Monthly Key Value Letter

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October 1, 2018

Dear Mill Pond students,

I hope that your start of the school year has been a good one.  You’re in a new grade and you’re probably feeling much older than last year. Have you noticed the new privileges you have at Mill Pond – 4th graders using iPads, 5th graders getting the chance to play band instruments, 6th graders being the leaders of the school, to name just a few.  

You may have gained other privileges at home since you’ve entered this new grade – possibly staying up later or getting to own things you couldn’t own before.  But those great new opportunities don’t come for free - as people say, with privileges come responsibilities. Stop for a minute to think what this means that you get to do more things as you get older but you’re also expected to do more for yourself. This is the way it is in life even when you’re an adult.

As it turns out, RESPONSIBILITY is the key value for October. When you think about the word “responsibility”, what comes to mind?  What does it mean to you? When I asked some 5th grade students what they thought it meant, they told me words like “chores” and “jobs”. That is definitely part of what responsibility means. Take a minute with your classmates and teacher to brainstorm - what are some responsibilities you have? I’m guessing that you have many more responsibilities than just what you’d call chores.

Another question someone might ask is - why would I want to be considered a “responsible” person? It sounds like a lot of hard work. People may have different answers so I can only answer that for myself. I want to be thought of as responsible so people know they can count on me to do what I say I’ll do.  If I’m dependable and reliable, people will come to me for help and I may be given the chance to take on more responsibility. Having a reputation of being responsible is something to be proud of!!

To give you more information, I found these other meanings of responsibility on the website The second one is my favorite. Try to pick a favorite of your own.

When you agree to do something, do it. If you let people down, they'll stop believing you. When you follow through on your commitments, people take you seriously.

Answer for your own actions. Don't make excuses or blame others for what you do. When you take responsibility for your actions you are saying "I am the one who's in charge of my life."

Take care of your own matters. Don't rely on adults to remind you when you're supposed to be somewhere or what you're supposed to bring. You take the responsibility.

Be trustworthy. If somebody trusts you to borrow or take care of something, take care of it. If somebody tells you something in confidence, keep it to yourself. It's important for people to know they can count on you.

Always use your head. Think things through and use good judgment. When you use your head you make better choices. That shows your parents they can trust you.

Don't put things off. When you have a job to do, do it. Doing things on time helps you take control of your life and shows that you can manage your own affairs.

The one idea to add to that list is the idea in our Mill Pond Touchstone – “We are responsible stewards of our natural world.”  All that you do to reduce, reuse, recycle, and to treat our natural environment with care are other terrific examples of being responsible!

You’re probably thinking that this is asking you to do a great deal. Well, it is. But we’re not asking you to do anything that we won’t do as well. Your parents, your teachers, Mr. Guellnitz, Ms. Kovaleski, and I all have to demonstrate that we can be responsible. You can too!

I hope this is a great month for each of you. Before you know it, we’ll be getting ready for Halloween and Thanksgiving. We’ll be well into our school year, and this grade you’re in won’t feel so new anymore. You’ll be more than ready to show everyone how really responsible you can be.

Sincerely (and responsibly),

Mr. Slomski