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Minna Ham, Lower School Head


Memorial Day Weekend traditionally serves as the unofficial start to summer, marking the transition to warmer weather, longer days, and a change in schedule for many. For those of us who work in schools or have school-age children, summer is the start of a less predictable schedule (although maybe less so in the last couple of years) and more opportunities for free time and leisurely activities outdoors. Some parents have spent months making plans for vacations, trips, camps, and childcare arrangements. And as school winds down, they will begin preparing children to make the mental leap to more time outside and less structured days. This change in environment, schedule, and social groups will allow children to apply important social skills they have been learning and practicing all year in the small bubble of BDS.

Our faculty is also getting ready to transition from the academic year 2021-22 to 2022-23. Teachers are now helping students with finishing touches on presentations and projects. In the coming days, they will complete their curriculum and prepare students for next year with visits to their next grade’s classrooms and teachers. At our Moving Up Assembly when students say goodbye to their current teachers and formally greet next year’s, they really feel the gravitas of finishing a grade. Of course, our oldest students take part in the grandest ceremony, graduation, that marks the significant transition from our Belmont Day School campus to the wider world of high school.

As for me, I approach the end of this year with mixed emotions. I have truly enjoyed my time at Belmont Day. I have especially valued the relationships I have built with students, faculty, and parents. I am immensely proud of the good work that has been accomplished in the lower school since I began. The collaborative efforts among faculty members, both teaching and non-teaching, have brought about curricular and structural changes, as well as opened a new building (the Barn) and kept students onsite during a pandemic. I will miss this learning community, this teaching community, this growing and diverse community.

Leaving is made easier knowing that kindergarten teacher Betty Pryor is stepping in to lead the lower school division next year. During my four years here she has demonstrated all the qualities of an excellent teacher and leader. Over the years, I have leaned heavily on her whenever I needed some institutional context. She is extremely knowledgeable of the developmental needs of all lower school students and advocates for students and faculty.

I thank this wonderful community for the opportunity to lead here. It has been a memorable experience that has filled my heart with great joy and wonderful memories.

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