them forward in their work.

In schools we too work hard to build on our foundations, to create communities driven by our vision and underpinned by our values. These things form an ongoing part of our work but they don’t happen without constant nurture and attention. They are visible in our everyday interactions, actions and words, but we can too often be consumed by bigger things that we don’t recognise the part we have played in establishing and maintaining them.
So, my challenge to you this week is to pause and notice all that is ‘excellent and praiseworthy’ in your school and community and to celebrate it widely!
Have a great week.
from June Richardson, Schools Effectiveness Advisor