Constant Comment News
News from Burgundy's Constant Comment newsletter, available only to Burgundy families after website login.
Ticks are widespread in wooded and grassy areas all over our region. With the spread of Lyme disease on the East Coast, it is important to take responsibility for yourself and your child after outdoor experiences. During tick season (late spring into mid-summer), check yourself and your child for ticks daily. Deer ticks can be removed only with tweezers, and should be saved in alcohol (in case you want to have the tick tested) while you watch the spot for further signs of infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more details about Lyme Disease.
Recently caretaker Ali Shepard ’04 brought some new animals to join the herd in Burgundy’s barnyard. There are three turkeys—two females, one male, all Narragansett turkeys, a heritage breed. One of the females hatched with deformed toes and slight head bob; the other female has been a companion for her. Ali also added two new hens; they are Golden Laced Wyandotte and Black Sex Link varieties. Ali reports everyone is settling in fine and she expects visitors to the barnyard will enjoy the beautiful new look these fowl bring as well as the new sounds from the turkeys. For a short time last fall, Burgundy hosted a rescue turkey named Blossom, but she was unable to live outdoors and returned to a previous owner.
The teachers and Elizabeth, Jared, Pat, and I are back from the annual faculty retreat, which took place at the Cove Monday and Tuesday. We had a wonderful kick-off with teachers, with ice-breakers, great meals, and recreation time, along with a slate of team meetings and great professional conversations on diversity and differentiation, two of our summer reading topics! We are fortunate to have such an incredible mountain campus and academic program there! And, yes, it was hot even there! Big thanks to Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies Director Vini Schoene ’73, David Sicree, and Jennifer Smith for hosting us!
Teachers, administrators, and staff are on campus this week here in Alexandria, in coordinating meetings, setting up classrooms, and generally getting ready for the first day of school, next Wednesday! Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, is the orientation day for new parents and students.
We'll have the long weekend coming up to contemplate our hopes and dreams for the coming year and for teachers to put final touches on their classroom spaces. And then, beginning with the preliminary activities Tuesday, we will be greeting your children with open hearts, minds, and arms. We look forward to seeing you and your students! Don't forget the BPA First Day Coffee on Wednesday and the Burgundy Back to School BBQ on Friday next week!
See you soon!
Officially, Burgundy's very successful auction was just one night in March, but the experiences offered as auction items have kept the fun going during the spring and summer! Several students and families have recently benefited from auction parties and events.
There were pool parties where students splashed into summer, a fairy wand-making party to bring a little magic to the end of the year, and handprint parties where JK students left their mark on the Norton House wall. Children and parents dove into the world of Minecraft with a lesson and lunch in the makerspace in The Logan Loft in two sessions in June, and in May a group of adults enjoyed a Jeffersonian-style dinner party with fine dining and meaningful discussion around the table.
We know there’s lots more fun to come from the auction — coordinator Allison Niedbala welcomes photos at email@example.com.
Once you’re connected to Burgundy, you’re always a part of our family! We encourage alumni, their families, and former faculty and staff to stay connected. In addition to sharing news back and forth, we’re also happy to host visitors.
Recently we enjoyed two visits in one day! Alumnus Mike Bianco, who attended Burgundy for two years of elementary school in 1946-1948, and his friend Pat stopped by to see the many changes to our Alexandria campus since his student days. Former teacher and alumna Meegan Scott ’88 also visited Norton House with her young son. Meegan taught at Burgundy until 2009.
Thank you to everyone who made a donation to Burgundy's Annual Giving Fund for 2017-2018! This year we saw significant increases in two key areas: parent participation and overall giving. For the parents, there was a 30% increase in participation, which is a fantastic achievement. Overall, the Annual Giving Fund saw an increase of 15% in dollars raised, which is another cause for great celebration!
We want to thank all of the volunteers who dedicated themselves to ensure the success of this critical effort, especially class agents and our Annual Giving chairs Mike and Anita Hill. We could not have done it without you!
The Annual Giving Fund starts again with each fiscal year, which is July 1 to June 30 at Burgundy. Help us start the 2018-2019 giving year strong by reviewing ways to give or making a one-time or recurring gift today. Annual Giving contributes a significant portion of our operating revenue. Your contribution helps ensure we preserve the richness of our diverse and exciting programs!
We’re thrilled to announce that both the Fall Fair and Burgundy Auction will be chaired by returning volunteers in the 2018-2019 school year! Alex Rutherford and Darcy Katzin return to chair the Fall Fair on Saturday, October 13, 2018, while Jane Hyatt Thorpe and Betsy Erickson will helm the auction on Saturday, March 2, 2019. We appreciate having an extended commitment from both of these sets of co-chairs.
Please keep in mind that we’re collecting supplies for Kids’ Closet, Used Books, and Games at the Fall Fair. And we’re always looking for new auction offerings — contact Allison Niedbala at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to discuss an idea for donating an item or experience.
