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  • 2032?

    Posted by James Milford at 9/8/2014 6:40:00 PM

    One of the traits that drew me to Maclay was the ambition of the community to build something extraordinary. The faculty and staff have been hard at work on several initiatives. One of these is in the area of technology. We are taking our next step in our technology curriculum to incorporate dedicated iPads in the 4th and 5th grade. We have adjusted personnel to accommodate an aspiring direction for technology. When we think about the blurred lines between technology and classic curriculum, it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of the new gadgets and tasks you can accomplish with them. When I think about technology, I think about it in terms of the year 2032. This is the year our Pre-K students will graduate college and enter the workforce. Some argue this is too far in the future to have any impact on today, but I could not disagree more. I believe this mindset is what must drive our decisions today. The devices of today will most assuredly be obsolete and long forgotten by 2032. Current statistics say 65% of the jobs in 2032 have not even been created yet. If that is the case, we have to ensure we are stewarding each child on the trajectory to hit that mark.

    What is important in this conversation is to not only shine a light on the cognitive skill sets necessary for that world, but also the non-cognitive tool kit that will allow our students to adapt, adjust, and remain resilient in the face of a world where change is an ever increasing constant. Ultimately, virtual meetings and communication will continue and become more commonplace. However, developing the concepts of and proficiency in resilience, collaboration, compassion, communication (written and verbal), self-awareness, curiosity, and creativity are all timeless traits and skills necessary for sustained success.

    So, can a device teach you all that? No, it cannot. It is only a tool to use in practice of acquiring these skills. The true question is what are we doing to prepare our students for their next steps and the ones beyond? I’m excited to join the conversation already occurring at Maclay around these and other issues. Maclay has been very careful not to get caught up in the spectacle of technology in education by consulting, planning and preparing. Now that we have seen the landscape develop, it is time for us to leap into a position that is true to our mission with aspirations beyond the device in our student’s hands.

    I’ve shared a portion of my thoughts on this topic, I’d love to hear yours. Please comment and share this blog.

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  • Convocation

    Posted by James Milford at 8/21/2014

    As we begin this year together I wanted to share with all of you a portion of the address given to the Maclay School student body and faculty/staff/parents at Convocation. 

    This ceremony marks one of the only times the entire student body is assembled in one place.  One of the aspects of Maclay is our ability to provide a contiguous education from age three to graduation.  Our mission guides us to ensure each child finds their gifts and develops to their fullest.  The convocation ceremony is a chance to come together, honor our “oneness” and set the tone for growth during the year ahead.

    As I have been working to understand the Maclay culture and what makes our school great, I have met many students, parents and alumni - and after reaching out to all of our alumni I received many stories and memories from graduates around the country and all the way back from members of the first graduating class at Maclay.  As I have read and listened to all of their stories, there is one theme that shows up in almost all of them that I wanted to share with you.  I call this theme a law because it always happens this way – much like the law of gravity.  The law represents the impact of great teachers and friends at Maclay – it is the single most powerful message that comes through from those you will become one day.

    It is the law of the mirror.  Think about a mirror.  It reflects back everything presented to it.  There is no way to trick a mirror – it simple reflects what it sees.  This is a law, there is no wiggle room about it – it is simply that way.  Others will reflect what you do.  If you spend your days showing others gratitude, happiness, thankfulness, humbleness – others will reflect those things back to you.  However, if you spend your days saying negative things about other people, complaining, being dishonest, doing less than your best – others will do the same to you.

    This truth is inescapable – so it is important for you to understand what the Maclay family expects.  We expect goodness, we expect helpfulness, we expect cleanliness – in place and speech - we expect you to think positively about each other and to go out of your way to act in the best interest of those around you – even if it means you sacrificing for them.  If you live up to this standard – imagine all that will be reflected back to you. 

    As we go through this year I need you to remember the law of the mirror.  Your friends will be a reflection of you and you of them – the mirror will reflect back both negative and positive things.  Make sure you are surrounding yourself with those you want to be like.  Most importantly, always remember that only you have the power to change yourself.  Furthermore, you have great influence on all of those around you.  Use that awesome power for good, to make others’ lives better – to make our school the best it can be."

    Remember, people do what they see.  Let others see you doing good, being helpful, working hard, putting others first and being the best you can be - everyone around you is watching.

    Thank you again for a wonderful first day of school.

    Now go and make this your best year ever.

    I hope you join us in our excitement for the beginning of a new school year, full of possibilities, hopes and dreams. 

    Yours in Maclay


    (Many thanks to Tim Elmore for teaching me this lesson long ago)

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  • Greatness Through Partnership

    Posted by James Milford at 8/8/2014
    Greatness through Partnership
       There have been many studies over the years on greatness. Some report greatness can be attained in an organization simply with a great leader, a talented leadership team, some say it revolves around clarity of vision and making sure the right people are in the right places. The list goes on and on as everyone seeks to find the one thing that will be the tipping point for their organization. If there is one thing I know, it is very rare to find the one thing that changes everything.
       Deep down however, when we look into our own personal and private lives there is one thing that transforms our attitudes, outlook and effort…it is having a partner. A partner is someone who pulls alongside you, shares your burdens, shares your dreams, counts on you and you on them. Partnership is a multiplier and can change everything.
       I've enjoyed many partnerships in my life that have taken me to places I never dreamed. The partnership of a spouse, teacher, mentor or a friend allows for a space for you to be yourself, pursue your dreams, to have truth spoken to you in love and ultimately the ability to multiply your impact and create greatness. It is said that anyone who does something great did not get there alone. This could not be truer for the partnership I join between you and Maclay. All of us enjoy the fruits of other's labor and benefit from the multiplied efforts of dedicated women and men who came before us and many who continue to support us.
       Today Maclay exists to work with parents to nourish and prepare students for life. A future life full of challenges and changes we cannot know. To be great at this purpose requires a highly functioning partnership between all parties involved. This partnership will be our path to creating and maintaining greatness. Ultimately, each and every Maclay student must have someone who pulls alongside her, shares her burdens, knows her dreams and can be counted on to notice when things go right and wrong. Without this fundamental connection, we will not be great. Without parents support and patient communication with teacher-mentors we will not be able to form the balanced support structure around each student to ensure they reach their potential. Isn't this what we want for our children, for our school?
       The first key to partnership is mutual trust based on clarity of purpose and vision. I cannot wait to hear what your hopes and dreams for your children and our school. We will be hosting several "Hopes & Dreams" coffees at the school to give me a chance to hear from our parents--those whose trust and generosity are a core strength of our school. Be on the lookout for these dates and please make time to help me know your hopes and dreams so together we can partner to create greatness for our children and our school.
       I hope to see you on our beautiful campus soon!

    James Milford
    Head of School
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