It gives me great pleasure to welcome everyone back to, what is sure to be, another fantastic year at Condit Elementary.  I hope your summer adventures have provided you time to rest, relax, and recharge.

In the midst of our summer break you may have seen a video (http://goo.gl/4xDfcq) that went viral and inspired the #likeagirl campaign.  It is a poignant 3 minute video that challenges the type of language we use and the messages that it sends.  As the parent of a first grade girl this video struck close to home and it got me thinking about how we may perpetuate negative stereotypes though our language, even when we do so inadvertently.

I have always believed that actions speak louder than words, and in this case it is our actual words that are speaking volumes.  Condit is a Leader in Me campus, which means that in addition to championing Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people, our goal is to empower all of our students to lead.  Part of being a leader is eliminating actions and language that hold students back or reinforce stereotypes.

Eradicating outdated ideas, similar to the goal of the #likeagirl campaign, means to ensure equal access to everything and everyone.  We need to have the same high expectations for our students whether that be in the classroom, in the computer lab, or during physical education.  Our students need to leave Condit empowered and with the expectation that the bar will never be lowered based upon who they are.

Becoming a Leader in Me campus isn’t simply looking for specific situations when children can be unkind, it’s a philosophy of equality and empowerment that we should all adopt.

As you walk the halls of our school this year I hope you see our tangible efforts to create a learning environment to help develop leaders.  My hope is that our students, parents, and teachers will speak the language of leadership, act with strong character, and soon campaigns such as #likeagirl will soon no longer be necessary.

Let’s work together, continue to put first things first, and make this a great year at Condit Elementary.