On Saturday morning about 45 families turned out to meet Principal Ellen Borenstein and tour our future home. More than any other moment in this three-year journey, this finally made me feel as though we are on on way. The energy was high, the kids excited, and the questions spot on. (We are very grateful to Dr. Larry Weiss and the team at Brooklyn Friends for offering us use of their cafeteria for this meeting.) Parents asked the Principal about teacher recruitment, class sizes, discipline policy and uniforms. They asked me about finances and real estate. When we answered one question -- that there would be no homework -- a cheer went up in the room. (We will need you to read to your children every night.)
Looking across the room, the diversity that we have long sought was represented. We met families from Australia, England, Japan, Russia, India, the Netherlands, France and (of course Brooklyn). White, Black, Bi-racial. Single parents. Grandparents.
Equally importantly, we learned that we have many things in common. A belief in the importance of high standards. The desire to see your children grow academically and emotionally. An interest in great books, and recess, and science and art.
A parent from a small city in Northern Italy marveled to discover that another parent, who he had never met, grew up in his same home town. Another heard about our collaboration with Mark Morris Dance Group, and told me "I danced there for 12 years!" A third graduated from the same middle school my 12 year old currently attends.
Ellen Depoorter, an architect, is also a future ICS parent.
Last week Ellen toured the building to give us some feedback on what improvements might help put the ICS stamp on our home. Yesterday, with no advance warning, I asked her to share her opinion of the building and what can be done to enhance it. She rose to the occasion wonderfully.
Below you can see a few pictures Ellen took of before, (and with the magic of Photoshop) after. More to follow as we talk.