Dear MPH Community,

In that simple greeting (i.e., “Dear MPH Community”), I derive tremendous strength and confidence.  It was exactly a year ago today when Steff and I departed early in the morning from our home in New Hampshire, heading west through Vermont for another visit to the Syracuse area. (At the time, I had just recently accepted the offer from MPH to serve as head of school beginning in the upcoming fall.) We needed to find a place to live,  and we were excited about our plans to attend the 2019 MPH Gala later that same day. While there were certainly many  specific memorable moments from last year’s Gala, we were just so impressed, in general, by the heartfelt and pervasive commitment to our new school that was in evidence. We were sold on MPH…yet again!

One year later, and my appreciation for this community — the values we embody, the dedication and support of so many individuals, the sense of purpose — is greater than ever before. We are making history together, and this is challenging for everyone.  And yet, true to form, our community demonstrates resilience and resolve. I am grateful to be a part of it all.

What follows are a few updates and a preview of upcoming opportunities:

  • Yesterday, Governor Cuomo extended the “NY Pause” order through May 15, which means that, if we do return to classes at MPH, the earliest possible date is May 18.  Once again, we will manage expectations.

  • On behalf of my colleagues, I want to thank all of our parents who completed the recent survey in which we asked you to share your impressions about the distance-learning experience.  We were pleased by the number of completed responses, and your insights have already helped us make thoughtful adjustments in a number of areas. You will receive more specific feedback from our division heads, all of whom have appreciated your partnership.

  • And here we are on the day of our annual Gala, a wonderful and longstanding tradition at MPH, and yet this year’s event will be very different. I look forward to singing the praises of, and expressing appreciation for, many individuals and local businesses that have stepped up to help us rally as a community. I understand there are more than 150 registered guests, and that number will increase throughout the day. Amazing!  

I look forward to seeing you and members of the wider MPH community at this evening’s Gala. Engaging in social connections during this period of prolonged physical distancing is a healthy way to reduce stress and build resilience. As we continue to provide the best education possible for our students, we will maintain our steadfast commitment to their health and well-being. This commitment extends to our families, our employees, and our alumni as well. MPH’s strength is rooted in its values and is expressed in its resilience.  Let us continue to take good care of ourselves, of one another, and of our neighbors through these difficult times as together we write this chapter of Manlius Pebble Hill School history.


Dave McCusker
Head of School