Letter from Joanna, the Founder:
A few days ago during our first week open, I drove my toddler around town to induce her nap. I swung by the school and as I pulled up, I saw kiddos running around playing on the playground. Shara and I waved and briefly chatted from across the sidewalk. And I had a realization.
It’s been an uncertain time to open a school – during a global pandemic. Shara and I spoke every few days about our ideas, our hopes, our concerns and our plans. She and I worked as a team throughout to guide the board to consider, despite pressure from the outside, to best meet the needs: protecting our families, serving their needs and preserving all of our safety. Over the past few months, from afar – over the phone and in Zoom meetings – the board has taken lots of time to determine an opening date using merely our collective intelligence based on research, discernment and insight. Once we finally came up with a protocol meeting these functions, the time to open arrived. Most of our families chose to return with us and guess who’s back in the classroom?…
Shara and our new cohort of preschoolers!
Sitting in my car and looking at the playground the other day, I took a moment to look at the kiddos’ faces. One of our girls, Delia*, looked back at me as she paused from play. I remembered then how, many months ago her mom told me, “Delia is ready for school. She’s eager to learn.” The mom was so appreciative of the opportunity to come to our school and receive what we have to offer. They craved good education and a good place for Delia to thrive – I knew then that they are why we’re doing this. Seeing Delia at the school brought the whole thing together. *(name changed to protect her anonymity)
With such an anti-climactic opening, it’s easy to forget the importance of what we’re doing – because we aren’t able to gather, take pictures, celebrate. But this is an important place for the Delia’s of the world to grow and learn: thankfully we have been able to be that for her and the other amazing kids who have joined us.
It’s taken many people’s helping hands to get this far: the Sedona Village Partnership group and Ken Rouse to help with fundraisers; Nikki & John Ramagli to host a benefit dinner; the many volunteers in the classroom and the board. We’ve all put our heads together to strategize about opening during COVID19 in the right way and deepened our rigor in pioneering a protocol for safety and protection.
On top of that, we’ve been granted a total of $7,000 this month in funds from the Rotary Club of the Village of Oak Creek and the Arizona Community Foundation. I feel so grateful for our work and our accomplishment in offering our program to those who need and benefit the most.
Finally, I wanted to take this moment to look around at you all and acknowledge how far we’ve come. Thank you all for how far we’ve traveled to get here, how far we have to go, and all the work and love we are putting in in the meantime. We’re open!