An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Elaine Christensen, Middle School director

This is the last Inside Lakeside of the year and I want to reflect, for a minute, on the year we have had. It is difficult to remember those days when, as parents and guardians, we put our kids on the bus; when they spent all day with other people in classes, on the playground, in the lunchroom, in after school study hall; when they sat right next to teachers to get extra help on a paper or a math problem; when they shared cookies or Cup-o-Noodles; when they careened into a group hug at the end of a big game. But those moments made up much of the school year, even if they feel like a lifetime ago. I believe that a huge part of the success we are having in this remote learning paradigm is because of the connections our community cultivated when we were face to face. And I believe that those moments, the ones when people interact authentically and in real time, will return. It may not look exactly the same, but we will be together in community again.

Lakeside has already started putting together plans for the fall that will emphasize community and educational excellence. In making our plans, we will need to be nimble and responsive to the larger context. As Bernie Noe talks about in his article this month, we will likely be in a blended learning environment next fall: in person sometimes and remote school at other times. However we gather to build community and learn, there will be protocols in place that keep students and adults safe. Check out our Q&A webinar from this week to learn more about what we are thinking for next fall.

Right now, we are working hard to ensure a strong finish to this year. The last day of school is June 5. It’s a short day: After advisory, students, faculty, and staff will gather in a virtual assembly where we say farewell to departing faculty and staff. Then every teacher will have open office hours so that students can “drop by” and say farewell. We’ll be celebrating our oldest students at 8th grade graduation on Tuesday, June 9 at 7 p.m. Families of 8th graders will receive a Zoom invitation for the event. Bernie Noe and I will deliver some brief remarks, after which we will send a link to student speeches and some fun surprises.

Grades and comments for the final quarter will be posted on Wednesday, June 17. As you plan your family’s summer, check out the summer reading suggestions from our English teachers and librarians. We hope you will be able to spend the summer outside, with family and close friends, getting rested and ready for a full and productive fall.

This is my last Inside Lakeside article; I’ll be graduating with the 8th graders and heading on to be head of school at Open Window School in Bellevue. It’s been my honor and privilege to have spent so many years at Lakeside as a student, teacher, crew coach, Upper School administrator, and Middle School administrator. Lakeside School taught me that it’s okay (even imperative) to take risks, that curiosity is core to learning, that hard work is necessary to achieving success, and that inclusivity and kindness are values I hold above just about everything else. Because of Lakeside, I truly do embrace the joy and importance of lifelong learning. The Middle School is in good hands with the incoming Middle School director, Reem Abu Rahmeh, and Assistant Director Robert Blackwell. All my best to all of you!

This month, Elaine Christensen ’82 finishes her tenure as Lakeside’s Middle School director. You can reach her through the end of June at MSdirector@lakesideschool.org and 206-440-2772. This summer, Christensen will become head of school at the Open Window School in Bellevue.