Dear Poly community,
Greetings from 1030 East California Boulevard! I hope this letter finds you enjoying the run-up to our campus reopening and the start of the 2022-2023 school year. Over the last two-and-a-half years, we at Poly learned a lot about what it takes to be a community that honors the promise of its mission. To be sure, it wasn’t always easy, and we sometimes disagreed vigorously. Still, we finished each year with magnificent celebrations on Babcock Field, highlighting the uniqueness and talents of our students. After a successful summer with the return of an entirely in-person PolySummer and Partnership for Success!, the campus is quickly coming to life again. Fall sports practices, student leadership training, and orientations have begun, and the intoxicating energy of students doing what they love to do has continued this momentum. What a gift!
With heartfelt sadness, I wanted all of you to know that Aileen Peterson, our beloved Lower School coordinator, who had been at Poly since 2007, passed away at the end of July. She brought unfailing kindness and generosity to everyone, and her unapologetic optimism will be missed. When we have information about services and our plans to celebrate her many gifts to our Poly community, I will be back in touch.
Last spring, we conducted a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion climate survey with the support of a nationally recognized organization, Education Elements.
The senior leadership team met throughout the summer with our consultants to begin analyzing the data and crafting a DEI strategic plan for the upcoming school year and beyond. Early this fall, keep an eye out for an update from Dr. Michaela Mares-Tamayo on the key themes and areas of focus that emerged from the survey and the new initiatives and programming to be implemented this year.
Over the last few weeks, it has been heartening to see the COVID-19 hospitalization numbers and the severity level decrease. With this in mind and recent guidance from the CDC, City, and County, we have arrived at the following guidelines for the opening of school:
We will fully reopen school with all K-12 academic and co-curricular programming, as permitted by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health (LADPH);
Our north and south campuses will be open to Poly parents/guardians and invited visitors for school-related events and activities;
Face masking (indoors and outdoors) will be optional. Please respect each community member’s personal preference and decision about face coverings;
Poly will not conduct return-to-campus surveillance testing. Families and employees are encouraged to self-test before the start of school if they have traveled extensively or experiencing any symptoms;
Poly will continue health and safety practices to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19, such as increased classroom ventilation and routine cleaning of campus classrooms, offices, and learning spaces. In addition, we will expect strict adherence to our illness policy for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors;
Poly will continue to adhere to health orders from the Pasadena Public Health Department and LADPH, monitor public health conditions, and adapt school practices as necessary;
More information and details about our COVID-19 protocols will be shared by Marcy Kwitny, RN, our director of health services, by the end of the week.
In the fall of 1967, I started kindergarten at the Harvey Wheeler School in West Concord, Massachusetts. My love of being part of a school community began with riding the yellow bus daily. Of course, I wasn’t precocious enough to realize that education was where I would dedicate my life, but I was fortunate to feel welcomed and appreciated by my teachers and classmates. I hope every student at Poly will feel the same warmth and belief in their potential that I felt throughout my years of schooling and beyond. The transformative power of excellent educational institutions and their teachers challenges us to take risks and trust that others will appeal to us to expand our worldview with new perspectives and beliefs.
For over 50 years, I have found that the opening of school brings mixed emotions for students and adults alike—excitement, nervousness, and wonder. It is also true that in these moments, we find people who believe in the gifts we bring and see things in us that we haven’t seen in ourselves.
Welcome back, and here’s to a great year!