August 30, 2016

Dear Stanwich Families, 

I enthusiastically welcome everyone to the 2016-2017 academic year: Stanwich School's 19th. In anticipation of Tuesday, September 6, faculty and staff are busy this week coordinating plans, finalizing details, and polishing up our many new learning spaces. As no doubt has been communicated previously by Division Heads and Lead Teachers, our first day will be a full day for which everyone should be appropriately prepared and dressed. If you have any questions about the new drop-off/pick-up locations, please contact the Divisional Assistants - Lilian for Lower School or Renata for Upper School  - to confirm. 

This year will accelerate forward our institutional momentum with on-going improvements to our facilities, program, and its delivery. Although the energy and perspectives of this year's great new faculty excite us, our unique school culture remains gratefully grounded by Stanwich's long-standing extraordinary teachers who so adeptly balance challenge and love so that each individual child can be the best that he or she can be. Their unwavering personal investment in the success of your children is the foundation on which parent trust in Stanwich is founded. This year we welcome thirty-one new families and fifty new students to our Stanwich community. New families and students are encouraged to attend our welcoming orientation activities for them this coming Thursday beginning with an orientation for new local families at 9:00am, and an orientation for new international families at 11:00am. 

The first term is always a very busy and, we hope, joyous one filled with a variety of student and parent activities. Although the Stanwich website - with its calendars and teacher/class webpages - provides a continually updated resource for parents, as always please feel free to call the main office or the divisional offices if you have any questions or concerns. We are thankful for the many parents on Parent Association and Board of Trustees Committees without whose time, effort, financial support, and wisdom, The Stanwich School would not be possible.  

In addition to Upper School teacher Chris Hughes's work on Korea this summer at Stanford noted in the Greenwich Time, faculty were actively engaged in various professional development activities about which more will be communicated later. In particular, Junior House families will learn more about Senior House teacher preparations for the Diploma Program in 2018 and its emerging new curriculum.  Faculty also spent time this summer reading, including A More Beautiful Question and Understanding Independent School Parents. The first focuses on the importance of teaching and learning to ask insightful questions in order to stimulate the curiosity and innovation necessary for success in a changing world. The latter encourages clear communication and clearly defined parameters of control to reinforce respectful partnerships between parents and teachers and thereby to develop self-reliant and responsible students. If you would like to borrow one, we have extra copies of both in the Main Office. 

On a personal note, my wife Kim and I wish to thank so many of you for the thoughts and prayers after our son Daniel's recent death. Although some days are really difficult and will be for a long while, we are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances. We appreciate the tremendous love and sympathy we have received from the entire Stanwich community, and hope that everyone will help us stay in the present and look forward to what will be our students and Stanwich School's best year yet. 

With all best wishes, sincerely, 
Charles Sachs
Head of School