Year End 20-21

As the year ends...thank you!
Posted on 06/29/2021
Dear LS Students and Families,

It is a little hard to believe that the official last day for LS students and last official day for school year staff have both come and finished! It has been a very full year and the end feels somewhat abrupt – coming to a full stop as opposed to an easing toward the end. Thank you for making so very many adjustments with us this past year – it was an amazing year and you were all amazing as well.

I am grateful that we live where we do. The freedoms we have been able to enjoy as each week passes. There really aren’t that many places in the world where this is true.

Even I who had the most information of any of us these past 15 months was never quite sure what the next week would hold. As hard as I/we tried to plan, we found ourselves forced to pivot without much notice, more than once or twice. I am forever grateful to all of you for feeling safe enough to trust me to ask questions, let me know what you were thinking and to follow my best efforts to lead us down paths that made the most sense.

At the start of this school year I expressed my hope that this year would be more than “just” COVID and that we would make progress on improvement goals we had set out for ourselves the spring before. As I shared with you previously, my last slide deck with the School Committee, we did make a lot of progress. I believe we are well prepared for NEASC this fall; I am excited for the Advisory pilot and for the work done by the Strategic Planning Committee and Racial Climate Task Force.

While the year was more than just about COVID it was in fact, relentlessly, still a lot about COVID! Yet again, there is so much to be grateful for. My deepest gratitude goes to our planning committees, faculty, Tech Team, Buildings and Grounds, Admin, and School Committee for the incredible work effort, cooperation and collaboration. I have never worked with a School Committee (of volunteers) that met so generously on a weekly basis throughout the summer.

Thank you to my assistant Frances Zingale who found ways to ensure I had space to think.

Thank you to all of our teachers, teaching assistants, counselors and specialized program staff for all the important direct teaching and service provided to our students. In this year every student was potentially vulnerable and in need of targeted social and emotional support.

Thank you to all of our support staff – long-timers and new-timers who stepped up in so many ways to help us fill important gaps with students to make sure each was receiving the support that they needed.

Thank you to the Administrative team that somehow just kept digging in to do what needed to be done.

A final appreciation for our school year nurses Robin Shaikh, Jan Carvallo, and Dawn McCullough. Each of them sustained utmost professionalism and grace while experiencing unprecedented duress. We were very fortunate to have such excellent health office staff and to be extremely well supported by our local health departments and safety officers. You were so dedicated to educating about and upholding our standards for safety.

Education is one of the most important jobs in this world. There was never a doubt that our driving motivation and intention was to do our collective best. Every one of you contributed to this effort and did a great job: students, staff and families. We all together were awesome.

I also acknowledge how challenging it was for each of us to strike a healthy life balance this year. It was a year where we would inevitably fall short on this important life goal. We all made sacrifices to ensure students would have equitable access to our programs this year and to ensure those more vulnerable than us, family members and/or strangers, were provided for. It has been an amazing privilege to have such able and generous partners during a pandemic among you.

As I type, we still have coaches on the fields! We have staff that will be working with various LS summer educational programs and participating in hundreds of summer workshops for school initiatives and future planning. Thank you!

To every one of you, do your best to find time to enjoy your summer and give yourselves some tender care!

Thank you all so much,

Bella Wong