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End of Year Reflections from Forestdale

Reflecting Back

by Marc J. Smith, Principal -Forestdale School

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I was having a conversation with someone a week ago where we were discussing something that occurred about this time last year. After that conversation finished, I found myself thinking a lot about where I was a year ago.  At this time last year I was finishing out things at the Wing School, packing my office and thinking about everything that needed to be accomplished in just one year’s time.  I worried about how I would be received by the Forestdale Community, worried about whether or not I was capable to leading a K-6 school while simultaneously planning for a PreK-2 school, and worried if I would be able to build the same type of quality relationships I had while working at the Wing School.As September came and the school year began, I learned that the Forestdale School has a warm and welcoming community.  As I was introduced to the staff, met students and began to interact with parents I quickly learned that the warm “family” atmosphere that I learned to love at the Wing School was also deeply present in the Forestdale School.  As I have come to know the Sandwich community more and more I have learned that the community as a whole is committed to the success of our students, supports the schools and values a caring culture.While there were definitely moments of self doubt that crept into my thinking at points throughout the year, I am happy to say that we were able to successfully plan and prepare for the upcoming transition while also maintaining the existing Forestdale School culture and traditions for these students this year.  This was only possible do to the efforts of a wide range of people.  The faculty here at Forestdale, all of its members, were consummate professionals this year.  Faced with one of the largest changes in their professional careers, each member of the staff kept their focus on the needs of their students and created a calm and supportive atmosphere that instilled the students with a sense that “everything was going to be ok.”  Countless parents supported both in the celebrating of the current Forestdale tradition and preparing for its future.  So much of what we have done this year would not have been possible without the dedicated support of the parents in this community.  Lastly, I received a wide variety of support, counsel and patience from the other members of our district’s leadership team.

So as I sit here preparing to close out the 2014-2015 school year, I find myself filled with a deep sense of gratitude.  I am grateful to the support that our school has received and of the support that I have personally received.  I am grateful for a fantastic group of professionals that I get to work with each and every day.  I am grateful for a community of families that are dedicated to the success of all the students in our community.  Lastly, I am grateful for the many great relationships I have built this year and look forward to fostering many of those relationships as we move forward next year.

For those families moving on to Oak Ridge, the STEM Academy or some other destination beyond the walls for Forestdale, I wish you all the best in whatever the future holds.  For those remaining here at Forestdale, I look forward to our continued work together and am excited about the new community we will be building together.  To all of you I wish a safe and fun-filled summer.

Sincerely,

Marc J. Smith – Principal