Dear Mr. Land,
My husband, daughter, son-in-law, and I visited your school on February 5th. Thank you for your time, thoroughness, and tour. We were quite impressed with all aspects of the school. My husband was Director of Elementary Schools, supervising 33 elementary principals in Lexington, Kentucky and is currently an educational consultant with Safe and Civil Schools. Although I taught middle grades math, I was a NSF math coach for our state working with teachers and schools at all levels. I mention this only to let you know that we have been in hundreds of schools and we know what a welcoming, quality school feels like. We appreciated your warm welcome and contagious enthusiasm for Santa Rita School. The Office Staff greeted us as welcome guests, rather than distractions. The teachers we observed and with whom we spoke briefly were knowledgeable, friendly, and took obvious pride in their jobs and their kids. And the most important part of a school; the kids! When we gathered in the courtyard with you, one of the upper classes was in transition. As they left their classroom door and spotted guests in their midst, they gave each other signals to be quiet as they moved past us. Yes, they were well-behaved, but even better, they were so happy! We witnessed that across the tour; children engaged and smiling. The kindergarten boy, who explained the 100 day necklace to us, could barely contain his enthusiasm as he said, "And we get to eat it when we get home!!!" Santa Rita has a beautiful campus and it was so good to see the outdoors used as part of the educational space. Your school has many innovative programs and offerings with involvement potential for parents as well as school staff and students.
During the tour, my daughter asked you about entrance skills for incoming kindergartners. Your response, for the family to encourage reading and the joy of learning rather than being overly concerned with checking off skills from a checklist, was exactly what we needed to hear. You assured us that you will work with students as individuals, teaching each at his/her level. Shortly after our visit, I came across the the article with the attached link. I thought you would enjoy reading it.
I'm sorry that I didn't get names, but I want to thank the first grade teacher who took time from her busy planning period to explain the first grade literacy program. Please thank the kindergarten teachers for letting us interrupt their day. I want to end with one of the most impressive interactions we experienced. My husband returned to Santa Rita on February 7 (without an appointment or prior phone call) to pick up an enrollment packet, and the staff member at the front desk greeted him by saying, "You're Henry's grandfather!" Quite amazing! We wish we knew her name to reciprocate!
Again, please thank the entire staff at Santa Rita School for allowing us to tour the school and experience and enjoy the unique environment.
Bob and Kathy (Henry's grandparents)