Acceptance - March

ACCEPTANCE: March’s Key to Success
March, 2016

Dear Mill Pond students:

It’s my turn to write a letter to you about the key value and I’m glad it is because this month’s key value is a very important one to me. This month we celebrate ACCEPTANCE. It’s a word you’ve probably heard many times before. It means, “Recognizing the uniqueness and value of each individual and embracing differences in our diverse society.” Pretty important, huh?
Did you notice some words in that definition that we recite every Monday morning? They’re right at the tail end of the Mill Pond Touchstone where we say, “We celebrate our special qualities, persevere through challenges, and embrace our differences.” There’s a lot in that sentence that talks about acceptance. The first part is to celebrate our special qualities. To me, those are all the times we celebrate the talents and personalities at Mill Pond. I see a lot of that happening during morning meetings and when students are sharing their great work in class. I remember a time when a whole lot of students celebrated a special quality of mine - when most of the 6th grade cheered in the caf when I solved the Rubics cube last month!
So what about that word “embrace”? You may have heard that word when it means to hug someone or put your arms around them. So how do you hug differences?!? The students who wrote “embracing our differences” in the Touchstone meant that we value each other’s differences - they make us a better school and a more interesting place to come every day.
Often times when people talk about differences, they talk about things on the outside like the color of someone’s skin, or someone’s clothes, or someone’s appearance. We’re fortunate at Mill Pond to have so many differences between teachers and students in all those ways. How boring would Mill Pond be if we all looked exactly the same? Very! There is an even more important way we’re all different at Mill Pond; as you get to be a 4th grader and especially a 5th or 6th grader, you realize more and more how different you and your classmates are on the inside. No, I don’t mean your bones and muscles. I mean your personalities, backgrounds, talents and interests. I’m sure if everyone listed three personality traits, three talents, and three interests, there wouldn’t be any two people who had the same list out of all 1,000 Mill Pond staff and students.
By the way, here’s what mine would look like:

Personality traits - curious, musical, and mathematical

Talents - doing the Rubics cube...slowly!, catching quarters flipped off my elbow, and converting any letter into a number. [For example, if you tell me the letter Q, I can tell you it’s the #17 letter in the alphabet. That’s kind of a different one, isn’t it? I bet I’m not the only one with a weird talent like that one.]

Interests - playing drums, running, and playing games (sports, board games...anything!)

Maybe if you have a chance, you could try this in your homeroom to find out how different you all really are. You might learn a lot about your classmates.
All these differences are what make Mill Pond such an interesting school. We get to be around people that share such different ideas and talents. It also makes us better at solving the problems that we face each day. Different problems require different talents - talents that just one person wouldn’t have.
Because Acceptance is the key value for march, we’re going to have some special school-wide days related to it. Next week is going to be a very special week called Celebrating Our Special Qualities Week. You’ll hear special messages and join in some fun activities as part of that. Later this month, we’ll have a day to show just how different we are. It’ll be as obvious as the shirt on your back because it will be exactly that. On Thursday, March 24th, we’re going to have Be Different Day. My challenge to all of you is to wear a shirt to school that day that no one else in the whole school will have on that day. So dig deep in your drawers or your closets to pick a shirt you don’t think anyone else would wear. Take a look around that day and see if we’ve all met the challenge.
That won’t be the only special day of the month. We’ll be having our own kind of March Madness! On Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, there will be a theme that teachers will be showing somehow. On those days, look closely at your teachers to figure out what the theme for that day is. On Fridays, you get to join in the fun. Those days will be theme days for the entire school. Here’s the schedule for the Fridays this March:

March 4th: Music Day
Week of March 7 - 11:
Monday - Mill Pond Spirit Day (Wear blue and white)
Tuesday - Talented Tuesday (Clothing/accessories showing your unique talent, interest or ability)
Wednesday - Wake up Wednesday! (Pajamas or pajama pants - put name calling and meanness to bed)
Thursday - Everyone Counts! (Clothing or accessories with numbers)
Friday - Have a Heart Day: Celebrate new friendships (Red & White or anything with hearts)
March 18th: Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character
March 24th: Be Different Day
April 1st: Pajama Day


If you add to that the Mill Pond Battle of the Books and the big Bingo Night on March 24th, we’re going to be plenty busy this month. I hope you don’t miss a minute!

Mr. Slomski