A Program of Schools for Children

Deanne’s Notebook

Periodically throughout the school year, Lesley Ellis’ head of school Deanne Benson informally shares her thoughts and insights about the Lesley Ellis experience and educational trends and topics. Check this space frequently for her latest blog.

2022 – 2023 Notebook

April 12, 2023
We’re Getting Close!

MaryAnn Thompson Architects designed our current school building. They specialize in school building projects, and we and Schools for Children have relished our work together. Over the last several weeks MaryAnn and her team have met with our advisory board and parents as together we continue to plan our new library and performing arts center. (She is meeting tomorrow with faculty.) We’ve been fundraising for a while now, meeting with our parents and planning with them, as well as our  Schools for Children board. The good news is we are getting close! It is likely the project will be chunked into two parts, beginning with our library.

School library programs staffed by expert school librarians (like our own brilliant Margaret Muirhead!) foster critical thinking and provide students with the skills they need to analyze, form, and communicate ideas in compelling ways. Today’s students will compete for jobs in a global economy. It’s imperative that our students be good readers and lifelong learners who gather, evaluate, and use information to create new knowledge. That’s the Lesley Ellis way. If you haven’t had that coffee with Ellen and me yet stay tuned! We need everyone pulling together to make our plans a reality.

March 21, 2023
Got the Fever?!

Yesterday was the official first day of spring. So it’s only fitting that it’s baaaaack! Spring Fever 2023! Let’s usher in a new season with some fun! Spring Fever Week at Lesley Ellis begins next week. As many of you know, this has become a tradition at Lesley Ellis inspiring creativity and generating a lot of smiles and laughter throughout the week. Dress up in something that represents the theme of the day and earn a raffle ticket or two or more! Parent participation is highly encouraged (and earns an extra raffle ticket:)! Raffle tickets will be drawn at the end of the week; winners may choose their own adventure. Choose from a trip to Water Country or Coco Key Water Park or Six Flags New England or Canobie Lake Park or Story Land or Edaville USA!!

Here’s the plan.

Monday is Pajama Day!
It’s Monday morning. We’ll ease into the week and get cozy. Flannel nightshirt? Robes! We want to see em’! Wear your favorite pajamas and slippers:)

Tuesday is Hats! Hats! Hats!
Wear your most special, favorite, or super silly hat! Top hat, polar bear hat, Red Sox hat, straw hat, green hat, blue hat, wool cap, ski cap, sun hat, bucket hat, flat cap, beret, sombrero, hard hat, golf hat, fedora, party hat, panama hat… you’ve got em’! And we want to see em’!

Wednesday is School Pride!
Wear your LES school colors. If you’ve been at LES for a while, you probably have quite the collection of school gear. Pick your favorite and wear it proudly!
If your parent comes in wearing LES colors you get double the raffle tickets.

Thursday is Mismatch!
Mismatched outfits. Wait a minute…. those shoes don’t match! A sombrero with ballet slippers and snow boots with a bow tie!? Socks for gloves?? Top hat and jeans! Time to get mixed up.

Friday is Corny Joke Day!
Bring your favorite joke and be ready to tell it whenever someone asks. If a parent brings a corny joke you get DOUBLE tickets.

Tickets, tickets, come get your tickets!
Ready Set …. Go!

March 14, 2023
Celebrating All The Time

The actual celebration of Women’s History Month grew out of a 1978 week long celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society organized by the school district of Sonoma, California. Presentations were given at dozens of schools, hundreds of students participated in a “Real Woman” essay contest and a parade was held in downtown Santa Rosa.

A few years later, the idea caught on within communities, school districts and organizations across the country. In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week. The U.S. Congress followed suit the next year, passing a resolution establishing a national celebration. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.
Proof positive that schools make a difference in society in all kinds of ways.

As we move closer to spring, with more warmth and sunlight, consider how you might not just recognize women’s history, but instead find ways to support women. What do you need to learn about yourself, your workplace, your community to truly disrupt sexism? How can you support and stand with women who have different identities than you?

At Lesley Ellis our antibias curriculum demands that we question the stereotypes that get in our way not just during a particular month but all the time. And yet these month long celebrations remind us to think deeply and specifically. So thanks Sonoma. We’re all a little more aware as a result of your work.

Here are a few great women authors who will make us think more deeply this month and every month—

·   bell hooks, Feminism for Everybody
·   Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider
·   Gloria Steinem, The Truth Will Set You Free, But First it Will Piss You Off!
·   Angela Davis, Women, Race, and Class
·   Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street
·   Helena Maria Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus
·   Munroe Bergdorf, Transitional


Deanne’s Notebook Archives

The following pieces appeared in Deanne’s Notebook beginning in 2018.

Performers and Puzzlers

March 7, 2023
When asked to identify their greatest fear, 75% of Americans said public speaking. This means they would rather jump out of a plane, pick up a spider, or swim with sharks rather than speak in front of an audience. At Lesley Ellis, there are a number of ways in which we help our students begin to feel more at ease in front of people and it begins in the early stages of the Lesley Ellis experience.
Our elementary students are exposed to all aspects of the theater. Not only do they have a chance to be on stage and perform but they also have opportunities to learn about writing, set design, and blocking. When their journey reaches middle school our students speak extemporaneously in front of people when they greet visitors, lead tours, or answer questions during open houses. They lead assemblies with minimal practice, create hilarious improv evenings, and perform in front of formal audiences having memorized lines and learned blocking.
All of these experiences are marvelous ways for kids to reveal and honor their own personalities. They experience personal pride and confidence as their unique talents and abilities reveal themselves in myriad ways.
This morning I walked by an early childhood class where some students were working on a puzzle and it got me thinking about the similarities between performance opportunities and puzzle making. Puzzles are the result of patiently finding just the right spot for each individual piece. Sometimes the process can take time and is invariably the result of much trial and error. You can’t force a piece into a place it doesn’t belong. But there is sweet satisfaction and celebration when each piece finds its home. The same is true with performance opportunities which allow for the experiencing of different paths and the exploration by the performer of different aspects of themselves to discover what resonates and what does not.
Finally, both puzzling and performing require patience and persistence. But with dedication and perseverance, both eventually result in something enjoyable and rewarding. At Lesley Ellis our students learn how to maintain a sense of independence and uniqueness with clear borders and boundaries while also working collaboratively and remaining fully seen and respected.

