April showers bring May flowers—we all know that. But what brings the showers? Students at The New Century School do!
Last month, TNCS students in Maria Waldron’s primary Montessori classroom were given a really big job: to bring the rain. They also learned about the culture of Chile while involved in their rain-making project. Mrs. Waldron’s assistant, Sra. Espinoza, is from Chile and wanted to share something from her home with the students.
Palos de Agua
“Palos de agua (rain sticks),” said Mrs. Waldron, originate from Northern Chile, with African influences as well. Traditionally, they are made from dried cactus, from which the spines are then driven back into in a spiral pattern, and stones or dried beans are poured in to make the sound of falling rain.” Chile, by the way, is home to the world’s driest desert, so conjuring rain storms is important there!
The children punched holes in paper towel tubes in a spiral pattern, using big (safe) tacks.
Then they stuck toothpicks inside the holes and glued them in.
Next, the sharp toothpick edges were clipped off and filed down with manicure tools. “This took a lot of concentration and careful fine motor work,” said Mrs. Waldron.
They wrapped the tubes in brown packing tape . . .
. . . and finally decorated them with colorful yarn and pom poms.
Here Comes the Rain Again!
“The children really enjoyed the process and learning about Chile and the instrument,” said Mrs. Waldron. We can’t wait to see what blossoms they bring!
More than anything else, the 2020–2021 school year at The New Century School has been a testament to what can happen when a community thrives. In the midst of the many and ongoing upheavals we’ve collectively experienced, the members of the TNCS community at all levels continue to not only surmount would-be obstacles, but turn them into new opportunities to connect and grow. This echoes a sentiment expressed by TNCS Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors Roberta Faux and Jennifer Lawner a year ago, when they entreated the community to support each other through the crisis we faced, emerge stronger from it, and look back proudly on our conduct. Their steadfast vision of what TNCS can be and do has also grown stronger.
That’s why, having debuted a Black History Month Celebration just last year in characteristically stellar fashion, TNCS was not about to forfeit the promise to make this essential sociocultural event an annual occurrence, despite the practical challenges of not being able to gather in person. TNCS finds a way to forge ahead. While last year’s event was a celebration of music and culture and largely composed of student performances, this year’s event took a different tack to grapple with some of the United States’ societal ills—some of the very issues that underpin why Black History Month evolved. (Note that last year’s event certainly also brought its share of gravitas, especially when renowned artist Harold Caudio took the stage.)
To back up a bit, earlier this year, TNCS Head of School Señora Shara Khon Duncan and staff announced their plans to implement the Pollyanna Curriculum throughout school as one way to give TNCS students a way to talk about what they were seeing and hearing about racial and social injustice—the spring and summer of 2020 were socially turbulent not just because of the pandemic. According to their website, “Pollyanna is a national nonprofit helping academic and other institutions achieve their diversity, equity, and inclusion goals.”
That brings us to the Black History Month event on Wednesday, February 24th, which featured a talk and Q&A by illustrious Guest Speaker Jessy Molina, currently of Molina Consulting (and a consultant for Pollyanna, among many other institutions and organizations). Ms. Molina founded Molina Consulting in July of 2020 in her Baltimore home after having served as the director of diversity, equity, and social justice at two local independent schools as well as working in nonprofits for the prior 15 years. She describes her path to Molina Consulting this way:
I am an attorney, a mediator, and a facilitator. I decided to move into full-time consulting work because I wanted to support more organizations and institutions to make long-term, sustainable change around equity and justice. I also had an interest in doing more conflict mediation and healing work with people and communities.
This is the best professional decision I have ever made. I am thrilled that I get to support people in healing from racial trauma every day, and in doing so, continue my own healing journey. Our bodies are carrying the weight of racial stress, anxiety, and trauma, and I’m grateful to support people to find more freedom and joy. We have to learn how to talk about race and racism in this country, and to make systemic changes with big impact. I am grateful to be part of that.
Schools are ideal places to start these conversations and to develop “racial literacy.” “Racial literacy,” explains Ms. Molina, “is the ability to understand race and racism in the context of our history, understand race as a social and political construct, understand how racism is institutionalized and perpetuated through systems, and know how how to shift practices, policies and protocols to make systemic change that leads to more equity and justice for more people.” Her presentation, “Talking to Children about Race and Racism,” was designed to help us parents understand our own orientation toward these subjects to better, more productively engage with our children. This starts from the ground up. “Parents are a critical part of helping our children develop healthy racial identities and learn how to stand up for—and build—more racial justice in the world,” she explained. “We can model being open and honest, acknowledging and repairing mistakes, leveraging our privilege for equity, and sharing resources and power. Research suggests that children learn more about racial justice from what we do, not what we say. Our children are watching everything we do—the best way to teach them is to be our best selves.”
