This word cloud sits above the entrance to our school lobby. It's a reminder that we are a multicultural community and that everyone who walks through our doors matters.
As we look toward the fall, we imagine returning students and new students coming through those doors. What will it look like for our school and every other school in New York City? Of course it’s all but impossible to really know what the scenario will be then – or through the rest of the 2020-2021 academic year. As such, we are in the midst of detailed planning, trying to anticipate every possible COVID-19 related framework that we can imagine.
One thing we are endlessly grateful for right now is that we are a very small school, with plenty of room in our building and quick access to the outdoors. We have around 10 students per classroom and one class for each grade (you can see more about the benefits of a small classroom here). Being a small school is a gift that allows us to more easily accomplish a safe “social distance” than bigger schools. We know that we have a lot to prepare, but we are also feeling very positive about our options.
And through it all, our community and our school children remain our primary focus -- and our inspiration. We often post our students’ poetry, prose and flashes of creativity on our Facebook and Instagram pages. They help keep all of us hopeful and excited for the time when our community can be together in person again, walking through those doors and seeing that Welcome sign.
Sometime before school closed, we took a spontaneous photo of our students waiting in the hallway first thing in the morning. We have a beautiful library and a gym, but they prefer to stand there, watching the clock and waiting for 8:20am so that they can go to their classrooms, greet their teachers and get going. Our students really love coming to school. It makes this stay at home order all the more difficult.
We learned last week that public schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. It wasn’t much of a surprise but it still hurt. We all want to see each other in person and get back to our regular schedules. Parents and teachers are stretched and tired from the effort it takes to school at home when schooling at home was never the plan. One student complained, "I just want to be with my real teacher and work with a paper and pencil!"
We love our teachers at IANY. They are the reason our children are developing confidence, leadership skills, self-expression, along with achieving academic growth. And now more than ever the talents of our teacher are magnified. It's teacher appreciation week and boy do we appreciate our teachers!
Gracias, Xièxiè, Thank You!
April is National Poetry Month. How timely! When things seem almost too vast to comprehend, a poem can help express things we don't know how to explain in detail. We're all at home, and yet our schedules are so harried, so I don't know many among us who are digging into an engrossing novel right now. But a poem? That can be a quick and deeply meaningful, perhaps even transformative, thing to read.
Even the NYC transit system has "Poetry in Motion," making poetry available to commuters as a gentle balm during the rush of the day. And now, away from the crowds and in our homes, poetry can have a remarkable healing power, whether you read it or write it.
Big changes come with big challenges, and this past week was certainly a big change for all of us, as our teachers and students started online classrooms under the cloud of the COVID-19 virus that continues to spread throughout the world.
At the beginning of the week our head of school sent this message:
Be patient...with us, with your children as they adapt to learning online, and with yourself. Everyone’s emotional and physical well-being is far more important than learning the difference between a comma and a semi-colon.”