The first week of school flew by, and I have had the privilege to interact with many of you at various events, Zoom meetings, on our social platforms, phone calls, and emails. I love the part of my job where I have the opportunity to hear people generously share their stories and experiences. Over the last seven years, no two stories have been the same. Sure, there have been common threads, but each family, parent, and child stand apart uniquely. I love that we have built a school that recognizes and appreciates that.

Through this newsletter and our parent orientations, hopefully you’ve heard of our five Guiding Principles at The Cottonwood School. They are The Whole Learner, Choice, Diversity, Community, and Communication. Today I want to focus on the diversity that is embodied by your individual stories. Our Guiding Principles are the priorities we look to when procedures are determined, programs are formed, events are planned, and so on.

None of us has identical values, characteristics, cultures, histories, thoughts, and beliefs. Many of us may share some, but we are uniquely ourselves, as are our children. You made a brave decision to homeschool, guided by everything that makes up who you are and what you think and believe. Your story matters to us, and it influences the culture of our school as a whole. Each of us has something valuable to contribute to our school community. By sharing our stories and what makes us who we are, our community has the opportunity to learn and grow and recognize the beauty in diversity and the value of individuality.

Our Guiding Principle of Diversity is clearly seen in our flourishing program, Multicultural Diversity & Inclusion Perspectives (MDIP). MDIP offers field trips, events, and educational opportunities throughout this school year to lift the voices of those who may not have historically been recognized or valued, and to showcase diverse perspectives on both historical and current events. We encourage our students to explore the lives of others who might look or sound different, those who are differently abled, who hold different beliefs, and whose lives may look different than theirs. We hope you take advantage of the invitation to participate in these offerings and weave them in as an additional layer to your child’s education. Below you will find a link to the first of the MDIP offerings this year, the Cultural Fair in late September. I hope to see you there.

Kara Parkins, Parent Support Advisor