Friday Letter

February 1, 2019

Dear Parents,

Dr. Schawang is in Chicago today at the ISACS Heads of Schools conference, having finally made it after two cancelled flights. Of course today we had a frozen pipe burst near the “pool” and our internet is down. (This is why Don gets anxious about leaving town during the school week).

But it’s important for Dr., and the school, that he made it to the conference. Like Dr. Schawang, all Seabury faculty and administrators create and implement 3-year professional development plans. Faculty will be meeting with Dr. Schawang next week to assess our individual progress. In order to keep up with best practices, however, Seabury faculty need better space, and more of it. For the past several years the faculty have had to make do with inadequate room in our cramped building and they have been wonderfully creative; on the other hand, we have been hindered from pursuing many of our goals. Here are some examples:

In health class, Mr. Rios had seventh grade students preparing healthy snacks. But with only one cold-water sink in the MS science classroom, students lost valuable time running back and forth to the restroom to wash hands and clean utensils.

This same classroom is shared by two full-time teachers and one half-time teacher. They frequently have to use each other’s desks or chairs to set up lab equipment.

Mr. Bryan has made do by MacGyver-ing his trailer classroom with features like a sink that operates by filling a bucket with the hose outside, and then using a foot pump. That didn’t work so well when it was -1 degrees on Wednesday.

Our Learning Support program has no dedicated space. Ms. Heim, Chaplain Stephanie, Mrs. diZerega (our volunteer tutor) and I currently share the same space. For student support to work best we need more private spaces where students can focus.

My classroom is in use every period of the day except one. Almost every time I have to have a phone call with a parent, or meet privately with a student or teacher about a sensitive issue, I have to hunt around the building for someone willing to vacate their office.

Our counselor has no private space in which to meet students. It’s awkward at best and sometimes embarrassing for students who are most in need of privacy not to have any at difficult times. Dear Betsy has installed a makeshift sick room behind her bookshelf in order to make a semi-concealed space for students in physical or emotional distress.

I could go on with many more examples. Ask any teacher or staff member and you will hear others. The creativity and dedication of my colleagues is inspiring, but it’s time for change. I can speak for all of us when I urge you to contribute to the capital campaign, so we can have the building that will enable us to better fulfill the mission of the school.

Congratulations to Jacob Hammann on winning first place at Wednesday's Seabury Geography Bee!  Jacob will move on to the State level competition in the spring.

This is the last call for parents who are interested in helping with Casino Night on February 9th.  If you would like to be involved, please sign up at this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c094aa8ab22a7f85-casino  

We are looking forward to seeing you at conferences next week.  Please make sure you respond to Betsy's email (from Tuesday) if you plan to attend.  She has specific instructions that make the sign-up process go smoothly.

On Tuesday, representatives from the Lawrence Midco company were present in morning meeting to announce their Teacher of the Month: Ms. Sara Asher (known to her students as "Lady Asher").  Ms. Asher was chosen thanks to the nomination efforts of a large group of Seabury students, and she will be in the running for Teacher of the Year in late spring.  Congratulations to Lady Asher!

I’d like to thank Mr. Brian Rios and the student members of the Diversity Club who led workshops during yesterday’s morning meeting time with students grouped by grade level. The students who attended the Student Diversity Leadership Conferencechose two activities that they learned about at the conference that were age-appropriate and allowed students to practice respectful dialogue about identity and differences.

Have a great weekend (and stay cool?)