One year ago, our admin team was sitting in the office grappling with the possibility of closing school. We sat pouring over news outlets and social media feeds to learn how things were unfolding, working on formulating our responses to the myriad of predictions. During that meeting, we learned of the Governor's mandate that schools would need to close for weeks, so we dug in and created Bay Farm at Home. We knew the Bay Farm teaching staff was flexible and committed. We knew our families supported the school and deserved our support. At the time, we had no idea the scope of the work we would be doing and that the closures would last for months instead of weeks.
Every crevice of our lives changed last March. 2020 was the most difficult year I have experienced as an educator. The only truth we were certain of at that moment was that our children needed to learn and stay as connected as possible to the warm, accepting environment of Bay Farm. Looking back, I think none of us would allow for any other option than to work as hard as possible to keep our school together. We confronted serious logistical, technological, and financial challenges. We worked very hard during the Spring to ensure that every staff member was treated with the care and respect they deserve. It was a critical time with many perspectives to consider and many stakeholders to support. In the face of the expanding COVID-19 pandemic, our teachers never hesitated to provide learning opportunities and maintain deep, personal connections to our children.
TRUST got Bay Farm through this critical period of the pandemic. The trust that our teachers developed with our children and their families allowed the school the space we needed to overcome new challenges. The trust our families had that our school endeavors to do what is right for children allowed us the grace to refine our approach as we learned through the process. The trust that the administration has in our teachers' talent and passion empowered them to solve the problems they encountered associated with distance learning. The trust the Board placed in me to run Bay Farm responsibly with our mission in mind freed me to take risks to continue our innovative plans like the rejuvenated Middle School and new specialist opportunities for our kids in The Shop and Agriculture.
Here we are, one year later, wiser and stronger because of the challenges that we have faced together as a community. We made it through the eye of the storm intact and ready to move forward. Despite wildly varying temperatures, Spring is definitely in the air, and with it, I feel a strong sense of hope for the future. This hope helps shape our planning for the upcoming school year. Next year, we will be serving more than 200 students and are deep in the planning phases for family events on campus, expanded specialist and enrichment opportunities, and a renewed focus on the performing arts. Not to mention we are working on our plans for substantial campus improvements and a full school focus with increased work on Justice, Equity, and Inclusion, including robust workshops for parents.
My hope is that the astounding loss each of us has experienced because of the pandemic will result in a new outlook on life, a belief in new possibilities, and a commitment to come together with joy, purpose, and compassion.