Dear New Roots Charter School,

I wanted to write you a note to thank you. I have two kids, one at New Roots Charter School and one part of the Ithaca City School District in the Fall Creek elementary. When the pandemic started, I could see the difference that New Roots is making more than ever.

Both schools are now offering online learning, and it is going well at this point. The significant difference, though, is how quickly the schools reacted to the pandemic. Within a week, teachers and administrators from New Roots reached out to Wolfgang and me to see how they can help and how Wolfgang is coping with the pandemic.

ICSD sent out a few emails from the superintendent. Reacting this fast shows how engaged and caring teachers at New Roots are, it also had a direct and immediate impact on how Wolfgang can cope with this pandemic. He found a forum to discuss this with someone else than his parents, and some normality was back in his life quickly. Sure there were hiccups but experiencing them and seeing how change works in an organization like a school was good for Wolfgang.

My daughter, on the other hand, had to wait a long time before she could reconnect with her friends and community as ICSD took a little more than a month to start engaging with the kids again. It took a toll, and at times she was jealous of Wolfgang getting all this attention.

This continued care, even in these crazy times is what I give a lot of credit to for the progress I see in my son. He had real social anxiety and couldn’t talk to anyone and now will argue with teachers and peers and voice his opinion and even make friends. Being able to trust the teachers at New Roots and knowing that they genuinely care is a huge part of this pivot. The school showing up during the pandemic to give him the same attention and deep care matters to him and me.

So my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all that you and your staff have done. I am sure your life must have been just as crazy as ours in this pandemic, yet you all were there immediately!

Warm regards,

Carsten Hess

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