October 14, 2015
Dear Stanwich Parents and Friends,
As I mentioned to the PA Executive Committee last week, our faculty, trustees, and administration have begun refocusing the action steps of The Stanwich Vision and Strategic Plan 2014-2019 for this year.  The external version (without the actions steps) of the Strategic Plan is available on our website.  This fall, faculty and administration are addressing aspects of Priority One: Enhancing the Student Experience: specifically in reviewing, fine-tuning, and coordinating our challenging academic scope, better aligning the Values program in the younger classes and our Moral Leadership program at the upper end, and ensuring an appropriate integration of service learning opportunities in that progression. Concurrently, administration is considering mission-appropriate supplementary programs to bolster our already rich and challenging curriculum.
In addition, as part of Priority Two: Elevating the Professional Community, we have begun creating a comprehensive, consistent faculty evaluation system to support teacher professional development activity, and to inform administrative decision-making concerning hiring, re-hiring and assigning teachers.
Meanwhile, at the administrative level, a board committee, an administrative group, and an ad-hoc task force are deeply immersed and coordinating on Priority Three: Advancing the Stanwich Story. Stanwich was conceived to be different from the other independent school options in the area. From the outset, our unique program distinguished the school and reinforced its resilience to weather a series of trials. Last year at long last, we arrived at our envisioned objective of one coeducational PreK through Grade 12 program on one campus.  Upon that foundation we now can begin an exciting new chapter of our story.
Although many challenges remain on our path forward, we should be both literally and figuratively proud of the high ground our community has established. Stanwich has an identity different from other local independent schools, and we will further advance our mission when the external community defines us not by the circumstances through which the school has persevered, but rather by the Stanwich School culture so successful and affirming for parents and students who place a premium upon challenging academics, ethical development, and high personal standards.
Since their first meeting of the year on July 23rd, trustees have been especially busy focusing the action steps for Priority Four: Fully Utilizing, Improving and Expanding our Greenwich Campus and balancing those anticipated costs with the costs associated with the programmatic enhancements referenced in Priorities One and Two. To that end, the Board will hold a "retreat"  (I prefer the more positive term, "advance") on November 13 and 14 with the Compass Group, our fund-raising consultants as we continue to study and plan our next steps.
We encourage all parents interested in learning more about Stanwich's relatively new Senior House program to attend the Showcase presentation starting at 6:00 on October 21, and ask you to invite a friend to our Admissions Open House on October 28.  Current, well-informed parents are the best marketers of our uniquely strong curriculum and pedagogy.
Additionally, we look forward to Stanwich's STEAM day presentations on the 24th. I hope to see you there. STEAM Expo is not only an outreach effort to share the Stanwich experience with the local community, it is also an effective marketing tool to raise awareness of The Stanwich School. Grass roots marketing - what you tell another parent about Stanwich - is by far the most effective way to spread the word about our exceptional faculty, strong academic program and welcoming community.  I encourage you to register your child for the exciting hands-on workshops, and for you to attend the parent keynote, Nurturing Your Child's Personal and Academic Growth: New Insights on High Achievement, led by Dr. Jerry Brodlie, Pediatric Psychologist & Head of Psychology at Greenwich Hospital. In addition, parents have the choice of attending two thought-provoking workshops: Dr. Kathryn Bambino of Mt. Sinai's Children's Environmental Health Center will present on the topic of children's environmental health. As a keystone in Stanwich's educational efforts toward achieving healthy and sustainable practices, Dr. Bambino's presentation should help us forge some common practices around which we can plan strategically. Upper School science teacher Shaun Fletcher will update us on the environmental engineering efforts being employed in Chabatanzit, the rural village Stanwich supports through Project Blessing.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
Charlie Sachs
Interim Head of School