An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Rob Blackwell, Middle School assistant director

While thinking about the many ways the past two years have changed our lives, I cannot help but admire the field of education. Since as early as March 2020, educators across the nation have experienced challenges unlike any other. Yet, it was understood that even though these challenges seemed too large to overcome, the effort to keep pushing forward safely remained the goal for all school models: public, parochial, and private.

These challenges were true for the Lakeside community. We knew during times of dynamic change and transition that our mission and values would continue to guide us as we moved forward. We knew that working together as a community gave us the best shot to get through the challenges ahead; to protect our core values so that our sense of community was not lost but strengthened. Sacrifices were asked and made by many throughout phases of re-opening and continue to present time. An example of the unity shown by the community was when we were asked to be mindful of the spaces that we intersected with, to ensure that all community members and their families were safe. This meant vacation locations and who we shared them with had to be considered for the greater good of keeping our school doors open. We succeeded!

Even as we learn to navigate through another variant, and changes to our health and safety protocols ensue, we must continue to fill our collective hearts with joy. We hope that your conversations with your students benefit from the stories of hope, support, and resilience that teachers share in the forthcoming report card comments. Stay in touch — we love hearing from our parent and guardian community!

Cell phone collection

This month marks the return of the Middle School advisory check-in and cell phone collection by advisors. Every morning, students will hand in their phones to their advisors during morning check-in and will collect their phones at the end of the academic day from their advisors. Students who need to make a call home should do so through the front office.

If you need to get an urgent message to your student during school hours, please call the front office at 206-368-3630. If families need to communicate with students in the afternoon, they should do so by calling the library at 206-440-2779. For more information, see the email that Middle School Director Reem Abu Rahmeh sent on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Valentine’s Day at the Middle School

While it can be a fun day to celebrate friendships, we all know that Valentine’s Day can be fraught with opportunities to be exclusive. Here are some guidelines we will communicate with the students.

  • Lakeside does not support any official programming for Valentine’s Day.
  • Students are encouraged to refrain from bringing any gifts of any kind.
  • If they do choose to bring any cards or treats, there should be enough for the whole advisory group, or their whole grade level.  
  • Knowing that some students may still want to engage in cards or gift exchanges with close friends, we ask that these exchanges take place off campus and not during the school day. 

Webinar and event recordings, including the Jan. 19 parent/guardian webinar with Middle School administrators and Julie Lutton, Lakeside’s 5-12 personal development and wellness department head, can be found on the parents and guardians webpage. The next webinar with Middle School administrators will be March 17.

See below for information about two February webinars for parents and guardians.

Important dates and events for February

Make sure to review the full calendar for information about PGA and other school events, as well as parent/guardian affinity groups and meet-ups. Please note that the Feb. 9 Bernie Noe Endowed Lecture on Ethics and Politics with Isabel Wilkerson has been cancelled due to concerns about COVID and community health.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 1, 7-8:15 p.m.: PGA general membership virtual meeting and suicide prevention training. Most of the meeting will be a suicide prevention training based on the "Forefront in the Schools" initiative. This adults-only presentation will provide parents and guardians with practical tips on how to talk about suicide with teens, how to identify warning signs, and what to do if you are concerned that someone you know may be suicidal. 
  • Thursday, Feb. 3, 7-8:30 p.m.: “Intersections of Identity and Wellbeing Parent/Guardian Webinar: Identity and Body Image” hosted by Lakeside’s personal development and wellness department. Parents and guardians will receive an email with a link to register. A recording of the webinar will be posted the following day on the parents and guardians webpage. Read more and find a link to the first webinar in the series, “Identity and Mental Health.
  • Friday, Feb. 11, 7-10 p.m.: Middle School dance for students in grades 7 and 8. Students will receive information about it in advisory. Please note: We are watching COVID case counts and will make a final decision on holding the dance by Feb. 4. 
  • Wednesday, Feb. 16, 7-8:30 p.m.: Educational webinar on bias. Parents and guardians are invited to attend an educational webinar to build understanding of implicit and explicit bias; share the effects of bias on learning; and learn how to interrupt harmful bias with respect and grace, and with the purpose of growth and learning. Learn more.
  • Monday, Feb. 21 – Friday, Feb. 25: Midwinter break; no classes. Classes resume on Monday, Feb. 28.

Rob Blackwell is Lakeside’s Middle School assistant director. You can reach him at 206-440-2721 and