I write to offer a warm welcome to everyone and share a few thoughts as we begin a new school year – our 226th year – at Buckingham Friends School.  But first, the big news is that 45 new students (and 38 new families) have joined and are already contributing to the quality of our school community and culture this year. Special thanks go to Director of Admission Melissa Clayton for her tireless dedication, energetic work, joyful interpersonal skills, and many successes in this area.

The promise of a new school year always excites me, and the resilient and inspiring energy of the children and the teachers during this time – and especially during this time! – is moving as they return to begin new classes and (re)discover new teachers and friends.  The feeling online and on campus during the past two days has been particularly positive and exhilarating.

Each year, I am reminded that the first month of the school year is an influential and critical time for students.  It’s important to remember that some of the basic needs of every child include the desire to connect with others, feel capable, and know that they count.  As we return to school this year (either online or in-person) after months away, the focus on early and small successes will support establishing the tone for the year ahead (most importantly in the students’ eyes and for themselves) how the rest of the year will go. 

As the faculty will also do, be on the lookout for opportunities to speak with your child(ren) in support of their work, both at school and at home.  The suggestions are too numerous to include here, but consider the possible yearlong impact of the following phrases:

  • “I heard from your teacher.  They are so excited to be working with you, and they feel you are an important member of the class.” 
  • “I can see you are really committed to doing your best.”
  • “It’s impressive that you know how to ask your teacher for help.”
  •  “I’m noticing how things seem to be a little more comfortable each day.”
  • “I see that you have interesting ideas to contribute.”
  • “I can hear that this is hard and new, and I admire how you want to learn this.”

The beginning of the year is truly a stimulating and fertile time filled with the promise of success and positive achievement.  Our vibrant community of dedicated and talented teachers and parents can all work together to ensure that our appraisal of each child during the first few weeks is sincere and meaningful, based upon authentic examples of their efforts and abilities as learners, individuals, and community members.  With patience, understanding, and care, we can all help them frame and/or re-frame their sense of themselves while bolstering their confidence and excitement about the learning process and the year ahead. They will need this and more from all of us, especially this year.

All students (and learners of all ages) desire and deserve to feel good about themselves as individuals, learners, and community members.  Therefore, all of us – educators and parents – can also remember and be mindful to do all that we can to envision and intentionally invest in the relationships that will define the quality of the home-school partnership.  It is our shared endeavor to help every student succeed and feel successful in tangible, substantial, and meaningful ways. 

I’m so eager to welcome everyone each day.  Please join me and embrace a shared vision for a spectacular start of a new school year at BFS while supporting one of our core values: “Connected Community – We cultivate a joyful, involved, and inclusive community devoted to kindness, respect, and establishing trust and accountability.  Together, we invest in the success and the well-being of each child, family, and one another.”

A school year is not a forty-yard dash; it is a marathon – starting slow, gaining strength, seeking nourishment along the way, learning how to more forward among others, realizing the success of accomplishment over time. As always, please be in touch with your child’s teachers or advisors with any questions or special communications.

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My intention with this blog is to use this communications tool as an opportunity to share a wide variety of topics and ideas with you.  It will not serve as a newsletter, nor is it meant to replace “Just the Facts,” “Noteworthy News,” or my plans to send a letter to the community every once in a while.  However, at times, I may write about the goings-on at the school and other stories about BFS.  Expect me to also occasionally share an article I’ve just read, information about a favorite book or one that has caught my attention, reflections about Friends education, a moment in a classroom, an accomplishment of a teacher and/or class, stories about child development, thoughts about parenting, and more. 

After all, it’s a blog!  And, whenever possible, expect a picture or two, or three…

My hope that it informs you more about what I am thinking about and value as your Head of School, that it invites you to engage with me and others about what is important to you, and that it contributes to the level and quality of discourse and community we value at BFS.

2 thoughts on “Welcome and thoughts about our shared endeavor – supporting the promise of a new year

  1. Paul, thank you for your tireless energy and dedication to getting our community back to campus. It means the world to so many of us. The sacrifices and hard work exhibited by all of our teachers and staff does not go unnoticed or under appreciated. We are thankful for this community, for the leadership from you and from the every day support we feel from every corner of BFS. May this year be safe, productive, and happy for everyone.

  2. How very special it was for me to read such strong words of dedication and commitment for the start of the school year. I wish the very best of experiences for everyone in the BFS community. Miss you all. Olwen Jarvis.

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