As we look to wrap up the 2021 year, I can say with incredible pride and gratitude that despite all of the challenges we faced this year at school and the world at large, it has been filled with abundant learning, creativity, and resilience from our HMS community of students, families, staff, and supporters (you!). I’d like to share just a few of the many highlights from 2021:
• COVID-19 testing and accessibility: In January 2021, we began testing students and staff for COVID-19 with support from our partnership with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Because of this, I’m humbled to share that HMS became the first Approved Private School in the area with our own COVID-19 testing capacity, allowing us to bring staff and students into the building safely. In fact, in 2021, we have performed 5,472+ COVID-19 tests.
• Virtual and in-person programs and services: Between January and April of 2021, HMS staff and services remained virtual except for Physical & Occupational Therapy appointments. With health and safety in mind, we were able to offer these services to our HMS families in a safe manner given our testing accessibility and the willingness (and eagerness) of our Therapy department.
• Hybrid services: Between April and June 2021, we launched a hybrid program where we saw that roughly half of our students returned to in-person learning each day. This allowed us to reimagine new ways to use school grounds carefully and with COVID-19 safety in mind.
• Reopening of HMS ESY (Extended School Year) Program: Beginning in July, we are thrilled to share that we saw a full re-opening of our ESY Program. This brought incredible joy to our entire team as we enjoyed the sounds of a cheerful building once again!
• Launch of the 2021-2022 school year: In September, we welcomed our newest cohort of students and families back to HMS for the new school year. This was the first full in-school year programming since March 2020. The magic of HMS is beginning to come back, and we couldn’t be more excited about this.
As COVID-19 continues to impact our school, community, and the world, our COVID-19 safety protocols remain in-tact and at the forefront of our efforts. Testing, masking and social distancing remain mandatory, all of which has been handled by our students and staff with grace and understanding. The safety of our HMS community comes first.
Other highlights of 2021…
We welcomed 9 new families into the HMS community this 2021-2022 school year.
New staff members joined our HMS family in 2021.
We hosted our HMS 5K on-site at HMS School for the first time – and it was a wonderful success!
Help Hope Live has donated adaptive bicycles to a few of our HMS students! We couldn’t be more appreciative of their generosity.
Getting back to the things we love…
I am eager for the New Year as we continue explore ways for us to make progress toward getting back to doing all the things we love! With immense gratitude, I am looking toward 2022 with an honest perspective including hope, resilience, and candidness. Challenges remain. COVID-19 remains a part of our lives and we will need to continue being vigilant and responsive in an effort to keep our community safe.
As we look ahead toward 2022, I am asking for your support as part of our year-end appeal. Our work at HMS School wouldn’t be possible without tools and resources to keep our students safe. We continue to need resources to keep our students, staff, and building safe. Most importantly, we look to your incredible generosity to allow us to fully operationalize our programs and services needed to meet the needs of each of our student’s individualized needs. It is with your support that we’re able to provide them with a comprehensive educational and therapeutic program.
2022 promises to be an exciting year and I thank you for your past and future support! On behalf of all of us at HMS School: May you enjoy this holiday season. With incredible gratitude, thank you and we wish you a Happy New Year!
HMS School for Children with Cerebral Palsy