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Message from the Superintendent

Community Matters


In this edition of 107 there’s a wonderful photo of kids eating, laughing, and talking around a table: “Dando gracias.” Thanksgiving is just around the corner and though we’ve had what feels like a lot of days away from school in November, I’m still ready for another long weekend--aren’t you?

We have a lot to be thankful for (school is open!) and Thanksgiving is a reminder that Community Matters. It’s also a reminder that ensuring community matters requires constant effort.

Still, the history of the beginning of Thanksgiving is a less than cheery story about community. My home of Concord, MA is not too far northwest of Plymouth, MA where the first Thanksgiving dinner took place. In 1620 in Plymouth on the coast of Massachusetts, things were very bleak. The pilgrims arrived in roughly late summer of 1620 and by September 1621 more than half of them were dead. In addition, the local indigenous people were in the process of being decimated by disease brought to the area by early explorers and fur trappers. Things were bad. There certainly was some sort of dinner where both the pilgrims and the local people shared food. Essentially they were clinging to survival together.

Thanksgiving didn’t become a holiday until much later. Again it was against the backdrop of  hardship that the holiday got its next push towards a national event. In 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed the third Thursday in November a national holiday at the same time the nation was being divided in a bitter civil war that split families and led to many thousands of deaths. At the time he challenged all Americans to express their gratitude to God but to also seek penitence for this war that had divided and ravaged this new nation. There’s more to the history of Thanksgiving, but I’m interested in where it came from because it challenges us in another, more important way beyond just giving thanks.

We should not be waiting for Thanksgiving to express gratitude. Rather remembering what we are grateful for and expressing that sentiment helps us navigate with grace the many challenges life presents. Life moves at a frenetic pace delivering a barrage of challenges, setbacks, and opportunities on a daily basis. But I argue here that by remembering to be grateful everyday we will be stronger, healthier, and wiser and therefore better able to persevere through life’s uncertainty. Finally, and most importantly, expressing gratitude will strengthen our community. What are you grateful for?

On a lighter note, I’m looking for your feedback, whether it's to express thanks or offer ideas for improvement. You’ve heard me talk a lot about the Strategic Planning Process, but soon we will close the digital site we’ve used to collect your input. For your final thoughts, go here.  

I’d love to hear your thoughts about these topics:

  1. What do your children say about our afterschool intramural sports program? We will begin to offer real competition with other schools in the second semester, provided COVID behaves. See a recent sports re-cap video.
  2. We’ve just started to rollout Skolable, what are your thoughts? One thing to keep in mind is that if you lose the ID card it will cost $250 pesos to replace. Hold on to it!
  3. We will be rolling Monday in-person learning back into the school for the second semester, how do you feel about that? This will mean we will move from a COVID screening protocol to a monitoring protocol.
  4. What’s the most important topic to you and why?

We have forthcoming events that emphasize a celebration of community: Holiday Drive, Holiday Market, Parent Association Road Rally.

I’ll end by extending a final challenge to you. If our school community really matters to you, and I know it does, then make sure you prioritize it and fully commit to all of its demands. It’s very easy to succumb to the siren call of leaving school early or coming back late from a vacation. School matters. Community matters. Be grateful we have this community and honor it by participating fully in it.