While kneeling in front of a kindergartner, proudly holding up a purple and blue snowflake she has skillfully colored, I am tapped on the shoulder by a second grader who throws her head back in delight, revealing a loose molar tooth she is gleefully moving with the tip of her tongue. A seventh grader chimes in, validating the coolness of the event for the second grader, and as I look around the room, I notice that it is buzzing with connectedness. It is in this moment, while small and perhaps ordinary, that I feel within me a certain kind of hiccupped happiness.
This second grader getting ready to lose a molar tooth was once a shy kindergartner, so silent when she entered our Wolf Pack, that it took a full year before I ever heard her speak. And this seventh grader, who has taken on a leadership role in our Pack this year with ease, was once a fourth grader, looking to middle school students for guidance. I am certain that a smile has come across my face as I make these connections. I find myself reflecting on how special it is to be part of so many students' journeys through Westside and have now witnessed this sense of community that is palpable within my Pack.
Community can best be defined as the feeling of fellowship with others. I am reminded of this when I reflect on the scene that transpired in my own Wolf Pack, but there are so many more instances to be drawn upon. It is the fifth and sixth grade group that decided to work with a lower school class to teach them about Black History Month; it is the seventh and eighth grade group that created a lesson on penguins to help support the launch of a new math unit in first grade; it is the assembly of middle school students making their way to preschool to read stories on Thursday afternoon; and it is the daily reminder of how special these connections are when a small child is seen dashing out of a line headed to the library to hug a middle school student.
These types of connections are frequent at Westside, and while I am taking the time to step back and reflect on them as I write this, I am also reminded of how infrequently we take the time to acknowledge just how special this is. The kindergartner that proudly displayed her snowflake during Wolf Pack will one day be a student of mine. She will enter the first day of middle school not fearful, but confident; for she will already have a rallying team behind her that has known her for years and is ready to welcome her with open arms. She will play the role of leader in our Wolf Pack and welcome new kindergartners as they begin their journey through our Westside community, too. To me, that is something worth celebrating.
7th & 8th Grade Language Arts