Gratitude for our teachers, community

It goes without saying that this year has brought unprecedented challenges. We are all feeling it. Everyone wants a return to normalcy, and no one truly wants to accept this as our “new normal.” Yet, we are persevering. Many people are helping build our resiliency, but I want to recognize the Colorado Academy faculty, particularly because they are doing tremendous work.

The life of a teacher is one of constant balance in the best of times. It’s a profession that too often doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Hours are long, extending well beyond the work day. Teachers spend their evenings and weekends grading and preparing for class. There are periodic “crunch” times of writing comments and grading reports, as well as preparing for parent/teacher conferences and engaging in extra-curricular activities. In the pandemic, much has been added to the plate of every educator. There is more need for supervision, and thus, precious minutes of so-called “free time” for planning goes away. Teachers face additional stress as they work to keep themselves healthy among students who may be asymptomatic. Like our students, our teachers also miss the bonding time they no longer have with their colleagues over lunch, or through random interactions in the hallways. We all feel isolated in this moment. Add that to the challenges of remote teaching or CA Flex teaching. We all feel like first-year faculty. CA teachers take great pride in their work and set high goals for themselves, and many are frustrated, concerned they are falling short.

So, I want to share a request to the parent and student community: Please consider taking five minutes this weekend to thank your teachers. They are showing up every day for you. They are putting forward their best efforts in difficult circumstances to further student learning. I am so grateful and appreciative of their work. I have been doing Zoom meetings with new families, and all have expressed how grateful they were for the teachers, and how impressed they were with parent/teacher conferences. I want our teachers to feel the support that I know is out there in our community.

How do I know this? One way is that our community stepped up big last week with CA Gives Day. In a 24-hour period, parents, alumni, trustees, faculty, and friends of the school gave more than $773,000 to The CA Fund. Believe it or not, the actual cost of a CA education is not fully covered by tuition, and we rely on The CA Fund to make up that shortfall. We are so appreciative of families who recognize this need and help the school to fund essential programs and faculty salaries. It was so great to see our community rally behind the school. We need your support more than ever, as our costs have increased substantially this year to cover our operations impacted by the pandemic. We are still working toward getting all students back on campus together, safely. I do think the generosity we see—not only with CA Gives Day, but also from our Parent Association that just shared Halloween treats and is keeping our faculty lounges stocked with snacks and drinks—is a reflection of how appreciative our community is of our teachers. They are the ones who make great things happen at CA.

So, thanks for answering the call to express your gratitude in a direct way. I have received numerous cards and emails from families that express their gratitude for CA, and those positive messages give me the strength to take on all the challenges we face. Hearing from you will mean more than you can imagine.