Each September as the new school year begins, academic faculty and staff re-energize and reflect on the challenges ahead. We are pleased to share messages from area school division heads — they provide inspiration and perspective on educating our kids. The following essay is by Christine Szala, head of the upper school at St. Paul’s School for Girls. -The Eds.

As I walk through campus, it feels as though the teachers and students have been in the routine and rhythm of school for months.  The crisp mornings and the hues of red and yellow leaves beginning to peak through the trees are a reminder that it is only October and not yet April or May. 

I was impressed with how many girls and teachers were engrossed in conversations during the first few days of school as if they had never left for the summer!  The sense of community and caring here at SPSG is contagious.   

As I visited classrooms, meeting with teachers, and getting to know the girls of SPSG, I found myself pondering why and how I already felt so comfortable here.  St. Paul’s School for Girls works to maintain a warm and welcoming environment for all of its families, faculty, and staff. I noticed that everyone had a smile or greeting to acknowledge my presence.  

It is the small things that make a difference to our daily lives, and I feel sure  that all of our new girls and families have received the warmest welcome from their teachers, advisors, and all the members of the SPSG community. 

During the first weeks of school, I have had an opportunity to get to know the faculty and staff of SPSG better through formal as well as informal conversations. I plan to welcome them into my office and to engage in meaningful conversations just as I have been welcomed into this community.  

My main message has been consistent throughout all of these conversations: open communication.  My door is always open.  It is my hope that the faculty and staff of SPSG feel comfortable coming into my office to ask a question, inquire about a frustration or problem, or to simply celebrate a successful lesson in their classroom or on the field.   

My open door policy extends to families and the girls of SPSG as well.  It is my goal that parents and girls feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, concerns, and celebrations as well.   

As fall starts to chill the air and the brilliant leaves rain upon the campus, let me reiterate the support and sense of caring that the entire SPSG community extends as we welcome the challenges of a successful and productive school year.