For me, November is a time of abundance, appreciation and reflection. Where my mind was once occupied with fantasies of large wedges of pumpkin pie, a deep sense of gratitude for our community has overtaken.
In February of 2015, with a nascent vision of a school focused on community, shared purpose and evidence-based education, I purchased a duplex at 3719 Perry Street. It was a sparse lot overgrown with weed trees and housed two young couples. A decade’s worth of trash had accumulated in the back of the property, and the tenant’s dogs gladly laid atop the heaps. Even in my most optimistic visions I was unable to foresee the magic that our children and their families would create, from scratch, in an unknown space.
It’s during this time each year, when new and excited families come to tour our school for their young children, that I am reminded of the eternal optimism of the seasons. Each season brings a renewed hope. Families who come for a tour hope to stay for a childhood. There is an immense joy shepherding this time of a child’s life.
I see children swinging gleefully on the overhead obstacle course, and I am grateful.
I hear teachers reminding our children not to eat their boogers, and I am grateful.
I smell the freshly microwaved leftovers of a child’s dinner from the night before, and I am grateful.
I feel the hard work poured into a piece of art as a child explains every detail of its creation, and I am grateful.
I see the mixed fear and joy on the face of a young mother, looking for the right school for her child. What she sees here offers her hope and I am grateful.
I hear the sound of a saw accompanied by joyous shouts and the hard landing of a freshly cut 2×4 and I am grateful.
I smell crushed leaves as children jump into their raked piles and I am grateful.
I feel the soft hair of a child who buries their grateful head into my stomach and I know the home we give them matters.
I am grateful for the parents and teachers who have turned this building into a home. I am grateful for parents who advocate for their children and challenge us to do our best. I am grateful for potlucks, stumps to jump from and paints that drip from your child’s brush to the page they breathe life into.
Thank you for being a part of this wonderful season. We are grateful.
Director, Highlands Micro School