As the weather warms, our collective energy level rises in anticipation of year-end evaluations and the summer fun thereafter. However, June graduation and closing ceremonies are bittersweet occasions on which we wish graduates and departing faculty well on their up-coming new challenges.
May is performance month, not only with our many spring athletic teams, successful Math Counts and Robotics teams, but also weekly this month on stage. The experience our youngest students receive in class and assembly presentations over time develops remarkably poised, self-confident, well-spoken young adults. Without the supportive environment of a small school community, many of our students would never have the courage to take that first very public and scary step. I was recently impressed by the quality of the sophomore Moral Leadership presentations, and the spring musicals - although delightful in LS - really showcase in Junior and Senior Houses the holistic educational benefit of Stanwich School. Moreover, some of our students really can act and sing, and without Stanwich many of them would have never realized it!
Next year the Stanwich graduating class of 2017 will disperse to attend: Arizona, Bentley, UC Berkley, University of Connecticut, Emerson, Fordham, Lafayette, Marist, Muhlenberg, Quinnipiac, St. Michael's, and the Shintaro Akatsu School of Design. In addition to Helen Wang, Valedictorian, and Aidan Sebold, Salutatorian,
, the Director of the regional office of the Anti-Defamation League, will address the class on June 1. This year's graduating class led the school very well; we will miss them but are confident they will represent their families and Stanwich admirably wherever they go.
In our remaining weeks, please take the opportunity to thank departing faculty: Rebecca Comizio, Peggy Dickinson, Libby Kappler, Leanne Bloom, and Megan Peterson. In my summer letter, I will introduce the excellent new faculty we will welcome this fall in the following positions: Grade 5 teacher, School Psychologist, Lower School Learning Specialist, and Upper School Spanish. Recent staff additions include Sukie McFadden as Director of Operations (joining us from a comparable position at the Greenwich Boys and Girls Club) overseeing our building and grounds and service providers, and Anne Romanello, who begins June 1 as Director of Finance after business experience at Deloitte and non-profit experience as business manager at Villa Maria School and the New Canaan Library.
Among the myriad year-end chores to prepare for a hopefully relaxing summer, please remember to confirm your pledge to this year's
Annual Fund effort
and to complete the Parent Survey. Along with the proceeds from the terrific Stanwich Spring Benefit, the Annual Fund provides Stanwich parents and friends with an opportunity to make a tax-deductible gift to advance our mission.
Stanwich parents are generous and have a remarkable history of participation rates above 90% to complement the 100% participation from our faculty and Board. The percentage of parents contributing is an important indicator of educational success. If you have not yet confirmed or fulfilled your pledge, please contact Liz McIntyre in the Advancement Office (203-542-0030 or
). Before the end of our fiscal year June 30, class captains will begin calling those parents who may have forgotten.
Last week all families should have received the link to our annual Parent Survey, which allows the Board to evaluate our progress on various strategic and operational objectives. Although the survey takes a few minutes, your input is crucial feedback as part of our continuing efforts to be the best school we can be. If you have not already completed the parent survey, please let me know and we will send another link.
As I mentioned during this week's beautiful parent luncheon at Belle Haven, the Stanwich administration and teachers greatly appreciate the considerable time, effort, wisdom, and wealth that the Parent Association contributes to ensure a happy and stimulating learning and working environment. Independent school communities distinguish themselves by the significant importance they place on parent involvement. However, in my considerable experience, the Stanwich School Parent Association this year has distinguished itself by being extraordinarily positive, flexible, and forward looking. We thank all our involved parents - particularly Jenn Frascella for her leadership this year as PA President - and welcome Jennifer Servedio and Janill Sharma as next year's President and Vice President.
With all best wishes for a smooth and happy conclusion to the 2016-2017 school year and for a stimulating summer.