Dear ELMO Friends & Family,
We thought you might appreciate an update on how ELMO is working to help our community as Montecito literally digs out from the rain and flooding. Last Wednesday, our Parent Association met here on campus. We discussed ways ELMO could be a direct support to our community. One suggestion was to partner with schools in Montecito that would be closed. Immediately El Montecito Early School came to mind and we contacted their director, Suzy Dobreski. Several text messages and emails culminated in a planning meeting last Friday. As a result, this morning we welcomed just over a dozen students and three teachers from El Montecito Early School to our campus. We are glad to host these students and teachers whose school is not accessible. As you know, we began at El Montecito Presbyterian Church and so have a strong connection and shared history with them.
We see this opportunity as the result of God’s work. Last summer we opened a second PreK classroom. Community Care Licensing unexpectedly approved our campus to serve 72 preschool students; we never anticipated exceeding 60 students. Then, John Davies (an Alum parent and former president of the PFCE board) and Ken Marshall (who works for Dudek Law Firm) helped us work with the city to increase our preschool Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to match our license. Since on our busiest day we have 55 preschool students, we can legally host the displaced children.
As I look back on the process of opening a fourth preschool classroom and the approval for increased enrollment, I see that God’s hand orchestrated things for this exact day. This time last year, we would not have been in a position to help.
Our partnership with El Montecito Early School is both a step of faith and one of showing love to our neighbors in a time of need. We are incredibly proud of the willingness of our preschool teachers to embrace this endeavor. Although we never anticipated operating with 72 preschool students, we feel this is something we must do and are excited for our time together!
During the Parent Association meeting we talked of additional ways to support families. Since Thursday we have been collecting canned food to help stock the shelves of the local Santa Barbara Foodbank. Also, last Friday we hosted a few elementary students who normally attend public school in Montecito. These students needed a day out of the mud and muck and we were glad to welcome them. We may well host additional elementary students in the next week or two. If you happen to know families with elementary-aged students who need to temporarily be here, please contact me or call the school office, 962-3091.
Last Tuesday, I came across Romans 12:12 which says “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” While sometimes it may feel hollow to say, “I am praying for you” or to say “please be in prayer for …” this is exactly what Paul tells us to do! And so I finish by saying again, please continue to be in prayer for our community and those affected by the fire and flood.
Tim Loomer, Ed D
Head of School