Chock Full of Business

Dear Families:

The past few weeks at BNS have been chock full of business.   Walking around the building, you are struck by the activity. The third floor hallways are full of children and adults constructing projects, some related to Africa, some to Native Americans, and some to the Maya.  Thanks to all of those parents who have been helping all of this to happen. The range of activities is huge from drawing and painting to building and sewing and sculpting. And it doesn’t end on the third floor. Downstairs in the green room, students are whittling wood, knapping flint, burning bowls, making cradle boards, and tanning hides.  There’s a lot to do. The amount of work is such that it feels a little like a city, complete with a range of crafts people and technicians. There are also lots of laptops and notebooks spread around with children writing integrated texts and research papers, trying to get onto paper all that they know (And they know a lot). 

All of this industry results in three major museums.  Last week we were floored by the first one: The Eastern Woodlands Museum.  Next week we will be amazed again as we go to the Museum of West Africa and the Maya Museum.  What is astounding is the output. We see the projects, which wow us with their skill and creativity.  We read the accompanying text, which surprises us with the content. And, if we can hear, we listen to the children and discover their knowledge.  

Somehow our teachers make this happen.  But even as all of this museum work is going on, that is not all that is happening.  Fourth grade’s level of demands are significant with students finishing up this work only to continue preparing for next week’s Fourth Grade Musical.  Sometimes, it can feel like too much. Let’s not forget that the flu has been invading all of this, and through it all, the work has continued. Everyone is exhausted.

But look at those laptops.  It’s not just the children using them, but also the teachers.  Even as they plan curriculum and assist in project construction, even as they work tirelessly with the kids, they are also typing away.  They are writing about your children. They are not checking off numbers, but rather they are describing your child’s work at school. And some of these teachers are writing thirty of these reports.  It is hard to know how they do it. How do they get all this work done?  

Our hope is that by Friday, each family will receive a written story of their child.  (A few may have to wait. As with any deadline, there might be one or two folks who do not meet it.)  But if you haven’t received a progress report by February 25, do let us know. After all, we are expecting you to read these reports and to think about them carefully so that you are ready for your parent teacher conference in the month of March.   

All of this is to say that the winter months here at BNS are intense.  Our hats go off to the BNS staff. They are participating in a labor of love and the result is a story of your child that you will treasure (we hope) forever.  I share with you:  

Thanks, Laurie, for telling me all about my daughter in her fifth grade year here at BNS in March 1998.  And thanks to all of the teachers for doing what they do not because of a contract but because it’s what makes sense for kids.

When we return from our break, there’s one last bit of sharing awaiting us: The BNS PBAs.  Read more about them here and sign up to help, if you can!  As previous panelists ourselves, we can assure you, you won’t regret it. 

All for now,

Anna & Diane


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