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Watershed Year

Watershed Year

Over the last 10 days, we have been reading, seeing, and hearing about the protests around the United States after another African American has been killed by police actions that are disturbing. I have been moved by the individuals who have participated in the peaceful and at times,  not peaceful protests.

As parents, we may find it important to talk about these issues with our children, as for me events in 1968 and 1973 were topics my parents spoke to me about and at the same time were part of my elementary,  middle  and high school classroom discussions. 

These days, our children have immediate access to a variety of sources of information. Some of our children may get them directly from utilizing their own electronic devices or they may get them directly from you or from their teachers.  Teachers may weave into discussion the issues of the world into classes, but as we move towards the end of school and the school classes are ending, your family may be looking for more.  I am providing links to a few that come to us from the association of schools we belong to that helps us in a variety of ways.

A former teacher of mine (now in his 70’s) and I were talking this week, and he noted that 2020 could be a “watershed year” similar to 1968 when he was entering college. I must agree that the Pandemic, the recent protests concerning race and inequality, and the consequences of both events has already made this year eventful.

I am wishing all good health and peace as we move towards the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

Possible resources:

 

https://www.gse.upenn.edu/news/talking-children-after-racial-incidents

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/family/in-the-news/talking-about-race/

https://www.embracerace.org/resources/teaching-and-talking-to-kids

 

Nature

As May ends, and we have celebrated Memorial Day, I have been impressed about how the natural world- flowers, trees, and plants have given us all calm. While many of us have increased our daily walks, I hope that you, like me, a lover of nature to begin with, have recognized the beauty in nature. Have you been enjoying it? Have your children been outside? May was glorious and June will be beautiful. Please enjoy.

Self

Self-Kindness is something that I have been trying to do more of the last several weeks. I think it is very important to be mentally healthy right now. Are you practicing self- acceptance, and self-kindness now? I find myself trying to get better on many things, and I am trying not to be rigid in my thinking. I am trying to approach my job, my relationships with others with less self-critical thinking, and realize that focusing on all that I want to do is a goal- but hope to make it a realistic goal. I hope you convey this to your children.

Community

I hope all of the mothers out there had a wonderful Mother's Day. It sure was different in my household as our daughter did not travel to us, so seeing her remotely was the gift to her mother.

dominated the days for most of us. That said, I have pledged to myself to try to move away from the fast-moving digital news.

As we enter May, most of us are hoping for bright and hopeful days. April went by so fast and the anxiety brought on daily by new news flashes A psychiatrist Henry Emmons has been talking about finding calm and is a frequent contributor to podcasts and the news often. He believes it is understandable that we look at the news, but that we need to be careful between paying attention to what is going on at the moment, and what we need to be doing to remain as calm as possible.

At school, we have had many discussions among ourselves(remotely!) about how we can help each other. Everybody has different needs. We have had to make many changes in our daily routines and some members of our community have thrived and others have needed more help from their friends and colleagues.

So how are you doing? We are finding out that people are becoming increasingly flexible and adaptable-- accepting what is going on. Is that your experience? Please let me know.

Appreciation

On Tuesday, we had the formal recognition of Teacher Appreciation Day. First, many thanks to the Parents Association at Craig School (PACS) for the wonderful gifts to our teachers. I have heard from many of them how appreciative they are of the gift.  As I have looked at the targeted teaching, activities, and care of our students that our teachers exhibit every day. 

What I also know is how much all of us are missing our students. For me, I miss the carpool line. I miss the conversations that develop. For example, at this time of year, I miss the positive comments from our parents of students leaving us at the end of the year.  I also miss simply saying hello to all. 

This week is important to all of us. We need to remember all the things that teachers have given to each one of us. Please celebrate with me the gift of education that we have all received.

I welcome you are back from Spring Break. My hope is that all of our families had a chance to be together in a different way than the last few weeks, while we have been coming into your homes with our dynamic teachers and daily moments of joyful learning.My message is simple. We are all in this together. Craig School is your home. Our daily work with your children is what nourishes all of us. We need each other. Be well and be safe.

Our Craig family is working well together. I should say working hard!
This week, I will get more Craig focused than my usual thoughts. We are putting much content on our website right now. If you look to the left of my Wednesday Thoughts, you will see messages that  have come to us from you.

This challenging time reminds me of why community is important. A friend of mine told me over the weekend, that he has never heard the word Empathy being used so often.  I agree.  This is a time to be emphatic.  I am trying to do better myself on this topic.  I also wish to add- Appreciation.

Today, I write about how much I appreciate all of you recognizing the efforts of the Craig Faculty. We asked them to "pivot" to online instruction and a new way of teaching for most of them almost overnight and they have risen to the occasion- and then some.

There are times of a school year when your school shines.  At Craig, I find the winter months one of those times. Despite a shortened ski season because of weather conditions( rain instead of snow) and not being able to go three consecutive weeks because of holiday weekends and other organizations renting the ski area during their holiday time, we are proud of the students we introduced to skiing and snowboarding and the students who improved their skills.  The next area of wonderfulness , that is a word, is our Saturday Basketball Program where our Lower and Middle School students come and play in a low stress format, along with their siblings too.  A true Craig family experience. Finally, just last week, we held our Family Stem Night. This events showcases the talents of our parents, our students and our teachers to make this a truly uplifting event after a long period of weather that does not lead to many smiling faces.

Questions are not easy to answer in each instance. For example, I was asked how a school like Craig what does it does to help so many students. I can answer it with responses such as:, we meet the student where they are and help them improve, have patience with them when learning is hard,  and utilize a variety of teaching techniques that help us reach goals.  Another person may answer the question as follows: find strengths and have our students utilize their strengths to help with their weaknesses;  have many activities so many students can find their area of interest,  work closely with parents to balance out challenges for their youngster and also help them find success often. No single answer says it alas we seek to help the individual.

I am reminded that St. Patrick’s Day is often more like a multi-day celebration. Some communities hold parades and other celebrations a few days before March 17, the official day that we honor Saint Patrick of Ireland.  The Farmer’s Almanac states” Saint Patrick is the patron saint and the national apostle of Ireland. He is credited with successfully spreading Christianity throughout Ireland- hence the Christian celebration of his life and name”.

Why is this holiday enjoyed by so many people, even if they are not Irish? I do not know, but here is what I do know, particularly spending most of my adult life between Baltimore and Portland, Maine.  March is a tough weather month. The green shamrocks we see for St. Patrick’s Day tells us that spring is coming. Second, as a culture, we like traditions and this day helps us understand traditions. Families attend parades, lots of corn beef and cabbage gets consumed.

I have written about rituals in Wednesday Thoughts, and this is a holiday, an annual event and a ritual, that grabs our attention annually. It is hoped that if you have a family tradition that you celebrate it and do not let it fade away.

Speaking of traditions, our Annual STEM Family night is in about a week on March 19. I hope to see you there.

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