School Sports

February 28, 2023

As winter winds down … No, really it is, I promise (despite the snow today!). I saw a garden center with a big colorful sign. It said “22 days til spring! Get your crocus bulbs now!”
As spring rolls around so do more outdoor activities and sports. I want to take a moment to talk about the Lesley Ellis sporting philosophy. A hallmark of the interscholastic program is that it is inclusive and supportive of all students. Our program allows students to pursue their interest in sports while developing skills of leadership and teamwork and promoting physical fitness. Athletes compete against other local independent schools. Participation in athletics is an integral part of the student’s life at Lesley Ellis, and our community standards are carefully woven throughout our athletic teams:
  • Accepting
  • Caring
  • Respect
  • Inclusive
Athletics provide students an opportunity to learn how to be a good team member, friend, and competitor. This is the Lesley Ellis way. So encourage your child to join in. You can be part of the athletic culture at Lesley Ellis, too, by coming out and supporting our teams. I look forward to seeing you in the gym and on the field!

Bedtime Stories

February 14, 2023

Although my two children are now adults, I fondly remember bedtime stories. I have two grandchildren now, and I relish the times when I get to read to them just before bed. The National Literacy Trust says that half of children are read to every day. The same research says that screen time is increasing rapidly even for babies. As our lives get busier and our technology gets smarter. I thought it would be worth revisiting the benefits of bedtime stories and making them a priority whenever you can.
Creating Conversation
Reading the words on the page is only one piece of the experience. Asking questions, explaining concepts, and talking about the story is extremely important. And books open up whole worlds, both real or imagined.
Encouraging Independence
A report by the Reading Agency found that children are more likely to read through free choice if reading is enjoyable. Reading to your children and making bedtime a happy time is a great way to help them fall in love with books. Children who are exposed to books from a young age are more likely to want to read independently.
Expanding Vocabulary
Reading to children expands their vocabulary. They need to hear a word about twelve times before they begin using it themselves. So that’s why reading the same book can have a positive impact on vocabulary development and part of why children love to hear the same stories over and over. In addition, rhymes, rhythms, and patterns help boost language development.
Emotional Intelligence
Books help kids deal with emotions and feelings. A bedtime story can be the perfect time to discuss challenging situations and provide a platform for discussing difficult topics. Bedtime stories help expand a child’s emotional vocabulary, giving them language for how they are feeling.
Take a look at your bookshelf tonight. What book will you choose to read? A new one? A time-tested familiar one? Any one will do. Just read!

A Lesley Ellis Education: A Strong Foundation

February 7, 2023

Robust academics. Many schools highlight this aspect of their school and deliver on it. Lesley Ellis is no exception. Academic preparation at the elementary and middle school levels is an important piece of preparing students for success. It’s vital that our students learn how to study, take notes, ask questions, and be inquisitive, active learners.

Academics is just one pillar of a strong educational experience. We believe in the value of students having a deep understanding of themselves and others, and that they are actively involved in their own learning processes. From preschool through graduation, each Lesley Ellis student is guided and assessed on specific qualities such as confidence, motivation, problem solving, responsibility, effort and work habits, appreciation for diversity, and teamwork. Opportunities to work with others and reflect on their interactions enables students to appreciate others’ perspectives and points of view, which ultimately results in a level of understanding and empathy beyond their years.

Our inclusion of the arts is another pillar of the Lesley Ellis experience. Reading, writing, and computing are essential but so are celebrating creativity and learning to appreciate beauty. We give equal weight to music, drawing, sculpting, acting and poetry. The breadth and depth of experience at Lesley Ellis creates the foundation of a meaningful life.

Finally, our antibias curriculum is what truly sets us apart. It is the compass that guides our community and is infused throughout students’ experiences. At every grade level students learn about themselves and those around them; they learn to understand and respect differences; and they practice behavior that demonstrates an appreciation for all perspectives, including academic, racial, body, gender, and socio economic diversity. Our anti-bias curriculum provides a thoughtful and safe framework for considering the effects of bias, stereotypes, and labels in our culture and on each other.

All of these elements make up the colorful tapestry that is Lesley Ellis. Year after year our students impress us with their ability to critically problem solve, confidently present in front of an audience, and move through their Lesley Ellis years with compassion and empathy. This isn’t an accident or luck. It’s a direct reflection of our partnership with you and our shared commitment as educators to engaging, joyful childhoods.


January 31, 2023

I keep a folder at my desk called inspiration. Whenever I hear or see something that moves me I note it and stick it in the folder. Last week was a busy week so this morning I pulled out the folder to get me started on this letter. I opened the folder … and it was empty. I turned it upside down and around to see if anything might fall out. Alas on this day it was inspiration-less. That seemed like a good metaphor for this chilly January day that seemed to mirror the bleak news this past week.

As an antidote to these doldrums, I decided to walk around the school. The bulletin boards bloomed with our children’s work. I saw the names of all the PreK Orange students brightly decorated by each child and grade 4 “Systems of the Human Body” informational brochures. Down the hall were Grade 7 and 8 Arts Block Shibori projects, as well as the new words grade 5 invented after reading Frindle. The color and sounds of our students narrated my walk. Our children are clearly inspired and creative, and I love that they share it so readily.
Pain will always be part of our walk toward justice as a people and as a country. In the coming days we will share somber reflections and dense rhetoric as we work together to find deeper understanding and better solutions. We must also remember to celebrate our children and their lives. The beauty of their hope and determination can inspire us all.
In partnership,

Movin on Up!

January 24, 2023

Going to Kindergarten is a big deal! Remember when you were little and how you felt anticipating that big step? A combination of apprehension and excitement. At Lesley Ellis, we try to help our rising Kindergartners (and their parents!) with this transition by offering them a peek into the nurturing, welcoming, and stimulating environment that is Kindergarten. Visit Day is a chance for children in our PreK and TK classrooms to visit Kindergarten, meet the teachers, and look around the classroom to discover things that feel familiar and explore things that are new and intriguing.
When children visit Kindergarten, they see blocks, games, puzzles, books, art materials, a ball wall, and an imaginary play loft. They experience a balance of exploration and play, as well as an introduction to more structured, academic topics. And they go to the art studio and makerspace classroom like the big kids. Kindergarten is truly a magical year and an important one in the life of children.
Our classrooms sometimes experience visits from other faculty members who want to share their expertise with different age groups because at Lesley Ellis we are a community. In addition to being introduced to Kindergarten teachers, the PreK and TK children have an opportunity to meet Bobby Smithney, Theater Director, and his hand-made puppets as he explores storytelling with our young visitors.
In this same spirit, current Kindergarten children had an opportunity to visit First Grade on Friday to meet teachers, Maija and John, and participate in some fun literacy activities. After hearing about first grade, they practiced sounding out words at the meeting rug, tossed balls in their hands as they broke words into syllables, and used wicki-sticks to write their own words on trays. They were excited about moving along in the journey of literacy development and appreciated the wide range of hands-on activities that help reinforce these skills and make learning fun.
If your inner child is curious about what Kindergarten and early elementary classrooms look like at Lesley Ellis, we can arrange a visit for you as well. Be prepared to be inspired and excited!

