What a glorious first day! It was wonderful to welcome everyone this morning. With everything happening in our world, and with all of the challenges presented, we had a smooth start to another new year at BFS. Credit goes to our talented and caring teachers, our committed staff members and administrators, and our new Associate Head of School, Rossana Zapf. Rossana has embraced her new job and role as an academic leader with tremendous vision and energy.
As we begin a new school year – our 227th year – we celebrate the arrival of many new students and families, who have just begun 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 and extraordinary work ethic, joyful interpersonal skills, many successes (again) in this area, and heartfelt interest in ALL of the children (every year).
Our Core Values:
Inspirational Academics – We promote academic achievement within an environment of experiential learning to inspire curiosity, creativity, critical and analytical thinking, communication skills, and collaboration. We strive to meet high standards, to remain agile and innovative, and respect individual approaches to thinking and learning.
Individual Character and Personal Integrity – We foster originality, honor and encourage each voice, and recognize that the development of an authentic, confident self provides the foundation for realizing personal fulfillment and success as a learner.
Caring for Others – Guided by the principles of friendship, we educate young citizens and awaken a strong local and global consciousness, a commitment to peace, and an ability to understand and contribute meaningfully and substantively to our diverse, changing world.
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.
Stewards of Our World – We engage community members in service work and teach the importance and responsibility of environmental sustainability. We believe it is essential to connect, collaborate, and make a positive impact on our world for present and future generations.
Spirituality and Wellness – We embrace the quality of our spiritual community and strive to ensure the physical, social, and emotional health of each person. Our intention is to encourage self-awareness, mindfulness, confidence, empathy, and compassion. We understand that a sustained, balanced approach is vital to being a healthy and productive individual and member of society.
We all – students, teachers, staff members, and parents alike – build community at BFS by rising to the expectations that we have for one another, by demonstrating respect and a regard for one another, by looking for every opportunity to invest in the success and well-being of one another, and by expressing trust and being thoughtful listeners and communicators.
To review BFS’s mission and philosophy statements, and to read more about all of our core values as a school, please go to https://www.bfs.org/apps/pages/MissionPhilosophyCoreValues
The first few weeks are the most important time in the school year for all children, for the most part determining how the year will go. Students return from summer vacation to find new classes, new teachers, new books, and new friends. An atmosphere of excitement, renewed energy, and the potential for positive growth and change permeate school at the start of the year.
You can be confident that our teachers and staff are attentive to setting the stage for a positive, productive, and successful year. Parents, too, can support their child(ren) during this important time in countless ways. 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 spoke with your teacher. They are so excited to be working with you, and they feel you are a terrific member of the class.”
- “I can see you are really committed to doing your best on your homework.”
- “It’s impressive that you know how to ask your teacher for help.”
- “I really notice how carefully you worked on that picture that is hanging in your classroom.”
- “I’m noticing how things seem to be 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 an exciting and fertile time filled with the promise of success and positive achievement: academically, socially, physically, creatively, emotionally, musically, etc. We 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. 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.