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“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us the divine floods of light and life flow no longer into our souls.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton

There were some tears yesterday as we said goodbye to children and families. Most had wonderful things to say about their time at our school. But there were also some families who leave wishing there had been less evidence of playing and more evidence of learning. Sometimes it is hard not to abandon what we know to be good and true when the voice of opposition is like a loud, clanging bell. But I have a colleague who urges me to pause in the face of that opposition and see if perhaps there is a nugget of truth, even if it only provides that place where I can create common ground with someone. Because common ground is the place where we must stand if we really want to engage in a conversation. As I reflect on this year that is drawing to a close, I can see those places where I simply stepped aside and let an opportunity to create common ground slip away. These last weeks I have been intentional about drawing parents, teachers, and colleagues back into that conversation. We cannot become entrenched, believing that we know what is best and others must just fall into line and “trust us.” If one person does not understand the why behind the what, there is a conversation waiting to happen. That is where I plan to begin next year. I know that I have much to think about this summer. My reading pile is growing and I am ready to open a new journal to record my learning as well as my questions. My hope and prayer is that those conversations will continue and that common ground will become firm, providing a place to stand secure as we live and learn and play with our students.

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