Take Pause and Show Gratitude

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Dear Families,

Today is the 49th day of school. It is only the fourth day that our entire community has been together during this time of year in two years: on Nov 18, 2020, we had a system-wide shutdown when the positive-testing percentage hit the 3% threshold set in NYC and the entire school system went remote for two weeks.  The last time we were all in attendance in late November, it was before we were introduced to COVID 19.   In the first few months of our leadership in this new kind of year, we acknowledge this moment in time as a marker to celebrate being back on our grounds as one community unfractured. 

We look forward to kickstarting our regularly scheduled parent meetings over the course of the school year. These touch points throughout the year allow for listening and sharing with families across each grade to talk about the year so far and what’s to come. Our first two between now and the end of December will be kindergarten and pre-k. 

This is a season that reminds us to take pause and show gratitude. We reflect on how long it has been since we have had a buzzing building at this time of year, we are grateful for us being able to return to our “new normal” together. When we think about it being the 49th day of school and how much has happened in the life of BNS we are grateful. As we look around at our amazing staff both in and outside of the classroom, from the facilities staff to the kitchen staff, our subs and our volunteers, the DEI, PTA, and SLT supporting children and families from all angles, the reason we’ve made it this far is due to the collective effort of all and for that we are grateful. We see the many ways all of the hands and hearts are holding us together. 

As we quickly approach the holiday known as Thanksgiving to some and Indigenous People’s Day to others, we take a moment to acknowledge the many ways our government and country worked to eradicate Indigenous cultures and hide the truth of this history. On Thursday, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society. While this history is explicitly taught in the upper grades and explored in the lower grades, there is an additional focus that takes place during this time: what it means to be thankful and what we are thankful for particularly at this time in the world. 

These conversations have already started in our building. The students in Katherine’s class participated in a Closing Circle using a community circles protocol with a talking piece held by the speaker and passed around from start to finish. The conversation started by acknowledging the history of Thanksgiving and the truth of Native lands being taken from an entire indigenous population. This shifted to how this can be a time of year for reflection and students were asked to think about something or someone they are thankful for. Students shared being thankful for their family members, their cultures, their class community, their new friendships, and their teachers.

Many people will finally be able to travel, visit with family and loved ones, spend time reconnecting in ways that restore, rejuvenate, and recenter us, bringing that energy back to the school community will certainly fuel us all into the new year. 

Have a safe break!

Until next time,

Diane and Malika

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