Who could have guessed that a couple of transatlantic flights and three days with 500+ colleagues in a windowless auditorium were the ideal ingredients for catching COVID?  Everyone, you answer? After managing to avoid getting sick for more than two years, I had begun to flirt with the notion that I was invincible—that a genetic mutation made me resistant to every wave and variant. Needless to say, I was very, very wrong—I’ve been knocked out by the virus for almost a week now.

As a result, this week I isolated at home, but I wasn’t cut off from what was happening at school. Just like our parents, I was able to follow the activity and energy of our school thanks to Seesaw and social media posts, stories, and reels. I was able to see the Maternelle classes plant squash in their new rooftop garden, see the 5th graders work with a poet-in-residence (parents are in for a treat at their publishing party next Thursday), and I was able to see the 7th and 8th graders present their fascinating work on Andy Warhol.

I know that the 1st graders are working on numbers from 80 to 99 in French and are forging ahead with learning sight words in English. I know that in 2nd Grade they’re learning the imperfect, that the 3rd graders have just finished their photo diaries in technology class, and that in 4th Grade they are learning long division with decimal spaces. I also know (and yes, Big Brother is watching you!) that last night the grown-ups celebrated the arrival of warmer weather, sipping rosé on the rooftop of the Maternelle Building. I would have loved to have been there with you.

One of my favorite moments of the week was being able to join in yesterday’s lunchtime assembly. Even though the assemblies are on Zoom and even though technical difficulties and scheduling conflicts mean they often take place while we’re all eating,  they are for me one of this year’s success stories—and they are going to be even better when we can assemble in person! The enthusiasm and passion with which our students address the entire school and the remarkable quality of the projects they present are awe-inspiring. Yesterday for example the Climate Change Club presented the recycling possibilities available at The École and Alice from 6th Grade spoke on behalf of the Student Council about the project to make 150 sandwiches for the CHIPS soup kitchen in Brooklyn.

These moments spent together (for Elementary & Middle School students) are rare opportunities to gather and listen to the same messages. The assemblies keep us all on the same page and they also provide a platform for our students to share their ideas and initiatives and to recognize the achievements of their classmates. It is during these moments, when The École unites and raises up its students, that it is at its most beautiful.

This week I have been looking at The École through a window and I have to say it is wonderful from this angle too. I would like to thank everyone who makes it all possible—the teachers first and foremost for leading the students in all of their activities, Rachel, Ben, and Benoît for orchestrating everything, and Andria for keeping us up to date on social media.

I enjoyed having a different window on The École, but I will be back in person next week—you have been warned!