by Elizabeth Topliffe, Head of School
We are almost there! The last few gasps of our academic year are upon us. Our students performed an opera, our graduating sixth graders have given their speeches, and we are sadly saying our good-byes for the summer.
This has been a very good year for Stepping Stones. We have completed a strategic plan, and we are well on our way toward achieving some of summer and fall milestones—including a new governance and financial model; updating our mission statement; finding a junior high coordinator, and developing new capstone events for our students.
Our opera was a stunning success. The students’ performances were dazzling and impressive. I was so proud of the way our older students performed and held the opera together. Thanks to geckos and sunflowers, the performance also had just the right touch of sweetness to balance out the stunning. And, most important, the entire week featured students helping one another, supporting their classmates, and cheering each other on.
I can’t think of a better way to end the year than with that kind of capstone event. Add to it a 6th year trip, a beautiful graduation ceremony, a third year bike trip, and the continued support of community that the students demonstrated, and you’ve got the perfect end to a fabulous SSMS year.
As our year closes, I wanted to share with you the status of our school’s spring appeal for the Lifelong Learning Fund. As I mentioned in my last post, we received a pledge of $10,000 to match gifts from any new donors to the fund. In addition, the Stepping Stones Board of Trustees pledged an additional $5,000 in matching funds, allowing us to fully match half of our $30,000 goal for our appeal.
I am very pleased to let you know that we are only $2,725 short of fully meeting that goal, and utilizing 100% of both matching funds! Gifts in amounts varying from $25 to $5000 have come in to assist us along the way in fully funding our financial aid fund, our performing arts fund, and our professional development budget. Over 30 families have helped us to reach this point.
We are so close to that $30,000 goal. We could easily achieve it. One $1,000 gift, one $500 gifts, two $200 gifts, three $100 gifts, ten $50 gifts, and one $25 gift will put us there.
In case you’re wondering why you should give to our Lifelong Learning Fund, here are some terrific reasons:
- Tuition does not fully cover the cost of running our school;
- 15% of our students received financial assistance this year;
- Our staff is our greatest asset, and investments in their professional development pay dividends in their ability to guide children and in their engagement with their work; and
- Opera (need I say more?)
Finally, and of the greatest importance, thank you. Our community has been shoulder to shoulder with our faculty and staff for over thirty years. We are here because so many people have committed themselves to the vision of a great Montessori school in Grand Rapids. You see our school as something bigger than just school, with importance beyond the current students and with significance beyond Grand Rapids.
When we say that we do this work because we know that children come to us fully equipped to learn and because we want to change the world through global citizenship, we know that you’re with us and that you’re a part of that work also.
Not many schools can say that.
And that is no small thing.
Have a great summer.