Every Wednesday, I begin my “Staff Updates” (an email destined for my colleagues) with a section entitled ”Gratitude” where I thank those whose work has made the school a better place thanks to a project, an action, or a gesture. It’s a habit I borrowed from Manu, one of our Kindergarten teachers—it is a common and touching practice in classes with Class Councils for students to regularly thank each other. Each week, I am always a little apprehensive when I think of the Gratitude paragraph—what if I have no one to thank this week? But it never happens. All you have to do at The École is open your eyes to see amazing things unfold every day. What began as a simple exercise now flows naturally.

Gratitude is highly topical, with Thanksgiving just around the corner.  I could write pages of thank yous about yesterday alone: to the members of the Falcon volleyball team for a wonderful moment in their company, far from the office yesterday afternoon; to Benoît for the delightful assembly yesterday morning—the smiles from the award-winning students made it a treat; to those of you who took the time to share a few words of encouragement with me during the Beaujolais tasting last night, without forgetting those who organized it and had us dancing into the small hours: Bolek, Christophe, DJ Flo, Jan, and Nefissa.

Because gratitude is in the air this week, I wanted to express my thanks to the entire The École team for putting their heart and soul into making sure every student succeeds and thrives at our school. In order for that to happen, we need talented teachers, SLAs who are as kind as they are vigilant, tireless assistants, rigorous replacements waiting in the wings, and passionate administrators.  Not every school has our good fortune—to have all of the winning ingredients at our disposal. It’s why I feel privileged to be your head of school and why it is so easy for me to say thank you. Not that I can forget everything it takes for us to succeed – the questioning, the doubts, the complicated moments, the generosity, and the effort of each and every member of the team.

Consequently, in all honesty, I have my eyes firmly focused on next week’s break, and I imagine I am not alone. If I can avoid the flu and all the other viruses that have been tormenting the community recently, I hope to spend a peaceful, relaxing few days at home. When we come back after the long weekend, it’ll be time to start planning the next school year and I’ll need to be at the top of my game, with a clear mind and a healthy body. I have some excellent projects in store for The École and I can’t wait to tell you all about them.

In the meanwhile, I know that many of you will be traveling to catch up with your families around the country. Stay safe and enjoy your time together.