Welcome to 2013/2014

NedmurrayDear EDS Parents,

I bid a heartfelt “welcome” to our new families and “welcome back” to those returning (cue the Welcome Back, Kotter theme song).

I hope you had a chance to rest and restore yourselves this summer and are ready to come to school full of the excitement of unbounded possibilities! On campus we had a short, busy summer filled with camps, repairs, and preparations for your return to school.

You should have already received important information about forms. Thanks for your patience with this process, and please email Stephanie or Erica if you or someone you know continues to have trouble accessing email or forms. Early next week you will get class lists and other grade level information. You will also receive information about several new carpool procedures that we are implementing to improve the safety and efficiency of morning carpool and campus parking.

We hope you will notice a number of campus improvements we’ve made this summer, including new roofs on the gym and middle school, upgrades to the lunchroom interior, roster boards in the gym, repainted lockers, new drain system in the Mansberger garden (in front of 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms), new playground wood chips, taller fences in front (for security), and more.

Demand for our three year old program picked up over the summer, so we have opened a third section, which will be taught by Kristen Weston, and Mary Anne Haynes will be her assistant. We are blessed to have such talented, experienced teachers ready to step in to help with such a critical program. With Kristen’s move to the threes, we welcome back Amy McCollough as a first grade assistant. This means that Kristen’s position in the Advancement office is open. We are re-writing the job description and will announce the position soon.

The Advancement Team has been incredibly busy this summer, too. They rolled out a new pilot outreach program, The Community Partnership Program, currently aimed at employees at GRU and Fort Gordon. In addition, they have been working to make the campus more welcoming and navigable by renumbering classrooms and creating directional signs for campus. Also, we’ve made an important transition to a new email system, and soon the website and calendars will be updated in ways you are going to LOVE! You’ll hear more about these initiatives in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, they produced a fabulous Expressions, which I hope you will read if you haven’t already. Please make sure you read at least the class notes — all of them, not just the ones you know — for impressive and inspiring information about our alumni. This alone will make you proud and affirm what a good choice you have made for your children!

There’s also been progress on our experiential campus on Flowing Wells Road. We have a caretaker on the property now, Mr. Mark Jackson, a skilled jack-of-all-trades, who has been helping with necessary repairs and improvements. Early in September the Campus Master Plan Leadership Committee and the Board will vote on a final version of the Campus Master Plan. In late September we will conduct our Readiness Study, so we look forward to having a comprehensive update for you in early October.

Speaking of looking forward to things, we all cannot wait for you to arrive. We have chosen “In everything give thanks” for our theme this year. It seems so perfect for our mission and our current status as a school on the brink of great things. As I reflect upon the good work of our administration and staff this summer, the faculty and students who are about to return, and the exciting year ahead, my heart certainly fills with gratitude. Every year presents a wonderful opportunity for new worlds to open before us — new knowledge, friends, adventures, and opportunities to experience God’s abundance and grace. In that spirit I offer you one of my favorite poems that always comes to mind this time of year:

Lift your eyes upon
Give birth again
To the dream.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

— Maya Angelou

Best,

Ned R. Murray

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