"Physically distant, socially together” was the phrase chanted in a 1/2 classroom on our first day of the 2020 school year. These past six months have been grueling in particular at Fayerweather, a school founded on connection. Now, we are all practicing the art of flexibility to reimagine what being together looks like, while holding onto the pieces that are essential to who we are and creating new ones in real time. This ranges from outdoor spaces becoming classrooms sprawling with morning messages, devising novel ways of communicating with facial cues, and navigating our free flowing hallways with a little more structure.
This has also meant that we are considering what happens next - how will we continue to uplift and grow this vibrant community? How will we continue to build bonds and connections in a time of necessary distance?
In these first weeks of school some of our questions have been answered with our Buddy System - a pairing of specialists and administrators with each classroom cohort. This framework allows Spanish teacher Graciela to instruct a first grade class in-person for weeks at a time, our Extended Day teacher Amine a chance to teach Kindergarten students tennis, and members of our Admissions Office moments to witness first hand Humanities discourse in the Unit. These in-person interactions are coupled with remote lessons made possible by OWL cameras: devices that elevate a typical Zoom lesson to help teachers and students feel as though they are in the classroom and easily collaborate with each other. Our teachers have also found ways for cohorts to work together like one of our sixth grade groups teaching Kindergarteners through leaflets and Zoom sessions how to detect poison ivy so they can identify it on their nature walks through Fresh Pond or the ever growing fort made possible by each group's visit to Fresh Pond, building on what previous groups have started. Perhaps this analogy is the strongest of all - this year is about building together even when we cannot stand side by side. Proximity isn't just about physical space, as one of our community members stated so poignantly, Fayerweather's bonds are about being more than a school.
Our hope is that this blog is just the start of spreading our arms open wide and sharing who we are with you. We hope you’ll join our Town Halls, All Community Meetings, Project Days, and other ways we have and continue to come together.