Dear New School Community,
As we feel autumn upon us, we anticipate some of the natural rhythms of a school year. In this particular year, some of those rhythms are different, while some remain intact. We have completed our first round of K-12 parent-teacher conferences, with the end of the first quarter approaching. Our ECE parent-teacher conferences are on the horizon. At the week’s end, we will have our first official break, Fall Break, where school will be closed for two days for rest, rejuvenation, and faculty and staff professional development. What is different is that we are not experiencing our typical opportunities to gather as a community. We wish parents, teachers, and students could informally interact with each other, see artwork in the hallways, attend performances and assemblies, and simply enjoy time together. We are so grateful to the Parent Association for rallying so much parent support for our teachers. These gestures do matter and do nurture our TNS community.
This week’s Cougar Chronicle highlights the value of an independent school and provides a window into what is happening at TNS. Mary Sweeney reminds us about developmentally appropriate milestones and behaviors of our youngest learners. I encourage all parents to read her blog post, because while hearing “no” from a toddler can be frustrating, there is also a “cuteness factor” that is not always as present when we see similar behavior from a middle schooler. Mary’s message about recognizing what is behind a behavior is valuable to parents of all levels. As parents and educators, we have to respond to both behaviors and underlying emotions. Jade House shares some insight into how we nurture emotional intelligence in our K-6 students, both formally and informally. Read Jade’s blog post to learn more about MindUp and some tips for parents to use at home. J.R. Neiswender’s message zeroes in on the fact that operating school during a pandemic has taken away the natural opportunities to nurture relationships and build community. J.R. has already impacted our upper school program in positive ways, and he’s now reaching out to parents to offer some opportunities for informal conversation. He wants to get to know the TNS community, so if you are an upper school parent, please consider joining one of his coffees! Jonny Schremmer paints a vivid picture of art experiences across all levels of TNS. In my listening tour last year, I heard about how visual and performing arts are the fabric of a TNS education. Jonny brings into focus some of the places we have art infused into our program, at a time when it is especially important. Finally, Jack Sweeney answers the question “What is an independent school?” Read Jack’s post to understand the importance of our network within the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), to equip yourself to answer the question for others, and to learn how to help others see the value of The New School education.
Head of School