We are finishing our first week of school back on campus. I won’t lie. I was not sure it would actually happen. We’ve all been on an emotional roller coaster, planning and over-planning and then adjusting our plans (again and again and again). But until the moment when students were in the classrooms, learning in person with their teachers, I wasn’t sure it would actually happen.
And then I cried. Tears of joy and pride. Joyful that we created an atmosphere where our students could feel safe on campus and parents could feel assured that their kids were okay. Proud that our teachers, while ensuring their own safety and the safety of their students, showed incredible flexibility as educators, giving each of our students what they needed educationally and emotionally.
Walking around the campus on our first day, I peeked my head into classrooms. I saw smiling eyes. Students were so happy to be back with their friends (even though they were physically distanced), happy to be in a room with a teacher, and happy to be back at school. I could see the relief that washed over them as they realized the long and isolating spring and summer they had endured, had at least for now, come to an end.
Outside, students were learning at tables in our six outdoor classroom spaces. Students had Bornblum folding chairs in tow to make sure they had something comfortable to sit on, whether it was under one of the tents or on the field. Students ate lunch outside, with some classes picnicking and others spaced apart at our outside lunch tables.
Seeing all of this, what I realize most is that it feels like school, albeit a little different than the typical year. Experiencing this feeling is a very important first step in the emotional journey we are taking with our students and their families. We are in uncharted waters, but with flexibility, and a focus on the social and emotional sides of learning, we will help each other, and all of our students, through this transition.
Our mantra for the year is: Be Flexible. Be Patient. Be Bornblum.
This week I would add, Be Proud. Because we are. And Be Thankful. Because each of us, no matter what our relationship to Bornblum, can be thankful that we have this wonderful school as a part of our Jewish community.
Daniel R. Weiss
Head of School