As I write, the flurries are lovely outside—a marked improvement from the pelting ice pellets earlier in the week. Watching the children in my neighborhood make villages out of snow and head somewhere with their sleds reminds me to appreciate two precious gifts: time and nature. It also gently reminds me not to see inclement weather as an obstacle to well-laid plans, but rather an opportunity to seize the moment, relish the sensory experience, and turn ice into ice cream (figuratively, of course!).
To decide whether to call a snow day, a virtual-learning day, or to open campus, we must rely on both subjective and objective decision making. I remember when I was an administrator and parent who would get the call at dawn, notifying us of a snow day (in the Boston area there were a few), and the relief of knowing I wouldn’t be rushing to clear the car of ice or snow before the short ride to work. There were then, as there are now, colleagues and families who left the house over an hour before the start of school (due to their commute, traffic, work responsibilities, or just plain life needs).
I’m finding the DMV has much more gray area than Boston or Vermont (where I’ve called home over the past 15 years) when it comes to weather, traffic, and travel. One thing I realize is that families and staff need to know as early as possible whether we will be in person or at home. To this end, we will advise a decision about a snow day, at-home, or virtual learning by 5:30 AM on those iffy weather days, and try to do so the evening prior, when feasible.
Our preference is to make the call the night before if it’s clear that the weather or conditions won’t cooperate in the morning. We want to ensure that families and staff have as much time to plan as possible. When Peter and I consult in the morning, it is because we’re holding out hope that there will have been enough time to clear the back roads or that the snow/ice will have blown over. In those cases, we feel it’s worth waiting in the chance we might hold classes in person.
I know that some are frustrated when we miss a day on campus (especially when we are still in Hybrid mode, and a day makes a difference). The question comes up: why can’t we just use Wednesday as a make-up day? There are five grades that miss out (Pre-K and K are on campus every day) when we miss a day, and the domino effect in moving a day poses a tricky conundrum for our schedule, particularly when it comes to specials. Peter and I will revisit this to see if we’ve missed a solution. Thank you for your patience, flexibility, and understanding.
Coming your way in next Monday’s GreenLine is a survey to query how classes, carpool, and the schedule is working for your child(ren) and family. Your participation in our Town Hall is welcome (next date is February 19 at noon)—check next week's GreenLine for details. Another way to find out what’s going on is to come to the Board meeting open session next Thursday, February 11 at 7 PM. The agenda is in this week’s GreenLine.
Staff and administrators worked hard to represent your child(ren) accurately and thoughtfully in the reports you should have been able to access just earlier today. I am impressed by how these reports express the relationship each teacher nurtures with your child(ren) and how well-known your children are by their teachers. That is one of the elements of a Green Acres experience that current and former families share as meaningful, impactful, and memorable.
As lifelong learners, we offer opportunities for our adults to grow as well, from events like this evening’s Anti-Racism 101 and Thursday evening’s talk about parenting during the “COVID Winter” with Dr. Rebecca Resnik, an upcoming speaker (Zoom link in today’s GreenLine). We are a community of learners and invite your ideas of topics or guests from whom our community may benefit from hearing, or topics in which we might engage.
I also welcome ways to further build community virtually, as it has been exceedingly difficult for those of us new to the Green Acres community to connect in those authentic, spontaneous ways that used to happen at pick-up, drop-off, or on weekends when we ran into each other in town (unmasked in the past). As a sociable person, I find this distance to be a challenge I am working to overcome, given the safety parameters of COVID. As a staff, we are setting intentional time aside to socialize every quarter, have fun, and remember what in-person meetings used to be like. If you have ideas of ways that we can creatively engage our community, let me or your GASPA representatives know. As we approach the one-year mark of COVID restrictions and limitations, let’s break out from letting it define our experience and instead re-envision what we need and want as a community. I’m ready if you are!
Enjoy this week! I hope to see many of you out at carpool or at tomorrow’s on-site COVID testing. Finally, wish us luck as staff navigate getting the COVID vaccine—it’s not an easy process, but we are committed to finding a way. Wishing you and yours good health!
Rebecca Geary (she/they)
Head of School