After opening remarks by Sra. Duncan, Ms. Molina took the (virtual) stage.
The event was exceptionally well attended (thank you, zoom!), and Ms. Molina’s presentation generated some very robust audience engagement. It was clear that parents were ready to talk about this. They were also overflowing with gratitude for Ms. Molina’s eye-opening talk and for Sra. Duncan’s efforts to make the event happen.
Ms. Molina is obviously committed to her work, and the world will be a better place for it (Molina Consulting’s fitting tagline is “Training to Change the World“). “The most important part for me was connecting to my purpose,” she says. “Who am I and what I am here to do? Serving as a mediator, facilitator, and trainer helps me get closer to my purpose of building connection and community among people and supporting people to live full, free, and whole lives.” In addition, she gets more family time, which many of us are also experiencing. “I’m thankful that I get to work at home with my children. It’s a joy to help them with their homework, sneak in a favorite episode, or make cookies after lunch. It’s certainly difficult to balance on some days, but overall, I am loving the extra time we have together.”
What TNCS Students Had to Say
And let’s not forget, all that extra “together time” translates to time spent modeling an open, honest, and compassionate way to be in this world. Something is paying off, if these student presentations that followed Ms. Molina’s talk are any indication. At the behest of ELA teacher Jalynn Harris, students could read a Black History Month–themed poem (some in tanka form) they recently wrote for class or present research on a world-changing Black figure (or both in the case of one enterprising 8th grader!).
The evening ended in just about the most perfect way possible, with a beautiful rendition of Lift Every Voice and Sing by high school students in Tallahassee, Florida. The audience was moved beyond description and came away brimming with thoughts and feelings about the event that could very well lead to important changes.
Resources from “Talking to Children about Race and Racism”:
Through all of the pandemic-associated upheaval we’ve seen in 2020, The New Century School has stayed true to its mission to challenge students to realize their richest individual potential through progressive, multilingual education and meaningful participation in the world community.
That has been no small feat. TNCS administration, staff, and faculty rallied together and found innovative ways to keep TNCS open and its students flourishing. Many of those ways happen behind the scenes but are no less vital to TNCS’s success. One of these behind-the-scenes heroes is TNCS Curriculum Coordinator Adriana DuPrau, who has held this position since 2017. Although a lot has changed since then and also since we last checked in with her in early 2019, Mrs. DuPrau still describes her primary role as two-fold: teacher-facing and student-facing. However, this year she has also taken on a bit more of a parent-facing role as well.
Curriculum Coordinating: Teacher-Facing
Mrs. DuPrau acts as a communication liaison between TNCS teachers and Head of School Señora Duncan, filtering teacher requests and untangles snags they might be experiencing to allow them to focus on their day-to-day teaching. “The majority of my time is still working one-on-one with teachers, either coaching them, or figuring how to make their schedules work, or setting up virtual classrooms,” she explained. Speaking of the virtual classrooms, that’s obviously one of the biggest changes this year. “Teachers are working both virtually and in person, which is stressful for them. I can provide an outlet for them to talk it out.” She validates their feelings but also keeps the conversations constructive by steering them toward finding solutions.
She spent the beginning of the year making sure teachers had the curriculum that they need. She researches all of the offerings out there and tries them out to see if a certain program is a good fit. One example is Word Voyage Vocabulary Builder that is designed to help students in Grades 4 and up build and strengthen their vocabulary. Another is Discovery Education, that enhances global studies and science lessons. In past years, watching the webinars and speaking to the company representatives was something of a shared task between Mrs. DuPrau and the teachers, whereas this year, she took on the responsibility of onboarding these new programs to save teachers’ some time. For their part, they were happy to let Mrs. DuPrau make those decisions this year, even though normally their input is such an important part of the process.
Even with all of the advance vetting she does, adopting something new can still be difficult for teachers. “I’m learning that teachers are already so stretched this year that tacking on new information almost seems like dumping. I’m finding that it’s just a different year in general.”