Antibias Open House

January 10, 2023

Calling ALL Families!!!!!
The second annual Lesley Ellis Antibias Open House is Saturday, January 21st 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Antibias is one of the cornerstones of a Lesley Ellis education. The LES antibias curriculum is the compass that guides our community. Through this comprehensive, school-wide approach, students learn about themselves and those around them; they learn to understand, respect, and welcome differences; and they practice behavior that demonstrates an appreciation for all perspectives.
Stereotypes keep us all from knowing each other well and discourage real thinking about differences. Our award-winning antibias curriculum provides a framework for considering the effects of bias, stereotypes, and labels in our culture and on each other.
Everyone in our community–every student, teacher, and family is invited to create a project at home that expresses the themes of our essential antibias work here at Lesley Ellis. Our theme is What Does Antibias Mean To Me?
Any comic book illustrators want to make us a comic? Poets? How about a poem? Writers? You might want to write an essay or a short story. Lesley Ellis scientists might want to organize a social experiment with a survey and post their results at the open house. Dioramas, art exhibits, songs, photographs … we want to see your family’s creativity and ingenuity. The possibilities are endless. And we need everybody!
Projects are due in your student’s classroom on Friday, January 20.
Then what?
Come to the open house on Saturday to see all of the presentations! Our new family applicants will be invited, too, so you may meet some new friends. Come one come all!

Welcome Back!

January 4, 2022

It was so fun to visit with your children yesterday as they filled the halls with stories from their December breaks. I heard about pets, family games, grandparents, resolutions, snow people, and beaches! The best news was that everyone was happy to get back to school. That after all is our secret sauce. Lesley Ellis kids love school!
School doesn’t just end at 3:15 either. And we are not easing back into the routine. We are jumping in with both feet. There are so many fun activities coming up…book groups, fun nights, winter concert… have a look below and mark your calendars. Because at Lesley Ellis school is a family affair.
So come on!!!

Snow Days!

December 13, 2022

Snow. Day. These are probably the most popular words in a student’s vocabulary. Most of us remember from our own childhoods the magic of those surprise days off. The surprise can be unwelcome one for parents juggling work meetings and other job obligations. When I call a snow day it is based on local weather and road conditions and whether or not it’s safe for our families and faculty to commute, which includes both walking and driving.

There’s also a little piece to the decision making process, I confess, that’s about thrilling kids. You don’t become a head of school without loving children and childhood. Snow days are a chance to be a superhero … at least among the students.
If you are the lucky parent who gets to stay home during a snow day  here are a bunch of fun activities that will win you your very own superhero cape.
  • Sometimes no matter how excited our children are about the snow it can be hard to get them outside for more than five minutes. A winter scavenger hunt can solve it. The thrill of the hunt will motivate them.
  • Dig out those beach toys! Shovels and buckets are perfect for small snow people living inside their snow castles. And big kids can get into the act with snow messages. Whether political or personal these are always a fun thing to create in the snow.
  • Temperature too cold? Grab some blankets, pillows, and chairs and construct your own fort inside. Perfect for snuggling in with a good book and a snack.
  • Bubble baths are a terrific  way to entertain and contain little ones on days stuck inside. Whip up a batch of bath paint and let their inner artist out. Mix kid-friendly soap and cornstarch (2:1) in a large bowl. Portion out into smaller bowls and add food dye and stir. Grab some paint brushes and let your kid’s inner artist come out while also getting them clean!
  • And my favorite! Make a batch of delicious vanilla “snow” cream with two ingredients and a big bowl of freshly-fallen snow. Fill a large bowl with about 10-12 cups of snow. Spoon a little vanilla or maple syrup onto the snow then drizzle a 10 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk over top. Mix (a wooden spoon works well) until combined. Add more snow if necessary until you get your desired consistency.
So now you’re prepared for that first significant  snow and those magic words…
Your superhero,


November 29, 2022

We are squarely in the winter holiday season. Thanksgiving is behind us and there are more festivities ahead. A variety of holidays are celebrated during the winter months making this an excellent time to introduce children to diverse cultural traditions. Among the many holidays our Lesley Ellis families celebrate are Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Omisoka, Winter Solstice, and Diwali. When we talk about holiday celebrations we can explore other traditions and enrich our own celebrations as we learn about one another’s.
Even common holidays have their own familial and cultural traditions. At Lesley Ellis we had two cookie baking parties via Zoom during the pandemic years. I loved those. I learned about several holiday traditions that our families celebrate every year, and I picked up some great new recipes to try, too!
The holidays are often times when extended families gather together to enjoy special food, traditions and each other. And most cultures use holiday celebrations to honor their history and past. Many of us have a great love for the holidays regardless of how they look or the beliefs associated with them. For some of us though, holidays are hard. We may miss loved ones who are far away or who have died. There are other reasons holidays can be hard, too. If someone doesn’t love a holiday it may be because they are hurting in some way. In our Lesley Ellis community we pay attention to one another and we always make sure our own joy holds compassion and empathy even as we celebrate. That is just the Lesley Ellis way. And I love that about us …

New York City and New Hampshire, Here we Come!

