Happy last week of school!

Happy last week of school! Congratulations to our graduating 5th graders!! Don’t forget to sign up for the Beach readathon!

This year has left a lot of us (myself included) with bumps, bruises, and many losses. But our kids have made it through the school year – and so have we. With the state’s reopening next week I am hopeful, optimistic, and a tiny bit nervous (which seems rational, given what we’ve experienced!) Mostly, I am so thankful for the years of scientific research that got us vaccines in record time, and to the community in Piedmont for our rapid adoption of them. 

I got to know some of the faces in this anonymous “community” this year in my role as president, and I feel lucky to live in a place where people care so deeply and passionately about so many things – racial injustice, our kids’ education, speed bumps, our overall health and safety, and climate change to name just a few. There are so many wonderful people that found me when I needed help and that reinspired me when I felt blah (e.g. the entire month of January). The BPO board is full of awesome people that step up and help make our school and community a better place. THANK YOU for making this job easier – and a special thanks to John Jobst, Meredith Fowlie, Emily Harrold, Liz Mosbaugh, and Lisa Rager. 

I also wanted to thank a few groups of people that have been behind the scenes, hard at work for us. Our nurses and health clerk – Amy Jo Goldfarb, Carol Menz, Claudia Garcia, and Nadia Marquez are magical elves. The amount of effort that they put into reading the latest research, on phone calls with the public health department, reviewing guidance, thinking about and operationalizing testing, calling families – all on top of their day job. There aren’t enough hours in a day to get all these things done and somehow you did. We are so grateful for your efforts.

To the many 5th grade parent volunteers who are graduating from Beach this year – Leila Hebshi, Holly Bybee, Andrew Wendel, Marisa Strong, Amy Jo Goldfarb, Christine Schooley, Emily Shoop, Jane Lin, Sara Ironsides, and Walter Stokes – thank you for your service. We appreciate your generosity, kindness, and extreme knowledge transfer! 

The staff at Schoolmates, led by Jackson Stearns and Karina Morris, have been nothing short of awe-inspiring. You made it possible for parents who didn’t have any flexibility to get back to the office. You were there to sort out Google Meet and wifi issues, and you have consistently found a way to improve the program and make it better. Your ability to stay agile and upbeat, and effectively respond to all of the changing parameters – whether it was new or updated regulations, attendance rosters, or managing staffing adjustments – would have been incredible in any situation, but you did it during a global pandemic, all while coming up with creative ways for our kids to have fun. Your execution throughout this period has been flawless and we are so thankful to you! 

Finally – Michael, thanks for leading us through this. I’ve seen you work tirelessly behind the scenes for the last 18ish months with perhaps only a long weekend off without fanfare. It can’t have been easy, but you have quietly advocated for all of the stakeholders through extremely stressful times. It has been wonderful to have a steady and level-headed partner through this process!
If you’re still with me (and I hope you are), I’d like to introduce you to our new BPO president, Esti Iturralde! She’s super smart, extremely thoughtful, and very dedicated, and I couldn’t be more pleased to pass the baton on to her. She’s introduced herself in the short note below. 

I’ll still be around if you need anything, but otherwise, I look forward to seeing everyone’s faces on the blacktop next year.

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