School News

Reflection on Fayerweather’s Mission and Purpose

Kim Ridley, Head of School
It’s December! Why does it feel like April in my body and spirit? April is the time of the year when things are wrapping up, teachers are stressed to get in those last important lessons, and the admin teams are making sure that we execute on the things we have planned to turn the page on another year successfully. We are all a bit cranky because we are working hard to take care of all of the passengers on our metaphorical airplane and thinking about how we can safely and successfully land the plane; in other words, tying a nice bow around the end of the year. By April, our tiredness is buoyed by longer days, sunshine, and warmer weather that reminds us that we are close to the end of the school year. We will have more time to think, reflect, plan, and even find time to slow down. But it is December!
The days are short, dark, sometimes gloomy, and cold. The beauty of fall is waning, and winter is setting in. COVID-19 variants are swirling, and so are the usual respiratory illnesses that can send the COVID-19 management team into a tailspin of hypotheticals and scenario planning. I have never felt more afraid of a runny nose and cough! The constant need for planning and decision-making is exhausting and occupies our energy and focus. I want my stability and predictability back!  COVID-19 and its impact on teachers and students; on-going challenges to our democracy; disagreements about science and the deterioration of our environment; the onslaught of social media images that amplify the grotesque aspects of our culture; questions about what and how we teach about our fraught history; further questions about who is worthy of being called a citizen reflects some of the ways the world shifting beneath our feet. I try to hold myself accountable to identify the opportunities embedded in the disruptions and changes before us.

As sociocultural, scientific, technological, historical and so on, challenges continue, what gives me the energy to move forward is the partnership of our Board, School Leadership Team(s), staff, teachers, and parents. We are all in this together, and our ability to effectively collaborate has helped us to positively adapt to the changes and disruptions.. All of us at FSS are working to leverage disruptions in the service of creating joyful and stimulating learning experiences for students, even in the face of discomfort and uncertainty. These constant challenges and opportunities demand strategies that are nimble, flexible, and responsive to the needs of the people we serve, and at the same time, moves Fayerweather Street School in a forward direction.

We know change can be difficult for our parent, staff, and student communities who may experience these shifts as anxiety provoking and even threatening. Yet, as we approach 2022, and are experiencing another challenging year, we should consider how our mission and purpose has successfully gotten us to the present moment. The current mission requires that we grapple with what it means to educate children in a complex and diverse world, which has gotten significantly more complex since our current mission was last adjusted in 2007. In 2022, the Board of Directors will lead the process of reassessing our mission, values, and purpose. The Board will engage with the entire community in conversations about opportunities to shape Fayerweather’s mission and purpose to reflect the current and future realities. Fifteen years from now, what are we hoping will be our mission’s impact on the next generation of students, teachers, administrators, and staff? What keeps me focused, excited, and hopeful during uncertain times is a strong belief in a meaningful mission and purpose, which is why I am here.

In partnership,
Fayerweather Street School | 765 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 | 617-876-4746
Fayerweather is a private PreK, kindergarten, elementary and middle school. We engage each child’s intellect.