I hope these last couple of weeks have provided you with some concrete if simple, pleasures. I have enjoyed creative pantry cooking, the smell of flowers blooming in my neighborhood, Zoom calls with family and friends, family Codenames competitions, and drinking coffee on my front step on sunny days. I have celebrated small victories: listening instead of interjecting, ignoring my sons’ messy rooms (to a point, but still…), jumping rope daily, making matzo ball soup from scratch. As I said, small victories, but victories nonetheless.
I have been making good use of a metaphor I learned from Brene Brown: “settling the ball,” which happens when a soccer player receives a wild ball and gets it on the ground for viable play. While it has been a long time since my last soccer game, I have returned to this metaphor when I have felt overwhelmed by any “wild ball” that has come my way, and it has helped me stay grounded and oriented toward a positive outcome. I can only control what I can control; maddening, but a solid place to come back to when all feels overwhelming.
At Turning Point, we used these past two weeks of “Spring Break” to look ahead to the remaining months of the school year, as sustaining our remote teaching and learning program’s focus on rigor, nurture, and individualization requires continued preparation and innovation. Teachers and administrators continue to consider various scenarios regarding the end of this academic year. As you know, the shelter-in-place ordinance has been extended to May 15, so we will not return to campus before then, but we still hope we might have some opportunity to be together before the school year is out. We will undoubtedly learn more from governmental and medical authorities in the coming weeks, as we continue our efforts to flatten the curve.
Thank you to all who participated in the surveys we conducted over the break. By now, you have heard from division heads about changes in curricula and programming we have implemented in response to our observations, your feedback, and collaborations with colleagues from schools locally and nationally. As we all adapt to this unique model, Turning Point will continue to evolve our remote learning platform to best serve the needs of our students and families.
We are all learning together, and our dynamic school/parent partnership will continue to evolve and grow in this new landscape. We are deeply moved by your myriad expressions of gratitude and appreciation. I am so inspired by our teachers’ resilience, fortitude, and appetite for adapting and thriving as they build on strong relationships to create new ways of connecting with and engaging students. A highlight of my son Miles’ spring break was his Zoom check-in call with his teacher, Ms. Wagner, last week.
Many of you have generously asked how you can help Turning Point families who may be financially impacted by COVID-19. We anticipate that in the coming months, the need for tuition assistance will increase as families work through challenges related to this crisis. As a result, Turning Point School is committed, now more than ever, to continuing to grow a robust tuition assistance budget so that we can keep students and families in our community.
If you are in a position to contribute, we have created a page here where you can make a tax-deductible donation that will be earmarked for providing tuition assistance to Turning Point families.
As you may know, all proceeds from the Golden Gala “Paddle Raise” were intended to support tuition assistance. Without this event, there is still a significant gap to fill. Your support of this initiative will help fill the gap and provide much-needed assistance to those students and families in our community who are deeply impacted by the financial implications of this pandemic.
“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now,” wrote the Quaker missionary Etienne de Grellet.
Let kindness in this moment—each moment—guide your actions and orient your mindset. I long for the day we can show goodness to each other in person again. In the meantime, I am comforted to see the many ways we are managing to make profound connections with one another—in our community and with the larger world—despite the distance. Let’s move through this time with one foot in front of another and an eye to the horizon to acknowledge how far we have come together through this crisis. I am grateful to be on this journey with all of you.
Head of School