Everyone Has a Voice

Jason HeissererUncategorized

The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you.
Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.
–Neil Gaiman

Friends,

At Crossroads, we intend to cultivate and make room for each student’s voice because we believe that everyone has a place, a voice, and something to contribute to our school and community. This is a joy and a challenge. It is a joy when it works, of course. When I hear students’ voices as the primary voices in classrooms, when students make announcements, when they share their work and ideas, and when we all agree. It is also a challenge when it works, too, because students have strong opinions and different ideas from one another and from the adults who surround them.

If everyone has a voice, everyone must learn to listen as well, and I think we must check ourselves to make sure students perceive that Crossroads is both safe enough and brave enough for the different voices our students’ experiences and ideas represent. It can be challenging to develop the capacity for listening to studeplace&voicent voices particularly when they are challenging each other and challenging us. However, at Crossroads, I welcome the experience of this challenge and the joy that comes from learning from it. This is an ongoing joy and challenge to which we must attend together.

I received a great deal of positive feedback from our Open House (nearly 100 families attended). There were families who see their values, secular, religious, spiritual, or otherwise, reflected immediately in what they saw, heard, and experienced on Sunday. They value this alignment and seem eager to join our community. There were also families whose values overlapped enough for them to see their child and family as a part of us, and this overlap is important as well and will lead to tours, applications, and acceptances, I am sure. Finally, there are families who saw that our values were in marked contrast to theirs, except when it comes to an essential. Everyone having a voice was one of them.

I often say that we need everyone, and although we present as quite a contrast to some families who are a part of our community already or who are seeking to become a part of our community, we still must make space for the voice of their child. Frankly, I can’t think of a better place to cultivate and embrace the contrasting voice than at Crossroads, and I have great expectations for diversity in experience and ideas and how differing voices bolster and make more robust a school and community such as ours.

Nothing without joy (even when it’s challenging),
Jason