November 22, 2022

Like it or not, we now live in a “pre-pandemic” and “post-pandemic” age. Many of the activities and experiences we took for granted in the pre-pandemic age have now been altered or are harder to come by. Think about sporting events, concerts, going out to eat, or shopping at the mall. You think differently about playdates, shaking hands, blowing out candles on a birthday cake. That ball pit at Ikea? Forget about it!
But some things are back. Like our middle school trips! Field trips and hands-on learning make classroom concepts more memorable. Additionally, field trips are important because students are able to engage with content in a variety of ways. To that end, the trips we have planned for our middle school students next spring offer two rich, immersive educational experiences.
Seventh and Eighth Grade
In May, our seventh and eighth graders will be heading to New York City for three days. Students will experience the unique cultural landscape of New York including tours of Spanish Harlem, salsa dancing, and delicious latin cuisine.
Sixth Grade
Sixth graders will travel to East Hill Farm School in Troy, NH where they will experience a hands-on farm experience while learning life-long skills related to animal husbandry, sustainability, and farm to table concepts.
Educational travel experiences are key components in developing students who are “…accomplished, inquisitive, and inspired learners,” as stated in the first line of our mission statement. A study conducted by the University of Arkansas shows that students who go on field trips become more empathetic and display increased tolerance and critical thinking skills. They also come back changed and with a renewed spirit and confidence.
Helping our students see the world beyond themselves is critical to their educational, social, and emotional growth. We are excited to be reinstating our middle school trips and can’t wait to hear and see the impact they have on our students.

Giving Thanks

November 15

Can you believe that next week is Thanksgiving already? I love this time of year. We get a whole day to focus on spending time with loved ones and being thankful, without the commercialism that can take over some holidays. Thanksgiving values are very similar to Lesley Ellis values: kindness, gratitude, and community. This holiday is a wonderful way to explore with our kids the meaning of our values and have fun at the same time.
It’s a good time to talk about family traditions and tell stories. If your celebration involves multiple generations or multiple families, talk about traditions. Stories teach children about life and history.
And of course we can all focus on the things for which we are thankful. I am thankful that I get to spend time with my mom, my own children, and my grandkids. COVID disrupted our routines but spending time together is one of the many things I’m really happy to have back.
From our Lesley Ellis family to yours,


November 8, 2022

In recent weeks, after public comments by media personalities, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) tracked a 75% spike in antisemitic incidents in the U.S., including assaults, vandalism, harassment and hate speech. A lot of the messaging of what works to combat these threats is that we’ve got to show up. We have to become allies. We have to speak up for others.

What does that mean for a well-informed compassionate community like Lesley Ellis? We stand fully in support of the Jewish people. So how can we best show that?
One thing we can do is to make sure we are strong, positive role models for our students and show them what bad role models look like. It can be hard to have a clear understanding of what we’re seeing when antisemitism doesn’t have a swastika attached to it. But the commentary in the media recently needs to be labeled for what it is–dangerous hate speech.
We want to have discussions about the history of antisemitism and how it can creep up on a culture through this kind of dangerous commentary. We want to raise kids who will fight discrimination and who will stand up as allies for peers when others are targeted. So we all need to have these conversations at the supper table or out on the playground or wherever we can. Marjorie Taylor Green and Kanye West’s comments must not be allowed to stand unchallenged.
Moreover, let’s look toward positive role models. Ask your children if they see any positive role models of anti-bias in their communities. Make a list. Maybe it’s a neighbor or a teacher or a member of the clergy. Look for role models and openly thank them for their support. We urgently need to re-enforce our beliefs and values in a casual and regular way so that the norm becomes goodness and hate is marginalized. At Lesley Ellis, our community stands up for equality, fairness, compassion, and anti-bias. Period.
Let’s talk. Every day. Let’s stand up and say it out loud.
In solidarity,
Deanne and Paul
(For those of you who don’t know him, this was written in collaboration with Paul Stein, Executive Director of Schools for Children.)

Touching The Future

November 1, 2022
There’s an old adage in education that I has always resonated with me: “To teach is to touch the future.” It is our responsibility to make certain that we touch the future gently and with high regard for the possibilities inherent in each student. That is our most important task as educators. Your children spend a big part of their childhoods with us. We all want to be a part of the story in thirty years when our students, then adults, look back on their happy childhoods at Lesley Ellis.
Many teachers begin in the classroom and then, if they display good management skills and are interested they may apply for different administrative jobs within the school. They plan curriculum, collaborate with adults, and consider what budget items will best steward the school. And yet the students are the reason they came to schools in the first place.
The good news is if you are Head you can assign yourself some of the good jobs that take you back to your roots. So right now I have assigned myself a very cool job. I get to touch the future. I am having lunch again this year with all of our new students in the elementary grades and middle school. I am eating a lot of pizza and hearing all kinds of stories about favorite books, pets, sports we all love, cool new TV shows and probably I will learn about at least one singer I have never heard of. This is one of the best parts of my job … getting to know your kids.
Now I just have to gear up for a LOT of cheese pizza!

Ski Club

October 25, 2022
Ski Club is a beloved tradition here at Lesley Ellis and one that many of our families look forward to every year. Last week we announced that ski club wouldn’t be happening this year. I want to explain a little more about what is happening and why.
We suspended Ski Club during the pandemic because of the risk associated with transportation and gathering. We missed it and could hardly wait to restart the program. This year we are reinstating pretty much everything else, so why not Ski Club?
First, our staffing has been especially hard this year. Our faculty is strong so our school hours are robust. And we have a strong team in Clubhouse, but hiring has been a persistent challenge. Everyone knows there is a labor and talent shortage. It is nowhere more apparent than in the Lesley Ellis Clubhouse program. These are not full time jobs and although we have competitive wages for these positions, the combination of the smaller talent pool, high employment, and the part time nature of these jobs has created a gap which we are working to solve. We are initiating new recruiting methods and hope that our efforts will bear fruit. Unfortunately we cannot reliably predict that this nationwide, and now Lesley Ellis specific challenge, will be solved in time for Ski Club.
There is another challenge, too. Ski Club has gotten more and more expensive and less and less inclusive. This year the costs doubled. While we increased our financial aid budget during the pandemic it is not enough to cover Ski Club for families unable, or no longer able, to afford it. Our plan is to create a budget for Ski Club financial aid next year to help make this activity as welcoming and inclusive as everything else here at Lesley Ellis.
I know that for families who were looking forward to this fun-filled activity this year these explanations won’t remove the disappointment. We will work hard to bring it back next year. And if you know any high energy, kid friendly, people who want to become teachers or who are just looking for a fun filled way to spend some time with kids please send them our way. We’d love to add them to our Clubhouse roster!

Back On !!!

