What does this have to do with school. P.S. I love analogies, so bare with me.
In thinking of starting a fire you must build a strong base of paper and wood, which once you light the match, it will take off without much adjusting. Once the initial spark takes off, make sure to continue to add wood to keep the fire hot. Grab your pokers, attach marshmallows, and cook them as long as you desire, absolutely your choice. When ready, smother the warm/hot marshmallow between chocolate and graham crackers. This is a very basic explanation, but I hope you are beginning to see the correlation to school growth.
If not here are my thoughts on this weird analogy:
The paper is the accelerant (school vision and direction)
The wood is the (school plan) which will burn out. Then needs to be poked and prodded with new wood. Not too often, just enough to keep the fire hot.
The matches are the passion and spark which is created by mindset, common language, and a sense of empowerment. Without this, no fire, just wood and paper. Not much to look at or sit besides...
The poker is the connection from fire to marshmallow, or the staff, which stabilizes and has all the power over how long to cook the marshmallow (more on this ingredient in a second).
The chocolate is the glitz, for Carrie Downie this is the integration of technology. A fine chocolate compliments, but alone without other ingredients leaves a dry mouth and bad after taste.
The graham cracker is the standards or what the students need to master, which have to encompass any change/growth and hold it all together. Again alone is edible, but without other two ingredients not something you grab from your cabinet alone.
That brings us the marshmallow. This is the student, the glue that holds us true, holds us together, keeps us coming back for more. How far we push them, how long we cook and turn them, how we inspire them, and yes, how much we love them is different each time. No cooked marshmallow is ever the same. The chocolate and graham cracker can be recreated over and over. This must always be remembered when eating SMORES or dealing with students. None are ever the same, bottom line!
No matter what your taste is for cooked marshmallows in a fire, it is essential they are warm enough to hold the other ingredients together. By this, I mean they must have some intrinsic feeling of wanting to be in school (belonging) and a level of motivation to learn. The degree to how hot this burns is up to the poker (staff and I mean all staff, from bus drivers to cafeteria workers to Principals)
Does any of this make any sense, probably not.... but next time you are at a campfire making SMORES, think about your school and how what you are doing and tasting relates to your school... I love mine! and I also love SMORES! Just not smelling like a campfire all night long....