Thursday, September 13, 2018
As we proceed through the second week of the academic year I wanted to send some news from Suffield. Our students are settling in nicely and we have largely adjusted to the routines of campus life.
It is exciting to see our 2011 Campus Master Plan complete with the opening of Memorial Building. This is a fantastic anchor to our academic quad and we are so pleased our students and faculty have this inspirational space. It was a busy summer on campus with the Memorial construction, the synthetic turf project on Holmes Field, and the conversion of Brodie Hall to its intended purpose as a dormitory. All of these were ready on time (and on budget) as we welcomed our 420 students (136 new to Suffield) during the first few days in September.
We have our most robust academic program in school history with 238 class sections. As planned, our average class size remains between 10 and 11 students. The curriculum has both core departmental offerings and more than 40 electives. These include new courses in the arts, AP Computer Science, two college-level math classes, and honors year-long science options in biotechnology, engineering problem solving, marine science, and anatomy and physiology. We have also added senior level courses in philosophy and in civil, criminal, and constitutional law.
There have been some changes to our staffing this year following both the retirement of three long-time faculty members (Dave Rockwell '58, Barry Cleary, and Kim Wiggin) and the completion of a strategic plan centered on Suffield's future. In addition to our new faculty colleagues (suffieldacademy.org/newfaculty
), several colleagues have new leadership roles. As I outlined in a letter earlier this year
), Sara Yeager is now Dean of Academics and Faculty, Greg Lynch is Dean of Students and Campus Life, and Ann Selvitelli is Director of College Counseling and Leadership. To further support and enhance the important programs Ann is overseeing we have added full-time faculty positions in the College Counseling Office (Kelli Tosone '90, who moved from the library and admissions) and in Leadership (Gina Longo). Finally, Beth Krasemann is filling an interesting new role as Coordinator of Curriculum and Faculty Development. Working in partnership with Sara Yeager, our Assistant Academic Deans (Ben Morgan '06 and Phil Hodosy), and our academic department chairs, Beth supports and encourages the development of Suffield Academy's teaching and curriculum planning. The position centers on creating more opportunities for collaboration and dialogue about curriculum and teaching, and on being a resource for faculty development.
Our extracurricular programs are fully underway and have robust enrollments. For example, we are adding a third team in volleyball due to increased interest among our girls. More than 50 students have roles in this year's musical (“Billy Elliot”) and several more will help with technical aspects of the show. Our athletic teams begin interscholastic competition this week and you can find more information about this on the school website (suffieldacademy.org/athletics
You should have recently received information from us about the October 11-13 Parents' Weekend, which includes meetings with classroom teachers and their faculty advisors. Parents of 12th grade students will meet with college counselors. We also welcome back many Suffield alums on that weekend for their reunion. Details can be seen on our website (suffieldacademy.org/parentsweekend
) and we ask that you please RSVP to Kim Goodwin (firstname.lastname@example.org) by October 1. Other upcoming events include the Admissions Open House on October 20 and Grandparents' Day on October 25.
We are at a great moment in Suffield's history with spirited, talented students and faculty, an immaculate campus benefiting from major recent investments, and a clear plan guiding us into the future. The heart of our strategy rests on shared values about how to best support and help inspire adolescents, and on a talented faculty involved in all parts of community life. Again, it will be fun having many of you on campus next month. Hillary and I send our best wishes.