RP Newsletter – 5/15
This school year began with the typical celebratory tone that often accompanies the roll out of a new school year. You might remember the sweaty evening of August 22nd. Perhaps you stopped in the gym in the midst of our Parent Night bustle at Rose Park to take a peek at your new principal between visits to your new classrooms. What a fun evening! I introduced myself to you by recounting my first days as a Rose Park mom of a preschooler years ago. I shared with you that I too have a great love for Rose Park and all of the beauty that blooms to life for our children within these walls. Fast forward a bit. We’re going to close this school year outside of those very walls. Way outside. We’ve never had to design or experience schooling like this before. This has not been an easy or natural transition for anyone. My hope and prayer is that, as parents and through your children, you still see that the beauty which makes Rose Park a truly special community to grow children has remained strong and true. Even outside of our walls.
I’m writing this post as a tuition paying parent, as a mom who has been trying to juggle my work responsibilities with my three children’s daily lessons and as a Holland Christian employee who serves alongside a community entrusted with your greatest gift: your child. All of the paths you each have been thrust onto over the past few months vary, but I would dare say all of our paths are difficult right now. It’s hard to face the depth of the unknowns we are navigating. We live with so many more questions than we have answers right now. So many new stressors we could not have possibly prepared for very nearly drown us at times. Our staff is in prayer for you in these times. We pray that God would provide you with the strong feet needed for the path you walk. We pray wisdom, health and wholeness for our world.
I wish I could provide answers for you or more concrete certainties as we close this year. In this blog post I will share information we do have at this point. But before we get into the nitty gritty, may I draw your attention to a story we all know well? In fact we might understand this familiar story with new eyes these days. Recall Jesus standing in the rocking boat full of fear-filled disciples on the stormy sea. The words he spoke calmed the wind and water. Miraculously so. Might we open our minds and allow Jesus’ words to speak to our hearts in this time, “Quiet. Be Still”. So often, around 365 times in fact, we read in the Bible the words, “Do not be afraid”. God calls us to trust in Him. To find peace and comfort in His strength and sovereignty. I believe we are called to serve one another as disciples of Christ and encourage each other to be quiet. To calm. To be still. To resist fear. Though the waters are rough and uncharted, Jesus is the captain of our boat. The storms of life obey His words. And so can we. May we support one another in modeling this faith for our children and to one another while we remind ourselves of this truth. That offering of grace, love and the comfort of Christ is the beauty being taught and modeled for your children at Rose Park. That blessing of hope and security in our Savior is the truth that lives and grows in the hearts of our community. Even in difficult days, may our love for God and for our community overflow and NOT rely on walls. Our Rose Park people are meant to live and love outside of the walls of our building and so here we are closing our school year with many more questions than we have answers. More uncertainties than solid facts. And yet, together we claim, Jesus asks us not to be afraid but to see the good around us. To offer God our thanksgiving and praise. To have faith in God’s mercies for tomorrow.
Again, I speak to you with my “mom” hat on. The hearts and hands that care for your child for an entire school year are critically important. We, as parents, vulnerably want our child’s teacher to look upon our child, as God’s special miracle, with love and excitement. Parents need to trust that their child’s teacher genuinely loves every aspect of every child. You are eager to hear who this special person will be for the upcoming year. I understand that very well. As a staff, we meet together for devotions on Monday mornings and we often remind each other that this calling is our mission field. Teaching is our purpose. God designed us for this work. God calls each one of us to love the children placed in our care. By loving our children, we are loving our Maker. I am happy to share with you that we have not received news of families unenrolling to date! In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. I’m so grateful to share with you that we will be welcoming, Lord willing, FIVE new students to Rose Park in first grade through fifth grade next year. We are also so grateful to have THREE full kindergarten classes next year: 3-day, 5-day and a robust Spanish Immersion class! While we celebrate this fact, I also must share with you in honesty that we are not in a position we can offer teacher assignments officially for next year yet. Our delayed Holland Christian Society Meeting will be held next week and I will communicate our staffing model and class lists as soon as I am able. My apologies for the delay we are experiencing this year. It is not comfortable but it is where we find ourselves this year.
Rose Park Ranch
We had some exciting momentum building this winter as we were developing curricular connections for our Rose Park Ranch planning: how we will share the farm chores with our hundreds of eager ranch hands (Rosie and Parker will be well-loved goats, of that I have no doubt) and digging into beautiful mini-barn designs. As you may well know, construction workers and projects have been put on pause throughout our state. Our project has been delayed due to the quarantine. However, the project is not cancelled. At this time I cannot provide approximate dates for the construction process to regain steam, but you can be certain I will keep you informed. Animals, plantings, chores and LIFE are innovative measures we think will help bring energy, health and enthusiasm to your child’s learning experience at Rose Park. We’ll keep you informed on our progress this summer so that you can pass along word to the little Rose Park Ranch Hand in your family!
Rose Park Sidewalk Celebration
We’ve still got your child’s “school stuff”. Thankfully on March 13 we did throw away moldy sandwiches, juice boxes and general riff raff that tend to collect in lockers. But we do have some nice headphones, gym shoes and boots ready for pick up! We also want to see your child’s face in real life! Can you join us for a Rose Park Sidewalk Celebration? More details will be forthcoming but we’d love to invite you to a “drive thru” party on May 29 from 11:30-1:00. Your child’s teacher will have a bag of belongings to return to you. If you would open the trunk of your car, your child’s teacher will place the bag in the trunk for your safe retrieval. We must adhere to social distancing parameters for everyone’s safety. Staff will stand six feet apart or more. This must be a hug-free zone. We ask that families remain inside the car. We’ll position staff on the BUS circle drive so your child can smile and wave through the passenger side of the car. Again, more of the finer details are under construction and will be shared with you as soon as they become available. In the meantime, please ‘save the date’ if you are able and willing. We can’t WAIT to see your children in REAL life!!!
Chapel for our Children
Speaking of emotions, these final chapels are just about too much for me in a typical year. Being blessed with the life of a child for the years they have grown at school shapes our hearts in tremendous ways. Saying good bye to our children whom we love and sending our “big kids” to a new building, even one of our own campuses, must be a bit what it feels like to send your child to college. We feel like empty nesters. We’ve given everything God has called us to give our children and now they are ready and equipped to leave our side. While face-to-face celebrations and chapels are preferential, we do have a few special chapels planned to celebrate our fifth graders on May 20 and sixth graders on May 27. Please keep an eye open for those links to share with your child. And please give them a BIG hug from us….even if they “think” they’re too big for it.
Another program that we must modify is our Summer Slide program. The goal of the Summer Slide program is to keep children engaged in reading in books that are at their level all summer. We want to help you accomplish that same goal but reach this goal safely given our circumstances. Elementary teachers and staff members from throughout Holland Christian will be reading a story online and providing some interactive questions and thought prompts to keep your child engaged in text as a thoughtful reader. These stories will be emailed to you IF you so desire. No fees to this one! Please rsvp to me, email@example.com , by simply stating you would like to be put on the mailing list. I’ll send you a new story every few days throughout the summer and the reading teacher will continuously encourage your child to enjoy reading all summer long until we can meet again.
I close by offering you my deep gratitude for your trust and partnership. This time stretches and challenges all of us. My goal is always to listen to you, work alongside our staff and contribute to wise decisions for our children, staff and families at Holland Christian Schools. Please know that your administration team is working on overdrive to offer our families safe and quality learning experiences now and as we move through phases in the coming weeks. Please know that more information will be forthcoming as it is available.
Yours in prayer,