October 3, 2019 Fay Flyer Excerpt
From the Head of School
Below is an excerpt from a "Fay Flyer" letter that Fay circulated to all current parents on October 3, 2019. The Fay Flyer is a weekly newsletter that contains all school-wide critical information. To learn more about how we communicate with our families at Fay, click here.
Dear Fay Family,
On August 29, we audaciously announced in the Fay Flyer our goal of having Fifth Graders design and execute our upcoming Prospective Parent Open House. It stated, “Our goal of having Fifth Graders plan and execute an Open House is nothing short of ambitious…or is it? We have absolute faith in your children and our Leadership Development Program so we will put them both to the test with this exercise.”
For the past 30+ days, our Fifth Graders designed our Open House by covertly using Stanford University’s Design Thinking Methodology. Design Thinking, in short, is a methodology for creative problem-solving. In this case, the Fifth Graders were addressing ‘the problem’ that we had over 60 people visiting campus on October 2 who wanted to learn more about Fay. We challenged the Fifth Graders to use emotional intelligence to think from a prospective parent’s point of view. We asked them, “How would they feel arriving at a place they knew nothing about? What were they seeking? What, in their minds, would be a successful visit?” We encouraged them to think from another person’s point of view through each stage (define, empathize, ideate, prototype, test) of the design thinking cycle.
The Fifth Graders willingly and excitedly gave up recess, arrived early in the morning to school, and conducted working lunch meetings to achieve their goal. And yet, there were no grades to be given. At another school, would intrinsic motivation like this happen?
By documenting the whole process, we also created a digital portfolio that demonstrates their leadership development. Our approach to digital documentation is something that leading schools in the country have begun to do to showcase student learning beyond what a traditional transcript can convey. We alluded to this in the Fay Flyer dated February 21, 2019, stating “the opportunity for schools willing to examine their changing landscape and the world their students will enter.”
Now, our Fifth Graders have a supplement to their middle school applications. This will set them apart from every other Fifth Grade applicant in the city of Houston.
Most of our Fifth Graders began in our Primary School and have benefited from Fay’s Leadership Development Program. The proof is in the feedback we received from prospective parents immediately following the conclusion of the Open House:
“The 5th graders were well-spoken, well-informed, and incredibly impressive. The Fay community should be tremendously proud!”
“Your 5th graders did a wonderful job of thinking on their feet and answering questions. They spoke clearly and had excellent poise. Very informative. Thank you!”
“Just wow! Everyone did a fantastic job. Our guides were very knowledgeable on the different grade levels and did an excellent job explaining the Mediation Tool. We now see what the #FayLeads hashtag looks like in action.”
“Fantastic job! Each team did a wonderful job representing this program. THANK YOU so much for sharing your refreshing approach to elementary education!”
“I was very impressed with the classroom environments and beautiful, nurturing campus. It’s a wonderful school for my child’s learning experience, and I can see exactly how you are preparing them to be future leaders of the world.”
“We were impressed with the 5th graders and their leadership skills. Our tour guides were so poised, friendly, and terrific. We loved it!”
Your children will learn more than letters, numbers, math, reading, and writing over the course of their journey through Fay. They will develop applicable leadership skills, fine-tune their emotional intelligence, and be able to prove it through evidence. This was on full display for the public on Tuesday, and the feedback speaks the truth. If you still don’t believe me, just ask a Fifth Grader.
On August 29 of this year, I concluded the Fay Flyer by writing, “But what if we don’t fall short and we exceed expectations? Then we cannot think of a more powerful demonstration of your child’s leadership development nor a better example of The Fay School leading the way in early childhood and elementary education.”