Welcome to the monthly series from Dr. Gosnell. Lower School Reflections allows us to build on the communications from the summer and enhance the knowledge base of our community by touching on topics that emerge from COVID changes and highlighting great learning and teaching.


June 2021

More than five years ago I ran two half-marathons. One I trained for, slowly building my capacity to run longer distances. The other, I did not train for even a little – I just thought “Why not?!?” and throughout the race I FELT the lack of practice.

The last year (and a half) has been a marathon. As administrators and educators, we have all trained for our professions, but I’ve got to tell you – they do not have a class on how to lead and teach during a pandemic. What we didn’t realize is that this school year would be a summative performance task to measure our disposition toward and stamina for lifelong learning.

All faculty and staff took much-needed time last summer to pause, reflect, plan, and prepare to adjust for the school year ahead. It is because of our willingness to train (even when the recommendations for our training regimen constantly changed), our capacity for lifelong learning, and our spirit of community, that we were able to have a tremendously successful school year. While there have been disruptions and hurdles along the way, we have finished the race and are stronger than we started – and in need of rest. We are exhausted, and yet we are energized.

Since my last reflection, we have honored our grandparents and special friends. With all grade levels reaching out through recipe booklets, letters, videos, and/or art projects. We have also planned SO many field trips and special activities. Our students have visited Blandy (on three separate occasions), visited Dinosaur Land, released trout into our stream, and traveled to Mt. Vernon, Burwell-Morgan Mill, and Audley Farm. Our second-grade students have hosted Market Days and have raised $1300 to give to the Winchester/Frederick County Bright Futures program– a testament to their care and service for others. Our fourth-grade students are getting ready for their State Fair and virtual trip to Monticello. Our third-grade students are about to embark on a Wetlands Day. We just finished a successful field day. These examples are merely a snapshot of the sprint to our summer. We are making the most of our final leg of the race and have so much to celebrate!

We are actively planning for next school year and looking forward to opportunities to engage our parent community on-campus and make intentional returns to familiarity and the traditions that are part of the fabric of our school. We thank you for your patient and helpful partnership this school year.

~Dr. Gosnell, Lower School Director