What a day, what a year, what a fantastic group of students, what an amazing set of families, and what a forward-thinking set of educators! The 2015-16 school year has come to a close and we are grateful for a memorable year.
The story for this school year began last July, when a handful of parents said, "Can't you start a school?" (Backstory: They were intrigued with what we were doing through our work as The Number Lab, and they felt committed to our vision for education. We planned to start a school, but our launch was a year out.) When they persisted, and gave us the freedom to feel we didn't need to "fill" the school the first year and could think of it more as a prototype year, we were on board. We liked the idea of getting started, having the kids be part of the decision-making process, and iterating across the next years. We felt inspired and knew we had the opportunity to let go of old assumptions about schooling and really create something new.
Fast forward to the last day of this "prototype" year, Year 0, in which we marked the end of a remarkable journey, and looked ahead to starting the 2016-17 school year with twenty-four students.
We began the day by co-creating a work of art for one of the walls of the school. A local artist gave us a lesson about the color wheel and mixing paint, and we held our breath (we were inside due to a downpour) and did some Jackson Pollack-like work on a blank canvas in one of our classrooms. Success! We now have a beautiful Long-View painting that we all contributed to in which we can commemorate the year.
We then gathered for a community lunch, harvest-table style. Alongside our eight children was our incredible group of teachers that collaborated to make this first year happen -- Dr. Mark Lai, Mr. Kevin Moore, Mrs. Gretchen Cion, Mrs. Elizabeth Lai, Mrs. Ashby Christian, Mrs. Cathy Lewis, Mrs. Heather Swanson, and Mrs. Lisa Zapalac. We ate, laughed, and toasted a school year none of us will ever forget.
After walking the red carpet for the first annual "paper plate awards," we ended with our parents gathering for a Writers' Celebration. We read the final drafts of our fantasy stories, and ended with hugs and a few tears. Next up, summer days and looking ahead to our school community growing significantly.