Dear Stevenson Families,
What a year it has been! A hearty thanks to you for your commitment to your children, to our School, and to our remarkable partnership that has remained a source of strength as we’ve navigated the challenges of the pandemic. As we step into summer and look forward to the fall, I write to provide some updates and share relevant information.
As you may have heard, we have waitlists for more of our grade levels than has ever been the case before. While a great deal of the credit for our success is owed to Susan Rymzo’s efforts in the admissions office, these results also testify to our teachers’ expertise and hard work, our students’ resilience and joy, and your trust and enthusiasm. Families across Monterey County and beyond, observing what we’re working so hard to build together across all three divisions, are eager to be a part of it. Though we remain committed to getting better every day, our admissions data shows that word of what we are creating here is spreading far and wide.
Planning for the fall
Understandably, we’ve started to receive questions about what campus life and instruction will look like in the fall, insofar as the pandemic is concerned. With county metrics in steady decline, vaccination numbers on the rise, and state restrictions being relaxed, we see grounds for optimism that things will be much closer to normal come September. As an indication of that confidence, we do not anticipate that we will need to continue remote instruction as an option. Over the summer, we will monitor California Department of Public Health guidance, but don’t expect to receive definitive information for schools until late July. At that time, we’ll know more about the degree to which masks, physical distancing, post-travel quarantines may continue to be required, and we’ll also learn whether the state of California will add COVID-19 shots to its list of mandated vaccinations for students. In the meantime, we encourage you to remain vigilant, especially if you and your children are unvaccinated and traveling by public transportation this summer. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Sylvia Ishii, dean of student life and family outreach, or Heidi Ley, our nurse.
Reviewing Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) assessments
Late this spring we administered the MAP assessment for students in grades 3-8, an instrument we use to help inform group and individual instruction, and to compare our students’ learning progress with students at peer schools. If you would like to review your child’s MAP assessment with Kate Bitter, please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am delighted to share the following information about some of the superb teachers who will be joining our team next year.
Abraham Leach will teach middle division Spanish this fall after having taught at the Oakwood School in Morgan Hill for the past six years. He received a BA in Spanish linguistics from Arizona State and Masters in teaching foreign language from Middlebury College. He lives in Monterey with his wife and young child, and they are expecting their second child in early fall.
Heidi Pratt will join our lower division teaching faculty after teaching elementary school at Santa Catalina School for the past ten years. A graduate of CSUMB, she has extensive experience in early literacy and mathematics. Heidi has two children and lives in Monterey.
Katie Willis will join the lower division from Lake Forest Country Day School (IL). She is a graduate of Georgetown University and Marymount College. Katie is married with two children.
Jacqueline diYanni will join our lower division teaching faculty after a year spent at All Saints Day School. Previously, Jacqueline taught at Ord Terrace Elementary School in Seaside. Jacqueline, a graduate of CSUMB, is married to Ed DiYanni, the School’s chief financial officer; they have two children.
The Big Read
For this summer’s “Big Read,” all PK-8 students and their families received age-appropriate editions of Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016), the book that inspired the recent film. Teachers in both divisions will prepare exercises at the beginning of the academic year that will invite students and families to reflect on the reading and engage in conversation on race, gender, and American history. If you have not yet received a copy for your child, please contact Stacey Cimoli at email@example.com and she will be sure to get one to you straight away.
Stevenson in Service
In the spring of 2020, Nathan Carlyle ’25 asked for teacher Amy Spencer’s help in designing a service project for his bar mitzvah. Thus, the Seaside Food Pantry Project was born! Over the sixteen months since then, with your help--and additional support from Amy’s fellow parishioners at First Presbyterian Church in Carmel and Martha Henry (wife of Anthony Henry ’75)--this initiative has delivered several tons of food to our neighbors in Seaside. Thanks to those of you who have contributed, and deep gratitude to Amy, whose leadership has been instrumental to the project’s success. Of course, people are still in need of food over the summer, so stay on the lookout for more information regarding how you can help in the coming months.
Summer Professional Development
Thanks to two generous donors, our teachers will work with experts from Orton Gillingham this August on the neurobiology of reading, the principles and knowledge of lesson plan design, and assessment measures. Middle division faculty will engage in a week of review and reflection on the Harkness pedagogy. Middle division STEM teachers will attend a three day virtual conference with Lemelson-MIT that focuses on innovation and problem solving. Dr. Charles Ahern, author of Beyond Individual Differences, Organizing Processes, Information Overload, and Classroom Learning (2011), will work with PK-8 teachers this fall on the neuropsychology of learning. Anthony Schipper, dean of middle division, and Kate Bitter, dean of the lower division, will attend the Gardner Carney Leadership Lab this month. This training is focused on how brain science, social/emotional development, and group dynamics contribute to the culture of a learning community. Other administrators will attend virtual seminars with The Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning.
The Road Ahead
This summer, I hope that we can all reserve the time and energy we need to recover from the challenges of the past year. Though the pain of the pandemic has been unevenly distributed, we’ve all endured a great deal over the past 16 months, including the feelings of isolation and exhaustion that can arise from sustained disruptions to our routine. Restoring ourselves to ourselves, and to one another, will require time and energy--and is a project that we should all seek to include among our summer priorities. Though our children have faced hard times, too, their collective adaptability and spirit are a beacon of hope for us all. I have never been more inspired by a group of students. As a school community, we have emerged from this period stronger, wiser, and more unified. I am so eager to see what our future holds!
Molly K. Bozzo
Head of the Lower and Middle Divisions