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A Mid-Summer Postcard

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

With the Burgundy Summer Day Camp entering its 4th week and the Cove Camp in its 2nd session, and the 4th of July holiday (and post fireworks deluge and flooding) in the rearview we’re officially entering mid-summer. The new Logan Loft continues to be an incredible boon to our summer programs. Our facilities here (and at the BCWS) and our summer staffs are really remarkable year after year, and the summer day camp programs, ranging from Kid’s Engineering/STEAM (see milk carton well photo) to theater to arts, nature, and sports camps are thriving under great leadership.


(Tatum has come home with the neatest projects from Summer Day Camp's Engineering for Kids: a working foosball table from recovered materials, and a working well from a milk carton!)

At this time in the summer, school administrators who’ve just wrapped up the previous school year a few weeks earlier take note of the calendar and ‘sharpen the pencils’ on our summer lists of projects, readings, and strategic planning and goal-setting. But we’re also examining that other list—the one that’s supposed to be all about us, family, wellness, and enjoying an adjusted summer pace.

(A sunrise over Cooper Mountain at the Cove.)

On that note this head of school is feeling pretty good. With an early summer Father’s Day dads-only overnight canoe and fishing trip on the Rappahannock and some family time at the beach, we’ve had some real R&R. Throw in a trip up 95 to see Hamilton last weekend in Baltimore with Tatum and her cousin, and did I mention my recent sighting of a nearly five foot tall Great Blue Heron at the pond here in Alexandria?! Incredible.

By the way, though it costs a month’s mortgage or rent payment, Hamilton is such an American anthem and treasure! So many currently relevant historical plots and themes, and such powerful reflections on what it means to be human! (Indulge me here!) It’s so infectiously entertaining and stimulating, I wish we could just hold public performances and discussions! (Someone please find a way!) At least a documentary may come out eventually!

Ok, back to reality! What are we up to in summer on campus, aside from camp? Lots! Aside from tons of regular campus maintenance and painting being done now and once camp ends, we’re getting a new and safer gym floor, new and improved lighting in the gym, and new recreation areas around the Middle School. And we’re in the final design stages for the entryway to the Logan Loft. Once complete the entry will signal arrival to Burgundy with photo and video and artistic tributes to Burgundy core values and art displays and artifacts from Burgundy performing arts productions.

Curriculum development is happening, too: in health and middle school math, for instance. And professional development: 2nd-5th teachers are working with a consultant on team-teaching the multi-age model; other teachers are studying project based learning, Responsive Classroom, teaching advanced students, Writers’ Workshop, Columbia’s Teachers College Writing and Reading Workshop, and mindfulness workshops—just to name just a few. Middle School Head Jared Givarz is doing a leadership course at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. I personally will be participating in a Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) sponsored Environmental Leadership Program for Independent School Leaders. As an admin team we hold three days of meetings, spread across the summer, to cover a diverse array of topics, and our second meeting is the second week of July.

I hope each of you is finding some success with summer home/work projects as well as some personal and family special time—if not yet, then soon!

Cheers! We’ll write again by early August.