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The View From Vis Blog

Blog Composite

For the past few years, Visitation produced a blog that frequently featured the school’s faculty and staff. For the 2016-2017 school year, the Visitation blog will be authored by Visitation’s faculty and staff, who will share their ideas, advice, memories and musings with our broader community. We hope you enjoy this new blog, which has been dubbed “The View from Vis."

As always, we welcome your comments and feedback.

Year In Review

As Visitation's students, faculty and staff come to the end of a school year, Head of School Rene Gavic reflects on the blog posts of this year and the idea of maintaining a strong community.

Looking back on this year's blog posts, I am struck by how much I enjoyed the new format of including multiple contributors. Through this arrangement, Visitation was able to feature more than one voice, showcase the passion and expertise of our faculty and staff, and invite readers to see other facets of our community members.

In addition, I loved that this year's blogs offered so many "not for school but for life" moments. Nicole Sutton's reflection on the value of Catholic education, Jeanne Doyle's and Sarah Patterson's advice for parents, Christine Malovrh's message of looking at each new day as a fresh start, and so many other posts offered uplifting messages, valuable recommendations, and viewpoints on issues that we maybe would not have thought of.

Simple changes like the blog format can be a good thing, but in a community like ours, change can also be a destabilizer. Certainly, Visitation experienced tremendous changes this year: a relatively new administrative team, a flood that displaced numerous students and teachers, two national searches for division directors, the upcoming transition to an all-girls Middle School, a new schedule for Middle and Upper Schools, and, most profoundly, the deaths of beloved colleagues (Brian Waltz, Bill Kenny, Steve Hachfeld) and family members. Any one of these events could have destabilized our community. But they did not.

In the face of so many challenges, there were two constants: our collective commitment to our mission of educating students and our abiding care for one another. When a pipe ruptured and flooded numerous classrooms, everyone jumped in to make sure that students' needs were served in the way that we have promised our families. It was a very empowering time for us. It showed us what we are capable of. The same is true with our revised schedule: The schedule forced us to look at ways to meet the needs of students, and everyone took that charge as professionals and adapted classroom instruction in creative and effective ways.

The year also held profound changes for me on a professional level and on a personal level. In addition to becoming the Head of School, I became a grandmother for the first time, and my father passed away. In the very personal loss of my father, I felt the tangible love of this community in the condolences of our youngest students who told me they were sorry to hear about my father's death; in the cards that were given to me, offering thoughts, prayers and well wishes; and in the presence of so many people at my father's funeral services.

Throughout the year and through all of these ups and downs, Visitation's faculty and staff modeled important lessons for our students. What did our students see us do during the flood or when we gathered together to pray over the passing of a beloved colleague? All are valued here. All are loved. We don't get rattled. We do what needs to be done. A community is a place where we all believe in the same mission and demonstrate care for one another as we work towards that mission.

These all are powerful messages for our students. The blogs are powerful messages, too, and I look forward to next year's posts. Warm wishes to all of you as we approach the precious days of summer and a new, exciting 2017-2018 school year.

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