October Letter from the Assistant Headmaster
October 15, 2017

Dear Parents,

Amazingly, the last month has sped by and we find ourselves in the midst of October. In that time, much has happened on campus and this is a time of significant growth for your children. What I mean is that the fullness of the Taft experience is upon us. Classes are at cruising speed, sports and extracurriculars are mid-season. Dorms are settled, or as settled as can be expected, and we are largely navigating the work of living together. All this is to say that we have in place the prime conditions for growth and learning.

That growth and learning presents challenge. Think of the tree root pushing up the sidewalk. The tree, ultimately, will persevere over the sidewalk and, in many ways, the challenges the Taft faculty put before your child mirror those of the sidewalk before the tree root. On a certain level, those challenges look daunting at best. Much like the tree root, our students bare down and push through these challenges. Sure, they may complain, note their tiredness, and outline how seemingly insurmountable the challenge. They are, after all, adolescents.

At the same time, they are well supported and positioned to navigate these moments. As you receive texts, emails, and occasionally calls about these challenges, please consider reminding your child of the following:
  1. Her or his obvious capabilities as a person to overcome challenges. This is different than saying, “you’re smart,” which Carol Dweck discovered actually has the opposite of the intended effect. Remind your child that hard work is the surest way through these challenges.
  2. The many supports - teachers, coaches, advisors, class deans, dorm parents, monitors, etc. - that are part of Taft and exist wholly to help students learn and grow. While hard work is central to success, working hard in the right way is also critical. This is where asking for help can guide those efforts to the best ends.

Becoming a productive self-advocate, which is to say someone who knows what help he or she needs and how to find it, is one of the most essential learning skills for a Taft student. Learning this, becoming proficient at it, will aid said child here at Taft and well beyond in life. To become that, the students need real and significant challenges and then need to seek out the support necessary to work through those very challenges. While not formulaic, the process we use here at Taft does a good job of helping students to develop this important capacity.

Parents weekend, Hotchkiss Day, and November will be here before we know it. I am looking forward to all that we accomplish in the second half of the first semester and, as ever, I appreciate your feedback. Have a great day.

All the best,
Jeremy LaCasse
Assistant Headmaster
From the Alumni & Development Office
Parents of seniors that pledge or give to the Parents' Fund by December 31, will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win 1 of 2 separate prizes: 2 front row seats at graduation on May 27, 2018. The drawing will be held on Saturday, February 17 during Winter Parents' Weekend and you need not be present to win.
From the Dean of Students
On November 2nd, students and faculty members will engage in our annual Community Service Day. We  will be spread across the greater Waterbury/Watertown/Litchfield County area, doing all kinds of things to live out our motto: Not to be served, but to serve.

Although Thanksgiving Break may seem far away, it is just around the corner. When making plans, remember to check to see what your child’s last commitment is on November 18 and schedule a departure from campus for after that event. Also, if your child plays on a varsity level team that may make the NEPSAC tournament, the finals of that event are scheduled for November 19.
From the Athletic Office
Varsity winter tryouts begin on November 14. All students have a “between the seasons” rest day on November 13. Students will need their winter equipment, with the exception of skis for the ski team, on campus in advance of November 14.
Upcoming Calendar Events
Hotchkiss Day - November 11 at Hotchkiss

Parents' Weekend - Evening of October 27 and Day of October 28. Information for Fall Parents' Weekend
Taft School | 860-945-7777 | info@taftschool.org | www.taftschool.org