In a COVID-19 world where we crave more than ever a sense of progress and connection, I find myself relishing in every little win and every human interaction, no matter how small. I’ve learned that this is especially true in my leadership role at Green Acres, as I am propelled by my desire to forge connections with and among this wonderful community—and to forge us ahead.
So when the long-awaited tents finally arrived last week, we rejoiced as a staff. And when I had a moment to engage in casual hallway conversations (masked and socially distanced, of course) with staff who are working from campus, I beamed under my mask. My ongoing conversations with families about how their children are doing at Green Acres remain a pleasure and a privilege. These connections make the big work meaningful and add context at a time when making sense of what we face is at times elusive.
My hope is that spirit week will help bring us together as only community activities like crazy hair day can do. I certainly look forward to some of my firsts, like the book festival, tonight’s speaker, Minh Lê, and the upcoming winter concert.
December brings several certainties: chilly weather, bare trees, and budget discussions. During this season, we weigh post-COVID campus needs, explore ways to strengthen our financial position, and envision what the enrollment picture will be next fall. While having families come back year after year is our best way of maintaining healthy enrollment, recruitment also plays a vital role. I am pleased to report that this season’s virtual admission events have been well received. Our parent and student ambassadors are taking center stage in sharing their authentic experiences while responding to questions from prospective community members. With their honest, heartfelt stories and examples of why they value a Green Acres education, our parents are our best marketers for Green Acres. We continue to invest in ways to keep our current families feeling engaged and satisfied, as well as in ways to broaden our reach and better target our marketing efforts. Your feedback and ideas are always most welcome.
Speaking of feedback, next week we’ll be sending a survey your way. We’re looking to learn more about your child(ren)’s experience so far this year, hear your thoughts about returning to campus in the new year, and seek your recommendations about ways in which we can better serve the needs of your family. I recognize that there are many perspectives and that not all are shared or expressed broadly. With that in mind, please participate in our survey so that your views may be considered as we work on plans for re-entry after winter break.
Additionally, I have been and will be calling families individually to hear how you are doing. I would welcome a call if I haven’t spoken with you by this Friday.
The next Town Hall, the day before our board meeting, is Wednesday, December 16 from 7-8 PM. Most of our Town Halls have been at lunch time so that folks can take a break and chat over lunch, yet we recognize that for some families, evening options is preferable. We most likely will not have a decision about re-entry by then, it is an opportunity to check in and see what is on folks’ minds.
The next three weeks will demand a lot from us as we weigh where we are (as a County and school) and where we anticipate we are headed. Our work ahead is to continue to improve upon the dual-platform experience, since we know that there will be students who must remain learning from home until there is a vaccine available. We also must continue to think outside of the box and the classroom to consider winter weather and the need for ample time outdoors, so that students may be on campus for longer periods of time. We have divided into three staff groups to assess our infrastructure, the program/schedule, and student/staff health and safety topics. As always, we benefit from the wisdom of specialists in our parent community and network.
As I speak with heads of schools at AISGW and AIMS-DC, we are all undergoing similar processes to arrive at decisions that best suit our resources and community needs. My hope is that the greater communities in which we live will do the right thing to minimize the spread and not take risks that eventually reach those of us who are careful and follow the protocols to keep our families safe.
Wishing you a healthy, peaceful week full of Green Acres spirit!
Rebecca Geary (she/they)
Head of School