As an instructional leader, I believe today’s schools require more than in the past. Schools must be progressive and forward-thinking, preparing students for careers and jobs that may not currently exist. Schools must also be a place where creative risk-taking, self-reflection, individuality and diversity are valued and appreciated. Successful schools also require a focus on the development of the whole child, ensuring that every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. A whole child approach to education develops and prepares students for the challenges and opportunities by addressing students’ comprehensive needs through the shared responsibility of students, families, schools, and communities. A whole child approach sets the standard for comprehensive, sustainable school improvement and provides for long-term student success.
The National Association of Independent Schools identifies 8 characteristics of schools who are successfully delivering a 21st century education:
1. Are academically demanding.
2. Have infused technologies and a global perspective.
3. Have vibrant arts program.
4. Have transformational leadership that embraces change.
5. Employ adults who are actively engaged.
6. Have classrooms that extend beyond school walls.
7. Promote participation, innovation, and a growth mindset.
8. Use project-based learning.
As we continue to develop and strengthen all aspects of this list, this list easily captures the essence of our amazing school. As we prepare our Griffins to become college, career and life ready, the educators at Sterling will continue to create and support an environment that encourages students to reach their fullest potential. We seek to engage each student by providing challenging, authentic opportunities that require the use of higher order thinking, inquiry, and creativity.
And while it’s easy for schools to get caught up in data and quantifiable progress, the educators at Sterling acknowledge that our work must always begin and end with meaningful relationships. Relationships are not only the foundation of a personalized learning experience, they are the heartbeat of our school and community.
As we seek to #BuildABetterGriffin, we will continue to strengthen our school’s two unique programs. We are fortunate to have such an enthusiastic and dynamic school culture. Thank you, in advance, for your support and involvement. I am incredibly honored to serve as your child’s principal.
If I can ever be of assistance to you or our school community, please do not hesitate to contact me by email, phone, or in person.
Josh Patterson, PhD
With 17 years of professional experience, Josh Patterson, Ph.D., is the proud principal of Sterling School of Greenville County Schools. Dr. Patterson, a native of the Upstate, is a graduate of Furman University (B.A., M.A.) and the University of South Carolina (Ed.S., Ph.D.). He is an adjunct professor at Anderson University, teaching classes in school leadership, educational research, and innovative instructional practices. Previously, he served as principal of Oakland Elementary in Spartanburg School District Two. He also serves as past-president of South Carolina ASCD, an affiliate of the international educational organization. He was selected as an ASCD Emerging Leader (Class of 2014) and is a graduate of the Diversity Leaders Initiative at Furman’s Riley Institute (Class XX, 2015). A regular blogger and presenter, Dr. Patterson is a strong advocate for evidence-based practices that support the development of the whole child. He and his wife, Natalie, have four children and are members at Grace Church.