It is with cautious optimism that I welcome everyone back for what we hope will be a year of uninterrupted learning at Matthews Hall. In a special way, I wish to welcome all of our new families and students who join us this year for the first time. We are very happy you are part of our school community and look forward to your perspectives and contributions as the year unfolds. And to our longstanding and returning families – where would we be without you? Your loyalty and pragmatism in weathering last year’s COVID spring have earned each of you a gold star for perseverance and a “can do” attitude!
To begin with, I must say that our new addition is a miraculous accomplishment, completed as it was under less-than-ideal circumstances. While I personally never doubted that we would be welcoming students into the space this September, the impacts of provincial closures and frustrated supply chains could have delayed things considerably. Other than a few minor deficiencies, we are fully operational in our new classrooms. They are bright, beautiful, spacious, and fully-suited to our School’s vision for children and teachers. If a school building is a “third teacher”, then Phase I of our campus renewal gets an A+! We are so pleased that our students will benefit from this unique and inspirational space.
Of course, we are very keen to share this building with you, too. We only ask for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate the public health restrictions that are currently in place. Until the time that you can see for yourself, we are working on a way to share the space with you and trust that your children have been excited to tell you all about it. As I remarked to our Middle School students and teachers this week, it is a rare privilege to teach and learn in a brand new purpose-built facility. Indeed, most people never get the opportunity to do so. For this reason, we are serious about and committed to respecting our new “school house”, which represents the hard work and sacrifice of generations of staff, students, governors, and families. We will care for it, like it was our own home.
So, how has our transition back to school been this week? I am very pleased with the vigilance and care of our staff, students, and families. The levels of cooperation, patience, caution, and courtesy are very high and will be needed over the longer-term as we tweak and improve our daily routines and systems. Plans on paper are never the same thing as plans in real-time with real human beings. And we must never lose sight of what is ultimately in the best interest of the children we serve.
We have only just begun, but we have begun on the front foot focusing on a joy of effort, respect, and responsibility.
Thank you for the personal role you have each played in getting us to September safely.
As for the rest of the year – we will get there – TOGETHER!