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A Marathon Not a Sprint

During times of uncertainty, it is important to stay true to one’s values, to move forward step by step, and to surround yourself with those who will support you by providing constructive feedback, thoughtful perspective, and positive energy.

I have been reminded of all of these strategies over the course of last week, it being our first week of a graduated approach to remote learning, co-curricular activities, and sustaining community.

I connected this weekend- as I have been almost daily- with our School’s Board Chair, and he reminded me that this is a marathon, not a sprint. I have heard this expression time and time again of late, and yet it struck a particular chord this time.

I am pleased to say that St. Clement’s has been training for a marathon for a long time. Just as a runner adapts a training plan to their individual fitness level, physiology, and pace goals to help achieve success, our School’s preparation and principles for the time ahead have been specific to – and thoughtful of – our own context, and most importantly our girls’ best interests. We have considered various models, reflected on others’ previous experiences, and landed on what we believe to be the best approach.

Similar to the way in which one would approach training for a new marathon, we are building week by week, anticipating that we will be learning remotely for a lengthy time. We wish to ensure that our girls’ energy, engagement, and learning is sustained and reflects the excellence our School and community expect. Similarly, we wish to ensure our staff’s energy, engagement, work, and teaching is sustained as they facilitate the girls’ remote experiences. We do this because we wish to run well, as smoothly as possible and, in particular, to come out strong while learning a lot along the way.

There will be bumps in the road, varying experiences, nerves, and uncertainty. But our ‘runners’- be they students or staff members- are intelligent, capable, hard-working individuals who will learn much about their own learning and capabilities along the way.

I realize that as we all start this new marathon, there is uncertainty and perhaps even doubt about how this will all unfold. As I said to the girls in our first virtual “e-ssembly” last Friday, I know that our spring term will be quite different from what we expected when saying goodbye before March Break.

However, I also have confidence that with support, reflection, ongoing communication, and helpful feedback we will all cross the finish line- proud, strong, having accomplished something outstanding.

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