October 4, 2016

Dear Stanwich Families, 
Because of our current efforts to define and communicate the unique educational proposition Stanwich affords students, I have been particularly attuned to quotes that resonate topically. 

For several years, our family lived in Park City, UT: an idyllic place of natural beauty that attracts athletic, affluent families from around the world. Though much smaller than Greenwich, its lifestyle reflects similar attitudes toward competition and success. Recently the deaths of several Park City teenagers from high risk activities have initiated a communal reflection. Capturing the essence of the Stanwich mission as well as anything I have seen elsewhere, last week Teri Orr, a friend there and Executive Director of the Park City Institute, wrote: "What the world needs now is kind young people, balanced, anchored in core values and armed with experiences that help them navigate a small interconnected planet. They need to understand their worth and value and potential and the likelihood those characteristics may not be fully realized for years, even a decade or more post high school. They have time to make mistakes and start over and heal and change direction. God willing - life is long." Stanwich is and always has been committed to that goal.

In a review of the book How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims, Dean of Students at Stanford, I noted the following: "Success occurs as a culmination of emotional, problem-solving, and intellectual skills that are largely learned during childhood. Studies suggest that being in a smaller school can actually be more beneficial because there's a higher likelihood of mentorship between student and teacher.  Being the "big fish" in a little pond is a better scenario than being overwhelmed in a 'top school.' The best internal marketing messages of our "small pond" sometimes emerge from paying attention to our larger national dialectic.
In promoting our core values, Stanwich athletics establish character-building as the primary objective and the win-loss record as secondary-notwithstanding we hope every player can experience the joy of celebrating a hard-fought victory. By all criteria, our fall athletic program is off to a strong start. Thanks in part to the inclusion of Grade 6 athletes, our students represent Stanwich in three additional sports this season - JH field hockey and cross country as well as SH girls' volleyball. With the additional athletes and teams, the new practice field space has been essential this fall allowing our athletes and field-teams sufficient space by rotating between the grass and turf fields.   
You may have seen recent press articles about the safety of turf and grass fields at schools in Greenwich.  The Board of Trustees has researched the matter, and current  studies have not shown an elevated health risk from playing on fields with tire crumb.  In an abundance of caution, we have implemented common sense hygiene procedures after field activities. The EPA is currently studying the matter further and expects to release its findings later this year.  In the meantime, we invite you to educate yourself on the latest information by clicking on this link.
It has been my great pleasure seeing the students back in our halls, classrooms and at play. Although no school is perfect, Stanwich is daily filled with happy noises and news of individual and collective achievements. In addition to the opportunities Stanwich affords our students, we have enjoyed seeing so many happy and appreciative parents at the Back-to-School events, as well as the Parent Association's coffees and evening social events. My thanks to the staff and all the volunteers who made those events so successful.
Although not quite as packed as September's calendar, October merits a preview. Note that next week with Columbus Day on Monday and Yom Kippur on Wednesday, classes will be in session as usual on Tuesday, October 11. Looking ahead please note Parent Teacher Conferences October 19-21 and plan accordingly depending on your division.
Our Admissions Office is planning several events for prospective families, including our Fall Open House, which will take place on Wednesday, November 2 at 9:00am. Sign up for the Open House is available on the Admissions page of our website. On December 2 at 1:00pm, The Stanwich Express will welcome children ages 3 and 4 to our Wildwood Cottage for singing, crafts, and of course, a ride on the Stanwich Trolley. We encourage current Stanwich parents as our best agents to share information for these opportunities with friends who you feel may be welcome additions to our Stanwich family.
As always feel free to call me or the Division Heads if you have any questions or concerns. With all best wishes.

Charles Sachs
Head of School