Skip To Main Content

Recent Communications from Prep

July 8, 2020

Dear Community Member,

Thank you for your warm welcome to Prep. Susie, Anna, and I are happy to be settling into our new home in La Cañada, and I look forward to meeting everyone as the year progresses. 

We were fortunate to be in the audience on June 28 to witness the appreciation and deep care for Peter Bachmann and his work during his 40 years at Prep. Peter and I have collaborated since October to prepare for my transition to Prep, and our conversations included members of the leadership team in the spring as they have been actively engaged in planning for the school year ahead.

Most importantly, as the Board and the leadership team reflect on the mission and vision of the school, we recognize the important work ahead of us. Just as we nurture in our students the knowledge, critical skills, community values, and creativity essential for an engaged, balanced, and responsible life, all of us must be students ourselves, committing to these essential values as we ask how we will accomplish our work together. Because relationships are at the heart of what we do, we will focus on a community-wide theme of Belonging for this year. Belonging, a concept for a well-functioning community, is about creating space to observe and learn from each other, to build relationships, to be vulnerable, to grow. In Brené Brown’s words, “True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” 

The leadership team and members of the Board are focused on the work ahead of us. As the United States struggles with COVID-19 and systemic racism, we are committed to both the safe reopening of our school and a plan to actively engage in the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

The shift to distance learning at Prep at the end of last school year stood out for its innovative, high-quality impact. The community-wide learning that occurred in the spring, along with feedback from students and parents through our recent survey of online learning, is informing the structure and approach for the Prep experience this fall. We will follow the LA County and Pasadena area school recommendations and requirements, and will have specific on-campus requirements regarding PPE and face masks, hand washing, and community-wide cleaning and physical distancing protocols. As conditions continue to evolve, it is likely that we will open in either a hybrid or distance learning model. We will update the community again the week of July 20.

And, as we wrote to the community on June 18 outlining our DEI initiative, we are all called to action. In our first leadership team retreat on July 1, we began to discuss the approach we would take as we commence this important initiative. We have already received much feedback from the community regarding the scope and work ahead, and we have begun to form a Board-level committee for our DEI focus. For the community-wide working committee, our goal is to create a balanced, diverse group spread across all Prep constituents. We will provide further updates late next week, reach out to those who have already expressed an interest, and provide an email address for other names or nominations. We will provide another update in August about the progress of the working committees, and you can expect regularly scheduled updates throughout the year. 

Belonging is a journey to further strengthen our community, andprovide structure and meaning in a world that can feel uncertain. In addition to the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, we know that during this COVID-19 pandemic, addressing the social-emotional needs of employees and students is essential to our community’s health and welfare. Whether here on campus or connecting online, we commit to diligently addressing the needs of our community members. 

Again, I want to reiterate how excited I am to be joining the Prep community this year. While there is important work ahead of us, we have a strong, hard-working, thoughtful community with the ability and stamina to make a difference in this world. I’m so looking forward to what we can accomplish together. 

My very best,

Jim Pickett
Head of School