While this school year has been the most unique and challenging that I have experienced in my career as an educator, I am thrilled to note that, as we bring our 2020-21 school year to a close, this last week in the Middle School feels wonderfully almost normal. Students are enjoying the typical year-end bonding activities from chalk drawing to rock climbing, sharing remembrances in yearbooks, turning in last-minute assignments, and filling the building with the energy and enthusiasm of anticipation of summer break, relaxation, and travel.
If it were not for the facemasks and reminders to socially distance, it would be hard to believe how much has transpired over the past nine months. From the isolation of working at home to the hybrid configuration of blue and gold cohorts (with virtual and on-campus classes) to all three grade levels back on campus, this has been a year of adaptation and adjustment.
I am hopeful when, as adults, our students look back to this time in their Middle School years that the disruption they experienced will be just one memory in a rich and varied assortment of memories of their educational journey and that the skills they acquired and applied during this time will be life-long: flexibility, patience, resiliency, collaboration, and the ability to deal with uncertainty.
As this is my last blog before I head on to my own journey of a life outside of school walls, I want to express my deepest gratitude to our students, parents, and faculty for coming together during this time of crisis to truly embody the tenants of our mission of a learning community committed to discovery innovation, collaboration, and excellence. Our mission has always driven us forward; for the past 17 months, it has successfully informed our response to a global pandemic.
Thank you, students, for putting your best selves forward– you prevailed through Zoom fatigue.
Thank you, faculty, for your hours of preparation and delivery of creative, challenging, and student-centered learning opportunities.
Thank you, parents, for your support and flexibility with ongoing changes from carpool patterns to health checks to schedule changes.
And thank you, colleagues, in other CA divisions, for your amazing logistical support, including furniture moves, COVID signage, dining flow patterns, lunch supervision, and answering a million health questions.
This year has been one HUGE learning community team project. We are stronger for this effort and have learned so much. To borrow this week’s quote on the sixth-grade hall bulletin board: “Well done, Chargers!”
Transitions mark the end-of-the-year, and we send congratulations to our eighth graders on their move to Upper School and bid fond adieux to our departing Middle School faculty members, Matthew Ripley-Moffit, Leslie Williams, Beth Popp, Brennan Liming, and Laura Price. With optimism for a return to school in August with fewer restrictions and less fear and uncertainty, I wish everyone a lovely summer of relaxation, time with loved ones, and good health!