Another new aspect of the curriculum this year is the social justice component, which everyone is excited about. “I’m finding resources to use and organizing them. I’m taking a really fun course to keep my teaching certification up-to-date, where I’m actually able to learn about these new tools and figure out ways to help the teachers without overwhelming them,” said Mrs. DuPrau.
“I also still try to be in the classrooms,” she said. “Not as frequently as I have in the past because I’m trying not to mix in too much with the cohorts, but I’ll jump in on a zoom meeting or be there in the classroom. We have some new teachers, and I want to be present to see in person what’s happening. In this new learning environment, if I want to be able to make suggestions and advocate for teachers, I actually need to see the difficulties, not just hear about them.”
Curriculum Coordinating: Student-Facing
TNCS students, too, are feeling the stress inherent in pandemic-influenced academic life. By and large, though, those resilient youngsters have adapted remarkably well to all of the changes thrown at them. After some initial student hiccups at the beginning of the year, such as with technology, Mrs. DuPrau has lately been able to concentrate on her real passion–working with students who need extra support. “Whether it be giving them more work or figuring out how to help them keep up, I try to help with all dimensions of student life. How can we work with these kids to make sure they are getting what they need?”
One way she has always helped outgoing 8th-graders is by researching schools—going to information nights or signing up for admissions tests—and ensuring that students make all of the associated deadlines. She also spearheaded creating a virtual hangout for them to share their experiences of applying to high school.
As part of what she calls “student life,” the school store is also up and running, and Mrs. DuPrau says she felt that getting more Spirit Days on the calendar would be a boost for students. (TNCS has t-shirts and accessories on sale for our students, teachers, and families at this link!) Such community events are wonderful ways to maintain student engagement, as are the invitations for safe, on-campus activities for virtual learners to optionally participate in and spend some time in person with their cohort.
Another brand-new initiative Mrs. DuPrau just launched is the K–8 Community Classroom, where all sorts of fun things will take place (via the Google Classroom platform), including a Thanksgiving recipe exchange. The recipes shared here may even be compiled in a TNCS cookbook—stay tuned for more updates on that.
The recipe exchange is intended to bring some holiday fun for students to share with their families, but the forum will offer ongoing community-building activities designed to engage all students.
Curriculum Coordinating: Parent-Facing
As mentioned, somewhat of a new role Mrs. DuPrau has adopted this year is acting as a messenger between parents and teachers, sitting in on meetings, for example, and again always trying to be solution based.
“Parents are also feeling stressed and that stress comes in to play in the way they are feeling about how everything’s going,” said Mrs. DuPrau. Normally trivial problems like a technical glitch can bother us to a different degree. “So, in general, I try to keep everybody positive and looking for the good and making sure everyone’s flexible.”
Bringing It Home
With all of the work Mrs. DuPrau does to support TNCS teachers, students, and families, it’s easy to forget that she, too, has a life! This school year has presented challenges for her also. “I think the biggest challenge for me honestly has just been trying to keep everybody’s morale up,” she said. She finds little ways to provide “pick-me-ups” like passing out Halloween candy to teachers (shhhh . . . our little secret) or offering to cover classes. Having been a teacher for many years, she can certainly sympathize with the difficulties they face during this year of hybrid teaching, but she strongly believes that a solution-based attitude is necessary. Again, though, that’s in itself pressure. “My biggest challenge this year has been trying to keep everybody’s spirits up.” Mrs. DuPrau says her husband and dark chocolate provide the pick-me-ups she needs. A “good morning” would also do wonders to start her day off on the right foot!
Mrs. DuPrau sees the education-during-a-pandemic situation from multiple perspectives. She is sympathetic to teachers (some of whom are understandably concerned about returning to school after the Thanksgiving holiday, when students may have traveled or been exposed to more people than usual), as mentioned, but she also thinks TNCS is overall very lucky to be open. Her husband, who is a teacher, would love to be seeing his students in person, but is instead teaching from home and has a 3rd-grader simultaneously learning form home. Here again, she is also extremely sympathetic to overworked parents in similar situations.
“We’re all on the same team,” said Mrs. DuPrau. “We continue to find new ways to celebrate the TNCS community as we look to the future.”
The New Century School is well known for its tight-knit community of special people who work and study here, united by our strong relationships and common interests. David Sarpal, Interim Preschool Director, joined TNCS for the 2020–2021 school year and seamlessly became an integral part of the family. You’ll immediately see why!
