Room 209. When I was given permission to take a room on an elementary campus, I was totally excited. The previous months were spent in a portable building near Central Office. It was one large room and one person … me. After the name of the new school was selected, my portable was aptly renamed “Pecan Trailer”. I knew I was fortunate to have a place to work and blessed with the task of preparing for a new school. The view out the windows was nice. I could see trees, Central Office and Consol. Yet, after years of being in schools, I was used to tons of interactions with people every day. My face to face interactions in Pecan Trailer were infrequent and sometimes I wondered if the book “Left Behind” had actually come to fruition. I made up reasons to visit Central Office many days so I could interact with the wonderful people there. When the option of moving to Greens Prairie Elementary came up, the idea of being back on a campus was really exciting.
So, I set up shop in Room 209. I had no idea what to expect. Truthfully, I had no expectations at all. I figured my days would be spent on the computer or the phone getting things ready for Pecan Trail and would at least see a person pass by at least every 30 minutes or so. I knew people would be kind and accommodating, but figured we’d pass in the halls and I’d go about my business of focusing on the building going up next door. I just wasn’t all that sure what the view from the new office would be.
That all quickly began to change shortly after I moved into my new Room. Through the window on my door, I could see the smiling faces of kids passing in the halls. As I started to leave my door open, I could hear the voices associated with those smiling faces and could also hear the laughter and fellowship of a staff truly invested in what you do each and every day. As I began to wander out of Room 209 and walk the halls and enter classrooms, I could experience the community of Greens Prairie Elementary.
I recently learned a definition of Community as “Community is a shared responsibility for the condition of the space you belong to.” This definition so captures my experience of your school. Everyone is incredibly invested in the education of young minds and hearts at your school and having an environment of acceptance and support. You are invested in each other and committed to your common mission. I have been so honored to be a small part and a big beneficiary of your community. People have stopped in to Room 209 just to say “Hi” or to share a funny story. The students who have stopped in or said something to me in the halls are students who know they are valued and believed in by everyone here.
It is hard to sum up all I have learned from you, but I have learned much. The grace you have shown me in taking me in and treating me as one of your community members is humbling and will stay with me. I hope to make Pecan Trail into the kind of community you have built here. Thank you for your kindness, your humor, your time and your space. The view from Room 209 is amazing and will be treasured by me always.