October 4, 2022
We’re about a month in to the school year and so far so good! For families who are new this year it might still feel like a blur of happy activity. You are likely reading classroom news and listening to your child, checking News & Notes, and trying to keep track of all that’s happening and when. Don’t worry. You won’t miss anything good, I promise! Here’s the most important part.
When we accepted your child, we accepted your family, too. Lesley Ellis is an intentional community and we value families who believe in the power of community just like we do. We believe diversity is a critical component to academic excellence. Knowing how to relate to others and appreciate difference is as important a skill as understanding one’s math facts or being able to read and write. Lesley Ellis is a loving and welcoming community and we are so grateful you’re a part of it.
This week I invite you to take some time to get to know at least one other family. Set up a coffee or a playdate. Lesley Ellis returning families, I challenge you to connect with at least one of our new families. The pandemic got us out of the habit of connecting and having in person experiences. But this year everything is back on. So invite a new family to meet you in the park. Plan a backyard BBQ. Go apple picking. You’re critical to building the deep connections that define Lesley Ellis. They are enriching and last a lifetime.

Check-in Conferences

September 21, 2022

This week we have begun meeting with real experts about our students. These experts know our students’ learning styles. They understand deeply what motivates them and what makes them feel anxious or worried. We have found experts who know the kids’ favorite foods, what they dream about, and what their first ever favorite toy was. Lesley Ellis has found the best experts in the whole world. Who are these brilliant, highly trained, insightful, intuitive people? You! Our parents, of course.

You know your child better than anyone. We intend to get to know them, too, as they grow and change during their Lesley Ellis journey. Later we will report to you about what we are learning and the strategies we are using to teach your children. But no one knows them better than you do. We are deeply grateful for the time you are giving us as we start this journey together. You are your child’s loving advocate and our partner. We look forward to hearing all of the insights and wisdom you have about your child as we embark on check-in conferences. Your thoughts and perspectives will inform our planning and our teaching.

We appreciate your partnership.

Lesley Ellis --- An  Open Door Culture

September 13, 2022

The halls are alive with the happy sounds of children and it is about time! A school is not a school until there are backpacks and new sneakers, laughter and learning, singing and shouting, even running and yes, love filling the space. It’s just not the same without your wonderful children and all of you. It’s been terrific to see everyone in the building this year. As you know there have been a few changes to how we come in but make no mistake We Want You In!

Parents are our partners and we love having you in the school. Anytime. The changes are simple. We don’t have door codes anymore. This came as the result of our safety and security review that we conducted this summer with the Arlington police department. To enter the school for any reason at any time you must use the front door (Winter Street) and be buzzed in. If you do stop by during non-arrival or pickup times, please check in at the main office, say hello, and grab a visitor sticker. (Clubhouse pickup – no sticker needed.) Your child’s safety is our first priority.  But a close second is our school/family partnership.  I know some of you who have been coming inside for many years might have a favorite door.  And maybe it isn’t the front door. You might also think that you can just run in on someone else’s buzz. After all we do know you.

But no. These simple precautions done the same way every single time by every single person will make our school more secure. Which is a priority for us and I’m sure for you as well.

So come on in!  We want you inside with us again seeing and loving the school after such a long break. I know I can trust that all of you will follow our new entrance procedures.

See you at school ….



School Year Resolutions

September 7, 2022

New Year’s Eve may get all of the attention. It has the ball drop in Times Square and all the parties and glitter. But for many of us teachers, parents, and kids the start of school is the REAL new year. There is just something about getting a brand new notebook, all those new pens and sharpened pencils that puts us in the new year frame of mind. So why not kick it off with school year resolutions? In much the same way that resolutions help us shape our year with plans and goals in January, school resolutions can help you and your student make this the best school year ever.

Here are some ideas to help you get started.

Read Aloud. How about a reading commitment? Being read to is a different intellectual activity than reading. This is good for kids whether they are three or thirteen. In a study by the Child Mind Institute 87% of older kids nine to fifteen who are read to even only once a week consistently rate themselves as happier and more content than kids who report never being read to.

Homework. Just the word sends chills down the spines of parents who have learned on Sunday night that there is a project due on Monday that includes something like building a flying buttress. This year how about a commitment to making homework fun? Homework gets its own space in your house. In that space there is cheering artwork that your family has made and favorite snacks that you only get in the Homework Corner. Bills get paid and history reports all get written in the Homework Corner. Celebrating homework and making it a regular part of your family life can change how you and your students see it.

Highs and Lows. This is an engaging dinner activity with kids. At supper everyone in the family tells their highs and lows from the day. In this gentle way you will learn where your child feels successful and where there may be challenges. Saying your own out loud may even help you pinpoint patterns too.

What are your family’s school year resolutions? Together, let’s make this a great school year.


May 3, 2022

Have you heard all the buzz about our new performance center and library Things. Are. Happening. A team of faculty and I have been working with our architects, and we are hip deep in the process of getting architectural drawings, as well as raising the money we will need to build. We were thrilled when we moved from the Gibbs Building to our bigger permanent home here on Winter Street. We loved the big sunny classrooms and the opportunities for a makerspace and science lab. The only things we missed were our theater and the wonderful library space we had. But we will soon be missing them no more.


Our students begin appearing on stage when they are in Kindergarten. Now that we have parents back in the building some of you have experienced, for the first time since the pandemic, the beautiful self-confidence that our performances encourage in our students. We can’t wait to have a dedicated black box theater for this program.


And finally we will have our library back and better than ever. Libraries are more than houses for books. At Lesley Ellis diversity of thought and diversity of background are part of our library experience. Our school library will be the learning hub of our community. The architects are working now on a design that may even include a cozy fireplace for tucking in on a dreary day with a good book. As we imagine our future in these spaces the possibilities for enriching our students’ experience are dizzying.


We have been meeting with parents and lining up the pledges and gifts from our generous community that will make all of this possible, not just for our current students but for all the ones that come after. Soon you may get a call to have coffee so we can tell you all about the new programming coming your family’s way and also think together about our hopes and dreams. This is how we make them come true, and like all of you … I can’t wait!

Going Once Going Twice

April 5, 2022

Have you seen those cheery little crocuses popping up all over? They are like little purple smiles and not a minute too soon either. Crocuses are certainly harbingers of spring.  But that‘s not all they are. They are also a sure sign that it’s Lesley Ellis  auction time!

