Happy December, Friends!

This Thanksgiving found me with my extended family in New York, where my youngest sister lives. From Korean BBQ to bagels to Broadway everything felt decidedly normal-ish, welcome, and loud. That was our big holiday gathering this year, with my side of the family anyway, so Christmas festivities are likely to be a bit lower key, or at least in volume. I have to say, I am looking forward to that.

If I could wish you anything this holiday season, it would be some of that calm and connection in this ongoing storm. As welcome as Thanksgiving break was, mine was also punctuated with a good number of calls and emails from school leaders trying to wrestle a broad array of issues into submission. What I heard the most in those conversations was a degree of weariness that is unusual among our generally optimistic group. The wear and tear of aberrant community members is taking its toll.

As we watch the news of another variant unfold, I strongly urge you to lean into re-strengthening relationships across your community and continue to build new ones with the many new families, board members, and staff your school has gained. Those strong bonds have gotten us to this point in our ultramarathon and they will continue to serve us well if we make the time to secure them, and hopefully cut off some of the personality aberrations many schools are seeing.

Take the time to also enjoy the traditions of your school as we head into this needed winter break and appreciate the joy of the season found in those long-standing rhythms. You and your teams worked so hard to bring about these moments where those traditions can be reinstated. Over the break, don’t forget to take the time to reconnect with your wider world and support base. That community is vital to your long-term health, rejuvenation, and success as it helps to anchor you outside of the school world, something that somehow falls down the priority list in the face of pressing school needs.

As always, SAIS is here for you and your school. It is our privilege to help in any way we can and our listservs, roundtables, and other gatherings are also places for you to turn for answers, commiseration, celebrations, and ruminations. We look forward to reconnecting with you more in 2022!

Happy holidays!