Two floods have closed the Seed. The first was September 8, 2014, when the whole Phoenix area was drenched and even sections of Baseline were closed. The other flood was today, the third day of our summer art camp. On the way to teach my annual kids yoga camp at Desert Song, I got the call. I stopped by the Seed to check it out and it was major. A pipe in the janitorial closet had broken, leaving six of our nine classrooms soaked. The Preschool 3s was filled with over an inch of water and lots of soggy book cases. The hallway was wet halfway to the office. We made a quick executive decision to close the school, I sent off a brief email to notify parents, then had to leave for yoga camp. It was hard to drive away, and an excellent opportunity to practice believing in the team that would figure out the problem.
When I arrived back at school around noon, I heard that the staff pitched right in to sweep water out of classrooms, moved books to higher ground, and offered to do whatever was needed. Several others ended up babysitting for families that were in a bind for child care. The plumber had come and gone, the problematic pipe already fixed. Our insurance company had already been contacted, and one parent, employed by a restoration company, was in the process of lining up a team to come over and assess the situation. Once they determined that the dry end of the building would be safe for children, we moved forward with the decision to go ahead and reopen the Seed tomorrow with a slightly modified arrangement. We drafted an email update to parents, and for the next five hours I read and responded one by one to their messages.
I know everyone was inconvenienced by our flood. However, the messages were sympathetic, patient, and understanding. I even received a few offers for help from alumni families. The families who absolutely need care for their children will bring them to the Seed tomorrow. Those who have some flexibility will keep their kids home or find alternative care for the next few days. A number of the messages expressed appreciation for the clear communications and updates. Everyone who requests a refund or credit will receive it. It was fortunate it didn’t happen a week ago, on the day of our awards and graduation. It was lucky it was during the summer when we have less students.
I was impressed all day with how calm everyone remained. Yes, it’s going to be extra work to replace the damaged furniture and put two-thirds of our classrooms back together in a short time. However, during a week when it’s painful to even think of what happened in Orlando, a few soggy classrooms and scrambling to find last minute childcare coverage seems pretty minor. We never know what life is going to send our way, and at times like this, I’m especially grateful for our Seed community.