This summer while I was in Florida, I had the opportunity to witness baby turtles leave their nest and start the trek into the sea. Somehow, after close to twenty-five years out in the sea, these turtles know when it’s time to return to that same beach and lay their own eggs for the next generation of turtles. For us, it seems every summer, about this time, we all just know that it's time; time for our great faculty, students, and parents to return to campus.
We have been busy preparing the campus for your return. We are renovating spaces to allow for great learning and development to flourish. Our Primary Division is growing, and we look forward to moving our youngest Cyclones into our temporary facility at the start of the school year. We are confident this facility will serve us well until we secure the funding to build onto our Primary with an intentional and permanent structure.
We also continue to be great stewards of our existing facilities by doing lots of work that may not be noticed when you first walk onto campus. However, these enhancements will ensure that the learning environments in our buildings remain as good today as they were when those buildings were first built, which means some new HVAC systems, new lighting, and new desks and tables throughout various areas of campus have been put in place, all thanks to our amazing Maintenance and Grounds teams.
When school starts, it will also be time for Middle and Upper Division faculty and students to begin living their new schedules that we have spent two years developing through our Strategic Academic Plan. It is exciting to think about these new schedules, and also a little scary. We have asked our teachers to think about ways they can develop your children’s skills and knowledge through engaging, durable, and “sticky” teaching. As Mr. Bottomly said previously, “we have developed these new schedules to strategically prioritize our collective desire to nurture student wellness, promote durable learning, deepen student engagement, enhance community engagement, and develop your students’ skills and knowledge for their present and future success.”
As with any big change, we want to go into this year with confidence. The Middle and Upper Division faculty, students, and administrators have worked hard to ensure that this new schedule is the best schedule we can have. We also know that our teachers will look for new ways to engage students. As with any profession, trying something new comes with a certain amount of risk, and risk means vulnerability, yes, but it should also mean opportunities for reflection, feedback, and improvement. There may be times when it will seem easier just to go back to our schedule from last year, to turn around to what we are comfortable with. However, we know you, your children, and the faculty have the courage to proceed with confidence and to extend to each other grace in these first few months of living into these new schedules. I am proud of our community and the way you have embraced the desire to continue to be the leading academic school in our state.
So yes, it is time to return to school. We are ready to begin another wonderful year of learning, growing, and reinforcing our strong sense of community. It’s a great time to be a Cyclone, and I look forward to seeing each of you very soon!
Nathan L. Sheldon