Lauren McCaffrey, Grade 1, Lead Teacher and Lower Elementary Coordinator |
Dear Hollywood Schoolhouse |
Congratulations on hitting a milestone year; I feel honored to be a part of your history! It’s hard to believe I am going on 11 years knowing you. I met you in the early part of my adult life; welcomed into your community as a Junior Kindergarten teacher in the Dolphin class, followed by my current and tenured home as a 1st-Grade teacher for the past 9 years. Along the way, your warmth embraced and encouraged me to wear a variety of other “hats”, including being the Lower Elementary Coordinator for the past 4 years and more recently, extending your arms to welcome me as a parent.
Hollywood Schoolhouse, your community is more than a place I come to work; it has steadily become a part of the fabric of who I am. When finding a teaching position, there were many schools to consider in Los Angeles, but only one that spoke to everything I believed in as an educator and human: a learning community where individuals are known, valued, and encouraged. I truly felt as though I had hit the jackpot when I landed a position with you. Little did I realize that the idea of this learning community extended to more than just the students; it fully encompasses your community.
This idea of being known, valued, and encouraged is something one feels quickly upon joining your community. As a teacher I feel this, but let me share how I see it. Our students are KNOWN-truly and completely. This can be seen simply walking the halls of Hollywood Schoolhouse. Teachers, faculty, and staff know the names of all students (and most parents!) they see and if they don’t they quickly ask and learn. Students, families, and staff are VALUED. (Y)our small community provides a space for all voices, ideas, causes, and more to be heard. During our Monday Morning Meetings, 5th graders get the opportunity to lead. These students share something meaningful to them from that specific day in history. Other students, K-6, are invited up to share weekend stories, which are met with questions, cheers, and support. We take this time weekly to connect and bring everyone in our community together. And with this, we are all ENCOURAGED. Connecting during our Morning Meetings, in the halls, as Knights-many of whom have been at the school since they were 3, ties us all with an invisible string of connectedness. This bond encourages us all to be our best and do our best. There is nothing like seeing my 1st Graders be the “older buddies” to Preschool friends. They support and mentor these young scholars, encouraging them to come out of their shells, all while naturally being encouraged to lead by example.
When I think of the next 75 years, I think of how far you have come, all while staying true to your core values. While already being quite progressive for your time, you have matured in a way to become even more inclusive and diverse, while still grounding students in what is important: skills for being a lifelong learner. The learners you’ve produced have continued on inspired paths. It’s as if you are only just hitting your stride. I look forward to watching my two children grow within your nurturing arms, fostering their creativity and curiosity and plan to teach (and grow) here beyond that.
Hollywood Schoolhouse, you are more than just a friend or acquaintance on the journey of life; you are family that will forever be a part of me. While 11 years is of the shorter relationships you hold, it’s just the beginning for us. Thank you for teaching, guiding, and supporting me.
With love and gratitude,