March 29, 2021
April 2 – Empowerment Project, 2 of 3
April 5-9 – Spring Break
April 5 – Covid Tests Begin Date
April 12 – Covid Test Results Due for In-person Classes
April 19-23 – Midterm Conferences
May 17-21 – Washington State History Trip, High School
May 31 – Memorial Day, No School
Introducing EA’s New Head of School
Explorations Academy Community:
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am thrilled to announce that Jennifer Gutiérrez Dowd, Ed.S., has accepted the Board’s invitation to be the Head of School and Executive Director of Explorations Academy, effective June 1, 2021. Jennifer’s appointment is the culmination of a thoughtful process that began in January when the Board launched a search to find the individual who would be a perfect fit for our unique institution. Our recruitment efforts yielded a pool of roughly 40 national and international applicants, which was subsequently narrowed to a group of three finalists who have been participating in an extensive vetting process over the last two months. Thank you to everyone in our community who participated in the search process, interviewed applicants, opened their classrooms for visits, made available their time for lunches and dinners, and provided thoughtful and insightful feedback throughout. This was truly a community-wide endeavor.
Jennifer joins Explorations Academy with an impressive resume, including an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership, Policy and Management from Seton Hall University, a Masters in the Art of Teaching from Dominican University, and a Bachelors in Literature, Arts, and Sciences from the University of Michigan. Currently based in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, she is an educator for sustainability, equity, and justice, as well as a program designer, project-based learning coach, transformational process developer, naturalist, and flute maker, and comes to Explorations Academy with over 17 years of international education experience. Jennifer most recently worked for the largest national and statewide conservation education, advocacy, policy and stewardship organizations, National Wildlife Federation and New Jersey Audubon, serving over 5,500 schools through the Eco-Schools USA program, recognized as the world’s most effective Environmental Education program. She has coached schools through over 500 completed sustainability projects including exemplars like: indoor air filters that mimic natural carbon sequestration, school gardens, indoor hydroponic systems, school ground habitat conversions, solar charging stations, rain gardens, energy reduction, green infrastructure improvements, watershed health improvement, and waste and consumption reduction. Jennifer is also a skilled and experienced fundraiser, raising millions in her career via corporate and private donors and grants, and will bring a powerful fundraising network with her to EA.
The Board will be working closely with Jennifer and Bacchus over the next three months to ensure a smooth transition and will keep the community updated along the way. I want to thank Bacchus for guiding Explorations Academy so brilliantly over these last three amazing but turbulent years. I am so grateful to Bacchus for building an excellent foundation for Jennifer and the entire community.
Please look for a communication from Jennifer in an upcoming family bulletin. We will, of course, have many opportunities for all community members to get to know Jennifer better over the coming months. More about that soon.
Thanks and congratulations to all!
Online School Tuesday
We will be hosting all classes online tomorrow (3/30) as a result of our water being turned off during construction. We will return to our normal hybrid schedule on Wednesday.
We have a record number of students returning next year and greater than normal interest from new families. As such, we highly encourage any remaining families planning on returning next year to submit their re-enrollment paperwork before April 1st when we will start interviewing new students for next year. We cannot guarantee that we have space for returning families who do not get their paperwork completed by that date.
Spring Break Travel
With Governor Inslee’s rescinding of Washington State’s quarantine policy, we have updated our travel policy:
Travel increases your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Explorations Academy, in alignment with the CDC, recommends that you do not travel at this time. If it is necessary to travel outside Washington State, please notify the Head of School of your travel dates as soon as possible and get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip. Get tested again with a viral test 3-5 days after your trip and stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if your test is negative. If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel. Students will not be able to participate in any in-person activities with Explorations Academy during the quarantine period. Staff and students who can provide documentation of full vaccination are exempt from the travel policy.
Spring Break Covid Testing
All students without proof of Covid vaccination on file need to get tested and submit proof of negative results before returning to school after break. Testing needs to occur after April 4th.
As life is slowly coming back to more in-person activities, we are ready and welcome for parent participation to resume. Every family is required to fulfill 36 hours within the school year. We have all kinds of activities that range for items you can do at your own home or at the school. Please contact Elizabeth.
Click the link for a list of items: https://www.signupgenius.com/
We will also bring back Blisteramas! Look for more details soon about those events.