EL Camino à TNCS
Mr. Sarpal currently lives in Takoma Park, MD, with his two sons. Milo just turned 17, and Nathan is 11. He most recently worked as an educator in Washington, DC, but his path to TNCS, though a long and intriguing one, seems almost destined. “How I arrived at TNCS really started with my having been a student at an international school once upon a time,” he explained. Indeed, his early life sounds enchanted.
Mr. Sarpal was born in Medellin, Colombia, where his mother is also from. His father is from the state of Punjab in northern India. Later, in Bogotá, he attended an American school called Colegio Nueva Granada. In the early 1980s, when Mr. Sarpal was in his teens, the family relocated to Spain, where he attended the American School of Madrid. From there, he came to the United States to go to boarding school at Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts.
With such a rich international education experience, it’s no wonder that he would seek out an equally diverse professional career. “Once I begin to work in the field of education, I seemed to have landed in places that attract people from different nations and backgrounds,” he said. For example, in Alexandria, VA, he worked for The Campagna Center, living in a part of Alexandria with a high percentage of immigrants from Latin America, Europe, and Asia. “That seems to be where I am most at home,” he said. “From there, I went on to the Washington International School and then the Whittle School and Studios, hence the pattern that has brought me to TNCS.”
In addition, multinational multilingualism is important to him and is one of the things that stood out to him about TNCS. (By the way, he also has a sister currently living in Malta who speaks Spanish, English, French, Russian, and Darija, an Arabic language spoken in Morocco, where she once lived.) He speaks Spanish and English fluently, and he hopes his sons will, too. “Milo has more of an engineering bent and like to ‘tinker,’ whereas Nathan is more sociable and likely to strike up conversations. He is approaching bilingualism at this point, and I wish he could spend more time in Spain because that is a muscle he definitely needs to utilize.”
Why Early Childhood Education?
Of course, the international flavor is not the only attribute that attracted Mr. Sarpal to TNCS—early childhood education happens to be his forte! He joked, “I have had some background with preschool age children, most notably as a father.” He also was a Montessori student in his early years. But, just as his educational journey meandered a bit, enriching his experience as he went, so did his professional one.
I went to business school only to figure out that I really am an educator by vocation. I seem to be a very curious person, and that’s why I’ve tried many different paths; I learn experientially, and education and learning is the path that has most resonated with me. In business school, I realized I was inspiring fellow business students how to innovate. It turns out that what I like the most about innovation had to do with play and playing in general. I’ve always been fascinated with what happens in the brain with play. As they say, ‘education is play; play is education’. What better way to learn more about play then to understand it from an educator’s perspective?
At the aforementioned Campagna Center, he started out as a marketer, advocating for the organization and successfully fundraising (in the middle of a recession, no less). The administration suggested he stay on as a teacher, to which he mentally responded, “Teach? I didn’t go to business school to teach.” One thing led to another, he says, and that’s exactly what he found himself doing. “It was wonderful, because I could really innovate as a teacher in ways that I couldn’t in a business context, where things can sometimes get ossified and paralyzed. You really need to work hard at freeing people’s thinking,” he explained.
So, off he went to Prince George’s Community College for his credential in Early Childhood Education. “That rounded out my understanding of different kinds of educational institutions in this country,” he said. “The community college experience is invigorating because everybody there wants to learn. Those students are lifelong learners. That was inspiring to see.”
Early Child Literacy
Mr. Sarpal was also inspired by the subject he was pursuing in general.
One thing that really stood out from that experience is how fascinating early childhood literacy is. It ties to the acquisition of language in the child’s mind, and there are so many complex developments that take place when they are are in the process of deciphering and decoding letters on a page, sounding them out, and understanding how letters together make up words, how words together make up sentences. I loved learning about that, and I liked seeing it play out in myriad ways.
Relatedly, he adores children’s books and would like to incorporate routine reading sessions with small groups, as he has done in the past. “Children’s books have a real special place in my heart,” he says, “and I love illustrations. A lot of my friends are artists of children’s books. I love delving into those worlds with young children and having conversations about them.”
Play Is the Beginning of Knowledge
Back to what drew him to early childhood education in the first place, Mr. Sarpal is seeing ways to incorporate more play on the playground and in the classroom without disrupting functional systems. “I’m still forming a mental model of what this program is all about, but there are always opportunities to incorporate more play. I don’t believe in revolutionizing programs but offering incremental and sustained effort to build structures that exist and do away with things that may have had a purpose before but no longer serve. I’m not here to re-engineer the program; I’m here to sustain things and support.”
