Working on the Goshen Campus this week was much quieter—and a little lonely!—compared to the week before Thanksgiving. (I literally witnessed paint drying in the hallway outside my office.) The building just makes more sense with students in it. At the same time, this week has seen several families stopping by to pick up a forgotten jacket, math book, Spanish folder, or other supplies needed for remote learning. Several teachers chose to teach from their classrooms, too. One highlight was Judy Riendeau’s snowman sketching perspective lesson in Lower School art. (Imagine looking down from above on a snowman looking up and then sketching that scene! Such an exercise in imagination and point of view!) Admissions activity continues to buzz with parent tours as families hear about the strong commitment to teaching and learning and to community at St. Francis. A parent on an in-person tour asked me what the 2021-22 school year might look like, and I shared with him a version of the same answer that we shared with families back in the spring: your children will be known, cared for, and educated in a manner true to the Mission, Vision, and Values of St. Francis, and the way we “do school” will continue to change and evolve to meet the students’ and families’ needs as we move through the other side of the pandemic.

This week, as we have transitioned into what is the second remote learning session of the school year, I want to thank all of the families in our school community for your trust, your support, and your flexibility in helping your child navigate their new and improved remote learning schedules. In the next two weeks heading into the Semester Break, we’re also planning some fun events like the virtual version of our annual holiday assembly, while teachers are tweaking their lessons to make the best use of students’ time at home, too: Emily Campbell’s JK science students engaged in some serious snow studies earlier this week, and the 8th graders will be exploring some helpful kitchen tips and knowledge with Christine Brinkmann during Wellness in the coming weeks. 

Thank you for trusting us with your young people. We are the St. Francis School community because of your continued support and partnership, and we are here to answer your questions and work alongside you in the coming weeks as we move through this time of remote learning. As we do so, please encourage your students to make use of teachers’ office hours! Office hours for Lower and Middle School teachers occur daily (except Tuesdays) from 2:30 – 3:00 p.m. on all teachers’ Google Meet links (the same link a child would click to join their class with that teacher). Encourage older children to email teachers and advocate for themselves when they have a question or may need some extra help. While the pandemic may have us a little “behind” where we would ideally be in a normal school year’s curriculum, I believe that the other lessons our children are learning about self-advocacy, community, and technology will build resilience, patience, and other indelible values in our children that we can’t currently foresee. At St. Francis, we will continue to know, care for, and educate your children in a manner true to our Mission and Vision, and that the way we “do school” will continue to change and evolve. Please do not hesitate to reach out to any teacher, to Jen or to Zak, to Julie Marks, or to Alexandra or me with any questions or thoughts. Be well!