It’s a hopeful time to write. Students in the Lower School have returned to campus and we have welcomed Upper School day students to participate in on-campus co-curricular activities. As I watched teachers and students arrive, I observed genuine delight at being back together mixed with the small moments of recognition that things are different.
Of the many questions we have been wrestling with since March, one fundamental question has emerged: How do we retain the warmth and welcome our community cherishes in a physically distanced world? The answer is a resounding “all hands on deck” approach being made by everyone in our community. The careful planning and rapid adjustments made by faculty, staff, and parents to support students is exhilarating and inspiring. Looking out from the Hacienda balcony, I see a campus transformed with wash stations, dedicated walking paths, open doors and windows, carefully designed outdoor spaces for play, and most importantly, dedicated, caring teachers teaching in classrooms.
Meeting our educational goals has required teachers to be extraordinarily creative and to work even harder to prepare classes for students attending in person and for those learning from a distance. Hours upon hours have been spent deliberating how we balance our commitment to our mission with our efforts to meet the needs of our students and our community during a pandemic. The many meetings to develop plans for every aspect of life on campus that administrators, faculty, staff, trustees, and volunteer advisors have attended have provided an opportunity to consider who we are and what we stand for.
The view from the Hacienda is filled with hope and renewed energy. Once again, I am reminded of the words of Sister Carlotta O’Donnell, Head of School from 1965-2002:
“In the spirit of those pioneering Sisters who came here in 1850 – and again in 1950 – in great faith and courage, we must chart our course in times that are as mysterious to us as their times were to them. We, too, are adventures in the universe. What we have in common with them is our faith, our hope, and our love and purpose of education.”