All around the building, I see students and teachers with their heads together around books and math manipulatives. High fives are given. Celebrations of growth are done. This time of year, we are assessing our students’ growth. We measure how our students have grown with fluency, comprehension, math concepts, letter sounds and on and on. All of this matters in our academic world called school. There is joy in the next book on the shelf that can be read. There is joy in knowing and understanding math in a deeper way. Students comfort in communicating with their teacher in Spanish has grown. The interests are piqued in scientific thought and in the study of social sciences. Artistic talent has developed. Students can stretch a bit farther, jump a bit higher and are checked for their growth in athleticism.

But I also see the celebrations of growth in many other ways. Of course, our little ones are getting taller and our big kids are starting to see if they meet me eye to eye. I see proud little ones carrying their first tooth home in their hands. And I also hear our teachers talk about how a child has opened up in the classroom. I see children solve conflict using their assertive voice and conversation skills. I notice positive interactions and friendships blooming.

School is a place that we continually develop who we are. Our students and staff all are a part of filling our minds and building connections and learning. It is a fun time of year that we quantify as well as qualify what we have spent a school year doing. And that is grow.