Dear Heron Community,
We could never have anticipated how our 2019-2020 school year was going to end, and I could not be more proud of our students, teachers, and families for rising to the challenge of distance learning. We had some innovative successes, we made some mistakes, and we learned from them all. As we prepare to come back for the 2020-2021 school year, I know things will look different for us, and there is still much that is unknown. But many things will remain the same, and we are committed to making sure our Heron Flyers keep learning and growing in the school community they love. I know our families are still very committed to our school community, and we value our diversity. There are many perspectives and experiences represented among our families, and we learn from each other and support one another every day. Our outstanding Heron PTSA has always gone above and beyond to plan fun community-building events and raise funds for the many opportunities that make our STEAM program come to life for our students. They will continue to do so, getting creative with how to bring our community together in safe ways and working with our teachers to provide new types of experiences for our students. Thank you to our Heron PTSA and all the many parent volunteers that make our school such a welcoming place for all students.
I’m also grateful for our wonderful Heron teachers and staff, who worked tirelessly to create new models for distance learning, open our virtual office, and ensure that every student had the technology they needed to be successful. In total, there are 98 of us that make up Team Heron, all working together to create an environment each day that brings joyful learning and academic achievement to all students. Our teachers are highly collaborative, and work together to ensure each child’s success. We are going into our 6th year of implementing the Responsive Classroom approach, which aligns our practices in building community, designing active learning experiences, and implementing responsive discipline practices. We are a STEAM-focused school, so we are continually striving to integrate meaningful experiences for our students in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. All of these integral parts of our school culture will remain strong, even if we have to do things a little differently.
And finally, thank you to my Heron Flyers for making my job as your principal such a joyful and rewarding experience! The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought a reality none of us could have foreseen, and it will forever be part of your story at Heron. I suspect that you’ll always talk about your earlier time at Heron as “before the Great Pandemic of 2020,” or “before COVID-19.” I am amazed at how quickly so many of you adapted to the challenges of distance learning, but I know we are all anxious to be back together at school. Nothing brings me more joy than when you proudly show me your writing, your science experiments, your musical and theater performances, your technology projects, your presentations, your research, your designs, the list goes on and on. You remind me that we are lifelong learners; if we keep learning, we keep growing.
The summer is a wonderful time for you to keep learning about the things you love! Get outside and explore, read your favorite books, create your own movies, build something of your own design, write a song, make up a dance, conduct your own science experiments (ask your parents first!). Enjoy your summer, get outside, be mindful of your screen time, read some books (I think I already mentioned that, but it’s worth repeating), and be sure to say “Hi” when you see me around the neighborhood! I can’t wait for the start of our 2020-2021 school year!
For the Love of Learning,
Principal Amy Whitten