The Annual Lesley Ellis Auction is the Do Not Miss! event of the year. We’re still virtual but that does not stop the fun. There are the annual tussles over classroom items and whose child will be Head for a day. Bring your drinks and snacks, we’ll provide music and fun!

But the real reason we come together is because of our community. Lesley Ellis is a family and families support one another. Did you know that nearly a quarter of our families receive some level of financial assistance? Making it possible for as many families to attend our school has always been a priority. The generosity expressed on auction night supports our financial assistance program and is foundational to helping us maintain our supportive and inclusive learning community.

So join us this Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. online for a fun-filled night for the whole family as we raise money for a good cause. The motto of our financial assistance program is No Lion Left Behind.  Because … well you know why. We’re Lesley Ellis. We can do this!

See you Saturday,



Home Stretch

April 26, 2022


As we come back to school from our April break we also move into the final phase of our school year. I call this spring fever. As the weather starts to get warmer we all get a little restless as we wait, maybe not so patiently, for summer. Imagine you are a kid with a big project coming due; or a teacher with seventeen projects to grade and wiggly giggly students whose attention spans are shrinking; or a parent with camp forms still to fill out and work deadlines looming.


As someone who has experienced many springtimes at school I have a couple tips.


Reflect and Plan
Set aside time at home to talk about summer planning. In addition to books to be read, sleepovers to be had, vacations and camp to be signed up for, consider including a discussion about finishing the school year strong. Reflect on the gains your student has achieved this year and encourage them to finish the school year with the same focus and attention they have given to their school work all year long.


Be Transition Savvy
Your child may be feeling sad or scared about leaving their teacher(s). Be sensitive to their conversations about their teacher in the coming weeks. Remind them that teachers will be here next year and are always there to help them transition to their new grade. Memory books are a fun way to document thoughts and feelings about your child’s year. Students can have fun being creative while remembering the special times they’ve had. Make sure to leave a couple of blank pages for the fun things still to come!


The days are getting longer and the flowers are beginning to bloom. In this season of rebirth and renewal, be sure to take time out and soak it up. We’re all in the home stretch.



After Lesley Ellis

March 29, 2022

Choosing the right school always feels important, and it can feel scary too. At Lesley Ellis we help all of our 8th graders transition to the secondary school that is the best for them. How do we do that? We have toured and interviewed every school in the Boston metro area and, of course, we know our students intimately. There is no such thing as the best school if it isn’t right for your child. Some of the top schools are very traditional and that’s a different experience from the progressive, hands-on approach students at Lesley Ellis have experienced. Some schools have beautiful diversity and equity programs. Some have excellent sports teams and extra-curricular opportunities. It’s all about fit. Many of our families rank what is most important to them in terms of academics, geography, cost, diversity, sports, extracurricular activities, and size. We work worth our families and students to determine what would be the best fit. It’s a wonderful opportunity for learning and growth. This year our students’ acceptances and/or schools they are attending include Arlington High School; Cambridge Rindge and Latin; Concord Academy; Beaver Country Day School, Buckingham, Brown & Nichols; Commonwealth School; Cambridge School of Weston; Chapel Hill Chauncy Hall; and Lexington High School.

The most important thing to remember as your own child begins to get ready for next steps is that there is no single perfect answer. There are many good choices, and Lesley Ellis students report that they feel prepared and ready to begin their secondary school careers.

Let’s give a big cheer for this year’s graduates. I can’t wait to see what you all do next!



March 22, 2022

When I was a child Superman and Batgirl were our superheroes. When you were young, it may have been Wonder Woman or the Incredible Hulk. But today’s superheroes are living among us. They wear lab coats instead of capes and carry gene editing tools instead of lasers. But make no mistake, the scientists who enabled the use of messenger RNA in the development of the COVID-19 vaccines changed the world. Their eureka moments saved countless lives, and their brilliant research holds enormous promise for future vaccines and therapeutics of all kinds. They are in fact real life superheroes with actual superpowers.

In 2020 when the pandemic was sweeping the world and killing millions of people, all the world’s best scientists began to work around the clock to solve the problem. Never in the history of medicine had an effective vaccine been developed in just a year, but we had all our best players out on the ice taking shots and science quite literally saved the world.

And in case we ever doubted it… science is cool.

Now the scientists of tomorrow, right here at Lesley Ellis, have kicked off our annual Lesley Ellis Science and Engineering Fair. The experiments have concluded, the builds completed, data has been analyzed, and the presentation boards are wrapped up. The fifth and sixth grade fairs were Friday and Monday, respectively, and the seventh and eighth grade fair is today and tomorrow. All of the projects will be on full display for parents and the rest of the school on April 5th.

At Lesley Ellis we believe in the power of science. STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) is the language of our new and rapidly changing digital economy. Students in the science fair begin with a hypothesis and conduct experiments that test their theory or solve engineering problems with a real-world build. Then they create a presentation to tell the rest of us about what they learned and discovered. In this way our students learn and practice hands-on scientific inquiry skills, research, reflection, and public presentation skills, which are intrinsic to our curriculum. The Science Fair is not just an extracurricular at Lesley Ellis because we already know the secret. Science. Is. Cool.

Getting Gritty

March 15, 2022

At this time of year students and teachers both begin to “feel the burn.” It’s the end of winter, not quite freezing and not quite warm. Spring seems close but only in fits and starts. Long-term projects are coming due and the academic pace quickens as teachers and students work to meet year end goals. This is when we need to call on our grit. Talent and skill count for a lot, but important successes rarely happen quickly or easily. We succeed because we seize the challenge, we face frustration and failure, yet we don’t quit. When we hit the wall we pick ourselves up; we try again and again.

At Lesley Ellis who you are is more important than what you know. To be clear, academics are foundational to the Lesley Ellis experience. Students need to know how to read, write, and calculate. Similarly, the arts and sports are key components to our students’ development. We need to exercise the creative sides of our brains, and our bodies need to move in fun and healthy ways. Our job as educators, however, extends beyond the classrooms and playing fields. We prepare our students to be quality individuals and successful adults. Grit is a key social-emotional success quality, and we intentionally teach it. We create space for safe risk-taking. When a student struggles to succeed we don’t make the work easier, but we help the student develop methods and skills to find their way through it. We want our students to experience “desirable difficulties” and this time of year typically affords many opportunities! When your student faces a challenge, we are here to listen and support them in uncovering and mastering the solution. With the proper scaffolding, guidance, and encouragement they gain perspective and learn the value and rewards of tenacity and grit.

