Collaboration -->Problem Solving

A Marlborough education is so much more than retrieval and testing; it is an opportunity to be guided by a superior faculty who are pushing and guiding with the same hand.

My weather cognitive dissidence happened again this morning as I bundled up upon hearing the rain outside my window. Starting my walk to school amidst a short-lived lull, I realized that January rain does not necessarily mean bone-chilling cold as it did back East, and I have also come to embrace the usage of "weather" as a way to describe any day in LA that isn't bright and sunny. Lately, I have learned to relish the unmitigated joy of curling up and reading on a rare rainy weekend without worrying that I am missing elusive sunshine, as I know it will return.

During these wonderful respites from 70 degrees and brilliant sunshine, I have been plowing through my ever-growing booklist, ranging from Julian Barnes, an always favorite, to my current choice, which was a gift from generous Marlborough parents, How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS. While the book reads like a detective novel, it is the story of activists, many having been diagnosed with the then terminal disease, who took on the medical and political communities to fight for their lives. Initially, the health scourge was somewhat removed from our lives, as the press was not reporting nor were government officials addressing what was beginning to look like a pandemic, certainly within the gay communities in America and the heterosexual communities in other parts of the world. There are so many takeaway lessons from this tragic and yet ultimately heartening book, but for me the idea of people coming together to become writers, researchers, health advocates, and provocateurs, essentially crowdsourcing a cure, is inspirational.

The same case could be made for education. As a high school student, my teachers and our textbooks were the source of not only knowledge, but also information. Now, with the ubiquity of the latter, it is ever more important for all of us to assess information critically, and to share our considerable resources with one another and the larger community in which we live. A Marlborough education is so much more than retrieval and testing; it is an opportunity to be guided by a superior faculty who are pushing and guiding with the same hand. It is also a time to think creatively and constantly question the efficacy of all that we do. This is about growth. The best advice I ever received from a brilliant mentor was to never fall in love with my ideas and to always evaluate with authentic metrics. I also know that the most important thing I can do is surround myself with the best team and faculty, as truly engaged educators are always leading with a growth mindset.

I watch our students wrestle with incredible problems and I hope these girls will also be equally supportive of one another. Collaboration is a key to problem solving, both on a grand scale and in everyday moments of our lives. Yes, there was tension and ego in the fight against AIDS, but there was also extraordinary bravery and compassion in support of the common good. Our girls are capable of incredible generosity of spirit and genuine love for one another, and their power should be limitless. There is so much we can all do for others and to increase the constancy of our move forward.


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