Strong Foundations

It has rained every day since March.

I know that is a bit of an exaggeration, but it certainly feels that way! And our feelings were recently confirmed last week when it was announced that we have had the rainiest year on record: over 61 inches of rain has fallen in our area—and we still have some time left here in December to further cement this record.

But again, we knew this. If you just look around, the signs are everywhere. I don’t remember my lawn ever looking this green in the winter. Or seeing so much mildew on the north side of the houses in my neighborhood.  Or the Loudoun text alerts about flash flooding and road closures. And of course, there is the forecast for this weekend. And I am sure that you know someone who has had water damage to their basement (a colleague of mine even had hers flood twice in one calendar year). And if you don’t know anyone personally, then you at least know me.

We were surprised to discover that the strange odor in our basement was actually mold caused by water that had been coming in. We were even further surprised to learn that what we had thought was seepage was actually something much worse than that. When we ripped down drywall to remediate the mold, we found a crack in our foundation wall that was allowing water in.

In having our wall fixed, I learned a lot about foundations and how houses are built. In a nutshell, foundations are like paperclips: They bend back and forth. They are designed to have a modicum of flexibility, and they move during rainy and dry seasons.

Back and forth. Back and forth.

A house will do this naturally and we don’t even realize it. Assuming it is built well, there might be a crack or two that appear in the foundation over its lifetime, but the house will remain strong and standing because it was built upon a solid foundation that can withstand that movement.

And that is what we are doing with Independence right now: building a strong foundation. We recently finished hiring our department chairs (and have begun introducing them on Twitter and Instagram as they are cleared by Human Resources) and that is the beginning of the foundation upon which our house will be built. Strong instructional leaders who will help us staff the building and ensure engaging instruction, the department chairs are part of the leadership structure that is essential to having an effective school. And working with them to develop sound processes and procedures as well as to continue to develop relationships will help us build our strong foundation. With that in place, our school will be able to withstand the movement between dry and wet seasons, or more specifically, when there is turnover or other issues that might threaten the stability of a school.

Back and forth, back and forth.

So I am happy to report that we have the beginnings of a strong foundation at Independence High School and look forward to you seeing that as well!

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