The Elephant in the Room

Aug 08

Chronicles of a FIRST YEAR Core Essentials School: Follow their journey as they take an already invested group of educators and equip them with the common language and Core Essential tools to change the values culture!

Every school, organization, team, group, or relationship has it. That reputation, stereotype, sometimes misconception/sometimes harsh reality…it’s the elephant in the room. It may be a person or a population. It may be a glaring problem or challenging hurdle. Whatever it is, it’s there. We choose to ignore it many times. We skirt around it. We might even “decorate” it and make it look better than it really is. Either way – there is still an elephant in the room.

Yesterday we began a journey with the school staff of Lyman Hall Elementary as we kicked off their 2012-2013 school year with an introduction training to “What is Core Essentials” and how it will be useful as they welcome back students and set up classroom/school wide behavior expectations. They rode from the school, all 130 members of the staff, packed into 2 school busses. And the elephant rode too.

In the rustic yet elegant lodge of a local children’s home, we housed a meeting where lunchroom workers and classroom teachers were told they were equal. Chairs were intentionally set up in a circle to represent the equality and need for all within the group. Messages and stories, videos and articles were shared by a new administration that longs to be seen as long-term (they have had much turn over) and centered upon what really matters – kids. And the elephant participated too.

You see, without going into much detail, their elephant at Lyman Hall, as we discussed openly at this training, is the community’s MISCONCEPTION of what they are doing day in and day out. The common understanding about this school from fringe people who recognize its name or location hinges upon the population of the student body and their culture as it relates to ethnicity. HOWEVER…this misconception hasn’t defined them. In fact, and I am intrigued to learn this year how, they have risen above the elephant and charged on. Their elephant has become a stepping stone, a leg-up onto a soap box…but they just don’t have a working mega-phone.

That’s where I am excited to come in. You see what the community knows about the school is just not all there is to them. It is so surface level…and isn’t even accurate. What they don’t know are the incredible stories of life change that take place there daily. They have no idea that teachers make house visits, bring children food, take clothes home to wash and a myriad of other, beyond-the-call-of-duty acts that embody the value of COMPASSION. As I told their staff yesterday, I see them for who they really are. I admire them for their lasting power amongst constant leadership change. And I recognize their authentic love and willingness to meet the needs of children as the ESSENTIAL ground work needed to create a CULTURE of lasting values.

The elephant in your room…school…organization…call him out. Stop hiding him or manipulating life around him. Do what Lyman Hall has done. Step up on his back. Use him to your advantage. Identify what he represents and master it, take charge.

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