September 9, 2021

Dear Harbor Families,

I know you have probably had your fill of letters from me recently, with all of the back to school reminders hitting your inboxes regularly in these last few weeks. But here I am again - writing to introduce you to the first issue of Harbor Highlights, our weekly newsletter published each Thursday afternoon. Throughout the school year, this is where you'll find important dates, upcoming community events, updates on our COVID protocols, and other information and reminders. Please be sure to look through each issue to stay informed!

This year, we look forward to more opportunities for connection within and across our school and class communities, through a mix of in-person and virtual events. With the support of our Harbor School Parents Association (HSPA), we have a full and exciting set of community events planned, and hope that you will get involved in whatever way you are able.

At the risk of making this yet another dense email (sorry!), I wanted to take this opportunity to reiterate our focus areas for the 2021-2022 school year.

We are excited to share that following collaborative planning with the entire faculty in the spring, a committee of teachers worked this summer to develop interdisciplinary units in each grade level. Units often have a focus on a science or social studies topic, and integrate common core standards in reading, writing, and math, as well as technology, themes of social justice, the physical curriculum, and the arts. Learning experiences aligned with each unit will be hands-on and responsive to students' interests. Sound familiar? If you are a returning family, you'll recognize this model as being very similar to our annual Spiral curriculum.

In holding with our mission, Harbor is an inclusive community dedicated to promoting empathy, understanding, and critical thinking in our young students at a developmentally appropriate level. Our goals include promoting a sense of belonging for all members of the community, ensuring we are using resources that represent a diversity of perspectives and experiences, and integrating understandings about diversity, identity, and fairness into our curriculum. Pages 4 and 5 of these social justice standards help to guide our work in the classrooms.

This year is a re-accreditation year at The Harbor School, which means that as a community, we will be engaging in a thorough and rigorous process of self-reflection which happens with this level of detail only every ten years. Our accrediting body, the Association of Independent Maryland and DC Schools (AIMS), provides us with a process and framework for our self-study, which will culminate in a three-day visit from a visiting team in the spring. We look forward to a deepening and reflective experience!

Finally, we hope you will mark your calendars for our virtual Back to School Night on the 23rd at 7 PM! In addition to classroom presentations by your child(ren)'s teachers, you will hear more about these three focus areas for the 2021-22 school year. We look forward to seeing you there - and to a wonderful school year!


Leah Musico

Head of School

Harbor School