an array of school supplies in green and yellow hues

Bus drivers are back on their routes; teachers are leading classrooms bursting with energy; and parents and guardians are helping young people make the annual summer-to-school transition.

As kids return to school eager to see old friends and meet new ones and anxious in anticipation of all that’s new, we take a pause to consider the invisible “supplies” that students need to succeed. These supplies are stocked and shared at schools that are both resource-rich and under-resourced, public and private, and rural, urban, and suburban. And like all essential school supplies, they help students achieve academic excellence, learn, and grow.

So, as we support everyone in getting back to school, we give a nod to schools and teachers, principals and parents and all who support this variety of school supplies, not to be found on shelves, but to be found within. They are part of a groundswell of people who are helping to form a learning culture that is as important as the curriculum it supports.

We love this list of “supplies” from Dr. Lisa Miller and the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University.

10 Characteristics of a Spiritually Supportive School

  1. Respect and Love | Young people feel respected, understood, and loved.
  2. Meaning and Purpose | They develop a deep sense of self-worth, belonging, meaning and purpose.
  3. Wonder | Their sense of wonder, a love of knowledge, and a reverence for the mystery of being is nurtured.
  4. Inner Life and Self-Care | They learn to care for their heart, their deep inner core, as well as their body and mind.
  5. Moral Development | They learn the meaning of freedom, self-discipline, and moral responsibility.
  6. Caring Relationships | Their capacity to form and sustain caring relationships is cultivated.
  7. Democracy and Social Justice | They study and put into practice democratic ideals and principles of social justice.
  8. Compassion and Service | They honor generosity of spirit, compassion, and service to the community.
  9. Connection to Nature | They respect and care for the greater community of life and the environment.
  10. Joy/Whole Being | They experience the joy that creativity and the blooming of one’s whole being can bring.

Learn more about Dr. Miller, the science of spirituality, and Fetzer-supported research behind “11 Drivers of Awakened School Culture: How Schools Can Build a Spiritually Supportive School Culture.”

We wish you all an excellent school year!