August 7, 2017
Every year as I start my opening letter, I look for a moment or a story that hopes to convey some kernel of thought, a possible focus regarding our journey for the coming year. My hope is that, through a story, a bond of common purpose will set the tone for our work together. Katherine Paterson, the author of A Bridge To Terabithia, the modern classic of friendship and loss, wrote:
“The wonderful thing about stories is that they allow us to enter imaginatively into someone else’s life. And when we do that, we learn to sympathize with other people. But the real surprise is that we also learn truths about ourselves, about our own lives, that somehow we hadn’t been able to see before.”
The beginning of our school year is often focused on class assignments, school supplies, and anxious anticipation. I might suggest that once we let the first few weeks pass, we catch our breath and make this year’s work include special attention to the story, both the black marks on the page and the ones that our children live. It takes time to reflect on and share the moments in life and print, and, perhaps even more importantly, to take the time to invite our children to take meaning from those stories and make meaning that matters to them.
We warmly welcome a new faculty member for the 2017-18 school year. Ms. Marca Whitten re-joins our staff as part of our Kindergarten team. Marca returns to Ivanhoe after a short departure to open The Studio School, an LAUSD pilot middle school. Her expertise and background spell success and we are all thrilled to have her back.
We also welcome back Ms. Gemma Wenger, who will serve as our Assistant Principal/ Elementary Instructional Specialist and Ms. Tonya Claycomb, our school psychologist. Ms. Wenger and Ms. Claycomb will be working primarily with our Special Education program, as well as providing administrative support for our school on Tuesdays throughout the year. If you have any questions regarding your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or about services offered through Special Education, please do not hesitate to contact her.
As with every year, I am thrilled to get things started, to greet those timid kindergarteners, those accomplished 5th graders, and all those in between. I am and have always been a proponent of teamwork. This is what I truly love about this school. Faculty, administration, staff, parents, and students work together and reflect a hunger and zest for learning. Above all, it is our engagement in our children’s individual learning that will truly make the difference. What that looks like may vary for each family. Know that whatever effort you make resonates in many ways, not the least of which is how your child comes to understand the value of their school. I do not know each of your talents, but I do know that there is a place here for you to share them, and they are all welcome.
Enjoy these last days of summer vacation.