Monday, January 28, 2013
I want to share a few items as we head to the extended winter weekend. I trust you received midterm grades and the school magazine last week. I am pleased with how well our community is proceeding through the winter term, which has been recently highlighted by very cold temperatures. Today, for example, several student performing arts groups displayed their talents at chapel.
Our students will now prepare for a variety of end-of-term assessments including oral presentations, extensive essays, and multimedia projects. These began with last week's terrific 11th grade Area Studies presentations. Designed through a shared vision between Suffield and Patty and Gustavo Cisneros '66, the area studies courses seek to integrate a traditional history curriculum with art, literature, music, politics, and contemporary culture. The classes are aligned with our students' language study, and American history is now taught in the sophomore year.
On Thursday, February 7 we will have an extensive security exercise on campus. As mentioned in a previous letter, Suffield has invested in several safety channels related to the security of our students, faculty, and staff, including campus-wide mass notification systems. We will preview the exercise with everyone here on February 5 and then review the process upon completion. Our local police and fire departments will support this exercise.
Another notable project beginning next week is the construction of new science facilities. When you next visit campus you will notice fencing and construction on the southern portion of our academic quad. Attached to this letter is a notification we are required to send related to the impending construction. The new building will be constructed in under ten months and provide ideal space for science study. It will alleviate existing constraints and be another asset on Suffield's beautiful campus. Plans are proceeding for other projects included in our Campus Master Plan, and I will provide a full update of these initiatives at the Parents' Association Auction during Spring Parents' Weekend (on Friday, April 26).
Our admissions and college counseling offices are very busy, as we recruit and evaluate new candidates and help our current students plan for the next step in their education. Twenty-three members of the Class of 2013 have been accepted in binding early decision programs at both small and large schools including—among many others—Connecticut College, Trinity, Kenyon, and Wesleyan to New York University, Columbia, and Boston University. Other students have been admitted through rolling or non-binding early action programs to schools including Babson, McGill, Princeton, University of Michigan, and University of Wisconsin. Members of our Class of 2014 are in the middle of the "College-101" Program, and I know more than 100 parents of juniors attended the January 19 program on campus.
Many Suffield students will take part in trips over March vacation, with the largest group (50 students and 7 faculty members) heading to Europe from March 9 to March 23. The itinerary includes visits to several parts of Italy (Rome, Sorrento, Capri, Sicily) and Greece.
We are having an outstanding winter athletic season, with teams excelling at all levels. Postseason play awaits nearly all varsity teams and you will see details about these tournaments and contests in upcoming notes from the school.
I am pleased to report that the applicant pool for the 2013-2014 academic year is shaping up to be large and strong. We will have eight applicants for each available space. First round admission decisions will be sent electronically and by mail on March 10, and many accepted students and families will revisit campus during the first two weeks of the spring term. As in past years, we are hoping current parents will help encourage accepted families to enroll at Suffield by making phone calls on behalf of the school. If you would like to help in this capacity, please contact Jeff Depelteau in our admissions office (firstname.lastname@example.org
A note I received from a visiting family last weekend really summarizes Suffield's culture. The father wrote, "My son and I have been discussing what a great visit we had at Suffield. You and your colleagues are building a world-class school, and it is obvious how invested everyone is in the mission. Our son was really impressed by the people he met and the school spirit which was so evident around us, and as a dad sending a young son off to school I appreciate the many supports Suffield has put into place. I am especially intrigued by the leadership curriculum you've developed to prepare your students to go out and succeed in this world. This is a really unique opportunity that Suffield offers."
As I mentioned in our recent school magazine—and we see reflected in the words above—Suffield is prospering right now in large measure due to a commitment by everyone in our community to a common set of goals and values. Thank you for supporting the school and for your partnership in our work with your daughters and sons.