Dear Bullis Families,
Today, I may outdo myself with the quantity of emails that I send you. Not only will you receive this email, but in the next hour, the Board Chair, Pat Caulfield, the Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Process, Livia Christensen, and I will forward to you the strategic plan that the Board of Trustees unanimously confirmed last week. I considered sending you just one prodigious email with everything included but sensed that the amount of important information may be overwhelming. So, apologies for the two emails; I hope it is helpful to differentiate between the operational nature of this communication and the strategic essence of the upcoming note from Pat, Livia, and me.
Divisional Honor Pledge Assemblies:
I would have enjoyed gathering our 900 students and their teachers together for our annual Honor Pledge Assembly, but it has nevertheless been moving to participate in three divisional assemblies. While the assemblies were appropriately different, there was a common thread that ran through them; Bullis students and faculty members are beholden to a set of community values that bind us together. Students and faculty members spoke authentically about what honor means to them. In each meeting, I thanked our students and faculty for living up to these ideals every day and doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. I believe it is essential that we call out what we hope for and expect of our students and adults. The expectations at Bullis for honor and civility are clear.
Family Arts Night:
Last night, our faculty and parent and student volunteers put on a wonderful event for Lower and Middle School students – one could watch, listen, and participate in a vast array of creative and artistic experiences. It was a startling display of what goes on in the arts at Bullis, and it was encouraging to see so many families enjoying the event. Thank you to the teachers, volunteers, and participants. This was the second edition, and I am sure the Family Arts Night is going to become a calendar fixture.
The service work that our students and families carry out at Bullis is impressive and indicative of the nature of our community. During the pandemic, it has been tricky to fully engage, but as we emerge from this dark time, it will be good to throw ourselves into this work again. Please take a look at the community service pages on our website, which detail the opportunities available to members of our community and are updated regularly.
Lunch and Snack:
As you know, during the pandemic, we have been organizing lunch and snack differently than we did in pre-pandemic days. Individually packed lunches and different choices have been necessary. We are now considering how we can move back to a lunch routine that more closely resembles our lunches from before March 2020. While we may not be able to completely revert to the regular system, we believe we can safely make some changes that will be an improvement on the current situation. I met with our dining services manager today and will be meeting with him and his Aramark colleagues next week to review options. I will report back to you soon.
I do want to clarify the current options that students have. Every day, snack is served at 9:55 am for Middle and Upper School students. Many items are available, including fruit. Starting on Tuesday, we will add bagels and spreads to the list of choices. At lunchtime, there is a daily hot choice. Additionally, students can choose a salad and add tofu, grilled chicken breast, or hard-boiled eggs to it. There are always yoghurts, vegetables, and fruit, among other choices, and students can have as much as they want. Lunch is temporarily not as iconic as it was, but we are looking forward to returning it to its former glory. In the meantime, if you have suggestions, please send them to Tim_simpson@bullis.org.
The Pergola and Front Parking Lot:
When the Blair Center for the Arts was built, a pretty adjacent pergola was erected with a youthful vine planted next to it. Sadly, nearly 30 years later, the wooden structure has decayed. It now presents a significant safety issue and needs to be removed in the very near future. I anticipate that once this happens, the area will look rather stark. Rest assured that we will be beautifying the area as soon as possible, possibly with a new pergola. Stay tuned. In other construction news, work has commenced on the front parking lot, and we hope to have that completed well before the end of October.
This week we tested 1,100 people and had three positive cases, two students and one adult. All are doing well in isolation. This year, we have conducted 5,890 tests, including the baseline testing at the beginning of the year. There has been a total of six positive student tests, three of which arose before the start of school. Four adults have also tested positive, two of which arose before the start of school. Our test positivity rate is 0.17%.
So that’s it from me (at least in this letter) on this stunning Friday afternoon. Good luck to the cross-country, volleyball, and soccer teams playing this afternoon at other schools, and to the varsity football and volleyball teams tomorrow.
Christian G. Sullivan
Head of School