A Sense of Urgency
June 01, 2020
Appears in June 2020: School Administrator.
It's lunchtime on a Tuesday and my high school student advisory council has joined me for our regular meeting. They arrive with meals in hand, greeting one another and me. Sometimes I have a specific agenda item for them, and sometimes they just begin
talking. Today, they wanted to return to a topic we had discussed over the course of the year — their social and emotional wellness.
In particular, the 12 kids around a conference table wanted to address the pressure they feel to “do it all” in the pursuit of getting into the “right college.” These are kids who love their school and their community. They know they are fortunate to be in a community where education is valued. But they are feeling pressure most adults did not feel during their high school years.
The students, mostly sophomores and juniors, didn’t want to vent or complain. These students shared ideas of how we could make it better. They are so smart about it. They know there isn’t an easy fix or one variable we need to shift. They recognize a local culture of high expectations, the American drive to achieve, pressure on parents for their kids to succeed, stress on teachers to deliver high test scores … and peer pressure.
But they also are looking to the adults to help to make it better. They are looking at us to do something. That is where the sense of urgency comes in.