Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Happy new year from Suffield. We are excited to welcome our students back to campus and resume the winter term.
We have many events in January including three chapel dates set aside for presentations by members of the Class of 2018 and an event honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 15. We have a reception for alumni and current, past, and prospective parents in New York on January 17. On January 20, we will have a program for parents of 11th-graders about the college search process (suffieldacademy.org/college
). In addition to learning more about how our college counselors support students and families, parents will hear from admission officers from the Boston College, University of Chicago, Skidmore College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Our juniors are now in the middle of the College 101 program, an integral part of our Leadership curriculum. This course provides an overview of several important areas: the college counseling process at Suffield, options for standardized test preparation and the differences between the SAT and the ACT, identifying the right college fit, shaping a college list, and writing effective application essays.
The winter midterm closes on Friday, January 19 and progress reports will be sent to parents electronically during the following week. Our winter guitar show is on January 27 and the junior history area studies projects will be displayed on the evenings of January 29 and 30 (suffieldacademy.org/history
The Memorial Building project continues to unfold well and we will have a beautiful new academic center for the 2018-2019 school year. Interior construction is underway, and while the building will retain its classical look the classrooms and work areas will be bright and modern.
As we turn our focus to the spring and the 2018-2019 academic year I wanted to highlight a few items. First, a mailing will be sent electronically next week from my office with the 2018-2019 academic calendar. You will notice the fall registration has moved up a few days and will not be after Labor Day. This is intended to help enhance the transition for new students by beginning the academic year with less down time and also to avoid having our Convocation or other key opening events on religious holidays. As always, if this poses any conflicts for families please just communicate with me or our dean of students' office and we will help facilitate any issues.
Second, I want you to know about some personnel changes that will take effect in July. After many years on our faculty, Dave Rockwell '58, Barry Cleary, and Kim Wiggin will retire in June. The search for a Director of Academic Support is underway. Three colleagues will be assuming new roles as of July 1, 2018 (Sara Yeager, Greg Lynch, Ann Selvitelli) and we will be filling some new positions. Our strategic planning process has been helpful in developing this plan, which I am confident will help enhance the success of our students and of all we are doing at Suffield.
Beginning in July, Sara Yeager will be our Dean of Academics and Faculty, continuing to assume direct responsibility for our academic program and curriculum while expanding her responsibilities as the point-person for faculty-related items. As Dean of Students and Campus Life, Greg Lynch will be responsible for leading programs that occur outside the realm of academics and our afternoon options. These include his responsibilities related to student conduct and permissions but also areas that will help further develop our campus life curriculum such as organizing our residential, evening, and weekend coverages and collaborating with several faculty members advising student organizations. Ann Selvitelli will be the Director of College Counseling and Leadership, overseeing these two areas of great importance to Suffield. To further support and enhance these programs we will also add one full-time faculty position in the College Counseling Office and one full-time position in the Leadership Program. With the addition of these new colleagues Ann will continue providing direct oversight of each student's college search and our college counselors, and she will add responsibility for curriculum development and coordination of the Leadership Program.
Ann and I particularly wanted the parents of rising seniors (Class of 2019) to know of this decision as the process soon unfolds for college counselor selections later in January. We will hire our new counselor in the coming months and Ann will share the caseload with this person. Ann and I will continue to work closely with our other talented counselors as well (Kate Bashaw, Kareem Nulan, and Matthew Fava).
Along with these increased responsibilities for Ann, Greg, and Sara, and the positions in Leadership and College Counseling noted above, we are creating an exciting new role of Coordinator of Curriculum and Faculty Development. This will center on supporting and encouraging the development of Suffield Academy's teaching and curriculum planning through further opportunities for collaboration and dialogue about methodologies and learning. We expect this role to symbolize the dynamic academic life at Suffield and directly support our mission, which emphasizes lifelong learning.
In closing, I want to mention that our admissions office is very busy while the applicant pool for next year takes shape. More than 125 students are interviewing over the next two weeks as the first-round application deadline approaches. It looks like we will again have close to 1,000 students applying for 130 available spaces. For good reason, our school is in strong demand. As our current parents so forcefully emphasized in recent strategic planning feedback, Suffield is thriving in large measure due to a compelling educational philosophy (blending rigor with encouragement), an excellent faculty, remarkable facilities, and a warm, spirited community.
Thank you for your dedication to the school. Hillary and I send best wishes for the new year.