By Duncan Lyon, Head of School

In the long history of The Carey School, the 2019-2020 school year was one that would stand out. And then the pandemic hit.

A school year that began with the last of the 1950s buildings demolished would see that space transformed and soon take the shape of a two-story building to house 1st and 2nd grade other instructional spaces. The excavation and site work uncovered conditions that made us grateful that our community was ready and willing to make safer, modern spaces for teaching and learning. Part of the entitlement process that enabled this work to get going also allowed for the school’s conditional use permit to increase from 249 students to 258 students. When the application deadline arrived in January 2020, the school had received a record number of applications, which would lead to the highest enrollment figure in the school’s history.

On January 27, 2020, I sent the first of dozens of emails to our community about the “novel coronavirus.” By March 13, Carey had moved to remote learning. Theoretical back pocket plans to deliver instruction remotely in the event of an emergency were now being actualized on every desk and laptop. Carey at Home was launched. Zoom became so ubiquitous that by the time we held our first virtual auction and graduation in school history, we began to reimagine our traditions anew and ponder learnings for a post-pandemic world. And, in early June, Carey stood as one in stating that Black Lives Matter.

It was heartening that as this memorable school year ended, so many families expressed renewed appreciation for this institution. One parent of a recent graduate summed it up this way:

“We are fortunate that [our son] has had the privilege of an elementary education as fine as Carey. The last few years of SEL education, role modeling by teachers and staff, reinforcement of Carey values daily in a joyful place, have all come together for him. He found a safe atmosphere at Carey to take some risks and we hope he continues to do more of that…The last few years have been educational not just for our son, but for me as well. Discovering the nuances of what is developmentally appropriate, which are the values that will help him bat for the long term, emphasis on social skills, etc., has helped me understand what the priorities should be…We are leaving Carey with a heart full of gratitude.”

Amid it all, the essence of a Carey education continues to endure. Just when our world needs it most.