Welcome letter from Mr. Gulden, Our Principal

 

Making Our World Wonderful When Nothing Seems Normal

Our published mission here at Robert J. McGarvey Elementary guides everything we do. An essential element of our mission is to provide a rigorous, high quality education that challenges every individual to excel in her or his studies, encourages both personal and academic achievement, and fosters intercultural understanding and respect. Though we find ourselves in a world dominated by health concerns, our highly qualified staff remains committed to these ideals. As we begin the school year missing your smiles and social interactions, we look forward to our continued collaboration to ensure our mission is accomplished through Distance Learning and our eventual return to classroom instruction. As the Griffin school year begins in full Distance Learning mode, it is my hope that our webiste provides you with helpful information. We will provide updated information when the time comes for us to begin the transition back to in person learning.

We are excited to resume and even expand on our #WonderfulGriffins campaign this year. We believe it is an excellent way to help our grade levels remain connected through the common themes found in the books Wonder and We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio. For those new to our school or just unfamiliar with the story, Wonder is about a boy named August, nicknamed Auggie; a 10-year-old with a facial deformity that causes others to avoid and even shun him. When he enters a regular school in fifth grade, after being home-schooled for many years, Auggie must learn to cope with difficult new situations and new people who do not always treat him kindly. Auggie’s story will help us explore the timely and relevant themes of identity, principles, and courage. We have an opportunity to demonstrate for our children that equity and freedom require open mindedness and accountability. We have a duty to provide children with opportunities to exercise their power to Make Your World Wonderful. This is, after all, the heart and soul of our McGarvey mission.

Distance Learning will look a lot different as we begin the new school year. While in spring, after school closures, we were jumping into uncharted online learning territory, we have learned and grown from the experience. You can expect a much greater level of accountability for time and learning from all stakeholders.  We will begin each day at 8:00am with the familiar Morning Meetings. Many will see a significant increase in synchronous – real-time – instruction and classwork. There will be direct instruction, guided and independent practice with teacher feedback, and small group instruction. The school day will even end, as a regular school day should, perhaps with milk, cookies, and yes, even a bit of homework. We hope you will recognize that these changes to the Distance Learning model will more closely resemble a “normal” school day for students from start to finish despite children and teachers being in different places.

We are proud to be part of this wonderful community, with an emphasis on “unity.” We are so excited about the possibilities the 2020-21 school year offers. We look forward to activating our #WonderfulGriffins campaign to #MakeYourWorldWonderful as we further our school’s mission to guide students and faculty in becoming active, compassionate, lifelong learners who understand and value the differences and unique perspectives of all people.

It is an honor to join in partnership with our families, students, and staff as we adapt to changing conditions while never losing sight of our social, emotional, and academic goals. I am excited as we begin our fourth year in our McGarvey journey together and I look forward to building new relationships, strengthening existing ones, and serving your families any way I can. Together, Griffins tall and small SOAR to incredible heights!

Be well and stay healthy!

Mike Gulden

Principal, Robert J. McGarvey Elementary School