Happy Friday everyone,
I’d like to thank you for all your help as we’ve gotten started. Things are running smoothly, including carpool! If carpool looks good, we know we’re firing on all cylinders.
I will still ask our parents to drive safely and follow the system we have in place. It is designed to keep our students safe. Carpool is cleared by 4:30, so we are not asking you to wait for long. Also, please help us be good neighbors and do not park or idle on Teasley or School Street or in the neighborhoods. Our neighbors are frustrated that we aren’t working with them.
We had our Club Fair today with over 80 clubs represented. This is an amazing showing from our students. I will use this opportunity to remind us that we should be encouraging students to be more interested in what a club is doing than being an officer. There is a delicate balance as we all work to get our students into the schools of their choice. Schools ask for students to demonstrate their involvement in extracurriculars, but now every student is an officer for a three member club. This metric for entrance is designed to see that the students are passionate and engaged. To stand out, students should not just be an officer of a club, they should be able to demonstrate what they DID in that club. I encourage you to push your students to join clubs where they will do something meaningful. I believe that is more important than being an officer in a club that meets twice or does not complete meaningful work.
This weekend we hosted the US Math coach who spoke eloquently about the need for students to be actively engaged. He spoke over lunch about the unfortunate trend of students being tutored in how to “beat” the questions in international math competitions that are designed to teach students to grapple with difficult abstract problems and eventually overcome through their own intellect and creativity. When organizations short-circuit this by designing tricks to circumvent the creative problem-solving these competitions promote, the student appears to have skills that they don’t.
At IA, we want our students to have the underlying skills that come with the struggles of solving real-world problems. In order to do that, we need them to be deeply invested in the problems they face. This can only happen when they are actively and passionately engaged. And, as Dr. Loh reminded us in his speech, in a world where AI is changing the landscape of the workplace in unpredictable ways, the most important skills are problem-solving and creative thinking.
All this to say, please encourage your students to engage in clubs and extracurriculars where they have a passion to pursue. If they can point to what they have done, it is more valuable than saying they were an officer of a club that did nothing.
Culture of Reciprocity
I have one more request that I’d like to introduce to our parent community, and I believe this is an absolutely essential component of what we do at IA. With our first senior class, we have dramatically increased the need for internships for all of north Fulton. In order for us to provide these opportunities, we need to develop a community of reciprocity. I’m asking our 9th, 10th, and 11th grade families to think hard about connections they have with companies in fields related to our pathways to provide more opportunities for our seniors. If we are able to do this each year, when your student is a senior, they will have the advantage of connections built through 1500 students. This can dramatically improve the chances of your student getting an internship. Please fill out this form with how you/your company can support our students.
If you have any connections that might help us, please reach out to Casie Zahirsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, please visit us on LinkedIn