We have welcomed the new school year with gusto, celebrating the official arrival of Dr. Wendy Hill and new as well as returning families. The Lower School faculty welcomed parents into their children’s school lives last night with their presentations at Parents’ Night, and I hope you left feeling more than ever that your children are in the best possible place educationally. We have also begun the new school year with a renewed commitment to our mission, which has recently been introduced to the larger Agnes Irwin community after an intentional process of reflection, dialogue and revision on the part of our Board of Trustees. The core of our mission now rests in nine words: To learn, to lead, and to live a legacy. These cut to the heart of an Agnes Irwin student’s experience, regardless of age.
We have been in school eight brief days, and I have seen our mission lived out in the Lower School in a multitude of ways. I offer you a few brief snapshots:
To Learn: Two fourth graders have, of their own accord, worked collaboratively to design a solution to the problem we have of brand new jump ropes (a gift from the Class of 2021) that at the moment do not have a safe and accessible home on the playground. The girls have made several appointments with me in the last week, during which time they have shared their ideas, critically and creatively revisiting their plans when they uncovered problems with their concept that might prevent it from working successfully. I cannot wait to see the final product.
To Lead: Our Lower Schoolers exhibit the traits of a good leader every day, from the many kindnesses they show each other to the strong sense of responsibility for their conduct they exhibited at Convocation. In addition, their cooperation and collaboration with their teachers allowed us to dismiss the entire Lower School at the same time, within 20 minutes, after a particularly challenging afternoon dismissal this week.
To Live a Legacy: Since the first day of school, our students in grades 1-4 have been working together at lunchtime under the guidance of Director of Service Sarah Kinder to learn the process of separating food. This task is being practiced for the purpose of composting. The school-wide initiative, which was spearheaded by the Upper School Environmental Board, requires the girls to work together at the end of lunch to separate their waste and make sure it goes into the proper bins. This act of social responsibility, while seemingly small, will impact our interconnected world in ways that will benefit all of us — and future generations — for years to come.
I am proud and excited to be a member of this community with you, entering a new era as an institution committed to empowering girls. Happy New Year!