I write this note in an unprecedented time and my first hope is that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. I also want to offer a special welcome to the newest members of our community — those transfer students joining classes and our kindergarten families — we hope you know how excited we are to have you join us.
The past six months have been full of change — the embracement of a virtual world as Zoom calls replaced in-person connections, the mourning of near and dear traditions such as weddings, birthdays and graduations and, for now, the postponement of a typical first day of school — the photos in front of the Burke’s sign, fist bumps with school administrators and happy smiles as our girls head up the front steps. Not only have our everyday lives shifted, but our national consciousness around racial and economic inequity has forced many of us to reflect on our individual roles in the systemic racism that exists in our country.
Typically, this letter welcomes you to a new school year with knowledge of what lies ahead and speaks to the variety of ways the Parents’ Association supports the school, builds community and encourages you to volunteer and help us carry out that work. But this year, asking for engagement in the P.A. feels so very hard when I know many of us might be struggling to carry on our day-to-day activities in addition to being worried about how to manage virtual learning. We know leaning into the school community may feel overwhelming at a time when there are so many other priorities but I believe with challenge comes opportunity.
Each year, the P.A. improves, evolves and grows because of your collective time and energy and, my hope is, that despite all of our collective challenges, this year is no different. We will need to adjust P.A. activities to our new environment and we will need your support to do this work; to help transition our activities from in-person to virtual, and eventually back to in-person; to find a way to weave together that fabric of community and engagement without being in-person; and to make sure all of our community is thriving, not only at Burke’s, but beyond.
Beyond the PA., please also remember to pause and take stock of the communities within your class. Undoubtedly, there will be challenges as we go through this school year. We hope you think about the covenant of community and lean into different perspectives, withhold judgement, listen and, above all, remember kindness. Help each other. Ask yourself who haven't you seen or heard from or who might just need a virtual hello and encourage your girls to do the same.
As we start the school year the only certainty is that this year will be full of change. It will require all of us to be flexible and adaptable and to think of the larger community as the school works to navigate an unprecedented educational environment. I have no doubt that our community can rise to meet the challenges in this school year; that we can work collaboratively to keep our community connected and focused on how we can embrace the opportunities afforded by the challenges in front of us. I look forward to partnering with you as we continue to adapt the Parents’ Association to continue our mission of supporting the school and our girls.
Best wishes for the last few weeks of summer. I look forward to seeing you on a Zoom call soon and with the hope that our community can connect in person in the not so distant future.
President, Parents’ Association 2020-21