Remotely Challenging Education

Head of School, Dr. Jessie Barrie
Happy spring, everyone! I am very grateful for the warming of the winds, the exploding buds on the trees, and the optimism that always comes with the conclusion of winter. 

This is a heartbreaking week as we had initially hoped to return to campus, in-person classes, and the celebrations of the final months of school. I know we are all going through our various grieving processes for the spring we had hoped to have. I also know that as our time of social isolation wears on, our energy and enthusiasm can be challenged. Thoughtful routines become even more important. Over the weekend, I came across this post (pictured on the right) on social media, and it really resonated with me.

I wrote these out on my own Post-it Notes and stuck them to the monitor I am typing on now (and look at most of the day). Here are my answers for today: 
  1. I am grateful to be part of a community that cares so deeply about each other and continues to find ways to meaningfully connect even when we are far apart.
  2. I checked in this morning with a retired former colleague whom I haven’t talked to in months, to make sure he and his wife are doing ok and staying healthy.
  3. I am letting go of the expectation that I maintain my typical high energy for the day (as I am really struggling with afternoon lethargy from all the sitting).
  4. I will take my dogs for what has become a long daily walk in our neighborhood or in the Los Poblanos Fields after work today.
  5. See #4 above. 
  6. The beauty I hope to cultivate today is by sharing with you the really powerful ways that our students and staffulty continue to lean into Bosque’s model of Challenging Education and our values of Scholarship, Integrity, and Community, even remotely. So here goes:
  • Ms. Lineback asked her 7th grade Spanish classes to create a video from a selection of prompts such as "Create a blog/vlog talking about the best and worst foods and drinks from around the world, especially the Spanish-speaking world." The videos were acted and voiced completely in Spanish, showcased our students’ creativity, and involved many family members and pets. As an example, Ada '25 served her little sister from her family's "food truck " (aka: car) with a full menu of Mexican food options.
  • Mr. Simpson completely redesigned the main assignment for his 10th grade history class this quarter; rather than writing a document-based essay, students will create their own primary source chronicle of their experiences during this time, using their knowledge of documents from the period of the Black Death as models. Students immediately dug into this, seeming to really appreciate the opportunity to process their current reality.
  • Prior to our shift to remote learning, Mr. Etigson's 7th grade English class was deep into exploring their cultural heritage and culling through the folk tales, myths, and fables of their people to find an appropriate story to tell to an elementary student. They were preparing to travel to Manzano Day School to read to 2nd and 3rd graders when the shift to remote learning was announced. Instead, Mr. Etigson asked his students to record themselves reading their stories aloud as a conclusion to the project; we are planning to eventually share these with the Manzano Day School students. 
  • Ms. Pedrick asked her 6th grade English students to submit optional poetry that expressed how they have been feeling during this challenging time. The results were powerful and impressive. 
  • Our school’s commitment to Service Learning has not diminished in recent weeks. Actually, students have been initiating even more contact with their service partners and seeking meaningful ways to help. When Anna Rutins, Service Learning director, reached out to our partner organizations with offers of support she was told, “I very much appreciate your email.  We have had all volunteer groups cancel.  This type of outreach means more than you will ever know.” In recent weeks, our students have organized multiple drives to support vulnerable populations in Albuquerque and collaborated to put forward grant applications to support local organizations. Bosque alum Danielle Rivera, Class of 2010, has been working to develop a centralized process for collecting and distributing donated personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline medical workers.  
  • During his spring break, Mr. Allen volunteered to provide free math activities and resources to be shared alongside the Grab & Go meals offered at various APS school sites.  
  • Ms. Bode, our amazing performing arts teacher, is having all her students create a commercial this week for a product, real or imaginary, that would help them get through their social isolation. She is also working to organize radio shows to provide a space for students to showcase performances they have been working on in recent months, with a plan to share with the whole community (stay tuned).  
  • Ms. Moore’s upper school Economics class has been able to apply the unfortunate realities of COVID-19 to an authentic case study that allows students to apply the tools of economics in real time.  Students are analyzing the COVID-19 crisis through basic, micro, macro, and global economic lenses. This week, students are using the crisis to demonstrate their understanding of scarcity, opportunity cost, incentives, trade-offs, economic choices, needs vs. wants, and factors of production.  The discussion has been nuanced and complex, with students researching the opportunity cost of freedom vs. safety and shifts in supply and factors of production, particularly with access to medicine and drugs. Students also are analyzing the various incentives and how they affect communities' abilities to deal with the crisis effectively.
  • Our Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) students joined Bosque’s Nurse Hiring Committee and thoughtfully put forth important questions to be answered by our current finalists.   
The great examples go on and on. We will continue to do all we can to uphold our mission and values as a school. My guess is this forced time apart will make us even stronger as a community. It has been so fun to see our students and families engaging in the various community challenges held in our electronic morning meetings  (especially heartwarming were the recreated family photos that you will see in this BUZZ). There are countless examples of staffulty connecting to their students outside of the virtual “classroom.” The heartwarmer of the week was Mr. Middelton’s “bring your stuffed animal” to lunch; it was a hit with his juniors and seniors!   As one staffulty member told me this week, I have also learned even more—which I didn't think was possible—how much Bosque means to me. I miss my community, and I am holding on to what a beautiful moment it will be when we all get to physically come together again. I can’t imagine any of us disagree with this sentiment. 

In closing, please take the time to read last year’s Annual Report that was emailed to you yesterday (and is also linked in this BUZZ). I hope the vibrant photos of our community and powerful messages of belief in Bosque will remind us of the bright future ahead for all of us. 

Stay calm. Stay healthy. Stay Connected.
All the best,

Jessie Barrie, PhD
Head of School