As we head into the home stretch over these next few weeks, it’s important to take a breath, reflect on our unprecedented journey through The Americas this year while under a global pandemic, and recalibrate where we need to be at year's end to ensure we are covering all content and hitting our main academic, organizational and financial goals as the school year comes to a rapid close...but more importantly...CELEBRATE ALL WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED! WE MADE IT! AND WE MADE IT TOGETHER!
This year we are most proud of our teachers and families returning safely to onsite learning in September and being able to see first hand the progress our students have made in essential skills and overall learning since then! Our families, teachers and students were so brave and supportive in partnering with us in the joint venture of resuming in-person school under strict health protocols in order to keep us all safe and well. And while everyone was worried that "time lost" from the pause would adversely effect our children, we found them to be eager, resilient, patient and grateful. We also found that our students were highly engaged with their lessons and each other as they successfully maneuvered through rigorous content as evidenced by work samples, collaborative projects, teacher observations, individual accomplishments, parent and student feedback, and test scores...all of which we look forward to sharing with our Cottonwood families in May conferences!
I personally am most proud of our incredibly brave and talented staff who teach with fidelity, humor and kindness each and every day. They are all brilliant change agents who are transforming the lives of their students during their most important formative years, and we are so fortunate to be able to learn from them as we navigate the age of early childhood together in uncertain times.
We are also quite proud of our monthly classroom and school events which brought us together in purposeful and meaningful ways, to build relationships, grow ideas, and learn new things as we celebrated, socialized, and contributed to something greater than ourselves. Our intimate gatherings whether in person or via zoom, while downsized from years passed, allowed us to forge friendships with like minded people during our children's critical years of personal growth. It’s a time of life when we all need compassionate support from each other and we found just that by surrounding ourselves with people of all ages and walks of life who understood this challenging time of our lives.
It has been easy for me to see where your priorities lay as you came together as strangers and then quickly became friends. It was heartening to see you join forces to support your children, the school and one another this year. Together, you have worked to elevate not only our school, but the early childhood industry as a whole, and elementary education in New Mexico in particular. Our Cottonwood families helped to provide a roadmap for a safe return to school and we left a breadcrumb trail of data for others to follow.
You put your time, talent and treasure to work on behalf of not only your own, but other people’s children! In spite of how busy you are you still chose to make time to support the school incrementally through your skills, your professions, your access, your finances, and your interests. You helped us clean, you provided us with PPE, you ordered in meals for staff, you purchased classroom materials, offered counseling and feedback, you gathered safely for coffee, took hikes, ran our errands, scheduled bike trips and went geocaching through the bosque! You tie-dyed, held ceramics classes, you cooked, and sang and whooped and hollered and you quickly learned new systems for being in community safely while raising money for our school such as new archery and playground equipment to name a few. Most importantly, you trusted us to do our job! You showed up for us, and one another in the most creative and loving ways and we will remain forever grateful!
We are so lucky to have you all as partners in this work! It is my hope that you will look back on these years with joy, fondness and satisfaction. I know I will! I just can't wait to do it all again next fall! And while we can't always know what the future holds, what we do know is that we will tackle it together with grace and courage and love!
We start up on August 23rd, 2021 for the first day of our 26th school year and we hope you will join us for "See the Light, Be the Light" as we trek through Europe and Asia!
See you in the lane!
Gratefully, ~Ms. Trish Nickerson, Founder/Executive Director
“If your plan is for one year plant rice. If your plan is for ten years plant trees. If your plan is for one hundred years educate children.” ~Confucius
If you would like to read more about our school, please visit our blog at : https://cottonwoodmontessorischool.blogspot.com/