Dear Prairie Families,
The faculty returned to campus this week and we are all looking forward to the start of the new year. We are eager to begin the annual process of building community in our classrooms and our school. It is possible that we are at a critical inflection point, and surrounding our children with a caring community feels more important than ever.
In a summer of nuclear brinksmanship, emboldened bigots, government gridlock and incivility, and perplexing messages about fact and fiction, it is a stressful time to be raising children. They lack the perspective of time and are receiving confusing and overwhelming amounts of information. They are practically tethered to addictive devices sharing a steady stream of carefully manipulated and curated social media profiles and are under more pressure than ever to be “perfect” and to divide, separate, and label themselves and others.
Our elected leaders seem to have a growing inability to respectfully discuss differences of opinion and appear determined to sow division and conflict. As adults, it is increasingly difficult to resist the cultural pressure to withdraw from the public square, to surround ourselves with like-minded people, to limit our sources of information, and to see compromise and collaboration as weakness.
Prairie has always emphasized the development of outstanding communication and interpersonal skills that are more important than ever in our increasingly fractured world (not to mention the growth of artificial intelligence). Please take the time to build on our efforts by discussing current events with your children and attending as many school events as possible. If we can model respectful dialogue and come together for shared community experiences, they and we will be better prepared to thrive in our stress-filled and divisive world.
I hope we can all join together to ensure that the Prairie community will continue to be a place where we: maintain our commitment to mutual respect and kindness, recognize and celebrate our shared humanity, embrace a diversity of people and opinions, celebrate effort and hard work, and collaboratively prepare our students to make a positive difference in the world.
We are all fortunate to be a part of this community and I hope that together we can make this a truly great year for our students, our faculty and our families.
Nathaniel W. Coffman, Ed.D.
Head of School and President