Head of School Update 9.30.20

Lori Vander ArkUncategorized

Stillwater Community,

Greetings!  Now three weeks into the school year, I write today with an update on our status, some reminders, and to share our updated Strategic Plan with you. 

First, what a joy it was to welcome our students back on September 9.  I’ve been so encouraged by how much my own children are enjoying being back in school, including my kindergartner who comes home every day with the exclamation that school was “Amazing!”  I hope you’ve heard similar, though perhaps more restrained, expressions around your dinner table and that being back at school, even with restrictions and protocols, has brought joy and a sense of normalcy to your home. 

As you may know, COVID-19 cases have continued to rise in Flathead county with many local schools reporting multiple cases. Thankfully, we’ve only had one positive case at Stillwater; however, more than a dozen students and staff members have needed to quarantine due to “close contact” exposure to positive cases. This is an essential step that removes students and/or staff from in-person instruction for up to two weeks based on the incubation time of COVID-19.  I’m very pleased with how our teachers are leaning forward and using new tools to maintain continuity of instruction and learning for those students.

Every school day that a student is on campus for instruction is a win for that student, for Stillwater, and for his or her parents this year.  In order to maximize “wins,” we need everyone to cooperate and do their part.  Please help us by being appropriately vigilant in your practice of accepted risk mitigation strategies.  Use the chart below to screen your child(ren) daily and keep them home if they’re sick, erring on the side of caution.  Wear a face covering if you can and encourage your children to keep theirs on during the day.  Practice social distancing, which will not only help prevent infection spread, it will also keep you from being “contact-traced / quarantined.”  Thanks for taking this seriously and helping us keep students and teachers at school this year.

Thanks too for showing grace, patience, flexibility, and support both to us and to each other as we all seek to navigate this situation in a way that honors the Lord, protects the vulnerable, and respects others.  I’m sure it comes as no surprise that there are widely different opinions about COVID-19 in our school community.  Regardless of what we may think about the virus, the response, the politics of it, etc., I hope the measure of our “strength and courage” (SCS theme verse) this year will be the humility and love we show to each other in our dealings with one another. 

To that end, I look forward to launching a weekly devotional and prayer blog series on Friday tied to our 2020-21 theme verse, Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, do not be dismayed.  For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” 

Finally, on behalf of the SCS Board of Directors and leadership team, I’m pleased to present the 2020-21 Updated SCS21 Goals Document.  We continue to believe that this Strategic Plan provides the best roadmap for mission accomplishment and school improvement during the next 2-3 years. The priorities, strategies, and goals contained in this document stemmed from a comprehensive planning process that first took place in 2018 with annual updates reflecting new realities since the initial plan was unveiled.  I look forward to updating you on our progress in pursuing priority goals during the State of the School meetings in February. 

Thank you for reading this update and for your partnership in pursuing our mission and vision.  I pray God’s continued blessings on your family and on our students and school. 

In Him, 

Mr. Jeremy Marsh
Head of School