Coed, independent, PK3-12th grade school in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Fortunate

by Mike Murphy, Headmaster
We are fortunate. Recently I reflected on the challenges faced by families and schools that are not as fortunate as we are today, and it caused me to think back. There was a time when Shorecrest did not have the resources to offer faculty and staff a retirement program. There was a time when Shorecrest did not have the resources to build a new Innovation Center and Community Commons. During those days the administrators, faculty, staff and families who led our school were committed to academic excellence. Academic excellence was where they put their energy and resources. We were fortunate that those Board members, teachers and administrators had vision.
 
During the 2008 Great Recession all schools, regardless of the resources available to them, engaged in lifeboat exercises to determine the best way to serve their Missions and stay in business. Those were interesting meetings at Shorecrest. They were not fun, but they were thought-provoking. During those meetings, we solidified our commitment to the importance of our Mission and ultimately determined to add two important new statements: one related to the importance of diversity, and the other to the development of a commitment to social responsibility. Rather than cut back on our commitment to academics, physical well-being, creative achievement and the development of personal character, we enhanced our focus. As a community, we identified our Five Core Values, developed a Strategic Plan, and with the leadership of Trustee Marc Jacobson and Athletic Director Tripp Welborne, we initiated the campaign to build the Athletic Center. All of that was accomplished without adding any debt to the school. We were fortunate.
 
We are fortunate because there are teachers and administrators in this school today who have had their eye on the future for our children. They were pragmatic enough to ensure our children are provided the fundamentals needed to succeed in traditional educational exams and courses, and at the same time they are innovative enough to provide electives, technology, project based opportunities and other innovations that make school interesting and give our students a jump on those with whom they are competing. The most important lesson one can take from history is the knowledge that failure to prepare for the future ensures you'll be left behind.
 
In our conversations about and exploration of the future of education, artificial intelligence (AI) surfaces often. My colleagues know that I am not a proponent for bleeding edge innovation for children at school because I do not believe we should experiment with the lives and futures of children. I also balk at the cost of bleeding edge innovation. However, we need to keep our eye on these developments and implement them when they become cost effective and proven to enhance the lives of the people they will serve. The potential of technology supporting teachers as we monitor and support the growth of our students is exciting. AI has the potential of supporting the academic, emotional and social health of our children. Will we be ready? I think so because we are fortunate to have educators in our community who are thinking ahead.
 
What word comes to your mind when you consider how far we have come from flooded playgrounds and dog kennels as classrooms, to our current campus and the prospect of AI technology supporting teachers? For me it is “fortunate,” and a reason to join others in supporting our school.
 
Cheers!
 
Mike

Shorecrest Preparatory School

5101 First Street Northeast
St Petersburg, FL 33703
Phone: (727) 522-2111  |  Fax: (727) 527-4191
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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.