Dear Families and Students,
As we begin our school-year, I wanted to share important updates and a few thoughts on where we are headed as a community this year.
We had a busy and productive summer. Our maintenance team, technology staff, administrative assistants, and school leaders put in tremendous effort to prepare for the new year. A number of facility upgrades were completed. The track has been resurfaced and the tennis courts have been reconstructed. Carpeting has also been removed from all the halls, brightening up the building. Source offices and common areas have been renovated with new floors and furniture. Grants and referendum funds financed these projects.
The school leadership team and guidance department developed a master schedule that maximizes resources and benefits both students and teachers. Average class sizes are 20 or fewer in almost all core subjects. IB Biology and IB Music are being introduced and the new enrichment sections are in place to support the embedded honors program in English 9.
In addition, our professional learning plan for 2022-23 was built with the input and knowledge of our outstanding staff. The focus this year will be on integrating differentiated instruction to ensure all students are achieving their full potential. We are also introducing new tools to track student growth and provide parents, teachers, and students with the resources they need to monitor progress and intervene early when needed.
Our students were also busy this summer. Over 300 participated in academic enrichment work, including accelerated world language, AP and IB prep courses, college essay writing, and “Summer Slam,” our transition program for new students. Approximately 400 student athletes are participating in fall sports, which officially started in August.
The start of a new school year brings renewal, hope, along with some anxiety. Some districts across the country have been impacted by demands to ban books, marginalize members of the LBGTQ community, and restrict the teaching of certain topics. We will not let that happen here. Our community is committed to protecting the dignity of everyone and ensuring that students and teachers can engage in inquiry and discussion of important issues.
I’ll conclude with a few thoughts on a big issue: What is school really for? In 2022, many Americans see education primarily as a means to achieve material success and confer social status. But I wonder if we’ve allowed the pendulum to swing too far in this direction. Seeing education in exclusively practical terms undermines what’s most important about learning. Education becomes trivialized and distorted when we fixate on grade-point averages, ranking, and academic status symbols.
When he became president of Rutgers in 1959, Mason Gross declared that the “fundamental aim of education is simply freedom … that freedom of spirit which comes about when ignorance, superstition, and hatred yield to clear and adequate ideas.” In today’s educational environment, Gross’s viewpoint may seem idealistic, even quaint, but it should not be dismissed. What do you think school is for? What do our students think school is for? One theme for this year is to elevate the student voice and to promote engagement and growth for everyone. In short, to aspire to make our total school program as humane and decent as the people who work here are.
Have a great year everyone.