Reflect, Grow & Celebrate

Hello, Dear MSA Communities,

I messed up!

Some of you received and opened your MSA Newsletter for this week only to be greeted with last week’s email. That was me. I was juggling a few different tasks and inadvertently hit “Send” before even starting this week’s message. Apologies to those 47 people who opened the email in the first minute (!) while I was panicking and trying to find the button to reverse time. Thank goodness for Wellness Week workshops that reminded me of my stress reducing strategies. And thank you for opening the correct version and reading this message.

Messing up happens a lot in high school (and, obviously, in life). Though I have made a practice of sharing the positive stories of our artsy communities each week, much of my time and work as MSA Director and Novato High School assistant principal is spent living the reality of learning as we go, messing up, repairing relationships and systems that need fixing and reexamining, and doing my best to help us become better versions of ourselves.

Lately our MSA adults have been talking a lot about humility, growing together in community, and naming areas of growth in our students and in ourselves. We often receive incredibly positive feedback and we LOVE hearing of heart-warming stories from you and from alumni. But sometimes we hear of areas where we have gaps or where we may have inadvertently messed up.

In the next few weeks, I will be visiting MSA classrooms and leading discussions with students reflecting on highs and lows from the year. My intention is to balance a conversation that celebrates our many accomplishments and names and acknowledges ways we still need to grow. I will share feedback I’ve been hearing from students about micro-aggressions and the ways we may hurt people we care about with “everyday slights, indignities, put-downs and insults that members of marginalized groups experience in their day-to-day interactions with individuals who are often unaware that they have engaged in an offensive or demeaning way.” I hope folks in our community will read and talk about this concept too—with each other and with our young people. (For a comprehensive and helpful article, start with this New York Times article quoted above and linked here.)

Though we’re all a little tired and eager to spend our time celebrating end of year accomplishments, I hope we can also seize the end of this school year as a time of reflection and growth. Growing together is awesome and beautiful work, too.

With love in the all the mess,
Michelle Cortez
MSA Director/NHS Assistant Principal

P.S. Mark your calendar for our Thursday, June 2 combined MSA Town Hall #4 and MSA Senior Awards Night. We’ll reflect together, celebrate our awesome seniors, and preview what’s in store for our 20th Anniversary next year.  We’ll be in person in the C4A – current families, don’t miss it!


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