We are already back in the groove! Students did not miss a beat as they returned to their classrooms, and teachers were ready to greet them, well-rested themselves. High fives and other delightful greetings at the doorways of lower school classrooms, energetic middle school athletics practices, the hum of engaged learning, and efforts like the annual winter drive for Pine Street Inn highlight the delight in being back together as a community.
The new year provides an opportunity for reflection, growth, and renewal. What might we reflect on as an institution? How might we seek opportunities to grow? What might we try that is new or, perhaps, renewed?
My reflections always start with the school’s mission. How have we been inspired or challenged, and what will that mean for us this year? As I greet parents, teachers, and students alike, so many folks reported the so-called ‘new normal’ of illnesses—RSV, COVID, or the flu—were unwelcome visitors over the break. Yet, they returned to BDS with a smile, eager for what the new year brings. This resilience reminds me of the experiences of the last three years and how the world, and indeed the world we know as Belmont Day, endured profound challenges and emerged from them stronger and wiser. We better understand the effort it takes to meet the challenges of the classroom. We understand the power of a diverse and inclusive community. We know how our core values contribute to the greater good. What a powerful position from which to begin the new year!
Where might we seek to grow? The faculty has been deeply engaged in the AISNE (Association of Independent Schools in New England) accreditation self-study process this school year. For those unfamiliar, every ten years, schools welcome a visiting team of educators from other AISNE schools to determine if we live our mission in every facet of our work. They leave no stone unturned. In anticipation of the team’s arrival in October 2024, we are reflecting on thirteen standards—everything from curriculum and program to finance to development, facilities, administration, governance, admissions, and more. The process is designed for a New Year’s resolution: where are we thriving, and where might we grow? What work do we have to do to keep Belmont Day achieving the excellence it promises in its mission? Every faculty member is engaged in finding the answers to these questions, and we are a couple of short weeks away from their initial drafts of the answers.
So, 2024 promises to be full of growth and renewal. Certainly, there are individual goals that folks have set for themselves, both professionally and personally. (I would welcome support to keep my ‘eat healthy’ and ‘get more exercise’ goals afloat for as long as possible!) At Belmont Day, the goals we have set for 2024 are sure to help us advance our mission through reflection, growth, and renewal.
Happy New Year, everyone.