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One year ago…. we had just wrapped up 2 days of parent/teacher conferences and were getting ready for a Staff Professional Development Day.  Six of our teachers had cancelled a trip to Texas for the annual American Montessori Conference due to concerns that something called COVID-19 might be headed our way.  Looking up words like global pandemic, coronavirus, quarantine, became our focus and as we awaited news from our governor on next steps.  There was a heaviness about us and no one could predict what was to come.

Friday, March 13 (yes, Friday the 13th), we gathered for a staff luncheon and professional day.  It is hard to imagine 70 people eating together, shoulder to shoulder around big cafeteria tables, and also sad that this was the last time we would be together for over a year.  We spent the day making preliminary plans for the next few weeks and all I can think of when I recall this day, was how little we truly knew about what was ahead.

Fast forward to one year later…so much has changed.   Our knowledge of virtual learning has grown exponentially.  Our understanding of google classroom, asynchronous vs. synchronous, breakout rooms, and so much more has grown by extraordinary amounts.  The ability for teachers to transfer what makes our classrooms special to the distance/hybrid classroom is incredible.  And, our ability to stay true to our Montessori roots through all of this is pretty remarkable.

We recognize that each of you, your families, and your children have been impacted by the current events in different ways.  We recognize that our community has different beliefs and have seen through it all, an ability for us to come together to do what is right for the FSMA Family overall.    We have realized now more than ever that there are no absolutes, no one size fits all plans and that the impact of all of this will not be evenly distributed.

For each person in our community there will be good and bad things that come out of the past year.  There are no generic outcomes and for each of us, the story of life during a pandemic is unique.  What we are grateful for and the purpose of this letter, is to reach out with gratitude. Gratitude for your flexibility and understanding, gratitude for your care of our greater community, and gratitude for your trust in us to do what is right for our students.

We talk a lot about the year of the cactus and blooming even in harsh conditions, but gratitude is important here too.   Gratitude for our students who have worked so hard, gratitude to our families who have given so much time and support, and gratitude to our teachers/staff who have risen to every new challenge with grace and professionalism.  Without the combined effort of students, staff, and families, this year could have looked very different but like always, the FSMA Family joins together and makes amazing things happen for children… and makes blooming possible!

And so, as we approach the one year “Corona-versary,” we thank each of you for all you have done to make this such an incredible year.  Our children are learning, growing, and thriving (even in these harsh conditions) and while we are eager for a typical school year, this year has been a special one in a very different way.  As we have said, the FSMA Family is special and we are so grateful that as a team we have been able to work together to ensure all children are getting what they need.  With just a few more months, we cannot wait to see all that our children accomplish and how each child ends his/her/their year.  Even in this very different year, there is so much to honor and celebrate and again, our gratitude for this community is off the charts!

Thank you for choosing FSMA and being a part of the FSMA Family!

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