Here at Friends Quaker school
We follow values more than rules
Every teacher, parent, child
Can be a friend, share a smile
I can tell that we are going to be friends

When I re-wrote the White Stripes song to open our first Meeting for Worship, those words flowed out effortlessly.

My first months here have been full of new friendships and open hearts. What has welcome looked like? It looked like…

  • lunches, river walks and “heads-ups” about local events.
  • open minds and a healthy dose of humor­ as our leadership team comes together.
  • thoughtful emails and talks about what’s going well and what we can build on.
  • a parent giving me directions for a beautiful bike route so I could join him for lunch at the food trucks downtown.

It is my true hope that all of our new community members ­–students, families, teachers –are experiencing this same warm feeling of welcome.

I have been joining classes this first week and I am so impressed with the creative ways teachers are quickly weaving all the students together. There were word-find puzzles with every student’s name, lining up in order of birthdates without speaking, even an olfactorally-questionable circle game with the student in the middle having to reach into a pile of shoes and guess which classmate the shoe belongs to. After just two days it’s already difficult to see who the new students are, though teachers do monitor and check in with them regularly.

This is more than “Minnesota nice,” it’s our school’s Quaker values in action. Equality: we all have a divine light inside us. Regardless of age or role in the school, we can embrace the opportunity for real relationship. Community: our school and our lives are enriched and strengthened by the ties we create between every one of us. Peace: this is how it begins…

Thank you for welcoming me in, and for giving our team the opportunity to extend this experience to all our new and returning students.

There has been a quiet, almost contented feeling to this first week (not to downplay the noise and excitement). Let’s continue to reach out and welcome in, working together to build a close community for our children and for each other.

In peace,

Rick
rickj@fsmn.org

FSMN Head of School