Since the age of four, I have always been in school. On the surface that may seem strange and from some perspectives certifiable. For me, school is who I am, what I do, and what I love. I did not intend to go into teaching. In fact, it was quite by accident that I landed my first teaching job with little or no teaching background. But that is history and a story for another time.


We have just finished our first week of school. I know from experience what that first week looks, sounds, tastes and feels like. It is my first first week at Riverbend. Is it any different at Riverbend than at the many schools that I have attended, taught and led? Yes and no! In many ways it is the same, filled with the wide range of emotions that the returning children carry with them — trepidation, joy, anticipation, and eagerness. Filled with many questions. Yes, every year we should begin with many questions. Filled with excitement. Excitement about seeing old friends and making new friends, excitement about learning new things, and excitement about new school supplies and clothes. (I confess, I am a school supply junkie.)


But in many ways this first week at Riverbend is different from any other I have experienced. There is an ease in the air. The children returned with an unparalleled ease — like they never left. They picked up right where they left off. No need to ease into the work, no need to hesitate. The new children watched the veterans embrace their school with gusto. Why is this so obvious and perhaps unusual? Riverbend students — toddlers (maybe the new toddlers were a bit hesitant) thru 8th grade love being part of a purposeful journey. More than any other school I have been in (ten and counting), the students embrace their work. The work is purposeful, joyful, and relevant. When children are in partnership with the adults in the community in shaping their educational decisions, the outcomes are a greater commitment and a deeper understanding. Wow! That is a lot for the first week of school. Looking forward to a great year!


Montessori Powered,


Whitney Slade


Head of School

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