It is my favorite time of year! The start of a new academic year provides opportunities for fresh ideas, new experiences, and renewed energy. The first day of school holds a special place in my heart, and I am filled with joy as our campus is abuzz again with the energy of our students.
Head of School Blog
Laurie Wolke, Head of School
I spend a lot of time traveling the country to visit other schools and talking to educational experts, psychologists, entrepreneurs and thought leaders to bring back big and new ideas to Laurence, our faculty and our families.
My dad and Laurence's founder, Marvin Jacobson, always says that empathy is a key ingredient to a child's overall success in school and in life, and that, first and foremost, empathy comes from being empathized with. At Laurence, we acknowledge our students' emotions and the importance of listening carefully to them without judgement. We also help them to recognize and express their own feelings, which makes them better able to recognize the feelings of others.
Studies indicate that empathy is also one of the most important traits for successful leadership, driving innovation, engagement and inclusivity.
The 2021-2022 school year is starting in just a couple of weeks, and I have never been more excited to welcome our Laurence students back to campus. What a difference a year makes! We are excited to bring new ideas and programs to Laurence, while other programs are returning after 18 months of the pandemic. And while we will still be wearing masks, I know that each of us will be smiling underneath them as we celebrate the fact that all of our students will be starting the school year learning in-person on a full-time basis.
It's January - the month when we look to the new year ahead with promises to ourselves and resolutions to improve, including our resolve to be better parents. As we contemplate parenting in the new year, I'd like to share a recommendation for 2020 and beyond - focusing on being present with our children. My children are 26 and 28 years old, and I'm still working on being a better parent and learning how to put aside my work and be present.
I feel very lucky and grateful to define my life around Laurence School - a place where the concept of a "growth mindset" is foundational to our school culture. Having a growth mindset, a term coined by Stanford professor Carol Dweck, Ph. D., means that you believe you can improve, learn and get better through your effort and hard work. You believe that talent and intelligence aren't fixed, but cultivated through learning and practice. We deliberately teach our students and encourage our faculty and staff to develop this mindset, which helps people view challenges and failures as learning opportunities.