This week we celebrate with 78 seniors who will graduate this Saturday! While we are celebrating our seniors, it does not mean that we will not continue to work toward building a more equitable community for all. It just means that we are happy to celebrate the hard work this incredible class has accomplished, and the confidence they are ready to close this chapter to begin a new one.
As we turn our full attention toward an in-person Fall opening, we have created a task force that is busy planning and preparing for transitioning back 900+ students into a traditional brick and mortar model. Jim Bonfiglio and Josh Bottomly will coordinate our six Path Forward groups to ensure we honor our "one school' philosophy. We are meeting regularly and often this month, and I am confident we will communicate our Path Forward by the end of June or early July as promised.
The success of our Path Forward relies on us entering into a covenantal relationship. Unlike merely a contract or promise, which is much more transactional, a covenant is relational, and conveys a mutual commitment and shared responsibility to the importance of relationships, safety, and flexibility.
As we consider opening up safely, we know that there are no perfect solutions, and regardless of our plans, some of you may find them too strict while others of you may find them too loose. Our promise to you is that we want to create scenarios that foster relationship building, and, if or when someone shows signs of COVID-19, we can isolate their cohort groups quickly and not have to shut down the entire campus. Having this ability will require flexibility, and while one division may focus more on social distancing, another division's needs may be more concentrated on cohort theory. COVID-19 inherently puts our needs for strong close relationships and pure safety at odds. Our objective is to strike the right balance and be willing to iterate as soon as we recognize imbalances in our weighting.
Further, we know that Chapel and Lunch will be different next year. We are looking into ways to allow the relational time together while also prioritizing safety. One solution under consideration is for some groups of a division to go to St. Edward’s Chapel daily, and others will participate in Chapel in their cohort groups either synchronously or asynchronously, creating a rotation. Similarly, lunch may have a rotation where some cohorts go to Calvert while the rest eat with their cohorts with grab and go style lunches. We may also ultimately need these large spaces as teaching and programmatic spaces; we don't know yet. My point is we are working to find the right mixture of safety, connection, and curriculum in order to educate our students in mind, body, and spirit, a core tenant in our belief system.
Our communications team has helped to create a web platform where you can go anytime to see updates and progress
, and we invite you to go there anytime to see our progress. I will continue to write to you weekly. Some weeks may reveal more in our planning than others. Through all our communications, we want you to feel connected and a part of our vision, and if you have any questions or ideas, we welcome them. We can't ask you to enter into a covenant with us if we are unwilling to listen. Notably, we think you are survey fatigued, so if you have some idea you believe can be helpful, please send it our way. We believe the second survey provided insights that helped establish our three covenantal commitments of relationships, safety, and flexibility.
When we help each other to scale a mountain, a funny thing happens; we too will have climbed the mountain, and together we all reach the top. I believe your support and encouragement next year will help us live out our mission with your children. Together, we will always be Cyclone Strong!
Nathan L. Sheldon
Head of School