HEAD OF SCHOOL MESSAGE: NURTURING A HEALTHY SCHOOL COMMUNITY
Troy McIntosh shares thoughts on the necessity and challenge of community in a COVID world
At Worthington Christian School, we recognize that education is a science of relationships. That is to say, learning takes place by making connections from a person to an idea, from an idea to another idea, and from a person to another person. The relationship of ideas to one another is reflective of and tied to the relationship of people to one another. Learning is a social enterprise and so a proper education requires a proper community in which to receive that education. This is why scripture places such a profound emphasis on the family and the primary role that family relationships play in the growth and development of a child. It is also why one of our school’s great aspirations is to provide a community in which the necessary relationships for learning – those marked by love, nurture, care, and appropriate authority – are offered to students and their families. It is hard to imagine that WC, or any Christian school for that matter, could fulfill its mission without these.
Yet life in a COVID world can sometimes work against our traditional methods of developing this kind of community, particularly in a school. Physical distancing, even for a short period of time, is contrary to our God-given social instincts to be proximate to people. Our students and our teachers naturally want to be close to each other, to express warmth with a handshake or appropriate hug or even just a smile and a friendly greeting. Masks mitigate our ability to convey sentiments with our facial expressions. Worry and anxiety can keep us from reaching out to someone we may not know well. Combined over a long period of time, we start to lose some of the relationships and sense of community that are so important to learning.
Yet, I think there are things we can do to continue to nurture a healthy school community. Since we aspire to be a biblical community, we must recognize that we are not our own but belong to our Creator. As a result, we will look not just to our own needs but also the needs of others. That is a foundational principle of community-building. Here are some practical ways to keep the WC community strong even in a COVID world:
- Reach out to someone you don’t know and introduce yourself. We have 151 new students this year, including the largest kindergarten class in over a decade. Be a friendly face when you see them at a school activity, ask them how their year has started, offer to help them with unfamiliar procedures. Welcome them into our community.
- Join in our Warrior Prayer Community and commit to praying through our “Battle Plan” for our students. You can sign up for either the Lower School or Upper School to connect with others praying for our students and school.
- Encourage your kids to be present in our people’s lives in a responsible way. Show them how to do it. Help them understand why it is important and how everyone benefits from contributing to a community.
WC is a special place because of all of you. We will make it through these times and have the chance to come out better on the back end. I’m glad to have that opportunity with each of you.