Week Two: Complete! An Update from the CEO

Click to watch a message from CEO Graig Weiss and some very special guests…

Good evening, FAmily,

Today completes Foundation Academies’ second week of online instruction, and as I reflect on all that has happened within the past two weeks, one word keeps coming to the surface: BALANCE.

For many of us, achieving a sense of balance in these rapidly changing times has been hard.

We recognize that before the COVID-19 pandemic, every day was already a juggling act for our parents. Now, many of our parents must learn to juggle work-from-home duties with child care, as well as supporting their children’s participation in daily school work.

In short, this is a LOT to manage.

In our online classrooms, Foundation Academies continue to provide rigorous instruction that holds our scholars to high expectations. We do this because we know our students are capable and deserve a great education, not because we want to add to your already-full plates.

Please know that WE SEE YOU and WE APPRECIATE YOU working with us to ensure that our kids continue to get the education they deserve, and we are HERE FOR YOU if and when you need support. You are not alone: we are all in this together.

As a parent myself (I have an eight-year-old second grader as well as a four-year-old), I understand that this balancing act can be quite challenging. Here are a couple of things that I do to help manage it all.

  • Get outside when the sun is shining and get some Vitamin D! On nice days, step away from the computer for a few minutes and get some fresh air, all while maintaining social distancing, of course. Exposure to sunlight gives us a dose of Vitamin D, which supports immune, brain, heart, lung, and nervous system health, among others. Plus, it just feels nice.

  • Meditate. A few years ago, I would be the last person that would ever recommend meditation. But then I tried it, and I find it really works to clear my mind in times of stress. If you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to find a quiet place, find a free guided meditation on apps such as “Calm” or “Insight Timer” and give it a try. You may need to try it a few times to get the hang of it, but don’t give up. Let me know if you find it helpful!

  • Exercise. Exercise is a great stress reducer, and the great news is, you don’t need a gym membership to do it. You can take a brisk walk or jog around your block while keeping a safe distance, or, if you’d rather stay inside, you can get a free membership at an online site like “FitnessBlender” or “OpenFit” which have various free exercise programs from yoga and pilates to interval training and beyond. There’s something for everyone at all fitness levels. Just turn on a video and follow the instructor. With two small children, my gym membership days went out the window years ago, but I can still get exercise through these videos, even in limited pockets of time between tasks.

  • Lastly and most importantly, remember to give yourself grace. This is new to all of us! I’ve found that by maintaining a flexible mindset, I’ve been able to quickly pivot when necessary. Having a plan in place is great, but if it’s a plan that cannot be adapted to changing circumstances, it serves no one. We have to be able to roll with the punches, so to speak. The other piece to remember is that our children are looking to us for guidance in these trying times. By demonstrating a flexible mindset, we grow and become resilient, which builds strength and character. Let us lead by example for our children.

In closing, I want to make sure all of our parents know that we are here to support you with anything you need. You are our FAmily, so please lean on us when you need to. We will come through this together. Thank you for your resilience and your commitment to the education of your child. I am so proud of our staff for their work, but I am equally proud of our school families’ commitment at this time!

To leave you with a smile, here are a couple of pictures of our own staff attempting to balance it all.

(Top) Primary School Principal Natasia Cooper with her girls, and (bottom) Intermediate School Principal-in-Residence Venetia Birchmore snuggles her new baby during a recent Leadership Team meeting. 
Chief Academic Officer Sheria McRae smiles with her girls by her side during a video conference call. 

See? We really are all in this together.

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend, and I look forward to the start of Week 3 of online instruction.

Yours in community,

Graig Weiss
Foundation Academies

P.S. If you’d like to help support our students as they face the many unforeseen challenges of this crisis, please consider making a donation online today.

P.P.S. Want to get these updates and others like it sent to you directly via email? Join the Foundation Academies Newsletter Email List right here!

Posted in ,

Graig Weiss

Graig Weiss served as the Chief Executive Officer of Foundation Academies from 2014-2022. He began 5 years before as Middle School Principal. A 2003 Teach for America corps member, Mr. Weiss taught Math and Science in the Bronx and the Dominican Republic prior to becoming an administrator and was selected as Teacher of the Year in 2007. Prior to entering the education field, Mr. Weiss worked in the financial services sector with Cambridge Associates, LLC in Boston, MA. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Finance and Accounting from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Science in Teaching from Fordham University, and a Master of Science in Educational Leadership from the University of Scranton.