For the first Dalat News article each year, I like to focus on “What’s New.” The first week of school is always an exciting one as the campus finally comes alive with students and activity. All the work that has been done in preparation of the new year starts to pay off as classes begin meeting and students get back to their studies. It’s fun to see our new students learning all about what makes Dalat a special and unique school, and our new staff beginning to understand why we are so proud of our students.
In North America, an expression that is used to say “hello,” or greet someone you know, is to ask the question, “What’s New?” So, at the beginning of each school year, that is a good question to answer in the first director’s message.
So what is new at Dalat this year? Quite a bit actually, as you will see in the list below.
New Students: Our enrolment for this year currently stands at 574 students from 23 different countries with 92 being new to Dalat.
New Staff: This year we have 15 new full-time staff and 6 part-time staff joining Dalat; Casey Bernhardt – Facilities Coordinator, Sharon Bernhardt – MS & HS teacher, Kelly Burleson – HS Science teacher, Travis Burleson – PT teacher, Susana Chois – MS Coordinator and Counselor, Dale Gibson-Pham – Kindergarten teacher, Emily Grad – HS English teacher, Emily Hieber – ES/MS Special Services, Jens Hieber– PT Ed Tech, Sarah Jang – P3 teacher, Patrick Kilgo – PT HS Math teacher, Caroline Knowles – 1st Grade teacher, Guy Maurin – HS Math teacher, Denise Maurin – PT Development Office, Jane Rajaratnam – 1st Grade teacher, Jessica Restrepo – MS teacher, Kirk Ronzheimer – Spiritual Life Director, Calah Ronzheimer – 2nd Grade teacher, Jessica Seckler – HS Science teacher, Peter Stuart – PT HS Science teacher, Bethany Weidemann – MS English teacher.
New Facilities (coming soon): As you come on campus it is not hard to see the impact of the construction. Those big blue walls are pretty obvious. The construction period will at times create frustrations and inconveniences for us this coming semester, but when it is done, it is going to bring so many benefits to our students and community.
New Theme: Our theme for this year as a school is “GRIT: Growth, Resilience, Integrity, Tenacity,” and as the year goes on, this theme will be fleshed out in many different ways. Our “Focus ESLR” (Expected School Wide Learning Result) is Faithful Steward.
New Lease: Dalat has secured an agreement with our landlords that will see Dalat on our current campus through 2043.
Other New Things: We have a new 1 to 1 device for our incoming 9th graders (PC tablet), new textbooks and resources in all divisions, new “grass” on the playing fields, etc.
The list could go on with a number of other small changes, but I will stop there. A lot of things are new around Dalat right now, but my hope for our new families is that very soon it will no longer feel like a “new” school but instead will feel like “home.”