Amazon shoppers, you may know that Prime Day is coming up July 16-17. Share a smile — and a percentage of your purchase — by shopping at Amazon Smile! Visit Smile.Amazon.com, where you will be prompted to choose a charitable organization you'd like to support. Type "Burgundy" into the search tool, select our school, and Burgundy will receive 0.5% of the purchase price of your eligible purchases. These dollars add up, and last year Smile shoppers earned approximately $675 for Burgundy’s Annual Giving fund. Thank you!
Please note that only purchases made after logging on from Smile.Amazon.com (not Amazon.com) qualify. Be sure to designate Burgundy before any big shopping sprees on Prime Day!
Don’t forget about the other affinity programs Burgundy has with local and national retailers. Sign up your grocery loyalty card (Giant and Harris Teeter) to benefit Burgundy and look for Box Tops on the products you buy. If you shop at Pottery Barn you can give to Burgundy through their affinity program. For more details, visit the Ways to Give page and click the Affinity Programs tab. We appreciate the community's support in these supplemental fundraising opportunities.
We hope your family is enjoying summer! Now in its week four, Burgundy Summer Day Camp is having a fantastic summer under Director Hugh Squire, and the campers, their families, and the staff are enjoying the campus improvements (and no construction!). The Burgundy Center for Wildlife Studies camp also is in full swing under longtime director Vini Schoene ’73 and her staff.
It’s been a busy but productive month since school ended for administrators and staff. For year-round administrators and staff at school, June is a busy month of transition from one school year to the next, closing out one academic and business year in order to open the next, including a long list of tasks. Burgundy admin and staff are busy collecting all tuitions owed and pledges to annual giving and campaigns, paying bills, and sending out report cards and transcripts to high schools. The school’s annual audit is prepared while financial planning — now based on firmer numbers — continues for the following school year, databases are updated, and administrators complete hiring and meet as a team to plan everything from orientation of new faculty, staff, administrators, and families to strategic planning updates that guide our goal-setting as a institution for the following year.
While trying to both catch up and prepare for another school year, our family is trying to make the most of summer, and this is a very unusual year, indeed, because I am taking a substantially longer vacation than normal. First, Tee and I are taking a dream week in Bali (a trip that came about through our support of the Emerging Scholars auction — another story, another time!). After this, which would on its own be the trip of a lifetime, we are thrilled to have our daughters, Tonasia, 25, and Tatum (Viceroys) meet us in Viet Nam for a family-friendly 10-day tour of that fascinating country, with whom ours has such a poignant relationship, in what should be a phenomenal learning experience for all of us. We all feel incredibly lucky for these experiences, and I hope to return refreshed and ready for the rest of the busy summer at Burgundy!
Thursday evening we held our 8th Grade Graduation in the Gym. As always, it was incredible!
Burgundy's graduations feature the graduating 8th graders; a very small portion of the ceremonies are adults speaking! The program for the graduation each year is designed by the graduating 8th graders themselves, with a minimum of facilitative help from their teachers and the ‘bones’ of the traditions carried forward from previous graduations. The graduation typically consists of speeches and musical and artistic performances by the students, along with an opening video, with a skit or song from advisors, comments from the Middle School Head and short remarks from the Head. As a result, each year's graduation manifests the particular character and talents of that class. They typically run, including a lengthy but poignant processional and video, less than 80 minutes and are superbly entertaining and most of all, beautifully reflective of the Burgundy mission and spirit!
Last night, the students expressed their strong connections to Burgundy and sense of Burgundy as a second home, their respect and affection for one another, and their appreciation for their teachers and parents who have helped them become the people they are today. Very moving, and sprinkled among a set of dazzling musical performances.
In my own brief remarks, I spoke about the ‘gift of time’ children receive at Burgundy. It is a gift that is patient and respectful of children’s developmental variety and needs. It is the crux of the student-teacher relationships. And it makes all the difference!
We wish the best to the Class of 2018! We will miss them. But we know they're going to continue to be amazing people in high school and beyond!
This morning, with the now graduated 8th graders on a class outing to King's Dominion, we gathered the rising K-8 students and faculty in the Gym to celebrate the close of another school year. With thunderous cheers we 'installed' the rising 8th graders as the new student leaders of the school, and we honored each class's 'graduation' to the next class. We also offered heartfelt farewells to departing teachers and staff before Assistant Head of School Elizabeth Lener and Cathy Manley led us in song.
Thank you for all of your support this year! And thank you today and always to the Burgundy teachers and staff for the incredible amount of work they have put in and for the love they've afforded our students.
It has been a great last week of school, capping off a great year. Next week, while teachers and administrators wrap up with faculty work week, there will be an exciting Gap Camp. The following week, Elizabeth and many teachers will continue work to plan improvements to our curriculum. Many of our staff will be on campus working much of the summer, please say hello if you're around!
We hope to see many familiar faces at Gap Camp, Summer Day Camp, or BCWS Camp! Regardless of your summer plans, have a wonderful summer!