Dear Parents and Colleagues,

I have had the opportunity to communicate with many of you personally about our shared challenges as we navigate the current global and local crisis. Please remember, if ever you need to communicate, I am here for you. You have my email and phone number. Just as our teachers and principals are here for your children. Over the summer I will be working in Quito with various school management teams in preparing for the new school year. On behalf of all of us, thank you for your support and kind words, particularly for our teachers who, with your sons and daughters, have been real troopers! Thank you for your confidence and patience. We are planning ahead but need to wait for some decisions and follow-up communications pending the pandemic and government measures to deal with it.

An overwhelming theme in these conversations is solidarity - focused on the best for our children. Knowing your individual circumstances helps build cohesion, empathy and mutual support. Some examples of this spirit have got me thinking of further ways we can support beyond our continued focus on your children’s social, emotional and academic needs. One parent mentioned he had a finca not far from the school. This led to us talking about how children will need, more than ever, contact with nature, appreciation for the need to love and protect our planet. Perhaps this farm could become a place of learning as we adapt to a world where field trips may be modified and with a need to be ever conscious of the costs of activities?

One, of several families in our community, is in the restaurant business, a sector of the economy particularly hit by this situation. I asked if they were doing delivery and upon confirmation they sent me their menu. Our Sunday night dinner was delicious, especially the lomo - like eating melted butter! As we sat down to our meal I said to my family, “I don’t mind for a second ordering a meal from a family of our school. They pay my salary!” The thought came to me that we have so many families in AC and IMAGINE who we can mutually support. If an AC/IMAGINE family owns a barber shop, why not get our hair (when we can) cut there? If a family owns an auto-repair shop, that is where I am going to take my car (when it can be driven!). Every gesture to help our community, both within and beyond AC/IMAGINE is a means of building resilience here in Quito and Ecuador. I would like to follow up with this theme of solidarity later, but for now I just want to plant the seeds,  seeds to grow a forest of strength and opportunity in these difficult times.

And… On a much lighter, brighter and way more fun note, here are some more examples of creative learning happening across our Academia Cotopaxi Learning Canvas, which covers not only this city but to distant lands. AC - A truly international school. I hope you enjoy this "Fourth Grade Inspiration Projectand the "Middle School Weekly News Show". It looks like we have one student ready for a career in Paris or Milan and some others ready to take on CNN and company.


Robert van der Eyken