by David Elliott

Four years ago, I received a gift from one of the founding parents at Queen Anne Elementary (QAE).  Over my 27 years in education I’ve received a number of gifts, typically “going away” gifts as I transitioned from school to school.  These gifts were all appreciated and many had deep meaning. This particular gift was unique, and with some research provided unexpected appreciation and emotion. This is the print hanging on my wall at home…

Photo by David Elliott

Photo by David Elliott

With the gift came a note gently suggesting that, first, I google Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and second, that I would enjoy the print.  What I found upon “googling” this educator both humbled and enriched me. I have lived with this gift for three years or so, and as we struggled, mightily, with both the idea of changing from the name Solve for (x) School to something new, and what that something new might be, it came to me—what was it that resonated about this gift, this man? For the second time I followed instructions and googled Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.

What I found…

·      An visionary educator in the late 1700’s to mid-1800’s

·      An educator committed to a child-centered rather than teacher-centered approach to learning

·      The freedom of the child based on his or her natural development balanced with the self-discipline to function well as an individual and in society

·      Active, rather than passive, participation in the learning experience

·      Authority based on love, not fear

·      And the grand finale—the importance of an all-around education—an education of the head, the heart, and the hands, but which is led by the heart. H3—Head, Heart, Hands.

For me personally—a full circle. When Coe Elementary burned to the ground in January of 2001 and we were in the process of designing a new school, Butch Reifert of Mahlum Architects, proposed a building he named the Open Heart design. This reflected the heart of the school he saw in action—a loving, caring, personalized, student-centered community. For me, that has never changed. The heart of education is student centered, student driven, student led.

Therefore—we will be known as H3 School. Head, Heart, Hands.

We will strive to live up to the name, as we strove to live up to Solve for (x), a school where every student and adult committed to Solve for learning in a way that was meaningful to them - for now, and for the future.

We are excited to share more about H3 School as we move forward.

Thank you Liz!

David Elliott