25 February 2021
Coming Up
Annual Parent Meeting
Join us online TODAY for our Annual Parent Meeting from 7:00 - 8:00 pm. Please click here to register.

We can't wait to see you there!
COVID-19 Update
Visit the COVID-19 update section of our website for all COVID-19 information.
Beyond the Bell
Bridge the Gap Summer Camp
Registration for Bridge the Gap Summer Camp 2021 is now open!

View program offerings here.
Upcoming Activity Days
Friday, March 12 (conferences). In-school, 8:00 - 3:00. $90

Register via Smart Tuition or email Kaitlin.Walsh@aowl.org.
HEADlines with Brenda
Achieving Success Together

In my last Bridge entry, I spoke about walking through a thought process to invigorate future planning for next year. What is AOWL doing that you love? What is AOWL doing that we could stop? What things would you like AOWL to do differently? Of course, the ease of sharing what I love about AOWL flowed like a river, but reflecting on what to stop or do differently? Well, now...this would take some reflection. 

The more you get to know me, the more you might come to see how much I value reflection. One routine I’ve developed is to walk out of my office and take a seat out by Lisa and Anita. They are so familiar with this routine that, when they see me, they set down their work, turn, and wait for our conversation to begin. One recent conversation we had was about planning for the future with so many unknowns. We wondered that day: “How can someone be both optimistic but worried, energized but exhausted, anchored but innovative?” These mindsets are in tension with one another, and yet they all feel true. I want stability and to limit challenges at the same time that I want progress, improvement, and inspirational ideas.  

As I connected with other Heads of School from around the country in a National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) workshop, we found ourselves facing similar challenges regarding how to best meet the needs of our students through a pandemic. We also found ourselves wondering how to maneuver future planning that, once again, needs to be pliable to current world events. Our conclusions were unanimous. We all agreed our focus needs to remain on what is best for our communities’ physical and mental health. Initiatives can continue, but they need to be anchored and cohesive. An NAIS article put it well: “To focus on changes, effective change leadership has to emphasize continuity—how what is central to 'who we are’ as an organization will be preserved, despite the uncertainty and changes on the horizon.” We must keep AOWL grounded, dependable, and most importantly connected with each other. 

Now, returning to my initial questions: What do I feel we should stop? What do I feel we should change? We should stop fighting our contradictory feelings and know that these feelings are both normal and shared. We should embrace change, knowing that it is a natural part of life and is a central feature in any innovative educational approach. We are living in a moment in time where we spend so much effort coping with change. Now is the time to reflect on our shared experiences and to focus on our togetherness. 
Family Corner
Click the photos to enlarge
With the implementation of Evergreen Contracts, the contract you signed for the current school year ensures continuous enrollment for your child at AOWL. This means that you don’t have to hassle with a contract every year; your student will be automatically enrolled in the next school year unless you notify admissions@aowl.org of withdrawal by March 12th.

For your convenience, we will be placing a $1000 deposit for next year on your SmartTuition account after March 12th.

We are honored to serve all of our AOWL students and families, and we look forward to seeing your family again next year.
Parent Support Group
February 26, 9:00 - 10:00 am. Please RSVP by contacting Sunni.Myers@aowl.org.
PTO Meeting
The next PTO Meeting date is Thursday, March 4 from 4:30 - 5:30 pm.

Check out the Parent Calendar for the link to join. A text will also be sent the day of the meeting with the meeting link.

All AOWL parents and caregivers are welcome!
Coffee & Convo
The next Coffee and Convo date is Friday, March 5 from 9:00 - 10:00 am.

Check out the Parent Calendar for the link to join. A text will also be sent the day of the meeting with the meeting link.

All AOWL parents and caregivers are welcome!
Spirit Week
Spirit Week is March 22nd - March 26th!

Daily themes chosen by student council:

Monday: Spirit Day - wear AOWL gear
Tuesday: Color Day - Each class will be assigned a color
Wednesday: Wacky Wednesday
Thursday: Animal Day
Friday: Pajama Day
Spread the Word the End the Word Day
Wednesday, March 3rd - Wear your Special Olympics gear to promote inclusion!
2020-21 Board-Parent Liaison
PTO Co-chairs
View from the Nest
Staff Highlights!
Carly Kortuem
Director of Strategic Advancement

As Director of Strategic Advancement, Carly leads our school’s advancement strategies and development. She graduated with high honors from the University of Minnesota. Prior to taking on this role, Carly was the Business Manager at AOWL for 4 years, where she managed the school’s finances, tuition, HR and facility operations. Carly comes to AOWL with a background in nonprofit management as the founder of a 501(c)3 nonprofit called Peerly Social: An Autism Network, a buddy program for young adults with ASD.
Paul Gloudemans
Director of Marketing and Admissions

Paul manages marketing and admissions. He received his B.A. in Advertising from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, and his teaching certificate from the University of St. Thomas. He possesses an extensive marketing background, working for Best Buy, LifeTime Fitness, and various advertising agencies. After 12 years in the business world, Paul decided to shift his focus to education and worked for Richfield High School before joining Academy of Whole Learning.
Sunni Myers, MS, LPCC
Mental Health Therapist

She holds a Master of Science degree in child development and family relations from East Carolina University and a Master of Science degree in clinical mental health counseling from the University of Wisconsin -Stout. Sunni also holds a Bachelor of Science degree in human development and family studies from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Prior to joining Academy of Whole Learning, Sunni provided services to address mood disorders, trauma, social skills, co-occurring chemical dependency/mental illness, and school based services. Sunni focuses on cognitive behavioral, systemic and strength-based views.