Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Power of the Hashtag

To open the 2015-2016 school year, I unveiled a hashtag for the purpose of documenting our district’s never ending adventure race.  This inspiration came from the work of Robyn Benincasa, and her presentation to school leaders at a Battelle for Kids event.  
Embedded in this hashtag is the belief that success comes from groups of ordinary people (teachers, students, bus drivers, secretaries, custodians, parents, food service, building aides, maintenance, and administrators) coming together to do extraordinary things.  

Those who spend enough time with me know that “I love it when a plan comes together”.  Yes, I did grow up wanting to be the newest member of the A-TEAM led by Hannibal Smith.  But I digress,  what I am trying to illustrate is how representative the hashtag has been since the halls filled with staff and students in late August.  Here are just a few ordinary yet extraordinary examples:  

  • The elementary, in conjunction with the PTO, hosted a Donuts with Dad and Muffins with Mom event.  During these two events, we welcomed over 700 people into the building to enjoy special time with those we cherish the most, the students!  The gathering of dads, uncles, moms, aunts, grandparents, and siblings was an extraordinary display of school spirit and support.  #OrdinaryisExtraordinary

  • The district recently suffered the loss of a student.  The outpouring of support for the family and the community was reassuring during a difficult time.   One ordinary team in particular exemplified what extraordinary acts can do for others.  One by one, the High School football team paid their respects to the family and then gathered together outside the funeral home.  The team prayed together before heading their separate ways.   In this moment, a bunch of ordinary HS students came together with their coaches to show strength and compassion to another in need.  #OrdinaryisExtraordinary

  • The district was honored to have Dr. Doug Reeves with us at the beginning of October.  During his time in the district, Dr. Reeves commented several times on how refreshing it was to be around educators that genuinely liked each other and liked what they did.  His research supports that strong teams, groups of ordinary people, coming together for the purposes of student learning, will have a positive impact on achievement and growth.  His observations only solidify that we have the team composition for what #OrdinaryisExtraordinary embraces.  

  • The Mechanicsburg HS Boys Golf Team made it to the state playoffs for the first time since 1991.  In order to make it there as a team, the number 3 -5 golfers had to post some of their personal best scores.  These boys, freshman up through seniors, had to come together as individual golfers to tackle one of the most difficult courses in Ohio.   As a collection of ordinary HS golfers, these young men did an extraordinary thing and made an appearance at the state tournament when few believed it was possible.  #OrdinaryisExtraordinary

Mechanicsburg Exempted Village Schools has created a compass that will no doubt lead to another successful adventure race.  We are a group of ordinary teachers, leaders, parents, students, and community members that are gathering together to do extraordinary things in the service of student learning.  I love it when a plan comes together!