Fall Connections: A New Year and New Opportunities

Dear Pacific Crest Families, Welcome to the new school year! Last Monday all of our returning students gathered at Ross Park, holding hands in concentric circles, greeting each other and the new year in our Opening Ceremony. The Primary and Elementary children sang songs and Middle School students and teachers read out the Middle School values that make our school a place of joy, trust and discovery for everyone. This community is now ready to greet all of the new, youngest children, whose special first days of school began last week and stretch through to the end of the month. This is a big year for Pacific Crest. While our teachers are focused on coming to truly know each child as he and she develops, our school as a whole is reaching new milestones and new opportunities as well. This is our 33rd year, our 27th year for the Middle School, and our 15th year with our beautiful farm! This month we are wrapping up the final draft of our latest strategic plan encompassing all of these areas. Last year more than 200 of Pacific Crest parents, alumni and current students, and all of our staff and Board participated in this process through surveys and facilitated discussions. This incredible year long conversation was so valuable in allowing us to see our whole school from many perspectives. We are now able to strategically focus our energies, our creativity and our resources on those areas of communication, facilities, program and community needs that will have the greatest power to allow every one of our children to thrive as they become their best selves in the present and in the years to come. We expect to publish this Strategic Plan before December, and our newest Annual Report for 2017/18 before November. You can review the 2016/17 Annual Report in our main gallery or on line, at the base of all Pacific Crest School web pages. I am also thrilled to share news of a very exciting opportunity for our school. For the first time in two decades, the near-acre land that houses PCS, as well as the adjacent parking lot, is for sale and we have first rights to purchase. While our lease is secured through 2022, our board is currently exploring all financing options for purchasing the property and buildings that house Pacific Crest. This is a very unique offer in one of the hottest neighborhoods in the country, a location that is central for so many of our families. As renters, we have been extremely limited in our ability to make desired improvements to our campus in the past, so as Montessori practitioners and advocates, the teachers, the board and I are extremely excited that this finally gives us the opportunity to realize the true potential of our urban campus, with enriched programming and improved facility space. Regarding our Vashon campus, I have some great news, as well. Just last month, and thanks to the diligent efforts of our Board of Directors and our farm managers, we completed our acquisition of the lovely woodland, meadow and creek that lies behind the western fence (behind the figs and low growing apples). This opens up fabulous new types of ecosystems for our teachers and children to explore, to learn about and to fall in love with. Take a peek at this beautiful new addition to our farm this Saturday during the Cider Press. With our school year well underway, you can stay on top of special events by checking the weekly Thursday email and by syncing your own Google calendar to ours. Here are a few more important dates: Saturday,

September 22, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Cider Press at Pacific Crest Farm

Monday, September 24, at drop off & pick up
Volunteer Fair, front parking lot

Tuesday, September 25, 7 p.m.
Elementary Parent Philosophy Night
(for all elementary grades, in classrooms)

It is exciting to see children returning, finding that work that calls to them in their classroom or the courtyard and showing others who are new where to find everything they might need. The joy and self-assurance that our children and adolescents show as they welcome new children into our shared lives demonstrates that great personal development that happens here at Pacific Crest. Seeing the courage and grace in everyone of our students and the joyful dedication of our teachers and staff inspires in me great gratitude and hope. It’s a real gift to have the children and all of you at Pacific Crest this year.