Talking to Our Kids About Ukraine

March 8, 2022

Our world has entered another hard phase. This time it isn’t a global pandemic but war in Ukraine. Inevitably the news comes on when our children are around, and they can’t help but notice and ask questions. If war is a hard topic for adults to process, it is even harder for kids. At Lesly Ellis students, even our youngest, learn how to manage conflict and settle differences respectfully and peaceably. They surely wonder why adults can’t seem to do the same. Our job is to help them process what is happening and to make sure they feel safe.

Safety is the first priority with young children. When your young child asks you about the war it is important to be brief and clear. State your values and explain that they are safe. Child psychologist Harold Koplewicz at Child Mind Institute suggest something like, “There is a war and people are fighting over the right to be a country. War is never the answer but it is far away and we are safe. We can help by donating to families in Ukraine.” Koplewics reminds parents that It is also important to keep the door open. “You want to tell them that when they have more feelings or questions to let you know so you can talk it through. When opens the door wider than if. “

With older children parents might want to initiate the conversation. “What do you know about the war in Ukraine?” might be a place to start. Then you will have an opportunity to correct misconceptions and to talk about finding reliable news and information. It’s also a great time to start a dialog about your family’s values. “This is why politics are so important and why it always matters to vote” might be a message you want your child to have. “Our family can help families in Ukraine” might be another.

This war is upsetting to everyone including our kids. Let’s all make sure they know the adults in their lives are trusted sources of information, and that we will keep them safe. This is yet another hard thing. But at Lesley Ellis we have a strong encouraging community where we can all go for support. I feel very lucky to have all of you …


The Halls Are Alive....

March 1, 2022
If Julie Andrews were a teacher those unforgettable lyrics would surely have been…“The halls are alive with the sound of music …” And in that spirit I’m happy to announce that after two years, it’s finally happened. Live performances at Lesley Ellis School are back. Tonight, tomorrow evening and Thursday evening, our fifth grade, sixth grade, and seventh and eighth graders respectively will perform live once more! Seating is limited to two family members per student (live streaming will be available, see below), but We. Are. Back!

This is a huge step for our school. At Lesley Ellis performing arts is a critical component of our pedagogy. Our performing arts program provides an expansive collection of experiences before a variety of audiences, with a continuous focus on helping each child gain confidence important in all areas of life. Students in various grade levels spend time singing, drumming, playing instruments of their own, composing music, dancing, choreographing, storytelling, acting … the list goes on.

Success is measured not merely by the mastery of specific skills, but, more importantly, by the confidence and growth each child experiences. The arts offer each child an opportunity for individual expression. Performance offers students a unique platform for expressing their knowledge of other, more academic subjects, in creative ways. The exploration, curiosity, and confidence gained through the arts has a direct correlation on academic success as well. Because the arts address multiple intelligences, they provide a gateway for students to enter academic areas that they may have otherwise found difficult. Drumming and math are friendly cousins. Acting makes history come alive. Our arts curriculum is treated with the same rigor as our academic program.

We are thrilled to be performing once again.

And we can’t wait to welcome you to our halls once again.

Antibias Open House

February 1, 2022
Calling ALL Families!!!!!

The first annual Lesley Ellis Anti-bias Open House
Saturday, February 12
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Everyone in our community – every student, teacher, and family is invited to create a project at home that expresses the themes of our foundational anti-bias environment here at Lesley Ellis.

Our theme for the open house is What Does Anti-bias Mean To Me?

Your family might write and record an anti-bias song. Perhaps there’s an engineer at home just itching to help make a really cool diorama. All of our Lesley Ellis artists could get out their paints, pastels, chalk or crayons and make a picture illustrating what anti-bias means to them. Any comic book illustrators want to make us a comic? Poets? How about a poem? Writers? You might want to write an essay or a short story. Lesley Ellis scientists could organize a social experiment with a survey and post the results at the open house. The possibilities are endless. But we need everybody!

Students will come home with an orange card this week. On it please print the unique title of your project and the names of the project contributors. List moms, dads, sisters, brothers, friends, Lesley Ellis students, teachers, etc. List everyone who worked on the project. We will post those cards next to each project. Projects are due at school on Wednesday February 9. Student ambassadors and faculty and staff will set up the show after school on Friday, February 11.

Then what?


Come to the show on Saturday, February 12, between 10:00 a.m. and noon, at school to see your student’s and all of their friends and family’s presentations! There will be hot chocolate. Our new family applicants for next year will be invited, too, so you’ll have a chance to meet them and encourage them to join our welcoming community.


Come one. Come all. We can’t wait to see your projects and come together in person to celebrate the warm, diverse community that is Lesley Ellis.

Caring Community Amidst the Pandemic

January 4, 2022
I had originally hoped to keep this space free of pandemic news. I figure we all get plenty of that everywhere else. But this morning as reports of positive cases at schools across our region are popping up all over my email I feel compelled to talk a little bit about the latest news, even though we had only one positive pool yesterday. (We have had 7 positive cases the past two weeks, which equals the number of positive cases we had between September and December 17.) At Lesley Ellis, community is often cited as one of the reasons families choose to come to our school. It is that community we will depend on in the coming weeks to keep our children, their parents, and their grandparents as safe as possible.

Back in June we all felt like this pandemic was ending. There was a kind of euphoria as we toasted in cafes and reunited with friends. “We’re on the other side,” was something I heard and most likely something I said back then.

And yet here we are.

Dr Michael Siegle an epidemiologist and researcher at Tufts is warning that Omicron could be disastrous for our community and our “already packed hospitals.” Morale is low among health care workers who are facing yet another season of COVID. “A dashboard tracking hospital capacity across the country shows Massachusetts is on an “unsustainable” path as COVID-19 cases spike to record-breaking levels.”

Lesley Ellis needs to do its part. The health of our families and staff is our number one priority. We will get vaccinated, test, mask, and social distance. We have tools we didn’t have even a year ago to mitigate the risk in our community.

