Reflections on Safety after Colorado Shooting from the Head of School

From the Desk of Eric Niles, Head of School

My son and I went to see the latest “Batman” movie this week (not a midnight showing mind you, but a daytime one).  I thought I was calm as I sat in the theater until the credits were rolling and an emergency exit at the front of the theater abruptly opened.  I was startled to attention yet quickly realized that patrons were simply using that as an exit after the movie.  I exhaled.  If I was unnerved by the happenings in Colorado last week then I have to believe that our children may be very uneasy and looking to us for guidance and care.  While this latest shooting didn’t occur at a school, all educators quickly recall Columbine and other school violence and we pray that it never happens under our roof and to our kids.  I am no exception.  Please know that we take the care and safety of all Athenian students as our highest priority and we will quickly respond to any warning signs that might surface in our community.  As you process this with your kids, we thought you might appreciate some resources about how to talk to them about this violence.  This one comes from the national PTA and links to a variety of other sources: Education Week’s K-12 Parents and the Public.  Hope you are all doing well and we look forward to connecting again in a very short time.

Additional Resources:

National PTA: Discussing Hate and Violence with Your Children and Child Safety.

Time: How to Talk to Your Kids About the Colorado Theater Shooting

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children: Talking to Your Children About the Dark Knight Shooting in Colorado

Update from Uganda

This is a follow-up to A Summer of Service for French Teacher in Uganda.

Mary has been in Uganda for a couple of weeks now and her adventures continue!  Here are two brief updates from Mary with a few more pictures of working with students at a school and volleyball clinic.

July 20

The Salt and Light Academy  represents progressive education here in that children are disciplined through relationships and words and caning is not permitted as it is elsewhere. It’s an independent day and boarding school founded and run by Ugandans.  It is one of the best primary schools in the Jinja area.  I taught students in primary grades 3 – 6, working with them on reading and thinking skills.  Critical thinking is a new style of learning for Ugandan primary students since their education system is based on rote memorization. Students must pass a national exam at the end of primary 7 in order to be permitted to attend high school, reciting verbatim the answers they have learned in class.

For the weekend, I’ll be working on my volleyball skills as the group from Santa Barbara runs a skills clinic for high school students in the Jinja area.


July 24

We spent a day with high school students from Lord’s Meade Vocational College, introducing them to the game of volleyball. Members of the Dos Pueblos high school team from Santa Barbara and a coach from the Santa Barbara Volleyball club ran the clinic.

I’m picking up some Lugandan words and to say “no worries” is  “tawali mutawana.”  So I wish you tawali mutawana during your summer break!