I had a lovely meeting on Tuesday morning with a senior who stopped by my office to talk about this year’s fall festival. Anna, a Bush lifer, spoke with enthusiasm about reviving the all-school tradition she remembers fondly from her years as a Lower School student. She asked, with some trepidation, my thoughts on continuing the tradition. I told her that I had heard about fall festival and was looking forward to being part of this Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade celebration.
As the only Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade independent school in Seattle, we have the unique opportunity to create memorable, shared experiences across three divisions and 13 grades. Anna shared her recollection as a Third Grade student looking up to high school students during fall festival and feeling excited to take on a leadership position someday. That day is now.
Anna is not alone in wanting to build a stronger Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade identity at Bush. In my conversations with parents, alumnae/i, teachers, and alumnae/i parents over the past months, many have expressed a desire to find ways to connect students with their peers across divisions. Whether it is a Fourth Grade student considering which E-lective offerings she will take, or a Seventh Grade student attending an Upper School play and dreaming about performing in front of his peers in a few years, or a graduating Senior reading to Kindergarten students and starting the cycle of aspirational hopes all over again, these occasions should be cherished and celebrated. It is one of the reasons I love working in a Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade school.
At our opening meeting on Monday, I asked our faculty and staff to reflect on what they loved most about working at The Bush School. Their responses were thoughtful and varied, and demonstrated a deep understanding and appreciation for our school’s culture and values. Some consistent themes emerged from the groups’ presentations. All of the groups shared how much they love working with your children. They also value learning from colleagues across divisions, the sense of community, the expectation for continued growth and ongoing learning, the dynamic and collaborative nature of our school community, and the comfort that comes from working at a school where they are trusted. This last quality is a meaningful symbolic thread to Helen Taylor Bush, who founded the school with the belief that trust is essential to developing students’ self-confidence and for sparking a passion for learning and accomplishment.
Over the course of the year, I am going to spend time exploring more deeply the themes that came out of our opening meetings, and I invite you to share with me the reasons you love The Bush School and what type of community you and your children aspire to help build. I am grateful to Anna for stopping by to chat with me this week. She was able to articulate what makes Bush special—student leadership and voice, trusting children, our “K-12” identity, collaboration, and community. That, and the certainty that no matter how old you are, cotton candy will always make you smile.
I hope to see you all at Convocation on September 3 at 8:30 a.m. in the Inner Courtyard.