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“This is your Monday morning reminder that you are amazing and you can handle anything!” Thus began Dr. Jones’ Morning Meeting message to the students of the Middle School a few days ago. Each of the three divisions, and in the Lower School the teachers, host Morning Meetings with their students. They’re always joyful, thoughtful, and kind of beautiful. You can handle anything.

Speaking of Middle Schoolers who can do anything

Wow, those Grade 5 students (and their extraordinary teachers) are just crushing it! Here’s a photograph of some expressions of support from them to the doctors and nurses who are working so hard right now. It was brought into the hospital by old friend Dr. Charlene Conners P’18. The poster says “The Harley 5th Grade Honors Your Perseverance.” A lovely sentiment and a great piece of work. 

A new parent survey?!

I know, it’s true: we do ask a lot of you. But we’re really working hard to make our Harley at Home program into the best experience we can; we asked for your input a week after we started and made adjustments based on that feedback, and now we’re asking again after another month. So, thank you, truly, for taking time to complete the survey, which you’ll find right here


Love this: Harley School Librarian Elaine Mendola P ’17, ’21, ’25 has been taking the library on the road, making deliveries of actual books (paper! ink!) to community members. Huge numbers of books are available as e-books or on audio, but not everything has been digitized—this is a great service. Thank you Elaine. 


Maker Educator Kima Enerson has been creating The Maker Space Challenge for students to try during Harley at Home. Check out the Let’s Make Together homepage to learn about the cool challenges Kima has set to our students (and some of their parents!). Here’s Max Muller’s entry in the Lego boat challenge. 

If it floats, it must be a witch. 

Much ado in the world of gardening at Harley

Garden I: Beyond Soup

Upper School’s Beyond Soup Club, led by Harrison Davis ’20, planted greens intended to be harvested for a shared meal at St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality. (Quick historical side trip: “Houses of Hospitality” are the legacy of Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker movement, as I understand it, a super interesting chapter in 20th century American history and service. Worth a read.) When circumstances changed, Commons Educator Lisa Barker harvested the greens on behalf of Harrison and his cohort and delivered them to the Davis-West family; in turn, they prepared the crop for bagged lunches delivered to St. Joe’s. 


The classic before-and-after: Beyond Soup Food & Farmers Anya, Reda, and Harrison, back when we could be within six feet of each other …..


… and the glorious results. 


Garden II: Without Sam Gilbert, they’d all be on the ground

Sam Gilbert ’21 has been doing a multi-pronged Independent Study in the Commons since the beginning of the year. In the fall he focused on setting up a screen-printing operation in the Makerspace, and in the winter he turned his focus to the greenhouse. He started by assessing some of its challenges and assets, and he reorganized things to make more space available. A major need identified was more vertical space for plants, so Sam—who already had a knack for, and interest in, woodworking—jumped in. He designed and built a three-tiered shelf based on a prototype we found online, and completed it just two days before Harley moved online. 

What excellent work. 

Garden III: a Happy Earth Day tour with Miss Lisa

Every few weeks, Food & Farm educator Lisa Barker has been taking us on virtual tours of the Harley Micro-Farm, and these are just delightful viewing. Check it out here

In a period of remote learning, what to do about a course like Hospice? 

In Harley’s extraordinary Hospice program, students provide bedside care to end-of-life patients in one of Rochester’s wonderful “comfort care” homes. It could not be more personal or hands-on, so how to respond to this moment of social distancing and isolation? A note from Hospice Teacher Sybil Prince ’00:

I have started a remote matching program between the 28 seniors in the Hospice program and 33 elders from the St. John’s Senior Community. Each senior has been matched with an elder (or two) with whom they will have at least weekly contact via phone calls, letter writing, or emails. 

Elders are especially vulnerable to the devastating effects of loneliness and depression. With the quarantine, that risk has increased significantly. Elders at St. John’s are no longer able to have their meals together in the dining hall, cannot engage in valuable social activities with each other, and are often living alone or with elderly spouses, many of whom have cognitive and physical issues that require care. There have been a number of articles recently about the problem. Here’s one in the New York Times. After a notice was sent out to the elders at St. John’s about the matching program with Harley seniors, their activity coordinator had 33 responses within several days. That’s a tremendous response that is reflective of their increased isolation and longing for connection. 

Meanwhile, Harley seniors are also struggling with a number of losses related to their senior year. In addition, they have lost out on the meaningful experience of continuing to volunteer in the comfort care homes (many of which have closed). My hope is that this program will be a mutually supportive one in which our seniors can bring some joy and connection to the elders while the elders can help to support our seniors and offer their own unique perspective and wisdom. 

The program will begin this week and run until graduation day. My hope is that the seniors and elders will have an opportunity to meet in-person this summer, but of course, we’ll have to see where things are at with the state of the world at that point. 

Town Hall Tuesday night

I am conducting a town Hall session for parents on Tuesday night, April 28, from 7:00 – 8:00pm. Counseling Coordinator Shelli Reetz and I will be discussing where we are now, Harley at Home, our wellness program in the stressful time, and what we’re thinking about for the future—all followed by a Q&A.

You MUST REGISTER at Eventbrite:

Two hours before the meeting, we will email you the link and password through your Eventbrite registration. You will also be able to submit your questions ahead of time through Eventbrite when you make your reservation. See you there!

Heart of Harley Day: next Thursday, April 30

Thursday, April 30, will be the Heart of Harley Day of Giving, and it should be a lot of fun. We hope that everyone in the community will come together in support of the students and families most impacted by this extraordinary and trying time. We especially hope to ensure that Harley families don’t have to make difficult choices about the education of their children. 

Some upcoming events

Tuesday, 4/28 All Town Hall, 7-8pm

Wednesday, 4/29 Any/All Live sing along with Jay Stetzer, 10:30 live

Wednesday, 4/29 All / alumni Live Kahoot family game, 7pm

Thursday, April 30 All Heart of Harley Giving Day

Tuesday, May 5 LS Parent Council “Coffees” 7-8pm

Wednesday, May 6 MS Parent Council “Coffees” 7-8pm

Thursday, May 7 US Parent Council “Coffees” 7-8pm

File under: Winner—Cutest Department Meeting

Finally, this came in a little while ago:

Yeah, we have a winner. Clockwise from upper left, Civic Engagement educator Jocie Kopfman ’09, Maker Educator Kima Enerson and young Logan, Food & Farm teacher Lisa Barker, Hospice teacher Sybil Prince ’00 with Maeve, and Commons Director Seth O’Bryan, accompanied by nursery student Nora!

Happy Friday! I miss you and hope you’re staying safe and doing well.