Hey Fernbank!

You made it to Day 12 and the end of week 2! Great work!

I hope it is starting to feel more natural and less forced, this crazy new normal. I have been thinking about what this time is like for our kids. We know it is an anxiety producing time for us grown-ups, no doubt! But it keeps coming to me that kids are sponges for information of all kinds. The good thing is that they are going to soak up all kinds of learning thanks to excellent and determined teachers and parents and caregivers who are invested in them and present to them during this time. But they will also soak up our feelings and anxieties about this time, too. So be careful with your words and your actions—they will absorb them. This can be helpful to you, too. If you have to be steady and solid for your kiddos, it might even calm you in the process. We are in this. We are all in this, and we are doing this, and doing it really well. We are now under a stay-at-home order that basically requires us to do what we should have been doing already. I don’t know about you, but this lowers my anxiety because I know I don’t have the power to control anyone else, but the county can.

And this brings up my biggest issue: control, and not having any of it in this situation. In years past, I used to joke that for Lent I was going to give up control, but this year it’s not really a choice. And, even though I’m not comfortable with that, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Our own Ms. Alicia Jacobs, librarian extraordinaire, once told me “Worry is a misuse of imagination” and I have never forgotten it. I think of that phrase and of Ms. Jacobs often when I start stressing out because it is so true!  And with all this opportunity to use our imaginations, we really should put them to the best use. So toward that end, I encourage you to put down all the worry and anxiety this weekend. Don’t worry about what we cannot control, instead use your imaginations to think of what we can do to help, to soothe, to comfort, to care for each other.

I met virtually with PTA, Foundation, & PAC members today and they have galvanized along with members of Glenn and Oak Grove United Methodist Churches to help feed and house our large handful of students who are in danger of losing both. We have committed to ensuring they are fed and have housing.  I am so proud of our community. Additionally, starting next week, we are going to ask folks to donate old tablets or laptops that can be used by our students who don’t have any way to access the curriculum. Other ways people are using their imaginations include some families putting paper hearts in each of their windowpanes to show solidarity with one another. Others are putting out their holiday lights. So put those imaginations to GOOD use and let’s do this right.

Thanks for being amazing and wonderful—I am beyond grateful—I am beholden! 

As always, I thank you for your continued partnership in education!!!

~ Ms. Ray

P.S. I am posting a book I read, but also some adorable videos of amazing Fernbank kids doing their thing. Take time to enjoy them together and then put your collective imaginations toward what you can do to make things better. We will also be posting a blog that will have of our videos plus my emails and other great info!  Stay tuned--it comes Monday!   Kindergartener Amira reads Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?    Valentina & Gaia read Mr. Panda   Roark makes seed bombs!  Arthur plays piano!   Ms. Ray reads Pancakes, Pancakes!

Joan Fowler Ray, Principal  

Fernbank Elementary School

Dear Fernbank,

Happy Day 11!  It’s another beautiful day and I hope you are able to enjoy at least some of it.

We are nearing the end of our second virtual week and, just as I thought to myself, “Wow—this week has really flown compared to last week!” we got the message from the Governor about school being closed until April 24th. Now I had known in my head that we were and needed to be closed for a long time, and I even thought May in my head, but there is something about hearing an actual date that makes it more real. Especially when you realize that date is a month away.

So I, like you I am sure, am recalibrating my mind and my heart and processing this new information. Firstly, I know it is doable. Secondly, I know it will be a challenge. But thirdly, schools are germ factories and as I think about all the happy reunions of teachers and students there will be so much hugging involved that I come to the conclusion that we really should wait as long as it takes to keep everyone safe. And I can live with that & maybe even because of that. 

This morning, Ms. Ferguson, our music teacher, posted this snippet from a British morning show where the host is reading from a letter written by a Chinese woman who has already lived through 7 weeks of quarantine. It was helpful to me, so I hope it is for you, too.

Remember, the truth is we are all doing this in real time together, so we share these experiences across our community and there is a solace and reassurance in knowing we are not alone. You are not alone and just look at how far we have come in a week and a half!

We got this! And we’ve got your kids, too.

Take care, be well & thank you for your continued partnership in education!

~Ms. Ray

Joan Fowler Ray, Principal Fernbank Elementary School

Governor Kemp's School Closure Announcement

From: Mrs. Ramona Tyson, Interim Superintendent Subject: Notification: Governor Kemp's School Closure Announcement Date: March 26, 2020 Please see attached message from Mrs. Ramona

Tyson, Interim Superintendent, regarding Governor Kemp's school closure announcement.


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