Having stated these beliefs, the CEO was challenged by a member of the audience, a teacher who asked what his company did if a batch of blueberries was delivered that did not meet the exacting standards of his company. To which he replied that they would be sent back to the farmer who had delivered them.
The teacher then responded as follows:
“We can never send back our blueberries. We take them big, small, rich, poor, gifted, exceptional, frightened, confident, rude, and brilliant. We take them with ADHD and English as their second language. We take them all! Every one! And that is why it’s not a business. It’s school!”
The name of the CEO was Jamie Volmer. After his experience at the conference he visited hundreds of schools coming to the view that they should not be run as businesses. What about you?
I do not want to make any parallels between BISB and the contents of this story. It is a simple anecdote that I freely share to try and illustrate the challenges my colleagues (the teachers of your children), face every day of the year. We too have our blueberries, and we do our utmost to help them ripen and to reach their full potential before that sad day when they will leave us. It is what we do. It’s a school!
A final word, and please excuse my poetic license by stretching the blueberry analogy a little bit. We have two groups of blueberries preparing for the next challenge on their long educational journey, one group in Year 11 and the other in Year 13. Year 11 are preparing for their final IGCSE examinations in May/June, and Year 13 are preparing for the final IB examinations in May. We have high hopes for both groups and I hope that they know that the whole school is behind them and supporting them all the way. It is what we do. We are BISB!
(Ref: Valerie Strauss, “Why schools aren’t businesses: The blueberry story”, (2013), The Washington Post)