August 29, 2013

Welcome Back To School!

First graders happily back in school

Welcome to a brand new school year!  I have so enjoyed the passion and enthusiasm of both our preschool and elementary school students as they have raced back through our school doors. 

Returning students have been excited to re-connect with classmates and see their teachers. A few of our brand new students have stepped with slightly more trepidation.  However, now a few short days into the semester, most are at ease with new friends and new routines. I know they’re loving school! I think I counted a few more parent tears than child tears on opening day.  Moms and Dads, you have nothing to worry about, your kids are in a happy place!

Over the summer, we have made changes on campus that will provide our students with better facilities and improved learning spaces. Chief among these was a re-design of our music room into a Fine Arts space in the elementary building. It will not only provide our new music teacher, Monica Waterhouse, with a larger space in which to incorporate movement and dance into her music lessons, it also provides art teacher Rachel Relin with a permanent teaching space and a schedule to teach all of our pre-K through 5th grade students art class every single week.

Over the summer, our teachers renewed our focus on social-emotional learning as well as continuing to strengthen our academic programs.  Part of Friends’ School’s mission states: “Our students acquire a strong academic foundation while developing creative expression, social responsibility, and respect for diversity and the individual.” I was excited to see how many teachers delved into professional development opportunities with gusto as they continue to improve themselves to meet our goals.
Preschool teacher Jessie Vanden Hogen with one of her
new morning preschool students

Over the next few weeks, and at our Back-To-School nights, I look forward to introducing you to our new teachers and initiatives. I look forward to sharing with you the various steps we are taking to ensure that our students are not only being challenged to grow and learn, but are flourishing with teachers and peers who have created dynamic and safe environments, socially, emotionally and physically.

On the eve of the first day of school, I wrote a letter to our entire staff and faculty expressing my joy and gratitude for all of their hard work and good graces as they geared up for the new school year. In one response I received, from 3rd grade teacher Diane Bramble who has been at Friends’ all but one of our twenty-six years, she wrote about what she feels our whole staff is feeling: “the goodwill, grace, compassion, and generosity in our revitalized community”.

All of our staff here at Friends’ are looking forward to a fabulous school year.  We are thrilled and grateful that you are on the journey with us.  Welcome back to school!