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Principal's Message from Kevin Dorken
April 30, 2018


Self-Directed Learners and Responsible Decision Makers
 
We hope Spring Break provided your family some quality time together and that the children are excited and ready for a strong spring (thus far, convincingly disguised as winter) at Lyon. It was great to welcome everyone back, and it was wonderful to see so many children happy to return!
 
As we head into our final trimester of the year, a noticeable shift can be observed as we have an increased emphasis on student independence throughout each school day. Whether it is in regard to social skills and relationships or with particular aspects of their academic work, students will now be spending a greater portion of their time at school applying knowledge and skills. It is very affirming to visit classrooms and see students confidently navigating through their day, often with minimal direction from adults. They each have their moments when they are able to be a leader and help a peer with something, provide feedback to a classmate or serve as a positive model of what an engaged learner looks like. While none of these descriptions are absolutes, they are observable across all three of our grade levels at Lyon.
 
In the process of working with your children on a daily basis, we may even shift the way we provide feedback to them to match the increased capacity for independence. What might have been more explicit and direct earlier in the year can now be delivered in a way that intentionally transfers increased ownership to the student. For example, I can frequently approach a student in need of some kind of reminder during the day and ask, “What am I going to remind you to do right now?” In the vast majority of cases, the student knows immediately and responds accordingly. Teachers can more readily respond to students with questions that accomplish the same transfer of ownership (e.g., “Which problem needs fixing?”; “Which piece of writing represents your best work?”). Sometimes, we even overhear students ask questions like this of one another, which is just fantastic! 
 
You’ve likely seen this same gradual change in independence over the course of the school year at home as well. You can continue to challenge and support your children by remembering the things that they are capable of doing for themselves and letting them do them - even when it takes longer, and even when they attempt to negotiate their way out of it, preferring to let you do it for them. They will thank you for it later! (Okay, they may never actually thank you, but they will have grown in a positive way as a result of it).     
 
Our goal is always to help children become increasingly self-directed learners and responsible decision makers. We thank you for your partnership in this effort, and we hope to see you at Lyon soon.
 
Sincerely,

Kevin Dorken