The Pandemic in the Room
Let’s face it, we can’t really talk about anything without referring to COVID-19. Although the associated adjustments we’ve had to make are not without their inconveniences, Mr. Sarpal sees the bright spots. “Right now we are weighing the imperative to be socially distant, but I think that it’s really a gift that we can be together as a community, we can be close to each other without causing harm.” He says he greatly values the rigor with which the school has applied COVID-19 guidelines. “That might not be where a jobseeker starts looking; however, when a community chooses to abide by guidelines that are so clearly stated and so based in science, it shows the kind of compassion and love of humanity that I am interested in seeing in the world.”
Nevertheless, being together means wearing masks, which could slow some things down. “It takes a longer time to get to know people when you have a mask on, so that has implications down the line on how we do everything. It doesn’t mean that we can’t get to know each other, it just means we are operating daily with incomplete information. Likewise, if we were to be all virtual we would be operating with incomplete information because the screen doesn’t show you how I’m breathing, how I’m being receptive to your questions. That’s just what we’re living through,” he said.
El Camino por Delante
And here we are! How has Mr. Sarpal found TNCS so far? “I was ready for a challenge in my own life,” he began, “even while the time we’re living in is so tumultuous and so full of change all around us. I can’t think of a better community to support and to serve then one like this. I find it to be a very welcoming environment, and the staff has been so kind. There’s a lot of kindness around here.”
The work itself is also a source of enjoyment. “The children are so thirsty to learn,” he says. “This is an age that truly fascinates me and tests me and my ability to truly be supportive and engaging. It also makes me want to be rigorous in applying the science of what we know about childhood development, while at the same time forming amazing human beings. You can see it in children’s eyes, and I’m just so glad to be in an environment where I can nurture that.”
There’s yet another way that Mr. Sarpal belongs particularly here, and that’s his altruism:
I am accessible and informal, and I am ready to have a conversation about your children at any time. Even though I am sort of new to this particular line of work, I have been working with kids for some time, and my goal is to support families in every way that I can. Especially right now, I don’t want to get in your way; I want to simply serve with everything that I can give.
I feel that I can meaningfully support the group and serve the community in a way that would be appreciated.
The New Century School welcomed Suzannah Hopkins to take over as Admissions Director for the 2019–2020 school year . . . and then the pandemic hit. Despite having only a few months under her belt as TNCS Admissions Director before schools were ordered to close down, Ms. Hopkins has managed to continue her work from her dining room table—including, believe it or not, introducing TNCS to new prospective families!
But it’s certainly not easy. “It has been a challenge to sell the school, especially since we are wearing even more hats. The common saying among Admissions Directors is,” said Ms. Hopkins, “if we can get them on campus, they’re sold. But I can’t do that! That’s the rub for independent schools right now.”
So how does one showcase a school that can’t operate as a brick-and-mortar enterprise? That’s where TNCS Virtual School comes in to help tell the story. “That’s how people see who we are and what we’re all about,” explained Ms. Hopkins. “I also think that pivoting in our social media is allowing me to direct prospective families to our Facebook page and Immersed to show them virtually since we can’t do it in person. I only have a small window to provide a sense of what the school culture is about, so the social media becomes even more important. I am grateful to our team including Karin Cintron, who did not miss a beat pivoting with me to change our social media focus and creating resource pages on our website such as the new Support for Prospective Parents page.” In addition, the entire brochure package is also now on the website as a pdf.
Other aspects of admissions also needed to be adjusted, such as with the process for prospective students themselves:
We can’t do a shadow visit, so with rising 2nd through 8th graders, I’ll do student and parent interviews, separately or together, but definitely making sure I get to talk to the student. For the younger ones, we’re doing parent interviews, but I’ve been encouraging parents to make sure I have a sighting of the child or even just hear him or her in the background to get a sense of the family dynamic. That part is tricky, though, because kids are so different at home than they are at school, so you’re sort of getting their most comfortable self, and sometimes that can be pretty funny.
