Robinson Elementary School

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Message From the Principal

I have been thinking recently about just how lucky I am to be spending these three months with all of you in the Robinson community (3/29 will be my last day).  This is such a positive, optimistic environment.  How many people come to work every day to a place like this, where virtually everything is possible? Then I realized that I am seeing the school through my eyes, after 14 years of teaching and 23 years as a principal.  For most parents here, this is all you know.  I want to do what I can to ensure that you do not take this school experience for granted.
I am “supervising” a vibrant group of professional teachers and all of the support staff who make their work possible.  Everyone is so committed to Robinson and the belief that this is place is special.  As a result, it is indeed special.  The children come to school believing that they will succeed, both in school and in life.  The staff knows that they have the opportunity to stretch themselves as teachers and their students will stretch right along with them.  Parents here have high expectations for their children and for all of us.  That is not a problem, it is an asset to be treasured.  Your talents, abilities, and energy create literally life-changing opportunities.  Because of your children’s age, the small size of this school community, and the tremendous variety of memorable, quality experiences that are provided to every family, you will look back at your Robinson years as perhaps the best time in your family’s lives.  Certainly, there are many wonderful and surprising times ahead, but these years will be hard to match.
This is not to say that everything here is perfect.  Nothing is (with the possible exception of a Dodgers World Series win before I die or lose cable service), nor should we expect it to be.  Things happen, issues arise, mistakes are made, kids act like kids, teachers are human, and stuffing 380 children into a school every day raises a myriad of challenges.  Some predate the bronze age: Getting along with peers, settling conflicts in a civil manner, making sacrifices for the good of the group, developing character, treating everyone with fairness, empathy, and equity, and learning from both success and failure.  Some are new: Social media, school shootings, higher and higher expectations, and the dwindling faith among many in public schools.  Our mission is to keep moving forward, confronting situations as they arise, trying to be smart enough and proactive enough to avoid others entirely, and always keeping our priorities straight – kids’ needs first, everything else tied for second.
Everything is here for you.  You and your kids just need to show up every day with a solid work ethic, curiosity, respect for others, and the willingness to do your part.  You and your children are far luckier than I in finding your way to Robinson.  Perhaps, every now and then, you’ll stop what you’re doing and say to yourself, “Hey, that guy was right!”
Traffic Volunteers - Speaking of imperfections, all of you except one hardy mom neglected to contact me to volunteer for the morning traffic patrol that almost everyone agrees we need.  We are just asking for one morning per week.  I give you permission to skip your morning pilates class or second cup of oily, acidic coffee.  Bring your kid(s) by 8 am, don a safety vest, and prepare for that retirement job at Walmart by simply greeting people as they drop off their children and drive away.  YOU CAN DO THIS!  Believe me, if a child gets hurt during drop-off or someone sideswipes a Tesla, we’ll have volunteers lined up around the block.  Let’s get our act together before anything bad happens.
Parking, Safety, and the Law – Another small and obvious action we need each parent to take in the name of safety is to follow the simplest of parking and traffic rules around the school at drop-off and pick-up.  Please don’t block the drive through.  A dozen cars may be lining up behind you and, truth be told, they may be a bit ticked off.  Please don’t park in the red or in the handicapped spot.  The only reason those spots are so conveniently and temptingly available is that everyone else is respecting the rules.  Please don’t use the little teacher parking lot on 1st to drop off or pick up your kids.  That’s a particularly dangerous area.  I don’t want to sound condescending but, how about if we just agree to obey these simplest of laws in the name of safety and the social contract that binds us together?  Thank you!
Fun Run – It takes a lot to get me out of bed every day, and Saturday is the toughest of all.  But I will be there at the Fun Run to see Robinson families, showing off their grade level colors as you sprint, jog, walk, or stagger the three-mile course.  It is so amazing that the City of Manhattan Beach will literally close off the streets to make this event possible for the 18th year!  Somebody must have known someone important when this tradition started.  You need to join us!  These are the moments when great family memories are created.  We are all so lucky to have this opportunity!
Thank You, PTA! – All of us on the staff are honored to receive the PTA’s gift of a Riptide blue fleece pullover.  We’ll all try to wear them on Friday in order to look and feel like the team we are so proud to be part of.
Courage Assembly – Thank you to Wendy Finster and our activist Student Council for organizing another thoughtful and fun spirit event.  Robinson is known far and wide for our brains and heart.  We need to feature our courage, too.  Parents are invited to join the festivities at 9 am on Friday.
~ Interim Principal, Phil Cott