We are creating new traditions as a school. Last year was the start with intensive learning expeditions at each grade level and student led conferences for every single student in the spring. We also took an older school tradition of visiting neighborhoods before the start of school and ramped it up a bit with pairs of teachers knocking on doors and visiting every single family before the start of school. Each child got a little bag of "back to school goodies" and if they weren't there it was left on the door. This "Stepping Out" day is quickly becoming once again a powerful school tradition. Our commitment is to visit and knock on every door. Last year, we met about 50% of our families face to face. This year I am guessing that figure is somewhere between 60-70%. Some students were woken up or still in their pajamas (and it was not that early). Other times teachers were invited in for tea, juice, or treats by the families.
A few things we know for sure. It took an incredible amount of work for teachers at Greer to pull it off. And it will help us build powerful connections with all of our families. A local television station did a good job covering one of the visits. Here's to another amazing school year at Mary Carr Greer Elementary School!