“Unity is the path forward” -- President Joe Biden
Posted by Peggy Procter on 2/4/2021 10:00:00 AM
While much of my 2021 has been spent in a world filled with telebriefings on the pandemic, best practices in cleaning and ventilation, and crisis management and decision-making, the beauty of Echo Horizon and the depth of our commitment to our core values continues to shine through. These daily “glimpses'' of Echo Horizon magic keep me whole, happy, and optimistic. There is nothing that can weaken our unbreakable bond and our unwavering commitment to providing our students with the best education possible through supportive relationships between children and loving teachers and adults. While there have been so many wonderful moments, there are three events in this new year that took my breath away, embodying our Echo Horizon spirit of joyful, engaged learning and nurturing and supportive relationships.
On January 20th, I joined our Upper Elementary faculty and students for a shared viewing of the inauguration followed by guided discussion. Watching a presidential inauguration with our elder scholars in grades 3–6 was a gift. The event and discussion were carefully crafted by our amazing curricular leaders and teachers to ensure a broad and open dialogue about our American democracy in a space where all voices would be heard and honored. Core to our school and JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) missions is to create an environment where relevant and authentic discourse can happen safely. The themes and messages of the inauguration—diversity, respect, unity, dignity, and opportunity—were topics that our students were eager to reflect upon and discuss and I was so proud of their comments and their questions. Bringing up respectful global citizens who listen, wonder, and advocate is central to our curriculum and to who we are and what we believe. I was honored to be in the presence of such masterful teachers and thoughtful scholars to celebrate this historic moment for our country.
The second event that warmed my heart was our Service to Echo Horizon Honoring Ceremony, where we recognized the faculty and staff members who have dedicated more than 10 years to our School. Having the opportunity to pause to celebrate, honor, and thank ten illustrious faculty/staff members with over 10 years of experience (a collective 204 years of experience at EHS!) was an uplifting and moving event for all who attended. What a gift it was to thank the teachers and staff members who guide and mentor us, who remind us of where we’ve been, who embody the values and mission of Echo Horizon and the Echo Center, and who have dedicated so much care and love to our school, and positively affected hundreds and hundreds of children. Those honored were:
Ms. Alicia Camacho (13 years of service): our humble hero, whose incredible creativity keeps our community connected and who is always willing to lend a helping hand wherever needed.
Ms. Debbie Briggs (15 years of service): the secret to the library’s success, she keeps things running smoothly and is quick with a book recommendation or warm smile on a tough day.
Ms. Regina Gusman (16 years of service): for her unwavering dedication to employee wellbeing and to keeping the business office running so smoothly.
Ms. Ellis Enlow (17 years of service): who reminds us of a giant sequoia—mighty, magnificent, tireless, and extraordinary—whose brilliance, love, and kindness are too massive to be blown over in the wind.
Mrs. Jennifer Mascolo (18 years of service): whose unconditional love of and commitment to our Echo Center students is a model to us all about the power of relationships (and she protects us from the Zombie apocalypse too!).
Mrs. Cari Rosen (22 years of service): who brings wisdom and guidance to her colleagues and love and joy for learning to her students, whether in the classroom, at early morning care or as a welcoming light in morning carpool.
Mrs. Claudette Brown (23 years of service): who instills in all of us a LOVE of books and a ZEST for living an authentic life.
Mrs. Sheryl Udell (25 years of service): who like a sunflower has a sunny, bright, and cheery attitude and who is always optimistic in her belief in her students’ potential.
Jose Figueroa (27 years of service) who takes such pride and works tirelessly to keep our beautiful building clean and safe for our children.
And last but not least, Mrs. Kristen Reyna (30 years of service): who inspires us to seek and create beauty and joy through creativity and a celebration of diverse cultures.
We look forward to taking time in an all-school meeting soon so that our entire community can share their respect and gratitude for these incredible educators.
The third event that blew me away was our Purpose Learning Human Library event where so many community members came out and supported our 6th graders as they explored the topic of finding purpose and meaning in their lives. Students have spent the last month participating in a “Youth Purpose Summit,” led by our partners at World Leadership School and their Echo instructors Claudette Brown, Julia Blount, Dr. Patterson, Jake Willens, Ryan Young, and myself. On Friday morning, fifteen “expert human books,” many of them EHS parents, volunteered their time to be interviewed by our students about their life paths and career journeys and how they ultimately found purpose in what they do. While we are confident that our students benefited greatly from the wisdom of these adult experts, the adults shared that they were blown away by our students’ thoughtful questions, great listening skills, intellect, and maturity. They couldn’t believe that children this young were already deeply considering how to lead a life that positively impacts others and the world around them. I have no words to express how proud I am of our 6th graders!
Without a doubt, our reopening day of February 22nd will bring me great joy as we welcome all of our grade levels back to campus at last! We have missed our students so much. That said, the glimpses I have each and every day of joyful, engaged learning remind me that there exists no distance nor obstacle that can get in the way of the excellence and joy that make Echo Horizon the best elementary school anywhere!
With love and gratitude,
- Echo Horizon School
- Head of School Blog