In late February 2020, I was in Park City, Utah participating in a week-long convening as a part of my fellowship with the Pahara Institute. Leaders from across the country were gathered together to discuss topics related to equity, innovation, and educator sustainability. None of us were focused on the spreading coronavirus and cataclysmic events that would soon unfold. There were so many other more pressing issues and more relevant concerns from the presidential election scheduled for just over eight months from then to questions about college access to ideas for reimagining high school.
Even after returning to DC and after the WHO characterized the outbreak as a pandemic, few of us (as educator leaders and policymakers) expected that we would be directly impacted by this new virus. When we pivoted to online instruction in the third week of March, I remember us thinking that our lockdown would probably be for a couple of weeks and life would likely return to “normal” soon after spring break. As we look back two years later, after quarantines, isolations, shutdowns, closures, drive-by parties and funerals, and disruptions to learning, to the economy, and to family structure, I wonder how we could have been so naive.
How have the past two years changed us? Have any of those changes been positive? And, if so, can they be sustained? At a minimum, many of us have seen that it’s possible to be resilient in a crisis. And people (including policymakers) now seem more willing to take mental health concerns seriously. As a result of recent investments by the city, we will soon have a new behavioral health clinician joining our team. Many of us have also learned how to practice self-care in new ways. Latin initiatives like our Wellness Days and early release days are likely here to stay. There seems to be a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the value of community and connection. Those outside our walls appear to have come to a realization that we have long embraced: “People matter.” And, we at Latin have also accepted an important role that technology can play, as we have transitioned to a “one-to-one” school.
While we know that the pandemic is not over, we have seen sufficient progress (including in the rate of vaccination in our student body and the steady decline in positive new cases) to consider how we might begin to unwind some of the restrictions that we have had in place for the past two years. We will discuss this in more detail at next week’s Latin Cafe.
There is also much to look forward to this spring. Our Council on Diversity and Equity (CODE) will resume meetings after spring break, so please let me know if you are interested in being a part of the work of this team. We are also looking for hosts for both in-person and virtual Bacchanalia parties, critical for us to raise money for our Faculty Fund; we hope to get many volunteers. Finally, we are honoring some important milestones in the life of our community including a 10-year alumni reunion for our first graduating class and a celebration of our Sweet Sixteen year. We look forward to these opportunities to celebrate this Spring.
Peter T. Anderson Head of School
Next Tuesday: Latin Cafe
What is a classical education?
Tuesday 3/8/22 @ 6:30 PM via Zoom
We hope you will all join us for our next all-family forum, featuring a presentation on classical education at Latin with Bill Clausen, Latin's Assistant Principal for Academics and Chair of the Classics Department. What is a classical education, and how can it also be for the modern world? Learn more from Mr. Clausen and bring your questions.
In addition, we will share updates on a range of topics, including COVID policies and an introduction to student mental health programs at Latin this spring.
We will send the Zoom link out by the morning of the Cafe. Mark your calendars!
Next Week: Wellness Wednesday!
Wednesday, March 9
This tradition started in the pandemic but will continue this year with a special day of activities every quarter. The Q3 option is coming up next week on March 9. The format will be similar to our other Wellness Wednesdays:
Middle School - Students in grades 5-8 will participate in sessions on campus until noonwith a variety of options.
Upper School - Students will join two wellness sessions, one that is mandatory for all upper school students (see below) and the other that is their choice. The mandatory session will be at 10 am on Zoom.
Next Friday, March 11 will be a Wednesday schedule with a 2:10pm dismissal
Different this Wellness Day is that students in grades 5-12 will participate in a presentation in advisory on healthy relationships. This session is part of an ongoing series calledLove Is Respect - Building Healthy Relationships & Community Care designed by our counseling team and based on research and informed by the work of national organizations. You should have received an email earlier this week with details about this presentation and information for opting out your child (deadline is Monday, March 7). Didn't receive the email? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time for some beneficium et convivium - goodness and partying!
It is almost time for Bacchanalia! This is our annual celebration of the Latin community, with families hosting a range of parties for their fellow parents, from cocktails to brunch, intimate gatherings or big crowds and all across the District.
When -Weekends of April 29 and May 6 Where - Latin families' homes Who - All Latin parents can sign up for any party! Why - Parents host, our community parties, and parents give to the Latin Faculty Fund
3/8 -Latin Cafe, 6:30 pm 3/9 -Wellness Wednesday; half day for MS (see above) 3/11 -Wednesday schedule; 2:10 pm dismissal 3/17 t0 3/20 -Spring Musical PIPPIN (Buy Tickets) 3/22 -Board of Governors Meeting, 8:00 am 3/25 -End of Q3; NOON DISMISSAL for Spring Break 3/28 to 4/1 -Spring Break - NO SCHOOL 4/4 -Start of Q4 4/7 - Board of Governors Meeting, 6:00 pm 4/14 -PD Day - NO SCHOOL 4/15 -Emancipation Day - NO SCHOOL 4/27 to 4/29 - 7th Grade to Echo Hill Outdoor School 4/29 to 5/2 -First weekend - BACCHANALIA parties! 5/2 - AP Exams begin 5/6 to 5/8 -Second weekend - BACCHANALIA parties!