Friday, January 9, 2015
I wanted to send along some news from Suffield as we proceed with the winter term. It is great having everyone back on campus.
Several students will speak at Monday's chapel (January 12) about their service work in Ghana, and how resources raised by the Suffield Academy community have helped Hearts of the Father Outreach. On January 17 we have a program for parents of juniors (Suffield's Class of 2016) about the college search process (www.suffieldacademy.org/college
). In addition to learning more about how Suffield supports families in the college search, parents will hear from admission officers from Boston College, Franklin & Marshall, Texas Christian, and Wesleyan. Most of our eleventh graders will take the SAT on January 24, and all 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, shaping a college list, and writing effective application essays.
Our January 19 chapel program will focus on the holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Guest speaker Jamall Calloway plans to highlight the legacy of Dr. King and the civil rights movement, as well as recent American events that elevated racial tension. We will be joined by athletes from Special Olympics Connecticut on January 26 and are planning a performing arts showcase on February 2.
The winter midterm closes on Friday, January 16. Progress reports will be sent to parents electronically during the following week.
Our admissions office is meeting with a large number of guests interested in applying to Suffield. Nearly 200 families will visit in January as we reach the first-round admissions deadline. Our applicant pool will again be strong, likely our largest ever. Last year, more than 1,000 students interviewed for the 140 openings. The upcoming issue of Suffield magazine includes a feature about why the school is in strong demand at this point in its history.
The Brewster Hall expansion project continues to unfold. Much of Stiles Lane has been converted to a walkway and the remarkable views from this new space are taking shape. The building will grow from 27,000 to 40,000 square feet. The top floor will have a new kitchen and a distinct food servery area, enabling us to achieve a central goal of having space for all students and faculty to formally dine together. The ground floor will house an expanded student center with various spaces for social activities, a day student locker area, and better infrastructure for the school's snack bar. You can see the progress at web.suffieldacademy.org/webcam.
As we look to the spring, I wanted to note that the 2015-2016 academic calendar and reenrollment contracts for returning students will be mailed from Suffield during the first week of February. As I will mention in the cover letter accompanying the calendar, our 2015 Commencement speaker will be Alan Alda GP'15, the noted actor, director, screenwriter, and author.
Finally, as we proceed through winter term I should again outline our inclement weather policy. Since the majority of Suffield Academy's students reside on campus, the school does not normally suspend classes or activities during snowstorms or other extreme weather conditions. Although classes and school activities will occur, day student families are asked to make their own decision about the safety of travel and to notify the school in the cases of absences due to the weather, following our standard procedure for reporting an absence to the Dean of Students' Office (860-386-4492). Our faculty understands there will be no academic penalties for excused absences and will offer appropriate help for any missed classes.
If poor weather causes a delay in the start of classes because of dangerous campus conditions, this information will be accessible through our website, our campus intranet (email) system, our mass notification texts, and by calling our Emergency Communication Line at 860-386-4404. These decisions will be communicated to students, parents, and faculty through these vehicles by 6:00 a.m. Administrative functions at the school such as meals and switchboard coverage will continue along scheduled hours.
In closing, I want to thank the many parents who contributed to the Annual Fund during the holidays. The fact that more than 90% of current parents supported the Annual Fund last academic year made Suffield the envy of schools in this important area. Fortunately we are headed for similar results for 2014-2015. Thank you for your partnership in our work with your children, and Hillary and I send our best wishes for the new year.