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January 2023

The start of a new year is often a time of plans, promises, and resolutions about the future. For a learning community, it is also a time to look back and evaluate how what we did yesterday is shaping today and tomorrow.

Each day at school is an opportunity to live out our mission and the vision we identified as part of our strategic planning. Honoring and developing each person's gifts and doing our part to create a just and compassionate world requires the authentic commitment, patience, and talent of gifted people. The teachers and staff of NGFS have made that commitment, and at this point in the year, we can already see how their attentiveness and care are changing lives,

We are not quite halfway through the academic year, but we are far enough along to see that taking the time to help our students appreciate the impact of their words and actions on those around them builds their capacity for empathy and creates an atmosphere of community and responsibility. 

When students feel safe, seen, and valued, their curiosity and willingness to take on academic challenges are greatly enhanced. Seeing our students advocate for themselves and others affirms that when we openly acknowledge the challenges of living and learning together, they have the opportunity to raise questions and think creatively about how to solve conflicts. 

When teachers discuss and model that it is okay to make a mistake but make sure that what happens after the misstep is about accountability and repairing harm, we are giving our students the tools to form deep bonds and the ability to recognize and appreciate what connects us.

Doing our part to cultivate a just and compassionate world will not be accomplished through grand gestures or dramatic displays. Profound change occurs in small moments, in habits of mind and deed. Challenging ourselves to see our actions through a lens of justice and compassion takes courage. We may be wrong; we may miss the mark, and the impact of our words or actions may be vastly different from our intention. Courage is rarely comfortable.

As we enter this new year, we are filled with gratitude for the partnerships we have with families and the ways in which we work together to support and challenge our students. Let us continue to help each other and our students have courage, be kind, and ask tough questions. Our students will utilize these skills and experiences within and beyond our community, using their voices and courage to advocate for their needs and the needs of others where they live, learn, play, work, and worship.

Kim L. Freedman  
Head of School