About one year ago, Lakeside introduced the “re-envisioning,” a new framework for teaching students to make good decisions. Built on competencies and mindsets, the plan received instant praise from teachers, students, and families alike. Last year, a poll respondent went so far as to say, “The re-envisioning is the best thing that ever happened to Lakeside. I like it almost as much as when they changed the schedule. Almost. This is so much better, though. The competencies and mindsets are something I’ve always thought about and I’m so glad they’re finally being emphasized in class. Thank you Lakeside!” At the time this was a common sentiment, but since then, a global pandemic has struck the world, making 2020, by almost all measures, an awful year. Now that we’re in 2021, though, we should take a look back at Lakeside’s re-envisioning to see how it’s coming along.
Resilience: Lakeside has made massive strides this year in regards to resilience. With a refusal to assign no-homework days and with teachers piling on assignment after assignment, Lakeside has given students the unique chance to demonstrate resilience. “My mental health is deteriorating and I’m so stressed right now,” one poll respondent said. For them, there has never been a better time to practice resilience.
Communication and Listening: From spamming students’ inboxes with calendar invites for assemblies in May to sending out weekly improvement surveys that never get read, Lakeside has truly excelled in regards to communication and listening. To me, it’s the most important competency, and Lakeside has inspired me to take communication to the next level. “The best way to teach is to lead by example,” said some famous person. Lakeside has definitely led by example this year.
Unstructured Problem Solving: This year, Noe and Co. have done a marvelous job of forcing students to flex their unstructured problem solving skills. One particular example comes to mind, one that I’m sure many Lakesiders can identify with. With classes being 85 minutes long and many teachers refusing to give breaks, it’s easy to zone out. It’s even easier to have a dreadful mid-class nap with the whole class watching you snore on your little screen. As such, Lakesiders have had to find creative ways to pass the time during Zoom calls. A friend warned me against sharing examples in order to protect students whose teachers might be reading this article, but rest assured that when it comes to getting through their classes, Lakesiders’ problem solving is as unstructured as it gets.
Global: With Global Service Learning trips travelling to all parts of the world, Lakeside has emphasized the importance of becoming a world citizen. By forcing students to wear masks on campus, Lakeside has shown a commitment to stopping a global pandemic. By refusing to create a Lakeside bubble, the school has demonstrated empathy for the conditions of those around the world. If millions of people in countries around the world don’t have the opportunity to live and operate in a bubble, why should Lakesiders be able to? Through its continuing GSL program and actions surrounding the pandemic, Lakeside has truly demonstrated a global mindset.
Sustainability: Above all, in the past year Lakeside has displayed its unwavering commitment to sustainability. By forcing students to stay at home and learn remotely, Lakeside reduced the carbon footprint of the hundreds of cars and busses that Lakesiders take on their daily commute. By individually packaging every person’s lunch in disposable plastic containers, Lakeside is reducing the amount of water it uses in washing hundreds of dirty plates. Even the college counseling office has stepped in, electing to hold its annual ACT mock test online to save paper. Lakeside was the embodiment of sustainability in 2020.
To use running as a metaphor, if the re-envisioning was a mile run, 2020 was the first 400m. And we all know, the first 400 is the most important 400. Lakeside did well in the first year of its re-envisioning process, and for both competencies and mindsets, it has put itself on the right track leading into 2021 and beyond.