Dear ASFM community,
577 days, this is the first week we’ve had all of our students on campus. Suddenly we recognize what school looks and feels like, and these impressions are comforting and make us optimistic about the future. It’s good to be back. This morning Lydia from third grade visited me. She gave me Skittles and thanked me for opening school. I explained to her that I didn’t open school by myself, rather many hundreds of students, parents, teachers and staff dedicated themselves to bringing back in-person learning; I just lucked into being the spokesperson.
Lydia reminded me of a few things that I think we all agree on. Learning online is not the answer to how we design the future of education. It is certainly part of the equation for increasing the menu of choice for students, but it does not replace the classroom. Clearly, Lydia enjoys her classmates and teachers and is devoted to her school. She’s very articulate. She reminds us that learning is social. In order to learn new content students need an opportunity to process and use it with each other. Lydia gave me Skittles...learning requires fun and a sense of humor and that happens best in a community. Finally, after 577 days of helping your children learn online, is there any doubt that teachers matter? Let’s agree, and I know Lydia does, that teachers matter.
This week we launched the Design Team for our Strategic Planning Process (SPP). The Design Team, composed of students, teachers, alumni, parents, and administrators will be reaching out to the ASFM community to gather your input on the future of the school. What’s important to you? What works well, and what could be better? What are your needs right now? These and other questions are ones that we would like you to answer. If you have not drawn your Profile of a Graduate, you can still submit one. Here’s a link to the SPP timeline. Please get involved--your voice matters.
On the COVID front, we returned to testing all students and staff, and again you proved your commitment to sharing responsibility for staying healthy. We recorded a low transmission rate but observed a slight increase in positive cases. We thank you for your ongoing efforts. Yet we must remain vigilant. As everything in Nuevo Leon opens, we must continue to be cautious and use recommended mitigation measures in order to keep school running. The rest of the world has seen 3rd and 4th waves of COVID. Let’s take action by being disciplined about the details so we can avoid COVID surge in our community. We will continue testing everybody in order to maintain a safe environment.
The opening of school brought back laughter, band practice (I can hear “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” on the trumpet as I write this), ballet, sports practices, and many other things we love; the opening of school also brought back traffic. We will be changing the way traffic flows through school in order to alleviate congestion. The local authorities yesterday informed us that they would begin handing out traffic fines for cutting the line or not respecting the cones they have put in place, so we all need to plan better. Give yourself more time. Select some interesting podcasts, listen to music (try this tune about compromise), talk to your family, but please relax and wait your turn to get into school. Traffic is here to stay so let’s adapt by making the time in the car useful.
As you all know, I’m from Boston, so I can’t help but end this letter by trying to harness Eagle Spirit (see video) to help my beloved Red Sox win tonight in their playoff game. Have a great weekend and I look forward to seeing you all on Monday!