One thing you can do which will help immensely is to refrain from congregant settings with your children for the month of January. Many scientists predict that this variant will subside toward the end of the month. Please avoid activities such as indoor birthday parties, sleep overs, and all indoor multi-family gatherings. We’d hoped that the vaccines would permit us to return to normalcy. But this Omicron variant is hyper contagious and our littles cannot yet be vaccinated. Further, the vaccine breakthrough rates are much higher with this variant and while that may not mean anything more than cold-like symptoms for most of us, we don’t know what it could mean to the person we infect. So let’s do our part. Health care workers need our help in slowing the infection rate of the virus.

Data from countries who are ahead of us show that this variant won’t last long and we have the ability to help.
I know this community and I know we will help.  We can do this.

Let Your Light Shine

December 14, 2021
Despite the long, dark days we are all currently experiencing (both literally and perhaps even metaphorically…) we will be moving back toward the light. December 21 is the winter solstice, marking the longest night and shortest day of the year, as well as the official beginning of winter. Winter solstice happens when the earth’s axis tilts the furthest away from the sun, giving less than twelve hours of daylight to all locations north of the equator.
Although it’s the day of greatest darkness, the solstice is a time of great hope for the sun’s rebirth, as we start to move towards the summer solstice once again. We get more sun every day from December 22 through late June. For centuries, the winter solstice has been marked with festivals and feasts by people around the world and this year, led by Jeanette Keller, Lesley Ellis will join with our own celebration. Please join us at school on Tuesday, December 21, at 4:30pm. We will have storytelling with Big Joe, hot cocoa, activities and lots and lots of light. Bring your lights and lanterns of any kind as Lesley Ellis celebrates winter solstice 2021.

I don’t know if the return of the light has ever felt more relevant. Take a minute today to think about how much more you know about yourself on this solstice than you did a year ago. What you have learned that you can do. How much more you know about our shared responsibility to each other. Celebrate how far you have come individually and how much we have accomplished collectively. I hope you can come on Tuesday!


Why We Give

December 7, 2021
By now you have all gotten our Annual Giving letter. I wanted to take a moment to tell you why I think this is so important. I often say that Lesley Ellis is like a family. Our students are challenged, tended, and nurtured. They have a close learning cohort where they are known and appreciated. So, when you make your gift, please take a moment to think about what you are feeling most thankful for … hopefully Lesley Ellis is at the top of that list. You and your child are always at the top of ours.

Your gift strengthens this community. It supports our faculty and students, our academic, art, and athletic programs, and our extracurriculars.

The Lesley Ellis community is an intentional one, created by all of us. Together we support and nurture, bond and celebrate, cultivate and care.

Thank you for your generosity and support. Every sized gift makes a difference.



November 23, 2021
This time of year many of us turn to family traditions. For some families it might be a big holiday with lots of extended family back at the table. They might spend hours reading cookbooks for new recipes to try. Others might have a few friends or immediate family only. For others it might be take out and a movie marathon. Game nights sometimes make it onto the list. Whatever your tradition I hope everyone has lots of fun, calm, and some sweet spots to savor over the coming days.

I will be traveling to be with my ninety-seven-year-old mom. My daughter will meet me there and we will eat our family dinner together while we try to talk mom into playing the piano. For sure there will be a game night tucked in there somewhere.
And one thing is certain, even after the year we have just shared, that this is always a good time to take stock and remember all we are grateful for. There have been many losses, but I still have much gratitude. I am so grateful for my family. My granddaughters, like my daughters before them, have brought me a new kind of deep pleasure. And Lesley Ellis. I am lucky to be around happy children every day and expert teachers who love their work. This community of families hold each other up. We have relied on one another during this pandemic. We have cheered each other on and just been present when that was all there was to do. There is no better school family than ours and I am ever grateful to be a part of it.
Enjoy your time off, and we’ll see you all back here next week.

Robust Enrichment & Rigorous Academics

November 16, 2021
Last week anyone visiting classrooms would have seen students exploring linear equations on one end of the building and reading Moon Over Manifest (Vanderpool) on the other. Math and literature. Two of the things we think of first when we think about why education matters. And you would have seen one history class prepping for an essay to write this week on why ancient Sumaria actually was a civilization. If you went downstairs you would have heard the sounds of the wind ensemble coming out of the music room and pounding near makerspace. You would have seen three and four year olds playing with manipulatives and building their own mathematics foundation through play. That’s the beginning. Seeing the span of what happens at Lesley Ellis throughout the grades is quite an experience.

At Lesley Ellis we instill curiosity, mastery, and independence. We encourage passionate expertise, confident self-expression, academic stamina, grounded core values, and supportive exploration. Our small class sizes enable our teachers to know all students as individuals, including the ways they learn best. While mastering class content and pursuing potential interests, students become more creative, passionate, well-rounded, self-motivated, ethical, and insightful. As they bump into unexpected challenges and take risks in science class or on the stage, Lesley Ellis students build tenacity and resilience. They become confident leaders and contributors both inside and outside of the classroom.

It’s no wonder that our students’ academic achievements match or exceed those of any school in the Boston metro area. Lots of schools say they have rigorous academics. Lesley Ellis means it.

Lunch With Deanne

November 9, 2021

Do you have a favorite day of the week? Maybe it’s related to a family activity or date night. Or maybe, like me, yours is related to a favorite part of your job. Here’s mine. About once a week I get to read to one of our early childhood classrooms. Can I just say … it is always my favorite part of every week. No matter what else is happening, for 15 minutes I get to do silly voices and read about bears living their best furry lives. In front of me are a group of small happy faces waiting to hear what happened to Little Bear. These kids know the secret of life. They live in the moment. They don’t care that the car needs an oil change, or that there is a big pile of paperwork waiting for my attention. They just hear “storytime,” find their spot, and show up with a sense of happy expectation.

Every time I leave storytime I have a renewed commitment to paying attention to what is happening right now and to holding an expectation of goodness. I wonder, too, how I can inject more activities like this into my week that are energizing and such a happy boost. This week I finally figured it out — “Lunch With Deanne.” Over the next several weeks I’ll be taking turns in our elementary and middle school classroom having a pizza lunch with all of our new students. It’s a great opportunity to get to know our new students better (and for them to get to know me), answer questions, and share stories.

Last week I started with our new kindergartners. I brought along a puppet just in case our conversation lagged. I needn’t have worried. We chatted nonstop, and I learned about frogs and special peanut butter. This cinches it. I have the best job in the world! And I’m looking forward to meeting with and learning all about the rest of the new students that are now part of our Lesley Ellis family.