From the Head of School
May 17, 2018
Dear Stanwich Families,
In four short weeks, faculty will be finishing student year-end grades and comments. The pace of the third term should no longer surprise me but every year, the epiphany reoccurs.
Five weeks from now, the staging will begin for west wing construction in the area of the flagpole. The LS playground will shift to the area adjacent to the playing field where the US students have lunch on nice days. Over the summer, PreK and Kindergarten classrooms will be relocated to the Lower School building allowing our youngest Spartans easier access to the gym and their specialist classes. The move will facilitate more opportunities for collaborative learning, appropriate cross divisional student engagement, as well as a more unified LS community.
Much has occurred since my April letter. Joint Stanwich/GCDS administrative teams have begun a comprehensive curriculum review to ensure that students from both schools will align academically to begin 2019-2020 together. As part of that process, this month Lower School faculty participate in math professional development in anticipation of incorporating “Number Talk” activities during next year’s transition process. With the move of PreK and Kindergarten to the Lower School building next year, Ms. Miller, our math specialist will support every math lesson, Kindergarten through Grade 5. Similarly Ms. Restrepo, our learning specialist, will support language arts and small group Reading Workshop activities.
This June will be a particularly busy month - not only with construction - but with additional, more focused opportunities for the Stanwich and GCDS teachers to collaborate in program and curriculum planning under Stephanie Rogan’s leadership and guidance. Based on the program framework developed jointly by administration in the last three months, teachers will kick off the curriculum planning process with a three day retreat in late June. Work will continue through the summer to roll out the GCDS Upper School program for current and prospective parents in early September.
West Wing construction will continue through the fall and winter. Current information indicates that some Upper School classes may begin using the new facility in March thereby allowing renovations on the west side of the Main (US) building to begin. We hope that weather is better next spring than it has been lately to minimize programmatic inconvenience of gym renovations during the spring term. If need be, the Old Church Road campus will provide our students with the facilities necessary to accommodate Stanwich performing arts and athletic programs. In any case, the resulting new kitchen and dining room opening in the fall of 2019 will more than justify any short term inconvenience to arts and physical education next spring. For parents next year with students in Grades 7-12, more detailed information will be available at 7:00pm next Thursday, May 24 in the GCDS Upper School Study Center-along with Q&A and an opportunity to meet new GCDS friends.
I am happy to report that our 20th Anniversary Spring Benefit event was a great event, netting more than $120,000 to support Stanwich operations. Our thanks to Ayesha Khan and her committee for a fun evening. The evening was also notable for the announcement of the Pat Young Humanitarian Grant endowment to which over $70,000 has already been committed. More information will be communicated soon concern how interested families can help support that endowment. Project Blessing emerged from the Stanwich Humanitarian Grant. Attached here is Mr. Fletcher’s update on on-going work in Rwanda.
However, with all the year-end busy-ness, please do not forget about the Stanwich School Annual Fund. The Stanwich culture of kind generosity begins with its adults. If you have not already given or pledged, please do so when a parent representative calls you in the next three weeks. The percentage of parents who participate in annual giving-regardless of the dollar amount raised-is the most accurate manifestation of a strong community. In that respect, Stanwich has few equals.
As I tried to express at yesterday’s Spring Parents’ luncheon, our parents - and particularly our parent leaders - have always had a significant role in Stanwich’s success. My special thanks this year to the PA Board under the remarkable leadership of Jennifer Servedio. I very much look forward to working next year with the new PA with Janill Sharma at the helm.
After some notable successes and evident improvement, the Stanwich spring teams conclude their athletic seasons next week. Congratulations to all our performers - athletic, musical, and dramatic; students, teachers, and coaches - who demonstrate the Stanwich spirit of collective enterprise and commitment.
Until next month, with all best wishes:
Head of School