Out with the old and in with the new

I don’t imagine a lot of people had trouble saying goodbye to 2020. I certainly did not.

That is not to say that there weren’t some fine aspects to the year’s 525,600 minutes. On the school side, we got to explore how flexible we are as faculty and as an institution. We also were forced to reflect on what is essential to a CA education and do our best to provide it to our students, despite a pandemic and regardless of instructional format.

For most of our students, I think it is fair to say that 2020 opened some eyes to just how important CA is to their lives, future, and well-being. Before the pandemic, being able to go school, see friends, and share a wide variety of experiences was a given. Now, perhaps, it is appreciated differently. Those “gifts” in the long run might prove invaluable, both to the school and to our students.

My New Year’s resolutions 

Few of us can resist the allure of making at least one or two New Year’s resolutions, even when we know that 90 percent fall to the curb by the end of February. Change is simply hard to follow through on, even if we know that the outcome will be positive. Given the difficulty involved, I would still like to boldly share three of my school “resolutions” for 2021, in hopes that public declaration will lead to excellent fidelity on my part.

Resolution #1: We will continue to do all that we can to keep our community as safe as possible in the coming months. Having viable vaccines with high effectiveness rates is a ray of sunshine. The fact that many thousands of doses have already been shipped to Colorado brings hope. Still, the reality is that, in the coming months, it is going to be critical that we continue to abide by health guidelines (distancing, masks, density restrictions, and the like) for quite a few months. Doing this won’t be much fun, as we all would like things to return to “normal,” but it will be essential to the health of the vulnerable in our community.

Resolution #2:  We will continue to try to find the right balance between safety and providing the finest education possible during the pandemic. This, as you have experienced, is a “dance.” While we hope that we will be able to have students on campus in our hybrid model, and, if circumstances permit, bring even more students to campus in the coming months, we are also likely to have stretches of remote learning. Being responsive to health circumstances is an important responsibility that we will take seriously.

Resolution #3: We will continue to try meet whatever challenges 2021-2022 has in store with flexibility and joyful hearts. The  Colorado Academy Middle School teachers and I are truly fortunate. Each new year we get to devote our best energy to helping young people grow into the kind, resourceful, and skilled young people that each can be. Will we make mistakes along the way? Sure. Will we pick ourselves up and try again? Absolutely. There are also likely to be moments during this pandemic when we have to look a little bit more deeply to find the joy in our hearts. After all, we are trying to model for the next generation how to manage real, and sometimes heartbreaking, challenges and still find joy in our relationships and our work together.

Those are my school resolutions for 2021. I hope you will join with me to help make each of them a reality in the coming months. In so many ways, the pandemic has shown us that we are all in this together, and that when we pull on the oars vigorously and in the same direction, wonderful things are possible for our young people.

I hope everyone enjoyed a restful holiday and is recharged and ready for 2021. If I can be helpful in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me.