Looking Ahead with Trepidation

May 31, 2020

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Caregivers,

Before I get really Center School-specific, I need to say, I am so disturbed and DISGUSTED by the recent news of George Floyd, the man brutally murdered by police on Monday in Minneapolis. I am also incensed by the story of Amy Cooper who threatened the life of Christian Cooper (no relation) by calling the cops on him when he politely asked her to leash her dog in Central Park. These daily racist attacks against African Americans in our country are appalling and unacceptable. Let us remember it is every white person's job to confront our own racism, as well as to actively challenge systemic racism. Teaching children about race and racism is essential. Let's "be the change..." as Gandhi would say.

Looking Ahead with Trepidation
I am hearing some of our 1st-7th grade parents ask how they will know if their child has learned enough this trimester. More specifically, how will we measure whether they are "ready" for the next grade? Let me put your minds at rest! Every child whose school had to go virtual in the world this spring is in the same boat, essentially. All children will need to be given time to reorient when re-entry to 'live' school occurs. All children will need to regain some footing and do some review on everything from rote skills to social skills. And we will be there to help Center School kids get back on track when it is time. Rest assured next week, all of our K-7 students will move up to the next level or grade. This is not to say we are not expecting to see some gaps in their learning, but we will be prepared. One way we will start this process is to provide students with manageable summer work, that the kids know is coming, which is a combination of review, fluency practice, and open-ended, creative investigations and projects. You can expect to receive the work for your kids in June, around the time you receive their Commendation Certificates. And then in the Fall, no matter what that looks like, teachers will get our students back on track with a whole host of curriculum and strategies to engage each child and support their continued growth.

8th grade parents-- please know that whichever high school you have chosen for your child will be ready to meet them where they are and get them the support they need. Just remember, your child will be a Center School grad and will have a deep well of critical thinking, social intelligence and other key skills to set them in good stead where they land next.

Preschool and K families we know you have thoughts too about what's been lost and what's been gained for your kids by being at home. We are so glad that we have been able to continue our programming for our youngest students, and we have loved getting to know your families and kids in new ways during the school's remote learning trimester.

What impact this crisis has had on families and students of all ages is far from being understood. However, I know the Center School has a long history of being a learning community and lab for teachers, students, and parents alike, where ideas and experiments are the lifeblood and problem-solving is a way of life. I look forward to analyzing the impact of the Covid Crisis, and building on the wisdom and clarity we have gained in these unforeseen circumstances.

Taking Comfort in Celebration and Community
Our graduations usually involve a big tent, and our whole community attending a grand, epic, moving, emotional ceremony on our campus, where each 8th grader gives a speech, and a speech is given to them by a faculty or staff member. There's music, and food, and flowers, and so much love. Alumni, grandparents, board members, the whole school community, really, attends this late spring rite of passage for our launching 8th graders.

Despite the Covid Crisis upon us, we will uphold some of those traditions in ceremonial graduation visits to each graduate next Thursday and Friday. The visits to each house will include the graduate giving a speech, head of school, a faculty/staff speaker, a videographer, and the family of the graduate (all will social distance, all will wear masks except when speaking). We will give each kid a ring, a picnic basket of goodies, a certificate of graduation, and a bouquet. These will be left in a special spot for them to take, no touching or passing of things directly back and forth will occur. And of course, there's the Wednesday evening car parade, which all of you are invited to!

Random Fun to Keep Us Sane

Try designing fashions with your kids! Or keep the activity for yourselves when they go to bed!

Rate the rooms of your favorite newscasters

In solidarity,

Charlie Spencer
Head of School

Charlie Spencer, Head of School
Contact Charlie: Email
Phone: 413-773-1700
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