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To the Harker Community,
As we head into the holiday season, I would like to share some reflections and thoughts so far for this school year.
RELIEF EFFORTS
The recent fires in the North Bay were a reminder that life can change instantly and without warning, and our thoughts are with the many families grieving loss or now in the process of rebuilding their lives. This type of catastrophe also reminds us that we are in a position to help those suffering. While it was disappointing to have to cancel the picnic, the outpouring of support from the community was heartwarming. I’m pleased to report that we will contribute $10,000 to the Sonoma County Resilience Fund, comprising picnic admission revenue and individual parent, student and staff donations. We also donated $2,875 in gift cards and 150 bags and boxes of canned food, non-perishables, pet food and children’s clothing to the Salvation Army and a local shelter. Thank you to all Harker families who participated in the food and clothing drive for fire victims, and who agreed to have their picnic ticket admissions donated. Read the Harker News story for a complete recap of the relief efforts.
 
Of course the best thank-you comes from those affected. Captain Rio Ray, corps commanding officer at the Salvation Army, shared his gratitude in this brief video.
TRAFFIC SAFETY
We have seen some great behavior by our parents and students at drop-off and pickup, but a couple of incidents have pointed out that we have work to do, and that everyone should continue to be focused for their own safety and that of others whenever driving in or around our campuses.
PARENT FEEDBACK
Each year we conduct surveys with our parent body. We appreciate and reflect on all of the input we are given, and we respond directly to those who have requested a follow-up conversation. The feedback we receive helps us make changes that improve our programs, e.g., scheduling, food service options and facility needs. There are some areas where these changes are not visible, but they are happening; in other areas we recognize that we cannot meet all requests from everybody. 
 
Related to our efforts to gather and respond to community feedback, this year we are engaging in the self-study portion of the CAIS/WASC accreditation process. This endeavor has great value to the institution, as it requires us to observe and reflect upon who we are. There will be opportunities for community involvement in various aspects of the process, and we are grateful for the input of all parents who participate.
 
While the accreditation process will provide us with some specific areas upon which we will focus in the years ahead, given the outstanding condition of our core programs, it is clear that the overarching task for us in the years to come will be to evolve in a manner that continues the current trajectory of the school. Some of this evolution will be organic and come from internal initiatives, while some of our evolution will be inspired by changing conditions around us, as well as by developments not only in learning theory, but in advances in our understanding of cognitive science and computational technologies. At the conclusion of the CAIS/WASC accreditation cycle at the end of the 2018-19 school year, we will capture these possibilities as we create an action plan for the future.
125th ANNIVERSARY YEAR
Finally, the excitement is beginning to build for the celebration of Harker’s first 125 years. Watch for email updates and magazine reminders this year for more details.
It has been a wonderful, educational fall, and there is much to look forward to on the horizon. With much excitement for all that has transpired and all that lies ahead, I am

Sincerely yours,yager signatureBrian Yager
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