Greetings Cypress School Community,

I assume my responsibility as the Cypress School Director at a time of flux and change.  There are numerous challenges we face as a community, and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by them.  It is important in this moment, to seize an opportunity to advocate for changes long overdue that support the health and well-being, ensure the economic security, and recognize the common humanity of our family, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens.  We may feel isolated right now in our individual circumstances continuing to shelter or slowly expanding our routines to allow for some low risk activity.  However, now more than ever, we have been reminded that we are all in this together. 

My confidence in the ability to meet the challenges we face comes from the spirit of creativity, ingenuity, and dedication our team has displayed trying to find ways to stay connected, to foster growth and learning, and to problem solve and persist in meeting the needs of our students.  We will continue to develop better methods of distance learning based on the feedback from families.  

I am also in awe of the patience and perseverance of our families who have been so resilient and supportive during this difficult time.  We will also honestly acknowledge that the limitations in place and the methods at our disposal fail to adequately address the needs of our students meaningfully and comprehensively.  Based on this understanding, we are hopeful to return to a hybrid model that allows for some in-person instruction to resume.

I have been informed by the public education leaders of Sonoma County that we are prohibited from offering in-person instruction at this time.  I take responsibility for prematurely planning for our Cypress reopening without receiving permission first from the appropriate authorities.  I, like some of you, felt encouraged by the camps and childcare centers receiving permission to operate under certain guidelines, as well as the other counties operating pilot classroom programs.  I apologize for misinterpreting that we could open for face-to-face instruction before getting the official green light. 

We have been notified we must continue distance learning until further notice.  We do hope the restrictions will loosen, and our pilot cohorts will be allowed to proceed.  However, the target start date of 6/22 will in all likelihood need to be pushed back.  We are disappointed to hear this news, particularly since we have been tirelessly making preparations to re-open in just over a week.  We eagerly await the day that we are allowed to resume in-person instruction, and will continue to prepare for that day. 

I want to show my gratitude to my mentor, Laura Briggin, who has taught me almost everything I know about education, and continues to support our school and me as we navigate uncharted waters and an uncertain future.  Laura has a way of focusing on the positive, reinforcing and putting energy into it.  Slowly, little by little, a positive pattern emerges.  Directing our energy into the positive, we model positivity as well as reward positivity.  This is the simplest concept to articulate and the most difficult to implement. 

Our own patterns of behavior need to be examined and adjusted to stimulate the responses that we would like to see.  Pointing out the patterns in others is easier than identifying and changing our own.  Laura also exhibits a level of humility I think we all respond to and admire.  Despite her down-to-earth demeanor, she is a legend in this field.  As she passes the torch to our team, we want to acknowledge her amazing work in the community and we will continue her tradition of cultivating a love of learning and leading from the heart.  Our team is here to continue to support you through these challenges. 

We will get through this together.


Nate Yates

Director of Educational and Behavioral Services

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Jen Whalen, Director
Steve Gatlin, Manager
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