Submitted by: Alexandria Connally, Assistant Principal, Orchard School at ANDRUS
I am writing this three days after the east coast was hit by Superstorm Sandy. As I sit in the cafeteria on my iPad, I am surrounded by teachers on their laptops, extension cords, wireless cards and the sound of tapping on computer keys. The Orchard School and many of the staff members are still without power. Trees block roads, the NYC subway is still not working and entire neighborhoods have been washed away. In the last four days I’ve received numerous phone calls, emails and texts from parents, colleagues and leadership. There is an unspoken expectation that we will all take care of one another because it is built into our culture.
In the midst of the storm we continue to create a therapeutic community. Today 95%, of the staff were able to come to work, some from as far away as Long Island and Middletown. Today , while most schools were closed we taught 100% of our children. In the midst of the storm we nurtured 100% of our children.
This morning, while visiting an English Language Arts class, I heard a student explaining how to rebuild after the storm. He said, “Although our community was devastated by Sandy, we have to persevere. Even when things are really terrible we have to understand that things will get better. We just need to help one another through this difficult time.” As I walked away beaming with pride I understood that it is just as important to teach students to be socially responsible as it to teach them the 3Rs. We have taught this generation of students to carry the beacon of hope in the midst of the storm.