Messages from Marjo

Head of School Marjo TalbottMarjo Talbott
Head of School

 


Ending the School Year

Dear Families,

We are thrilled that we were able to end the 2020-2021 school year on such high notes. Our girls softball team won the City Championship while our boys baseball team also competed in their City Championship tournament, making it to the semifinals. I was bowled over by the beautiful compilation of student work in the All-School Art Show and the virtual performances of our choruses and bands. Moving Up ceremonies and Closing Ceremony highlighted the many truly incredible feats accomplished this year.

To top things off, we were able to gather on Monday morning under glorious, sunny skies with the cicadas for Graduation on the front lawn. (We will send along a link to the video as soon as it is finalized.) Students and their guests had the pleasure of hearing speeches by our two Valedictorians (Grier Stretch and Caroline Dworken), the Class Speaker (Alexa Hahm), and Ambassador Susan Rice who graciously returned for a second stint as Guest Speaker. We are very proud of the Class of 2021, which has led us so well with its unshakeable optimism and resilience.

At yesterday’s final faculty meeting, I took the opportunity to salute Maret’s dedicated professionals. They weathered not only the pandemic but many other challenges throughout the year. Truly, they embodied our theme, “Standing Together”—which is not to say that we have been standing still! Not even remotely content to manage social distancing, mask wearing, six different hybrid schedules, pool testing, and DC health restrictions, we have made real progress on several initiatives that are well worth reviewing:

  • The work inspired by Strategic Directions has continued, including (a) developing a K-12 Wellness program and expanding the counseling department; (b) creating a Center for Institutional Research in Independent Schools (CIRIS), which is made possible by an Edward E. Ford Foundation Leadership Grant of $250,000 and match; (c) signing a 50-year lease for field space at the Episcopal Center for Children on Utah Avenue, NW, where we hope to develop an outdoor athletic complex; and (d) renovating the school cafeteria this summer, thanks to a very generous $500,000 contribution from a family in our community.
  • Further, due to the Maret community’s remarkable generosity, our dedicated Annual Fund volunteers exceeded this year’s goal of $2 million. I hope you joined us online to marvel at the Scholarship Gala, History Has Its Eyes on Us, which brought in more than $840,000 to support next year’s recipients of financial aid.
  • Our Admission season was beyond robust, generating a high yield on acceptances with very limited attrition. I look forward to welcoming every new family to campus this fall. I’m delighted that our full-time return to campus will allow us to finally extend proper in-person welcomes to families who were new to Maret in the fall of 2020.
  • And, we have been able to put into place substantive changes that will allow us to better fulfill our Mission to “build community that is equitable and inclusive.” I expect that you have already received a comprehensive letter with more details from Ian Cameron and Courtney Cothran-Fenner, the Chairs of the Anti-Racism Task Force.

Now, we move into summer mode. Summer sports camps have already begun, and Horizons will make its return to 3000 Cathedral Avenue. If you have not done so, we would appreciate your completing the parent/guardian survey to help us piece together the fullest picture possible of the year just ended.

My assignment to all of us is this: please take a moment to reflect on all the things that we have been able to accomplish together during this most unusual year. I hope that everyone has a chance to take a step back, find time for family and friends, and get some needed rest.

The COVID Task Force will reconvene in August to take stock of the pandemic, vaccines, and the latest guidance on health and safety protocols for schools. Our current plan is to run a traditional preseason for fall sports in August; then, we will open the school doors to all of our students on Thursday, September 9. Please be on the lookout for information from the School about ensuring that your children get all of their vaccinations in plenty of time, whether COVID shots (at this point, for children ages 12 and older) or the usual childhood immunizations mandated by the District of Columbia.

2021-2022 will be Maret’s 110th Anniversary, an opportunity to celebrate our history and our growth as a school. That makes Telling Our Stories the perfect theme for the coming school year, as we turn the page to Maret’s exciting next chapter.

Please stay well. I will be in touch again later this summer.

Marjo

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