For those of us who care about teaching and learning, there is nothing quite as exciting as the beginning of a new school year. Some of that excitement comes from the wonderful energy students and teachers alike bring after a summer break from school schedules. But much of it comes from the freshness of launching new experiences. Whether they are new to Ellis or returning for their tenth year, girls and faculty come together in new configurations and new spaces to build their new learning communities for the year, and to experience new learning and growth together.
It’s particularly magical to watch those learning communities grow: to notice now the ways in which students and their teachers are getting to know each other, and then see the strong bonds that develop by year’s end; to observe what each girl understands and feels capable of in September, and then see her mastery and confidence blossom over the course of the year. It’s thrilling to think about all the ways in which each of our Ellis girls will grow this year—each in her own way, but each one a valued member of a strong team of learners.
We have lots of new beginnings to celebrate this year. In addition to the new faculty who were introduced in the August Greensheet, we’ve welcomed four other wonderful new teachers: Bethany Schimonsky as our Lower and Middle School dance teacher, Brianne Kelly as our Middle School Physical Education Teacher, and Amanda Glevicky and Marian Opoku-Dakwa as assistant teachers in pre-kindergarten.
This year brings a significant expansion of our pre-kindergarten classroom spaces, thanks to a generous donor who provided funds for us to open up a passageway between the existing pre-kindergarten space and the lower level of Arbuthnot House. We’ve created more flexible teaching spaces and increased our enrollment from 28 to 38 students. If you haven’t seen the new areas, please take a peek at them next time you’re on campus!
I am also thrilled to share one last bit of news from the summer, which is the establishment of The Patsy Grable Burke and Jojo Seaman Bradshaw Friendship Fund, given by their respective families in honor of their profound and lifetime friendship that started when they were classmates at Ellis. The fund is intended to provide full scholarships for three future qualified students who otherwise would be unable to attend Ellis.
Here’s to a year of great learning in this wonderful community called Ellis!