An Independent School • Grades 5-12
Cultural ownership and collective opportunity

by Kai Bynum, head of school

In the course of this amazing fall at Lakeside, I’ve enjoyed meeting so many members of our school community. One of my favorite aspects of this season has been spending time with students throughout the day. I have been meeting with groups of kids from the Upper School in the Schoolhouse (formerly the Head’s house), and it’s been great to hear their experiences and to share stories. Many of the Upper School students are considering important questions like how we can foster an inclusive environment for everyone, how we can continue to boost school spirit, how we can promote kindness and empathy, how we can better manage their daily and nightly schedules, and how they can connect more with the middle schoolers. Our conversations have covered pretty much every aspect of school life, and I’ve done my best to digest all their feedback. 

In the same spirit, I spend every Thursday at the Middle School campus so I can get immersed in their experiences as well. Our discussions have been full of energy. I’m never quite sure where their young minds will take us — from space to sports to food and their friends, the positive vibes that emanate from the Middle School are palpable when they recount their experiences during our lunch meetings.

A common factor in both the Middle and Upper school conversations has been the role all the kids play in continuing to cultivate an inclusive, kind, and supportive culture at Lakeside. In many instances, they take the lead on outlining the steps they can take to ensure this happens; often, their ideas emerge after a discussion of what it actually means to have a healthy culture within the student body. In all the grades, it’s been wonderful to witness students processing the opportunity they have to both envision and realize the community they want to create. They acknowledge that the culture of Lakeside is in their hands; that their individual and collective actions tilted toward the greater good of our school will chart the future path of who we will become. The adults in the community are merely guides. The kids make it happen. I’ve enjoyed being inspired by our kids in these moments, and I can’t wait to see where they will take us.

Kai Bynum is Lakeside’s head of school. You can reach him at Head'sOffice@lakesideschool.org and 206-440-2714.