Building Hollymead Community

Dear Hollymead Families,

Like you, I am saddened and horrified by the events and loss of life on August 12th in Charlottesville. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the three people who lost their lives and to all the people who were injured. Charlottesville has always been my home, and no matter where I travel, I am always happy to return to my hometown. I love this university town and its diversity is part of its greatness.
Some parents have concerns about what their children will learn regarding these events at school. We discussed this very thing the first day teachers were all together on Monday, August 14. We reminded teachers that as school representatives we are politically neutral. At the same time, we will always educate students through Hollymead CARES and reinforce the importance of being a welcoming community. Our school should be a place of safety for all students.

We anticipate that some of our children will come on Wednesday knowing all about these events and others will come knowing nothing about it. This is a parental decision and it is important for us to support your decision. As I wrote above, we will not start any conversations about the recent events. It is important to know that some students might start conversations. If this happens, teachers will redirect them so that they can continue the conversation with an adult in private. Megan Kopley, our school counselor, and Lauren Servis, our school psychologist, will be available to talk as necessary. Staci England, our assistant principal, and I will also be very visible and available for children as needed.

Our school community is remarkable. We expect to have another terrific year and are excited to build relationships with new students and build new class communities with all of our students. As our superintendents and school board chairs wrote in their message, “Our schools are where we make acquaintance with civic responsibility. The work we do in our schools must always bring to life our nation’s most sacred promise—“to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” This year we will continue with this work so that “We will be known as a community whose teachers and staff will continue to do what the best educators always have done—stand tall in modeling these American ideals in their work every day.”

Nancy Teel
Hollymead Elementary School