This time last year, in April 2019, if anyone had predicted where I would be writing my first Summer Term 2020 Wetherbridge article, I may well have smiled and shrugged it off. However, as we know, circumstances often have an agenda of their own and no amount of planning can predict all eventualities and set timelines. The world has been temporarily changed beyond recognition and most of what we know has been placed on pause for now, as we come together with a new goal in mind. This has required us all to adapt and change rapidly, but amidst all of this, some things do remain consistent. Whilst our physical school has been closed, our virtual school and exceptional community is moving forward as normal. As we break for the holiday weekend, we are eight days into virtual learning at WPNY and I want to thank you all as parents in your new roles and circumstances and I wish to highlight the outstanding care and dedication of my teaching and admin team. I am cc’d into every lesson that goes out across the school each day and I have been impressed and I know many of you have said the same. Big Apples all round for patience, flexibility and more than a fair share of resilience in recent weeks!
Our weekly staff meetings on Zoom follow the same pattern as before and are a haven for our team whilst we operate differently here. They are peppered with our usual humour, but everyone has remarked on how much they miss you and your children. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting with you all on our video calls over the last week and it has helped us to better understand your individual needs, as well as a chance to trouble shoot with you. When I asked how I could help, one family said that Chef Nancy’s meatball recipe would save the day and another father said if we could replicate ‘Taco Tuesday’ the family would be that much happier! I know Nancy’s mashed potato recipe is like gold dust here in New York, so we shall see what we can do… On that note, and with a seemingly increased focus on cooking and family recipes, I’m sure you will agree that Mr Kinsey’s ‘Household Olympics’ (Hand Hockey) and ‘Minute to win it’ challenges will help counteract the effects on the waistline of so much home cooking! Whether you are learning, exercising or baking in either, Miami, Florida, the Catskills, Greenwich, Vermont, the UK, New York City, New Hampshire, Michigan or Verbiers in Switzerland, the school is still together in more ways than ever!
There are many highlights from the last week or so, too many to list here. However, I was heartened to see how the school celebrated four of our birthdays last week – Hugo, Henry, Jack and Luke – we hope you had a good day and enjoyed your virtual cookies. There is certainly a lot less sugar in those, so I am delighted! Zoom class birthday songs are certainly a sight to behold (the power and the control of the mute button has been discovered by every member of my teaching team!) On Day 1, the first update I received was from Anya in Kindergarten who had got herself ready to go and had completed my daily challenge ahead of most! Lovely to see the awards going out across the school and I am sure you will agree the Nursery certificates are especially poignant for our little resilient rhinos – even Ms Esteva got an award! Mrs Friend’s new ‘caterpillar cam’ is up and running for life cycles and ‘Buster’s High Five Home Learning Challenges’ are rather good. Miss Jessiman’s online cookery classes have been excellent (do try her banana bread – very good) and if you have yet to sit back and listen to her story time on the sofa with her two dogs, you won’t be disappointed. Everybody needs time out and a chance to rest and relax. Mr Stephenson has created a beautiful home classroom space and each day you can log in to watch his latest videos with the bright backgrounds, getting ever larger and more inspiring. Mrs Monaco’s ‘WPNY Guess Who?’ daily challenges have been a hit, with many Grade 2 children (and dads) getting quite competitive! Above all, I have been amazed at how adept our Grade 1 and 2 learners are in navigating Google Classroom and they have shared and completed work extremely well. Your children will be delighted to get back to school, no doubt, but they will also have taken so much from this period that is valuable and unique.
We break today for the long Easter and Passover weekend and I wish you all well. I am sure that we shall find both old and new ways to celebrate this holiday in 2020. In many ways, this is precious time we have all been given and I hope that you find memorable and special opportunities to spend it together. Enjoy this unique and creative edition of The Wetherbridge. One day, this shall be a limited and vintage edition and will be priceless!