Where do I begin?
Where do I begin to tell the story of how inspiring a school visit can be?
With the first hello…
Smiles and greetings welcomed Japjeet Kaur, Prem Kaur and myself when we walked into the XP, Doncaster campus on a warm Monday morning. We were guided to our meeting with Neil Butler, the cheerful, upbeat Principal of the school. Spending the morning with Neil, talking through a thoughtfully prepared presentation on XP Principles was a wonderful start of what was to be one of the most inspiring school visits I have ever experienced.
The special things…
If I were to sum up what XP meant to me, I would say it was all about Community, Culture and Caring. And all this evident to us, the visitors, within the first few hours spent on their campus. XP’s principles and practices have been honed since they began in 2014 to ensure that all community members, be it staff, teachers, students and administrators all speak the same language and live the same culture. No matter where we looked, whom we spoke to, what we observed (in the classroom and outside) left us with the overwhelming sense that XP had worked out how their ideas and beliefs permeated everything they say and do.
During our five day visit, we participated in Crew meetings, with the students and teachers. Crew, a teamwork approach to school culture, is the foundation of everything that XP does. We witnessed a community that appreciated and apologized to each; who took stands for what they believed in; and who reflected on their principles and work habits; TOGETHER. Happy, confident students showcased their portfolios to us and took pride in their school’s ethos and values. These school ambassadors were a testament of what is working well in XP.
Bringing it back….
I’m back with lots of ideas and bags full of motivation to help craft a programme that will honour relationships and community while providing children with an academically challenging curriculum taught in creative ways. We will soon begin planning interdisciplinary expeditions, reaching out within and near Amritsar city, to encourage deep and purposeful learning experiences for our students.
And our hope is that when you walk into the MPA campus, our Community, our Culture and our Caring will inspire you just as we were inspired by our visit to XP.