As a result of the announcement concerning our consolidation with Greenwich Country Day School (GCDS) and the Lower School administrative reassignments for the next academic year, the weeks approaching the winter holidays have been even busier than usual. Although the announcement surprised many, almost all of the response from parents has reflected optimism for the new educational, athletic, and social opportunities that the association with GCDS will provide our students.
The Board and I very much appreciate all the parents who found the time necessary to attend our Stanwich community meeting on November 29th. I don't think I have ever seen our gym so full with parents and faculty in all divisions. Questions had been solicited from parents in advance of the meeting to inform the general comments of Andy Richard, Stanwich Board Co-chair, Adam Rohdie, GCDS Headmaster, and me.
We were unable to answer many (50+) of the specific questions about teacher assignments and program evolution. However, the list of questions from that meeting and since then will inform responses in a second Q&A piece I hope to prepare for everyone in January. The feedback from the community meeting reflected appreciation for our teachers, curiosity with the process and enthusiasm for the future, albeit again with some sense of loss of the unique Stanwich School identity.
Since that meeting, Adam Rohdie and I have met with faculty groups to answer what questions we could about our process and our expectations going forward. I am doing the same with student groups. In addition, we have created an oversight committee structure and composition. These committees will work through the many strategic, coordination, and operational questions (facilities funding and construction, enrollment management, curriculum and program, staffing and professional development) that must be answered well in advance of September 2019. Committee rosters include representation from the various constituencies -faculty, trustee, and parent - from both current schools. In addition, we are currently considering the best ways for our students to begin integrating and be involved with the transition process.
The most pressing questions in the planning process for next year include the academic year calendar and the tuition/fee structure, with an eye to unifying the two for 2019-2020.
I hope to communicate that information to parents well in advance of the re-enrollment period with sufficient time for thoughtful decision making. For families who plan to return, the deadline for completed forms and deposits will be firm to inform our process of communicating with, and rehiring, our teachers for 2018-2019.
One of the most frequently asked parent questions for which we have a clear answer regards the 2017-2018 Stanwich Annual Fund.
Yes, we need the philanthropic, tax-deductible support of our parents to achieve the financial goals established last spring and support teacher professional development and program. Despite our increasing involvement with GCDS between now and the fall of 2019, please continue to make our school a giving priority. For 2017-2018 we have an institutional responsibility to meet the goals of our annual operating budget, which incorporates our anticipated giving goals. With continued generous support, parents can honor Stanwich's past and celebrate Stanwich's bright future. On the basis of a successful Annual Fund, I hope that our spring benefit can be more about fun than funding.
With all best wishes for you and your family in the up-coming holiday and the new year.