Thank you so much to everyone who participated in this week's "meet and greet" Zoom gatherings. It was yet another testament to the warm, inclusive, and inviting nature of this tight-knit community. I've been made to feel very welcomed by all during my first weeks on the job, so thank you!
I particularly enjoyed seeing some of your children on the Zoom "Brady Bunch" (I'm dating myself..) screen and being able to begin to connect faces and names. It also was inspiring to hear your stories about Lansdowne Friends School. Parents on the calls talked about the way in which each child is known deeply as both a student and an individual person. Others described the engaging, progressive teaching practices where kids are encouraged to pursue their passions and to nourish their inner curiosity. A few parents commented on the importance of outdoor time at LFS, the key role that mixed grade groupings play in a child's social and academic development, and/or the way the school carefully balances being both "relaxed" and "purposeful." One parent went so far as to describe LFS as a "slice of heaven." Another described the community as "an extension of their family." This is music to my ears and to those of all the teachers and staff members!
Of course our conversations also turned at points to the plans for the fall, including not only the health and safety measures that we are implementing (see last week's letter), but also the ways that we can best prepare ourselves and our children for the changes to come. Whether we are teaching on campus or ultimately teaching from a distance, the school year will look different, and we will all be in a position to adapt as best we can. We talked about the impact that all of this change and uncertainty has had on our teachers, on our families, and on the kids, as well as the ways in which we will all have to work together to keep our community as safe as possible. We envision an orientation for the children as well as for parents/guardians, prior to the school year, to help address these critical issues. Stay tuned for more information about that.
Following these "meet and greet" gatherings, I found myself thinking: "Where else would I rather be in facing the challenge of this pandemic?" I answered myself with a resounding "nowhere." It's not that we have all the answers or some secret that other schools haven't yet discovered. However, beyond having a small overall student body with both the campus and flexibility to keep students socially distanced in small cohorts, I learned even more this week that we have a school community that is supportive, nurturing, and willing and able to adapt to help us get through this together.
If you didn't have a chance to participate in this week's sessions, please also feel free to reach out to me (email@example.com), as I'd be happy to talk with your family individually. I'm also planning to host regular parent coffees throughout the school year, whether in person or via Zoom. It's important and inherently joyful to me to get to know each of you and your children well and as quickly as possible.