Leading with Data, Research, and Heart
What a fantastic first week of classes! I continue to feel so inspired by the palpable energy, light, and enthusiasm that permeated our school these first few days. Having students back on campus brings purpose and direction to what we do. Your children--our North Star--are at the core of EBI’s mission, impelling our vision, and shedding light on the different opportunities that will reaffirm our commitment to providing them with the best possible educational experience.
Since before I started my tenure as Head of School, I knew I wanted to share a really special message on new beginnings with the EBI community and wondered about the best way to do it. The beginning of each school year is indeed incredibly special, and for us in education, simply magical. It is a harbinger of both possibility and hope as it represents an opportunity to begin a brand new chapter, learning from and honoring the past as we build a stronger future together.
Two months ago today, I spent my very first day at the San Pablo campus. While walking around to familiarize myself with the building, I came across two long, white tables on the first floor. What drew me closer to them was the fact that they had a rather large amount of brand new school supplies on them. New school supplies are beyond exciting for educators, and I am no exception. When I asked about them, the team proudly shared that they would be placed in “The Magic Closet” and pointed to a cabinet in front of the tables. I couldn’t help falling in love with EBI all over again! It turns out that we have a Magic Closet on each campus that can serve as a constant reminder of the magic of new beginnings and opportunities.
The Magic Closet definitely lived up to its name. There were so many options in it but the pencils were what grabbed my attention the most. As soon as I saw them, I knew how I could use them to share my message. I decided to customize pencils for all faculty and staff as a symbol of our future collaboration. It was very important to add something that would also represent my culture, so I added an Andean handmade doll as a token of the unique and rich cultures we bring to EBI and of our commitment to international mindedness. At our welcome back luncheon, I handed the pencils to each faculty and staff member with a message, the same message that I am sharing with you now.
I was drawn to the pencil because it symbolizes the amazing gift of being able to write a brand new chapter in EBI’s history with you, and most importantly, in the story of your children’s educational journey. A new chapter starts with blank pages, and we get to create their content together!
A pencil also has an eraser, which allows us to have a mindset of “trial and learning” instead of “trial and error”. As we embark on this journey together, we can move forward knowing that we have the power to learn from our mistakes, make improvements as needed, and collaboratively achieve better and stronger results.
As a former science teacher, it is hard to avoid adding an element of science to what I do, even if it is in a very simplified way. Thus, the pencil was also appealing to me because it contains graphite. It is quite fascinating that both graphite and diamonds are made of the same chemical element, carbon, and the difference lies within their internal structure, conditions, and the type of bonds that holds them together. I truly believe that just as the carbon atoms in graphite and diamonds, we have the power to write a truly amazing story for EBI as long as we have the correct structure and conditions: working together as a united community, strongly bonded by the commitment to our mission.
I would like to invite you to visit The Magic Closet and see these pencils along with the other supplies, which serve as a reminder of the magic of new beginnings and the opportunities that lie ahead for EBI. Let’s write this next chapter to advance our mission, guided by our core values, and the characteristics of the IB Learner Profile. Together, we will continue positioning our beloved school as the best PK-8 independent school in the area and as an innovator in 21st-century whole child education.
We can’t wait to share with you the framework guiding our vision for the future and reaffirming our commitment to all of our values, and in particular, to educational excellence and international mindedness, which encompass all the others. I look forward to seeing you on campus and more formally at our upcoming Back-to-School Nights.
With great enthusiasm and zeal for the best school year yet!
Dr. Paola V. Clark
International Educational Leader