Silver Linings

Gourmet meal prep in Kindergarten

Not much to share this week other than it is good to be back in classrooms. I’ve wandered about the building starting with early childhood on Monday, some time up in design and library yesterday, and some 6th grade drama monologues today along with a stop in the cafeteria during upper school lunch. The vibrations of social engagement and learning were all around me. It’s good to be in school!

We have had a great round of testing and our strategy of taking a week to settle back into practice has served us well, despite my admonitions last night in a special update. It’s a good day when I cancel the Crisis Team and leave your email boxes empty of that afternoon message. We are on the right track and it’s good to be in school!

Activities are constantly developing to keep kids engaged, both in school and with all the supplements we can muster. Minds are churning over what can be added incrementally to make up for those things outside of school that may need to be put on hold for a time out of concern for health and safety. We know this is daunting and feels like a terrible loss of passions and things previously enjoyed. But, complacency cannot rule the day and the wake up call has been delivered. We will do everything we can to keep everyone safe because it’s good to be in school!

The silver linings are starting to emerge as we reflect on our accomplishments – what we have learned, what we have survived, what we have earned — and compare our results to the greater context. Truly a world challenge and all the more difficult when you choose a divergent path and have to work hard to prove what we believe has been achieved. Pride? Not quite yet. The proof will come in looking back, realizing that our insight and forbearance will confirm it was good to be in school!

Recipes! See below! Quiz Night! See below!! Town Hall! Tonight! See you there!

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Goodbye 2020 – Hello 2021

The New Year arrived and I know many felt a bit of relief that we could finally remand a challenging year of crisis to our collective history. This time, it was clearly about bringing something to a close – good riddance – and looking forward to the hope and potential of what we hope is ahead.

The snowfall this morning reminded me of the renewal often inspired by this season. Resting beneath the winter cold is the warm renewal of spring preparing to emerge when the temperatures allow. A wonderful metaphor for hopes and opportunity emerging from the cold harshness of fear and helplessness.

What we seek to embrace now are the silver linings. We have learned much about how we are resilient. If we have anything, we have bounce! Bouncing back is our true talent. We tackled a unique set of challenges and modeled for others how to wrestle it into submission and jump to our feet ready to run. We went to the vacation tired, but resolute. Together, we have committed ourselves to community collaboration and safety to protect each other and stay the course. We need to be proud of what we have learned about ourselves, about each other, and about what we can capably command.

My informed predictions for the year ahead in the moment:

  • Our resilience needs to stay strong. As stated before, we are not at the end and we need to be cautious while being enthusiastic.
  • Vaccinations are on the horizon. We will add this layer of swiss cheese to our protocol in due course. First will be our nurses, second our teachers, third the rest of our staff. After that, eyes will turn to larger populations including parents, and ultimately students. But, we won’t see too many of the general population other than at-risk populations and older adults in the current calendar year. We know that the rollout of vaccine will be challenging and much information being shared now will continue to change with dates pushed back as we understand the complications of distribution.
  • We will follow our protocols (the other layers of cheese) through the remainder of the calendar year. Hygiene will become second nature to us and we’ll find better and better ways of protecting each other from potential spread, building on our success to date. More improvements and inventions will continue to emerge to help us mitigate the crisis more comfortably while vaccinations incrementally work toward protecting the greater majority of us. We will wash hands and wear masks for the foreseeable future, but we’ll see better and better options for doing this.
  • We will work together to take on these challenges in true ASW collaboration and community.

Despite the challenges, we will see many creative options for activities throughout the months ahead. We have earnest work being undertaken by our students and they are engaged and involved in their learning. The messages we received as we went to break were inspiring. To those who sent words of praise for our work, thank you for how you encourage and empower us.

Stay well and cautious in the weeks ahead. You should all be proud of how you have protected yourselves and the community by following our guidelines. The result is not identified infections in 4 days of testing. And, given the messages and questions to ASW Health, I can suggest we are all trying our best to be thoughtful and make all of our decisions in the context of the greater good of the community. For that and your diligence you can be most proud.

Much information below in eNotes. As a foodie myself, very excited about the PTO Cookbook and happy to again recommend the ASW Foodies group on Facebook.

Looking forward to seeing students on Monday! Stay well, stay safe, stay Warriors!

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Not the finish line…

As we come into the holiday and with more good news hitting us on a daily basis, it might be easy to think of our trek towards the Friday before break as crossing the finish line. Given that I value all the efforts of everyone in getting us to this milestone, I want you to soak in this moment and truly celebrate what we have accomplished together. The joy and spirit of the season are all around us in so many beautiful and powerful ways.

When the lights of our tree in front of our entrance were first turned on, I felt that tinge of excitement telling me maybe we could still make this happen – the spirit of the season – enveloping around us with a warm glow and the hug of humanity once again. Then I went to the plays and in both, felt the tears well in the sheer importance of seeing what I feared we would lose.

And then the decorations started appearing, first a tree or two and some twinkling lights. Then the Poinsettia – and cards – oh the joy of Christmas cards when you are in the grasp of despair, how they lift your soul and fill you with the honor of friendship and regard. Now, the season is all around us, including a makeshift fireplace that appeared in our hallway for staff to enjoy as they sipped a cup of cheer.

PTO deserves special recognition for their decorations around the building and their support of grade levels, each in a unique and powerful way that demonstrates the resilience of parental love and support. The cookies, the ornaments, the wishes of hope and inspiration – all a display of affection and profound investment in the future, knowing that our demonstrations now are the seeds of future aspirations. PTO – thank you for helping to make our dreams come true – including mine – I love the Twinkies!!

So, not the finish line. But, with gratitude, I offer you a victory lap and wish you all the best during the coming holidays. We are hopeful that all will stay safe and healthy during this time away from school. Please take a moment to hold those who have been sick from or who were lost to this virus, both in our community and around the world, in your thoughts and prayers.

It is my earnest wish that our fervent wishes will come true in the year ahead. It does feel like we are headed in the right direction and hope has returned. Embrace this and join me as we start the next leg of our journey together again in January. To those few who are departing, we wish you well in your next adventure and I know the whole community will step forward to welcome our new families as they arrive.

Additional note:

Please help us with one final task today! Send forward a message to anyone potentially considering joining the ASW Community and invite them to our Virtual Open House tomorrow. If they are considering relocating to Warsaw and are starting to consider schools, or if they are here in Warsaw and considering a change, this is a great opportunity for all of us to participate in spreading the word about ASW! Tomorrow’s session is particularly showcasing our PYP program. Send them this link to get more information and register to join us:

Link: https://www.aswarsaw.org/admissions/open-house

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