Friday, December 26, 2008

Fireside Chat

I’ve been a part of so many interesting things since becoming Assembly President that it seems high time to report on some of my experiences.

So here are some random notes (à la Matt Garrity):

  • Work party (11/16): I did a bunch of detail work on painting the railing, following after broad-brush painters like Robert (14), Gregory (11), and Gabriel (10). While painting, I bored Chloe (11) with the maxims I derived from my misspent youth, caught up with Stephanie (staff), got Kevin (parent) to paint the parts of pillars that I was too short to reach, and turned down an offer of a “Kindness Cookie” from Jesse (6), only to come to my senses later and go get one--it turned out to be a totally fantastic chocolate chip cookie. I wore a beige sweatshirt, which my offspring pointed out was not a particularly wise choice for painting...but I only got one streak on the cuff. I guess it wasn’t going to be for dress-up anymore anyway.

  • Piloting the New Parent Welcome Wagon program: First I had a great talk by phone with a father who is philosophically on-board with the Sudbury model and very comfortable with the way Clearwater is set up, but who was still processing his reactions to the school. The veteran parent who introduced him to Clearwater told him this processing still goes on after many years. Then I had a very lengthy phone conversation with a mother with lots of questions about helping a younger child adapt well to Clearwater. I was able to remember what it was like for me when Gabriel started at Clearwater coming from a very structured preschool. She said she felt much better after talking to me, and I hope it was true! Later, I also made contact with two other new families who are feeling very happy with the school and don’t have any questions right now.

  • The first official Community Building Committee (CBC) meeting: We got off to a great start with mystery herbal chai and my raw-in-the-middle whole wheat maple quick bread. Martha (parent) agreed to head up the Family Game Day effort and to help shape the incipient Parent Handbook, though she was coy about whether she would join the committee or not. Sharon (parent) agreed to head up the revamping of the Parent Chat program to see if we could make it more relevant to parents and draw larger groups. I loved her idea of looking into alternate locations so that we could vary the neighborhood each time to make it more accessible to all. Susan (parent) agreed to be the first official Welcome Wagon parent until such time as she needs to call in reinforcements because of a deluge of new families. I was so thrilled with my delegating...but I still need to write up my recommendations for the Welcome Wagon.

  • Another graduate: I was disappointed that my job kept me from attending Claire’s graduation presentation. I’m always excited and proud to see Clearwater graduates reflect on their experiences at the school. I’ve known Claire for six years and she has always been an impressive and talented person—it sounds like I missed quite a performance. Shawna (staff) stopped by my house so I could add my signature to Claire’s diploma, my duty as Assembly President and a great honor. Sorry my signature isn’t very ornate, Claire, and best of luck in your new pursuits and adventures!

One thing I have discussed with staff and various committee members several times in the past few months is that our various efforts in support of the school sometimes keep people so busy that it can be hard to find time to update the broader community about our progress and to fully acknowledge everybody’s contribution. I hope this report gives a window into the commitment of the many people putting forth time and energy on behalf of Clearwater. I encourage all to stay in the loop by continuing to check the school blog. And please free to email me any time with questions.

Keep the enthusiastic participation coming!

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