The recent tragedy in Parkland, FL brings to light conversations about how to create and maintain safe learning environments for our students. As we all reflect on ways we can make a difference locally and nationally, cope with the tragedy, or bring about positive changes so that such events do not continue in our nation, let's pause to think about what we can do each moment, every day in our schools to create a safe environment. I was struck by one of the teachers who had sheltered many of her students from the shooter who said "I just love those kids. I love every one of them as if they were my own."
If we want to create the safest environment for our students, it is by creating a culture where we really know our students as if they were were our own. Creating those cultures do not happen by accident, rather it happens through purposeful efforts to personally know your students.
Challenge: Think about all of your students. How well do you know them all? Do you know their interests, their hopes and dreams, their greatest challenges they have overcome? Do you know who their role models are, which classes are their favorite, or what their hobbies are? Take a moment to get to know a student that you don't know as well as others.