One of the greatests gifts we can provide our teachers and students is the foundation of a collaborative and trusting culture. Creativity, which sharpens critical thinking, flourishes within individuals who feel safe to take risks. A culture of creativity is one in which ideas flow freely, individuals build off of one another and collaboratively construct unique solutions to perplex problems. Creativity sets the stage for innovative thinking, and our world needs innovators. When we honor creativity, voice is ignited and amplified, and it allows originality to run a deeper course amidst curiosity and new possibilities. Creativity is looking at all angles from a fresh perspective. It means that we experiment, make mistakes, try again, reflect and continue to persevere. As we enter the new year, consider how you will promote creativity within your staff and students to encourage ingenuity. Provide the gift of a culture where risk taking is the norm, and creativity is celebrated. (Elisabeth Bostwick)

Time. Our students bound by time constraints and ringing bells have few if any outlets for creative expression. What would happen if we allocated the gift of time to our students to explore, discover, to pursue their passions, and to create? In subtle and not so subtle ways, we are told that there is no time for art, music, drama, dance, and other creative arts. Yet, these are the very activities that invigorate the imagination and drive the human spirit. The Arts, in all forms, empower learners to be intellectually curious, take risks, and to innovate. I’d like to challenge you and promise you something you innately know to be true. I challenge you to focus on the strengths, talents, and abilities of your students by giving them time to create and seek their passions. If you do, I promise you that you will see their potential and the gifts that they have to offer the world. And it will empower you with a greater purpose, meaning and motivation for teaching the whole child. (Sandy King)

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