On February 13, students in the elementary schooled marked the 100th day of school. Students brought in collections of 100 items, made special breakfasts, and there was even a fashion show in the hallway where students modeled attire that they had made using 100 different items to decorate their outfits. One of the best signs of celebration that I saw were the hats that some students were wearing that proudly proclaimed that they were “100 Days Smarter!” They really prompted me to think, and it was both a great reminder of where we've been and a challenge for where we are going.
One hundred (school) days ago, we were embarking on a brand new year with a lot of new opportunities facing us, and we were nervous, scared and excited. New students, new classrooms, new curriculum--lots to learn and lots to do. Now, 100 days later, I am encouraged by the message of a simple paper crown, because, like those students, I think that all of us here at Alexander Elementary are 100 days smarter. We’ve learned to work with new team members, found new ways to help kids, and discovered new ways to help others learn. We’ve read new books, tried new ideas, and had new experiences. Like our students, we have had struggles along the way--learning is a messy process, after all. But, like our students, we can celebrate the strides we have taken and the growth that we can see as a result.
So, what will the next 100 days bring us? Believe it or not, there are fewer than 100 days of school left in the year, so that means that before we can count another 100 school days of being smarter, the kids that are wearing those hats will be done with Kindergarten and proudly telling everyone, “I’m a first grader!” Sometimes, as an adult, I miss the milestones like that. We have a tendency to hide our age, so that’s not a marker that we put out there, and once we’re out of school, we don’t identify as a first grader, a seventh grader, or a junior. While we may stop identifying ourselves as students, I hope that we haven’t stopped learning and growing. We talk a lot in schools about being a lifelong learner and of learning being a lifelong skill. I truly believe that we are all lifelong learners, but sometimes we forget to stop and ask ourselves what we’re learning, and I know we don’t take enough time to reflect on our progress or measure our growth, and that’s a shame.
So, take a moment to celebrate, like these students. Think back 100 days. What have you learned since then? How are you smarter or wiser? What challenges have you faced and overcome? What growth have you had? Then, look ahead to the next 100 days. What do you need to learn? How will you grow? What challenges will you face? We may not all be students in school, but we are all learners, and I think 100 days is a good way to remember that we should always be getting a little bit smarter, a little bit wiser, and a little bit better.
As always, thank you for sharing your children with us. Enjoy the next 100 days. Like the last hundred, these will pass quickly, but in each one of those days are the moments and opportunities to use wisely and well in our pursuit of learning. Don’t miss them.