We received some much needed rain here in the Susquehanna Valley as we welcomed in the 22-23 school year. There was a buzz in the air as students and parents arrived. The playground was ready to be enjoyed, the classrooms were ready to welcome in the students, and the gym was prepared for the Rose Ceremony. A lot of time, love, and energy was put into ensuring that the school year started with ease and joy.

SWS families, teachers, and staff came together on the last weekend in August for SWS’s annual playground cleanup day. There were alums painting playground structures, families weeding, and students getting some much needed social time after a summer apart. Everyone pitched in to make our playground ready for the school year! The day ended with Italian ice and popsicles thanks to Mrs. McIntyre.

A couple days later, SWS teachers and staff gathered for Back to School meetings in preparation for the school year. Everyone participated in a “Contextualizing Curriculum” workshop with Alma Partners, where faculty and staff discussed anti-bias education, wrote “Where I’m From” poems, and planned for the next workshop in October, during which faculty will delve into how to create more diverse and inclusive curriculums. Faculty members discussed the summer training they participated in focusing on such areas as preparation for the grades, painting, singing, woodworking, World Languages and Healing Arts. It was three fun days of learning, singing, discussion, and even charades! All agreed that it was great for everyone to be back together again.

On September 6th, it was time for school to officially begin! Parents and caregivers were greeted by members of the SWS Parent Guild with coffee, tea, and snacks which provided a wonderful opportunity to welcome new families and reconnect with returning ones. The first graders eagerly waited with their class teacher, Mrs. Larson,  until the moment their Rose Ceremony would be celebrated. Ms. Tucker, the eighth grade teacher, and Miss Tabea, an Early Childhood teacher, greeted the crowd in the SWS gym with the first lines of a welcome song and were soon joined in song by all the faculty and staff. Afterwards, Ms. Tucker introduced Mrs. Larson to an appreciative audience and the moment had then arrived for the first graders to walk across the Rainbow Bridge to receive their roses and enter their new world as grade students. Mrs. Larson called each student one by one and each was led to the Rainbow Bridge by their kindergarten teacher. Mrs. Larson shook their hands on the other side of the bridge, and their 8th grade buddies greeted each one with a red rose, the petals of which  symbolize the journey they are each beginning as first graders. When the eleventh student received her rose, Mrs. Larson introduced the Class of 2030 to much applause! Sitting together and listening intently to Mrs. Larson, the children received  a story which illustrated the beginning of their journey (pictured above). Welcome to the class of 2030 and the 2022-23 school year!