December 14, 2023

Dear Harbor Families,

As we count down the hours until winter break, there is a palpable feeling of community connection and cheer among the teachers, along with anticipation for a restful winter break. As you might imagine, being a teacher is a labor of love - with equal parts labor and love! As 2023 comes to a close, we naturally pause and reflect, to take stock in all that we have accomplished, namely the wonderful growth and learning that we have seen in your children. 

The school year began with classroom teachers setting up clear expectations and class routines, along with careful attention to developing classroom communities, as well as assessing student learning. Each grade has embarked on learning through at least two thematic units, following students’ interests and with a guided inquiry approach. Every day, students learn through hands-on, multisensory experiences that are tailored to their learning styles and levels.

Throughout the fall, students have enjoyed in-house experiences such as the petting zoo and pumpkin farm, a visiting drummer, and a Nature On Wheels visit just last week. Students have had field trips to the fire station next door, the Air and Space Museum, the farm, the Museum of African American History and Culture, and even the White House. We’ve held spirit days, had parent presenters, and hosted open classrooms. We had our first in-person book fair since the pandemic, along with an amazing PJ Party. And perhaps the highlight of the fall at Harbor was our 50th Anniversary Community Picnic at Smokey Glen Farm. It’s been a wonderful fall at Harbor!

Looking ahead to 2024, we are excited to welcome in the new year with a focus on our Spiral curriculum topic of “Nautical Explorations!” Please join us on the morning of Friday, January 5th, our first week back, to learn more about Spiral and participate in a brainstorming session with your students at Open Classrooms. That morning, we will be excited to share more about our collaboration with the KID Museum, where we spent our professional development afternoon last week (thank you for the time!). We will be working alongside KID Museum educators here at Harbor, to integrate maker-centered learning into our Spiral projects! We look forward to using tools such as cardboard, fabric, and wood, along with technology such as our student iPads, our many coding resources, and our new 3D printer as we collaborate to pursue students' interests about all things maritime! Spiral Night will be held on the evening of Thursday, February 22nd, where you will be invited into the building to see student projects, which are sure to be impressive.

Finally, as you look forward to 2024, please mark your calendars now for Saturday, April 13th for a very special event in celebration of Harbor’s 50th birthday - our 50th Anniversary Gala and Auction, which will be held at the new KID Museum location in the heart of Bethesda. It is a striking - and very fitting - space for us to celebrate such a momentous occasion for our unique school in its 50th year! The Auction Committee has been working on plans for an incredible celebration (including a DJ and dancing), so be sure to secure your tickets - and your babysitter - early in the new year!

We are looking forward to a phenomenal 2024! In the meantime, we are sending warm wishes to all of you for a restful and fun winter break and joyous holiday season!

Warm wishes,

Leah Musico
Head of School 

Harbor School