Growing up, my mom and dad would have annual open houses. Family and friends would come over, people from dad’s work. There was always food. The kids would take off and play in the yard. We were free to be without the usual adult careful eye. And we truly felt that freedom but also responsibility that we were hosting our friends at our house. It was always fun to watch my friends discover different parts of my backyard with their new eyes that I hadn’t seen before because it was just my backyard to me. I loved the feeling after everyone left and using my new eyes to go back and discover my backyard all over again for myself.

Last night was our Open House. And I had some of those similar feelings. Parents were walking through the buildings discovering for themselves this place that our students call home for so many hours during the day. The children were playing together on the playground from many different grade levels, discovering their own backyard with new eyes. Some of our students proudly showed their artwork with their parents that hang in the hallway. Things they just pass by during the day were more enriching in the evening light. And parents connected with each other and the teachers. It was a warm feeling and again reminded me of the special place that I work.

I enjoyed talking with parents over and over again, listening to how happy they are. I want to hear the details of why they find such happiness here. Tapping this magic to ensure we keep it. It is like when I was a kid discovering my own backyard with new eyes. Parents input and ideas allowed me to reflect even more deeply what it is that makes Joyner so special. After everyone went home, I walked the halls seeing my school with even more perspective.

Thank you to everyone who shared. We grow with your feedback and thoughts. And together, we can continue to create the learning environment that makes Joyner so special.