Dear Berkeley Carroll Community:
Earlier this month, while in Chicago and awash with nostalgia for my hometown, I decided to drive past my old elementary school. I had not stood before that imposing facade since my last day of fifth grade but, apart from a young maple, its leaves afire with the turn of the season, the building was just as I remembered it. The block was bathed in late afternoon sunlight and there was no trace of students and teachers, who had long since gone for the day. Crossing the street to take a panoramic photo, I registered a number of emotions. Central among these was gratitude for the teachers who had laid the foundation for my educational experience, providing me with robust academic challenges in a place of delight and wonder that became my second home.
The educators who welcomed me each day viewed their calling expansively. They did not limit themselves to sharpening our scholastic skills (though this was a critical component of their work); rather, they also fixed our hair for school day pictures and waited with us when our parents were late because of work or a snowbound commute. These teachers celebrated us when we did well and they corrected us when we did wrong. They inspired my efforts to bring the same degree of nurture and expectation to my own educational practice--first in my “classroom” of dolls and stuffed animals, and later as I began a teaching career among real students. My recent visit reminded me how fortunate I was to have been embraced by these educators and how remarkable it was to have been set on a path that ultimately led to Berkeley Carroll.
I am grateful to serve a learning community that, while very different from my elementary school in some ways, is similarly committed to the notion that rigor and joy ought not be in tension. Each day affords me an opportunity to witness our faculty’s engaged and responsive approach to students at every grade level and to observe how our educators encourage students to strive for and achieve academic excellence while also taking intellectual risks. We strive to create an environment here at Berkeley Carroll where students can accomplish their goals, face challenges, and feel at home in school. As we pause for the holiday, I would like to thank you all for the myriad ways in which you support these efforts and contribute to this calling.
I am wishing you a joyous and restorative Thanksgiving break with friends and family.