Ben Ostrom has asked K-5 STEM PTA to share this letter:
To K-5 STEM Staff and Community:
I wanted to take a few moments to reach out to K-5 STEM staff and community. I am enthusiastic about joining you for the fulfilling and challenging journey ahead. K-5 STEM has taken some huge steps in advancing successful, curious, caring, creative learners. I look forward to hearing what you have accomplished and learned. Guided by your mission of nurturing critical thinkers with project based learning, a culture of accountability, and a celebration of the whole child, you have moved mountains to open and grow a new school.
I know changes in leadership create uncertainty. Communities worry over how a new leader thinks and feels, and what changes may be in store. Please know that my first intention is to spend as much time as possible the next several months listening and following. I will work to discern what is important, what has been learned, and coalesce from the K-5 STEM community the next steps in our journey. I believe a principal foremost must be a leader in learning; learning about K-5 STEM is what I will set out to do.
I will be transparent about who I am as a leader during the transition ahead. I fall back upon three core values: equity, learning, and compassion. My definition for equity revolves around each and every–I view school practices through the lens of serving each and every child. I believe learning for students and adults must be at the center of everything schools do. Two important vehicles for learning are failure (which I define as not obtaining the results you want, and an opportunity for reflection and growth), and identifying the next step in a scholar’s, staff member’s, or community’s ongoing growth and development. Compassion is action based on empathy. These basic values will be raised over and over during the months and years to come.
The details of transition opportunities will emerge over the next several weeks. I will figure out times to meet your scholars, visit your classrooms, and meet with staff and community members. I may or may not be able to participate in hiring new staff and other key decisions this spring. Officially my new assignment begins July 1st; however I will join you as I am able before then. Highland Park (HP) has a full plate the next few months, and my first priority will be supporting the needs of HP students and staff to meet their learning goals. At the same time, I will try to keep abreast of what is happening and learn about K-5 STEM at Boren.
In sum, hello! I’m exited to become a part of the K-5 STEM community. I will close with a poem, a habit that you will become used to. We all need more poetry in our lives! “Sometimes,” by Sheenagh Pugh, captures some hopes I have for the coming months.
Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
Sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss, sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.
I look forward to getting to know you all in person.