Ms. Hopkins says she relies a lot on Zoom these days, as do many of us, and values the ability to be able to connect with people, even if it can’t be in person. “I get so excited to get on a Zoom call and see some new faces,” she said. “Families seem to be feeling the same in terms of enjoying talking to somebody new or outside their own households. I start every call with, ‘How are you doing? How’s it going over at your house?’ Everyone wants to know that someone is thinking about them and feeling a sense of connection. Periodically, I’ll see a child enter the scene, and it’s the same on my end. Anything goes, and it’s all good! The mantra for virtual admissions is flexibility, authenticity, and a whole lot of patience.”
Her efforts to make connections are paying off, and prospective families with students of all ages have been reaching out for information. “Amazingly enough, we’ve gotten signed contracts even though the families don’t get to walk through the halls and hear our students and teachers interacting,” she said. In some ways, this is perhaps not so surprising as parents come to terms with realizing that we have to be ready for whatever the fall is going to look like. Schools in Maryland will not reopen this school year, and options may not be as abundant as they once were.
TNCS on the other hand, moved quickly to get up and running virtually, and has now hit a rhythm with it that seems to work for everyone. I give our faculty and administration a lot of credit for that. With so much uncertainty regarding how schools will reopen, I’m so in awe that we are trying to think of every possible scenario. It’s a whole lot of work to do that and figure out these contingencies. How can we split up this room to maintain smaller groups, for example? Do we have preschool on campus and elementary and middle stay virtual for now? Do we implement A and B days? For now, we’re all in the dark and watching the news together.
Virtual Discover TNCS Events
In addition to operating classrooms virtually, TNCS is offering Virtual Admissions Events. The first took place in April, and a second will take place Wednesday, May 20th from 10:00 am–11:00 am.
“The fact that we’re doing virtual open houses is awesome,” said Ms. Hopkins. “We basically took the in-person event that I did in January and turned it into a Zoom event with updated slides and additions for virtual school. Josh Birenbaum gave the parent perspective, and we had nine prospective families in attendance.” One advantage to doing the event virtually is that people were able to ask questions via chat. One family is now enrolled, and a few others are “in the funnel,” as they say in admissions speak.
This month’s event will take a slightly different format: The first half will be admissions in general, and the second will be about summer camp.
Yes, TNCS Virtual Summer Camp will be a thing! TNCS Aftercare and Summer Camp Director Hannah Brown will handle that portion, with support from Paula Kupersanin and Adriana DuPrau, who are helping to create summer curricula. “It’s been a challenge running our aftercare program from home and preparing for summer camp, under uncertain circumstances,” said Ms. Brown. “But, it has been an opportunity for creative problem-solving, and I’m really proud of what the team has come up with so far.” They are currently working on virtual offerings for K through 8th-grade students. “I think that’s where the demand will be this summer. We’re looking at academic enrichment mornings in math and ELA, and then the afternoons will be geared toward social–emotional learning with specialty camps, like art and physical activity.”
The actual offerings and the final schedule will be available on the TNCS website soon, thanks to the invaluable work by Karin Cintron to get that and registration up and running. “I’m really excited to get the word out to parents,” said Ms. Brown. “We don’t yet have a sense of how many people will register,” she continued.
Right now it’s really a balancing act for families. We want our students to have a high level of readiness for the fall, but what’s especially important to me is for them to have a sense of connectedness this summer and get some social interaction, even if it is remotely. And we really want the experience to be fun, too, whether it’s an academic enrichment or a specialty camp. Every kid’s threshold for how much virtual interaction they can profit from is different. In that spirit, we’re parsing out the day so families can do as much or as little as they need.
What We’re Grateful For
“It’s such a scary time for admissions. The job of an admissions officer is to get students into a school so there are students to teach. Hearing about schools teetering or even having to close is so sad,” said Ms. Hopkins, but she’s not one to end on anything but a positive note. “I’m so grateful that Co-Executive Directors Roberta Faux and Jennifer Lawner are doing everything they can to make sure we’re thriving. Admissions is challenging, but the fact that we’re still getting interest from families and getting them through the pipeline makes me really happy. People are talking about us, and our name is getting out there.”
Then there’s the fact that the fundamental part of her job is still intact—more or less. “My favorite part of my job is getting to meet families and students, and I don’t get to do that in the same way now. I like to be with people—I like to talk and connect. That’s why I like admissions so much.”
Finally, there’s you, TNCS community. “We have such loyal families who have been really supportive during this time; I think it makes all the difference,” said Ms. Hopkins. “I want to thank our current families, and I also want to thank new families for entrusting their children’s futures to us. I really am so grateful for that.”