The Brightest Blooms

Laura with studentsEverything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.
—Rainer Maria Rilke

Driving to Berkeley over Spring Break, my family could not stop marveling at the lush landscape and bursts of color that accompanied us along the way. All that winter rain—first a blessing, then still a blessing but also a nuisance, then still a blessing but enough already!—diminished in the face of this abundant, verdant landscape. I, for one, felt comforted by seeing these very real results that yielded from the investment of our wet winter. Spring comes every year, and it seems especially striking and vibrant this year. At the same time, spring is fleeting. It’s a brief harvest, with delicate fava beans, asparagus, English peas, and strawberries; here and then gone in a heartbeat.

When you teach children, every spring feels this way: admiration for these energetic, vital young people who are prepared and ready for their next challenge mixed with the sadness of time passing. Parents feel these mixtures, too: how did my child, who just started kindergarten, become ready to move to first grade? How is it possible that my child will be starting high school in just a few months? Our students come back from Spring Break and their pants are too short, some of their teeth missing; they are shrugging off their younger selves like ill-fitting clothes, and we watch proudly and helplessly as they burst into bloom like desert wildflowers.

We cannot grow without leaving things behind, and we leave a lot behind in spring as the school year winds down and we make ready for what’s next. For some, you are leaving the Turning Point community for the next step in your child’s (and your) journey, and this can be bittersweet. Students especially can look for ways to get a running start to progress to the next step. It is not uncommon for our eighth grade students, who have been heretofore happy at school, to find complaints that make them content to leave. This about-face is developmentally normal and appropriate; as we grieve for what we are leaving behind, we can mask it in anger, an activating emotion that provides momentum. Even moving from one grade level to the next can provoke anxiety and sadness as well as anticipation and excitement. It is our responsibility, educators and parents alike, to help students manage these transitions while acknowledging all the richness and complexities of such metamorphoses.

If you are leaving Turning Point at the end of this year, I hope that you will find ways to stay engaged with our community as you move to a new place and that you will recognize your own complex feelings about leaving and loss, as well as eagerness for what’s ahead.  Your family will always be part of this dynamic, vital community. For the majority of you who will continue your journey with us, I look forward to tackling new adventures and exploring new opportunities together in the months and years to come.

In the meantime, I look forward to a brilliant spring that involves learning, growing, risking, and abundant, reckless blooming of all our wonderful students.


Dr. Laura Konigsberg
Head of School

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