Dear Upper School Families,
I am so deeply moved at this moment to be reaching out to you in my first letter as Head of Upper School at Brooklyn Friends. I am honored to serve in this capacity and deeply committed to work side by side with you to grow this community and achieve our goal to be a just, inclusive, and equitable institution. We are living through a watershed moment in history, and I want you to know that my foremost priority is and will remain the physical, emotional, and spiritual health and safety of all colleagues, students, and families.
In just a very short time here, Brooklyn has already begun to feel like home. I have walked around our new neighborhood and only begun to scratch the surface of the rich and vibrant cultures that infuse this city with life. Jeremiah, Olivia, Zora, Ruby, and I have experienced a number of special places here in Brooklyn, most notably Brooklyn Bridge Park, which we have traveled to several times already. Our first few weeks here have been incredibly meaningful because of the warm, open-armed welcome from our new BFS family. And for that, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
The last several months have been incredibly challenging for all of us. Our communities have experienced a significant amount of loss, and for those of you who are grieving, please know that our family is holding yours in Light. This moment has allowed many of us time to recalibrate and figure out what will work best for us individually and for our families. For me, this period of quarantine has allowed me time to reflect on what is most important, and this last month, in particular, has given me so much to feel grateful and hopeful for. I continue to be encouraged by what this community demonstrates: compassion, empathy, and an uncompromising commitment for justice. Our students, your children, here at BFS have come together for each other and this community over and over again. From the baseball team’s unified showing of their Panther Pride, to the brilliant student artwork hanging on the walls at Lawrence, to the powerful music played by incoming 9th graders at the Moving Up ceremony, and the incredible passion and leadership displayed by our students at the “Students Unite: We Continue the Fight” event on Tuesday (to name just a few) – I am so proud of the work that we have done and the values which we continue to live out loud, both in and outside of our building. Because of our students’ drive and their hard work, no incoming Head of Upper School could be more honored to join you. With that pride, I enter these first few weeks at Brooklyn Friends eager to get to know all of you even more because your stories, your voice, and your heart precede you.
We have a lot to do to get ready for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Please know that we are working diligently each day to make sure that all of our children are taken care of and able to re-engage with us in a healthy, safe, and emotionally thoughtful way. Kristin O’Connor, our Assistant Head of Upper School, and I have been working closely together, and in conjunction with the full BFS Leadership Team to prepare for our reopening this fall. If you have not already done so, please review the Reopening Roadmap, Part 1 recently shared by Crissy. I will, of course, be sending more information regarding our plans in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, if you have any other questions, or if you just want to reach out, I am here. Our partnership is more important now than ever before. In the meantime, I wish you and your family a summer full of rest, connection, and lasting memories.
Kamaya Prince Thompson
Head of Upper School