from Director Phil Kassen

August 2021

Dear  LREI Families, 

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year!  We are so excited to return to LREI after a much needed summer respite. The summer allowed us time to reflect on the previous 16 months, to host our amazing summer camp, to refresh the buildings (Did you say new play roof?  What?) and to plan for an amazing 2021-2022. We were also able to hone our plans for our upcoming Centennial Celebration.  As you likely know, we decided that last year was not the right time to celebrate LREI’s 100th birthday.  The coming school year is, though, and it will be filled with festive events, large and small. Stay tuned for information regarding all of the Centennial gatherings - for adults, children, families and everyone all together.  

We are eager to use our Centennial celebrations to both reflect on our heritage and to imagine our future.  As we think about the founding of the school, and just how meaningful the school’s progressive underpinnings were then and are now, I reflect on a passage from Elisabeth Irwin’s 1924 book Fitting the School to the Child. In the conclusion, she wrote:

We shall not judge the success of the child’s education by his acquisition of facts in geography, history, and arithmetic, and his skill in penmanship and spelling. While these may continue to be necessary instruments in modern civilization, we shall recognize them as mere instruments and judge the real value of an educated people by the uses to which these instruments are put. After all, motives, purposes, and ideals must ever be the real signs of a successful life. Ability to meet new conditions intelligently and effectively, to fashion new tools when old ones no longer do the work, is the one sufficient evidence of genuine education.

So, while history and arithmetic, and maybe even penmanship, have, of course, remained “necessary instruments in modern civilization,” EI was absolutely correct that it is the application of all that we learn, the ways in which we connect school and our daily lives, the ways in which we understand the world and each other, that are just so important, so essential, to the LREI experience.  We will spend considerable time this year thinking about Miss Irwin’s ideals and their current application.  We will also look at ways in which our mission, and our application of it, have changed.  As Miss Irwin famously said:

The school will not always be just what it is now, but we hope it will always be a place where ideas can grow, where heresy will be looked upon as possible truth, and where prejudice will dwindle from lack of room to grow.  We hope it will be a place where freedom will lead to judgment -- where ideals, year after year, are outgrown like last season's coat for larger ones to take their places.

I look forward to our conversations about Elisabeth Irwin throughout the year.  More importantly, I  look forward to witnessing her school, which she called, “my experiment,” in action, with your children, in-person, each day, all year long.  

Until September 9, I wish you a wonderful end of summer, a time filled with cool mornings and warm evenings, and all of the ways in which summer connects us and creates joy. 

Peace and health, 


  • Please be sure to read the letters on this Fall Information Page - the letters from your child’s principal, from Kalil Oldham - our Director of Equity and Community, from Director of Learning & Innovation Mark Silberberg and all of the other important information on the site.  A reminder that there will be NO hard copy mailing this summer. All of the information that you usually receive in the old “summer mailing,” is now on the Fall Information Page.  
  • For families new to LREI, Kalil and I ask that you join us for our orientation program for new families, LREI 101.  
    • LREI 101for New HS families - 9/14, 9:00a.m.-10:15a.m., in-person, 40 Charlton
    • LREI 101 for New LS/MS families - 9/15, 8:30a.m.-9:45a.m, in-person, 272 Sixth
    • LREI 101 for all families new to LREI - 9/20, 7:00p.m. - 8:00p.m. on Zoom for those who could not attend their in-person presentation. The link will be on the LREI Connect Community Events Calendar. 
→It is possible that we will decide that it is not wise to have these gatherings in person.  Stay tuned. 
  • Please review the Covid-19 information that I shared with you on Monday, August 9.  A reminder that you are invited to join me on Tuesday, August 31, at 6:30p.m., when I will be available, along with several colleagues, to discuss this information and any additional updates.  I will post the Zoom information on the LREI Connect Community Events Calendar.  
  • LREI Connect - Please review your families information on LREI Connect so that we can be in touch, as need be.   Our automated phone call service will call whichever number you list as your “home” number for routine calls and will call all numbers provided in a true emergency.
  • Please complete all of the medical forms that are required in Magnus.  Completing the forms will stop the reminders.  Questions?  Email
  • Lunch - Lunch service will vary by division. Lower school students  will eat family style in classrooms. No pre-ordering necessary.  Middle school students will order lunch via Nutrislice.  Menus will be loaded into Nutrislice on August 25.  Please be sure to order no later than September 1.  High school students do not have to order lunch ahead of time.  
Please pay special attention to our Nut and Seed Policy, available in the Family Handbook.