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The philosophy of Christa McAuliffe School, and the teachers and parents that implement it daily, embodies what I want most for my children: the enjoyment of each moment for what it has to offer; to come to understand that life is best lived with an appreciation for and grounding in the present. Certainly a part of our mission is to prepare children and young people for the future, but taking time to celebrate the treasures children bring to us each day creates the joy that permeates this place. And what of preparing them for the future? When I think about the skills our children will need to prosper in our rapidly changing society, I recall a recent Mercury News series on schools and business, which stated that the traits Silicon Valley company recruiters most wanted in applicants are creativity, flexibility, and problem-solving abilities.

We at McAuliffe are, I believe, uniquely capable of fostering these characteristics. Even more importantly, students at McAuliffe maintain and develop their natural desire to learn, and demonstrate their joy of learning as they continue to high school and beyond.

More than anything else, I believe we are a true learning community. We encourage and learn from each other while solving meaningful problems, whether they are in mathematics or social relations. We learn to express ourselves in creative, rich ways that enhance our relationships and community, through verbal presentations, writing, and the visual and performing arts.

Dewey once said that good teachers guide students on a voyage of self-discovery. At McAuliffe, we teach children, not subjects. The logical starting point for this is the children themselves. Allowing children to make choices, to set and assess their own standards, and to follow their unique interests motivates and empowers students, while creating pedagogical and organizational demands on teachers that far exceed the normal classroom. That we have a group of teachers here that are willing to dedicate themselves to our children and philosophy is truly inspiring to me.

- Rick