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News You Can Use 2017-2018 Kick Off


Dear Braeside Parents,


This summer I was asked to find a quote about leadership that resonated with me to share with other school leaders. In my quest for the “right” quote I found this gem:


“Also we must beware lest we become so devoted to motion that we neglect the question of direction and be entirely satisfied with movement in circles.”

George Counts (1932) from Dare the School Build a New Social Order


I selected this quote to share with you now because leadership in a school community rests entirely on the adults who care for the children together. None of us works in isolation to influence these young people and help them become their very best selves.


I also shared this with you because education is a cyclical system in our country. Trends come and go like the mashed potatoes on the Lazy Susan at Old Country Buffet. We stop and spend time on some initiatives longer than others, but we also function at the whim of Uncle Jerry spinning the wheel as he serves up second and third helpings.


Round and round we go which begged the question for me, where are we going? Think about it. In Charlottesville there are school opening for the year on the heels of a tragically dramatic week in our country. What’s our obligation to consider our place in the broader society as we open school here and take hold of the direction of our movement?


On January 20, 2017 I wrote to our school community about the pride I felt in watching our teachers and students welcome in the peaceful transition of power with the inauguration of Donald Trump. I can remember the time spent drafting the note to parents promoting the educational ideals that we have spent so much time working towards.


We successfully bridged a political environment here at school and ensured that there was a purposeful place for students to get engaged in understanding the role of participation in our representative government. We stepped off the ledge knowing that the inauguration speech was not something all students wanted to see or hear. We knew, regardless of the election outcome that there would be members of our school community watching a leader they did not “elect.” Accepting responsibility for this risk, we knew that the democratic process deserved the attention of educators and whatever lessons there were to glean from the process.


However, eight months removed from the inauguration we are poised to begin a new school year with a different set of educational circumstances that will require the thinking, conversation, and teaching of all adults in the community. To quote myself (insert ego emoji here) from last January “schools are not meant to be apolitical. They are supposed to be highly political places, but free of political imposition. We are supposed to engage students to become informed participants.”


If we are to engage, and truly engage in an educationally rich exercise where we live aware of the current political divide, cognizant of the histories that taught us lessons before, and willing to face questions that no one person can grapple with alone, then we will have to talk about issues of our time. We will have to talk about race. We will have to talk about hate. We will have to talk about privilege, opportunity, justice, discrimination, gender, the fact that a great many in our nation fear the police, fight for a meal, a living wage, and much more. These are not necessarily everyday realities here in our little elementary school bubble, but they exist and ignoring them puts us as risk of repeating past mistakes.


As I am writing I’m already thinking about the anxiety I would feel reading this from my kid’s principal. What about the innocence of my children? What about protecting their childhood? What about not imposing politics? Pulling from last January again “one of our big goals here is student engagement and thinking critically. At our open house last year I wore a shirt that read “Think Critically, Demand Evidence.” You cannot do this without debate.”


But where do we draw the line? We already tackle a lot of really big topics, but almost all of them stem from a historical context which makes it A LOT EASIER to teach than present day issues. They are topics of the past, not present. They pose no real threat to society anymore except for that we might ignore their existence thereby prohibiting us from learning for the future.


So what about now, today, and tomorrow? What is our obligation to the generation seated before us?


As we move into the year I am filled with optimism for this generation and what they might accomplish. Their ideas, their motivations, their kindness for each other stands out in ways that makes me so proud to know them. Our start to the year has me hopeful that we are moving in the right direction. We are challenging our students and you (thanks for reading this far) to be engaged and awoke. We are working diligently to maintain childhood and innocence without requiring ignorance.


Thank you for sharing your children with us again this year. I am excited for the year ahead and cannot wait to see that we end up right in the place where we have been building a path toward.



Joseph Hailpern

Braeside School Principal




Join together on the back lot of the school for games, art, ice cream and more this Sunday! Want to volunteer an hour? Sign up  at the PTO website here.



As a reminder for this year, ALL students enter the building at arrival through the main doors of the school. Limiting the entrance allows us to greet every student, control the flow towards classrooms of the crowds, and manage the entrance of people other than students into the school.




All bus riders line up and exit the building along the back of the building where our buses cue for pick up. The buses are not on city streets and give us a great opportunity to board buses efficiently.


WALKERS (and those picked up)

All students walking home, being picked up, or otherwise exit through the many doors on the East side of the building based on which door is closest to their classroom. NO WALKERS should ever exit the back of the building or walk around the blacktop where the buses are staged.



Now that 90% of the construction is complete and we’ve seen students and visitors move through the new configuration we are pretty sure that the flow we’ve started the year with can be sustained for the duration of the year.


To remind everyone, adults must enter AND exit through the main office. When doing so you will pass by Mrs. Pickens and be checked in and out of our visitor log. This ensures we know who is in the building, your purpose for being here, and accounts for persons in case of an emergency.


Students upon arrival will pass straight through the main double doors where staff will be positioned on a daily basis. At dismissal, students will also pass through these double doors.   


Thank you in advance for your patience while we learn new procedures and remember to give yourself more time when coming to school to allow for the longer time it takes to check you in.



  • Sunday, August 27, 2017 - Back to School Bash - 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. (outside)
  • Week of August 28 - MAP Testing Grades 2-5
  • Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - Braeside Open House - 6:30-8:00 p.m. (details forthcoming)
  • Friday, September 1, 2017 - Early Release (1:00 p.m. Dismissal, AM Kindergarten Attends)
  • Monday, September 4, 2017 - Labor Day, No School for Students or Staff


Joseph Hailpern