Community Message from Ms. Coombs (click here to read more)
Friday, March 27, 2020,
Dear School Community,
This Spring Break has challenged us with isolation and the fear of the unknown. The travel and activities that we typically enjoy during a school break were not possible and instead were replaced with disappointment and the fear of what the pandemic would mean to us individually, as families and as a community.
As I personally digest all that is going on in our world today, it is important to acknowledge that this is unfamiliar territory for all of us; but what isn’t unfamiliar is how strong we are as a community. In our short history, we have experienced challenges as a community and clearly embodied strength, resilience and courage together as, for example, when Ms. McKeon passed away. I know that we will do so again. If my father were alive today, he would remind me that the sun always comes out after it rains and that there is always a rainbow in the clouds. He would tell me to use my “choice muscle” and choose hope over despair. I ask you to do the same.
In various dialogues shared with other Heads of School over the course of the past two weeks, a colleague asked her community to reframe their thinking and, instead of social distancing, to think of it as “physical distancing.” Therefore, we will not physically gather together on Monday, March 30th and the days that follow, as scheduled on our school calendar, but the bonds that join us together as a community will give us the courage to navigate this time with hope.
You have by now had the opportunity to review the email sent earlier this week by Ms. DiBlasi outlining what Distance Learning will look like at the Academy. I ask you to be patient as we live out the implementation of this plan. I remind you that this is new to all of us and quite honestly finds us in a place of vulnerability as we orient ourselves to a new mode of instruction and best practices in a matter of two weeks. Our faculty have spent much of Spring Break learning new ways to teach and have demonstrated remarkable flexibility, patience, creativity and courage. I implore you to do the same as we embark on this unfamiliar journey together. I remind you that every new learning situation is hard before it is easy. We don’t expect that any of us will immediately feel comfortable with the plan as laid out and in fact we are certain that we will make changes along the way.
Once we have ironed out the logistics and are comfortable with how the schedule is working, we will be adding weekly virtual “coffee hour” times for parents, pizza parties for our students, movie nights, activities to do after school as a family, etc. as we continue to celebrate this wonderful community. Having said this, I already miss not standing on the sidewalk to greet you and your children in the morning. I miss the sound of the children. I miss their stories, their questions and their hugs. I miss walking into classrooms and marveling at the engagement of our teachers and students and I miss not being together at morning assembly. As I type this I once again hear my father’s voice reminding me that I am focusing on my “subtraction facts” and need to focus on “addition facts.” So being a good daughter I share with you my addition facts: I am grateful that our school community is healthy. I am grateful that our students have the love and support of their parents as they experience the reality that sometimes life is hard. I am grateful for teachers who genuinely care about the well-being of their students. I am grateful for the multitude of resources provided to us from companies to support our teaching. I am grateful for the healthcare providers who are risking their lives everyday and for their families who selflessly share them with us. Last but certainly not least, I am grateful to be a member of this school family.
I truly believe that despite all the suffering that our world is currently experiencing we will come out of this more resilient and more kind. You have my daily thoughts and prayers.
With much care,
Angela M. Coombs
Head of School