As part of our self-study process last year, we were challenged to articulate what we teach at Bixby and what our graduates can expect from a Bixby education. The process of creating this draft was exciting – it made more explicit our strengths and uncovered areas of our program that we have not clearly articulated in the past. Finally, it forced us to show how it all fits together. We are continuing to work on this articulation, but our working draft of how to communicate a Bixby education is captured in the graphic below:
One of the happy surprises of this process to date has been the recognition that “global citizenship” is part of what our students gain from a Bixby experience. On a personal level, I have always had a bit of a Love/Hate relationship with Boulder. After more than two decades of living here, I still feel at times like I don’t “belong” in Boulder, that my experiences and identities are not reflected in my neighborhood. Now in full disclosure, I’ve spent the vast majority of my life feeling this way despite having lived in multiple geographic and demographic communities. The identities and experiences that most strongly define my self-concept is reflected below:
So, when I considered the opportunity to serve Bixby School as its Head of School, I asked myself, “Am I really the right person to lead an independent school in Boulder, Colorado?!?” It didn’t take long for me to come to the conclusion “Who better than a Latinx woman to lead an independent school in Boulder, Colorado?” To be clear, I don’t believe I am the only person capable of leading our school, but rather I came to recognize that bringing my own sense of “difference” to the role is a value that I can contribute to our rich community.
One of Bixby’s core beliefs since our founding is that “Children are unique individuals, each with their own abilities, interests, and needs.” Indeed one of the things that first drew me to the school is that Bixby helps students explore and discover who they are and what they are capable of; rather than instruct students on how to conform to a single vision of “success”. The opportunity to explore other cultures, identities and ideas; to think critically about the assumptions that we make; affirm our own uniqueness; and also appreciate what others have to contribute is crucially necessary for our students. Our focus upon global citizenship is about looking beyond the unique diversity of our community to the rich diversity of our world. It is a natural evolution of the approach to learning that Bixby has always had, and a necessary piece of teaching our students about the world they are growing up in.
I’m excited to continue this work with our faculty, students, and families and invite you to contribute your own experiences, beliefs, and identities to our community. We all belong here.