In reflecting on this Veterans Day of how public schools began in building citizenship in this country, I consider the ways that I have been witness to this work by our students and teachers.

It was only a few weeks ago when a second grade class Skype’d with a soldier overseas. Everyone stood together to recite the Pledge of Allegiance together. Our Kindergarten students learned the power of their vote on Election Day. Third graders invited city leaders to talk about the work it takes to keep running this community we live in. First graders visit our senior citizen center neighbors and listen to the stories of this community from over time. Our fourth graders discuss the impact of the first Europeans to inhabited Americas. They dig deeper to inquire how both cultures were changed.

I think of our fifth graders that I traveled to Washington DC last spring with. These students engaged with the guides at the Capitol with more questions and conversation that I think the guide was prepared for. The questions came with a depth of knowledge of our country’s history. I also enjoyed watching them recite words that so many of us memorized when we were young in our US History class on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Other visitors stopped and were moved by this recitation. And I am excited to see that work happening in learning with our current fifth graders.

Today is a moment that we pause to consider the historical impact of those who serve our country have made. We say thank you for the service. And the work we do at schools show continued gratitude as we grow and learn. We build our understandings of the community, state and country we live in as well its connections to our world. Working as an IB school, this global perspective is built. We begin with our work as citizens of this school and on it grows.