Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year

Welcome to the 2020-21 school year, wonderful BVHM families!

As your children look with anticipation toward the beginning of the school year– one like no other–, I am sure that many of you are dealing with complex feelings, both your kids’ and your own. Nobody could have imagined that our children would be facing the beginning of school in a virtual space, and I want you to know that we educators, who are lucky to soon be entrusted with them, are doing all we can to create an experience that will feel safe, nurturing, engaging and enriching.

As you likely know, we will be starting the new year with 100% distance learning. The staff and I are grateful that the District’s decision to start the school year with distance learning prioritized the safety of all, even though we are eager to return to in-person instruction as soon as possible. We understand that you have lots of needs and questions as a result of this decision. I know that many families are worried about their need for childcare, technology, transport, and school supplies, in addition to food, employment, and financial support. While many aspects of our instructional day still need to be worked out, I created a slide show that will hopefully paint a picture of what you can expect from school in the coming months.

This Thursday, August 6th, at 6pm, I will review this slideshow with our community and also introduce our wonderful new Assistant Principal, Ana Zambrano. Please mark your calendars.

Last semester, on the whole, we received very positive feedback from our families about the distance learning experience at BVHM. Our teachers worked incredibly hard to figure out new ways of doing things, maintain a strong sense of connection in our classroom communities, and partnered more deeply with families to make sure that our children were still engaging in learning. We also gleaned lots of specific, constructive feedback from you, our families, about what did not work for you and your children. We will only get better as we extend the distance learning experience into the new school year. Over the summer our teachers have not stopped thinking about what worked well, and what didn’t work so well. They are already crafting creative plans for community building in the new classes even though they don’t officially return to work until August 11.

Please also know that educators, parents and our local elected representatives have been working through the summer on a school-wide plan to address racial equity issues that we face as a community. We will not push that work to the side as we continue planning for this new school year, but will maintain it throughout. As this Summer has taught us, the Coronavirus pandemic exacerbates the inequities in our society that have always been there– we must continue to help our children understand the way that power is distributed and upheld in this society, and what we can all do to engender equity and disrupt oppression. We commit to teach such critical thinking skills as part and parcel of a strong education about topics ranging from art to science, math to English, PE to social studies, and of course, we will teach so much of it in Spanish because WE ARE BVHM!

Know that your child’s teacher will be in touch with you before the first day of school, on August 17th, and that they will once again be asking about your entire family’s well-being, in addition to their student’s interests and needs. We intend to serve all of you, as we know that if the family is not thriving, the child can not thrive. Please accept our hand in partnership as we make it through this challenging time together. Juntos podemos. Si se puede!

I hope to see you this Thursday evening. If you can’t make it at that time, Ana and I will be holding zoom office hours at the following times:

Monday August 10 from 6pm to 7pm
Thursday, August 13 between 9am and 10am

Finally, I want to send a special HELLO and WELCOME to our Kinder families! We are so excited to meet you and your children 🙂 Welcome home.