We asked several Trustees to provide insight into how they see resilience at work in their efforts on the Eastside Prep Board.
LESLIE BREWER, INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT COMMITTEE CO-CHAIR
When I joined the Eastside Prep Board in 2011, we heard the founders of the school often repeat that we must not do things just because that is the way we have always done things. Now, ten years later, I do not hear us saying that as much because it has become a fundamental principle of how the Board, and ultimately the school, operates. What I think the founders were trying to tell us was that EPS should be nimble and resilient. EPS is open to changing direction and trying something different even when it goes against what has always been done. EPS pivots when it is the right thing to do for the school at that moment. With this resilient mindset, EPS is positioned to rise and adapt to the new challenges it will face in the coming years.
SCOTT HAEGER, ASSET MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE CHAIR
Upon thinking about the word “resilience,” I looked up its definition. Merriam-Webster says it is “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” The Mayo Clinic website defines resilience as “being able to adapt to life’s misfortunes and setbacks.” And Psychology Today wrote “resilience is the psychological quality that allows some people to be knocked down by the adversities of life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties, traumatic events, or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, highly resilient people find a way to change course, emotionally heal, and continue moving toward their goals.”
As we remain deep in the middle of this seemingly never-ending period, I do believe each of us should think about what resilience means to us and how we are managing. Within the Asset Management Committee, we spend a good deal of time thinking about what I call Plan B or “what-if” scenarios. We have been considering how to manage through rough patches, thinking about implications for annual spending, and how best to recover when an unexpected hardship occurs—basically, remaining resilient. EPS as a school and community has proven itself to be a strong and connected group, helping students create their own learning experiences. We continue to move forward, knowing we can make decisions by keeping our minds open to the possibilities and carefully considering the options. We also know EPS will continue its resilience, adapt to new changes, and move toward its goals.
GINA JAMISON, INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT COMMITTEE CO-CHAIR
As a small business owner, resiliency, perseverance, and hard work are key attributes. Albeit a unique comparison, EPS has all of the moving parts and inimitable issues of a small business. On a normal day, success necessitates quick decisions, pragmatic approaches, and solid leadership. Over the years, as an EPS parent and Trustee, I have been consistently amazed at the ability of this community to not only adapt, but to learn, lead, and thrive. At the start of the pandemic, what appeared to be a bold decision to pivot to EPSRemote is now the remote learning model. The same will be said for our hybrid teaching environment. Instances of this kind of innovation, energy, and future focus are present in every meeting I attend. From my “small business eyes,” the future of EPS has never looked so bright—lots of lemonade coming our way!
DR. ALICIA MORENO GONZALEZ, TRAVEL & SAFETY COMMITTEE CHAIR
Most of us were probably eager for 2020 to end and were ready to start a new year that would bring hope for more “normalcy” in our lives. Such thinking, I believe, is part of the resilience we all have in us, which we certainly had the opportunity to practice a lot in 2020.
The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties has been at work in the Board and within each committee. The Travel and Safety Committee has had a busy school year and has had to stay focused since the beginning of the pandemic. Back in the beginning of 2020, the topics discussed by the Committee revolved around EBC Week, but rapidly evolved to online schooling. In preparation for the 2020-2021 school year, the Board supported the leadership team with conversations around the return to in-person classes and have continued to adapt to changing circumstances. This resilience to adapt quickly from one previous decision and pivot to the new topic has been possible given that the leadership team maintains the same goals: focus on the safety of the students, teachers, and staff
as the top priority while delivering the best education possible.
It is with resilience that the leadership team has tackled each topic, focusing on what we can control (preparing the campus for hybrid school, providing sports and activity pod opportunities, and maintaining constant communication with the community), and not on what we can’t. I have no doubt the leadership team will continue to quickly pivot the key conversations as necessary.