2020 Convocation

2020 Convocation



Welcome, Mount Tamalpais School to the 2020-2021 School Year!

My name is Andrew Davis and I am honored to be the Head of School here at MTS.

Whether you are a kindergarten student, on-campus or joining via hybrid learning, or an eighth-grader embarking on a new school year from the comfort of your home right down the block or on the East Coast, school has started!

Before I go any further, this year more than any year before, I must thank the scores of people who have helped us open school in these most unprecedented times. Our teachers and staff – our professional community – have gone above and beyond to be ready both on campus and on Zoom. For those at home, you have bags of supplies for engaging learning curated and packed by your teachers. When you are on campus, you will see that nearly every teacher has had to move classrooms – a Herculean task – to make this the safest school year possible. And they have done so, so much more.

It was a busy summer and we could not be more excited for it to be fall – yes, despite yesterday’s 100 plus degree heat I am calling this fall. The preparations are done. Let the learning begin!

I love the cyclical nature of school – that we get a new beginning each September. Just as we say goodbye to our 8th graders each June, each September we get to welcome our newest staff and students.

We have three people joining the MTS teaching team this year. Let me introduce them now. Nick Wilsey is our new Head of Middle School. Marianne Kabir joins as our seventh and eighth-grade history teacher. Finally, Isaac Jacobs-Gomes is our new sixth-grade humanities teacher.

This year we have 54 new students joining Mount Tamalpais School. In past years we have asked our youngest new students to stand up at the front of the gym, turn around, and wave hello to the entire student body. Today, we are going to try to go live into each of our two kindergarten rooms.  Meagan, can you introduce us to KA and KB! Welcome to the other wonderful students joining us in first through seventh-grades.

While we can’t be together in person today, I am so grateful that you all could see – and hear – our Kindergarteners, the future of MTS! And while I could not bring them live into this Convocation, I want to say a special hello and welcome back to the Mount Tamalpais School Class of 2021. Eighth graders, welcome to your first of many lasts – this is your last first day at MTS. We look forward to your leadership as role models for our younger students.  Enjoy every moment.

At the start of each year I like to bring a focus to our work together through a short phase, a theme for the year. Over the past four years we have had Be Our Best, Build with Kindness, How Matters, and last year, A Community that Cares.

A common thread through those four themes is doing – verbs – acting! This year, we are making that call to action explicit. Mount Tamalpais School 2020-2021, Action!

This year I hope we all take action to make the world a better place.  But what kind of action? For this, I look to the Mount Tamalpais School Mission Statement and the four values of Kindness, Integrity, Respect, and Self Reliance.

For now, I want to speak to two of those values that I hope guide our individual and collective action. First, kindness. This summer Congressman John Lewis passed away at 80 years old. Representative Lewis was a leading figure of the Civil Rights movement.  He once said, "When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something." Representative Lewis tells us that we must be the leaders of Kindness and that when we see unkindness and other injustice we must not only say something about it, we must do something. We must ACT!

Second, integrity. We must act with integrity. A few years ago, I explained integrity with a brief adage that is still quoted back to me by our youngest student – never wear dirty underwear. Potty humor coming in handy. To act with integrity means doing the right thing (not wearing dirty underwear)– even when no one else is watching (no one would know if you were).

This year integrity is even more important than ever. As we work to bring all of our students and teachers safely back to campus, we have provided guidelines for healthy behavior. We have asked you to wear face coverings and keep social distance and limit your activities to those allowed by public health. And more details will undoubtedly come. I ask that you follow these safety practices even when no one else is watching. That you act with integrity.

Doing so will keep us all healthy and keep us learning at school rather than on Zoom.

Throughout the year we will continue to talk about Action! Let’s all, though, do more than talk. 

Let’s take action.
Let’s act with respect
Let’s act with self-reliance
Let’s act with integrity
Let’s act with kindness

Mount Tamalpais School, welcome to the 2020-2021 school year.



Did you miss the live event?

Watch a video recording of the 2020 Convocation here.  


Read More