Dear Bullis Community,
In an extraordinary time, Bullis has extraordinary people carrying out the work to be done. This is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I want to take a moment to thank our faculty once again for the outstanding job each of them is doing. Teachers are the frontline personnel in every school, our educational first responders—and Bullis teachers are proving themselves absolutely exceptional. My hat (my Bullis cap!) is off to them!
Please join me in celebrating our teachers as you watch our brand new video, "Bullis Strong," a salute to Bullis faculty and students created by Mark Riffee, director of digital media, who always does great work for our school. And scroll down to the end of this letter to see two other fantastic Bullis videos that debuted this week!
I am hearing accolades from parents and students about our teachers, our remote learning program, the Signature Programs Symposium completed last week, as well as so many of the great things developing at Bullis this spring. Our students are busy and engaged, continually learning, acquiring new skills, growing as students and as individuals even as they participate from home. Our program is working well, and we can all feel satisfied and proud of that. Last Monday, new surveys about the remote learning program went out to parents, students, faculty and staff. We look forward to reading your feedback, which was so helpful in the first round of surveys.
Every week, our Crisis Management Team continues to meet to discuss the layered and complex issues of this ongoing situation with regard to our students, staff, families, and the School. Answers may take some time, but we will keep you informed as things develop. We have decided that Summer Programs will not be held here this summer, and we are working on arranging refunds. In addition, we are currently exploring all possible scenarios for the start of school in the fall. School will be in session, although the framing and organization are still in development.
Graduation is still a topic of discussion as we consider the possibility of holding some kind of commencement ceremony in July, August, or November. It is incumbent upon us to have some form of a graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020. Even if our graduates have moved on to colleges and universities by then, we hope they will feel a strong connection to Bullis and appreciate the chance to gather together as a class, having experienced unique circumstances that have given them a true bond as a group.
Looking ahead, we are planning a virtual coffee for parents with members of our administrative team, giving parents a chance to ask questions of a panel of Lower, Middle, and Upper School division heads and other administrators available onscreen. The virtual coffee will be held on Friday, May 15, starting at 9:30 am. We will be sending information and a video link as soon as that is available.
Plans are underway for transitions to celebrate and support our 5th grade students moving to 6th grade, and 8th grade students moving to 9th grade, as well as looking at the best ways to share awards in Upper School. Updates will be going out to the community soon. When school ends this year, we will also be a school in transition over the summer and fall as Bullis moves from one head of school to another. That, too, is very much in development with plenty of communication and ongoing discussions. Our transition team is working hard to ensure a smooth transition even in a challenging time.
As we approach the last day of the 2019-2020 school year on May 29, we are working diligently to improve every aspect of remote learning. We are particularly focused on finding ways to ensure equity and balance where student situations vary. For example, some students are doing their best to learn remotely in the midst of a busy household, or have less quiet time available during classes. Teachers understand this and are working with students as needed. We realize that a perfect remote learning environment is not always the case and distractions come up for students as well as teachers as they navigate home and school. We are finding ways to balance those factors, and recognize that flexibility is key, as is open communication.
Locker clean-out procedures will be announced soon by our Security team, who have been working on that plan. Also, as a reminder, our campus is still closed, which includes tracks, fields, the playground, and other areas. Only essential staff are present on campus, and staff members are welcome to let us know when they will need to come in for specific tasks. This helps our campus and our staff to stay safe. Thank you!
Monday, May 11, is a Blue and Gold Spirit Day—and a Blue and Gold Challenge Day as well. At Monday's assembly, our SGA students will reveal the great blue/gold challenges they have in store for next week, with winners announced the following Monday, May 18. Remember to wear your blue and gold on Monday, and please send photos that we can share on social media. Go Bulldogs!
As we approach the last weeks of a very unusual school year—probably the most unusual in Bullis School's remarkable 90 years—we keep our eyes on the prize: our students. We hold their well-being and benefit always in mind with every decision we make.
In addition to our Bullis Strong video, I want to share two other delightful videos with you. The Middle School teachers worked together virtually to tell their students how very much they miss seeing their smiles and hearing their laughter on campus every day. And Kindergarten Teacher Jennifer Dross and her students worked very hard with lots of joy and creativity to put together a virtual play about beloved book character "Tacky the Penguin." Scroll down for the images and links and enjoy!
Finally, I want to wish all of the mothers among our Bullis parents and staff a wonderful Mother's Day this Sunday!
Best regards, please stay safe and be well,
Gerald L. Boarman, Ed.D.