Principal Julia Bott
Principal Bott's welcome letter for the 2019-2020 school yearAugust 12th, 2019
Dear Mendell Families,
I hope that your summer has been full of adventure, relaxation and laughter with family and friends. I am thrilled that you have chosen the Ellis Mendell Elementary School to educate your students. As articulated in our vision statement, “The Mendell School is dedicated to educating a diverse, inclusive community through rigorous and equitable learning experiences that create lifelong learners who stand tall as a mighty force for good in their neighborhoods.” In simple terms, we are proud to be an inclusive school where ALL students are welcomed, supported and challenged to reach their full potential and develop respect for human differences. In order to realize our vision, the Mendell is committed to providing our students with a well-rounded education. This includes high quality instruction designed to meet each learner’s individual needs, character education, physical health and wellness opportunities, and a robust arts and science program. At the Mendell, we realize that none of this would be possible without YOU, our families, and therefore, we are committed to ensuring that you are deeply connected to your student’s learning and our school community. As summer comes to a close, I would like to share some important information that will help you and your family prepare for the magical year of learning ahead!
For families I have not yet met, my name is Julia Bott and I am delighted to be returning to this amazing learning community for my tenth year as your principal. My experiences in education have helped to shape a strong set of core values that guide my vision as a school leader. I believe in excellence for all. I also believe that fostering a truly inclusive school culture that celebrates human differences and actively identifies and disrupts inequities is paramount to building a culture of high achievement. I am committed to collaborative and data-driven decision-making and I believe in a well-rounded, holistic education that nurtures academic and emotional intelligence, health and wellness. I also embrace partnerships with families and the community because I truly understand that families are their student’s first and most important teacher.
This year the Mendell School will continue to focus on strengthening our school climate and instructional practices to ensure that our full-inclusion model realizes its ultimate goal of excellence for ALL in alignment with our core values: Be Inclusive; Aspire to Excellence; Take Agency. At the Mendell, inclusion means so much more than how we teach a wide range of learners. It is about fostering a sense of belonging through relationships. It means respecting and celebrating the unique racial, ethnic and linguistic identities of our students and families. It is about creating a safe place for diverse viewpoints and empowering students to develop the critical consciousness necessary to “stand tall” for justice in their own neighborhoods. It is recognizing that inclusion is a process, not a destination and the journey towards inclusivity requires humility and a commitment to lifelong learning. Above all else, at the Mendell we believe inclusion is the means to excellence. In order for ALL students to develop the habits of mind and character necessary to think critically about the world and take agency to transform it, they MUST be challenged and inspired to find the greatness within them. And so, this year at the Mendell school we will continue to dig into excellence to ensure we have a common vision of quality and how we will empower our students to achieve and apply it, through agency.
I am also thrilled to share that Emily DiDonna will be joining the Mendell community this year as a full-time Principal Fellow and administrator. After years of experience in diverse school settings as both a teacher and a leader, she is excited to partner with the community to support students in their growth, holding close the value that schools must attend to the whole student in concert with families, teachers, and support staff so that all students can achieve excellence. She is looking forward to getting to know everyone in the coming weeks, so please introduce yourselves when you see her!
I believe in this partnership for success and look forward to working with you this school year!
Julia A. Bott
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