A quick glance at my agenda this week confirms my suspicions – The École is well and truly back! The languid days of August at school, when the hours stretched out endlessly, uninterrupted, and silent, are a distant memory. And happily so! It’s a delight to be back in the swing of things – even if the alarm going off at 5:30 a.m. in the morning feels a little like a poke in the eye.

Back to school means seeing the kids waiting impatiently outside the door in the morning, welcoming parents to the information evenings, hearing what colleagues have to say about their new classes, and following up on newly launched projects. It’s also drinking rosé and keeping a watchful eye on the gray clouds overhead, hoping we’ll be spared a storm; it’s meeting prospective parents for 2024-2025 (already!); it’s getting down to business with Philippe and Laurence on Thursday evenings, and it’s, obviously, sitting in front of my computer on a Friday morning, writing these letters. And it will be, on Monday, continuing my dialogue with parents during the first Petit dèj of the year (RSVP here). The breakfasts started last year and have contributed significantly to my reflections on the school.

In this whirlwind of activity, one thing is crystal clear: The École is in excellent health. There’s a peaceful vibe everywhere – ok, there were tears on the 2nd floor of the Maternelle Building, where you can find our Pre-Nursery class, but that is perfectly normal. We’re more motivated than ever, each of us in our individual roles, to make sure this school stays the school we love while ushering in necessary changes to ensure we avoid stagnation.

We know that to be the best school, we need the best teachers, but that is not all. Teachers need to be able to dedicate themselves entirely to teaching and feel they are supported in other areas of school life. To that end, our admin team has been reorganized for greater efficiency, and our team of School Life and Teaching Assistants has been reinforced with the arrival of new colleagues – Ferebory, Sharon, Angélique, and Marie-Jo – who are already making a sizable difference. Schedules have been revised to offer more flexibility, and classroom spaces have been reconsidered, allowing teachers (and students) more space for their imaginations.

The work of our teachers is what drives this school. During In-Service Week, I had the pleasure of meeting with the members of our newly formed Academic Leadership Team (ALT) for the first time. I will be working with the ALT over the coming weeks and months to devise an ambitious, innovative, and audacious strategic plan. The ALT will be the think tank behind the plan, but I also want to include voices from everyone in our community so that you can all participate and help fashion the future of our school.

I’m particularly excited by the prospect of working with you on our strategic plan. If these first few days of school are a sign of things to come, it looks like our future is bright and we will continue to keep storms at bay.

Wishing you all an excellent weekend, particularly those of you who are celebrating Rosh Hashanah. Shana Tova!