It is with great pleasure that I write to you to welcome you to the start of the 2015-16 school year at Dublin School. To say that the campus and our staff are busy with preparations for your arrival in a few short weeks would be a wild understatement. With a number of major construction projects underway, student schedules taking shape, housing and advisor lists being created, and academic planning taking place, Dublin School is already bursting with energy. I have found that Dublin’s unique size, location and culture contribute to our ability to be as intentional and nimble as possible in everything we do. Our administrative team understands that to truly support a young person in their intellectual, physical, emotional and creative development, all aspects of their education must be integrated in ways that each aspect of their growth is reinforced by the others. While for us the looks of confidence we see in our students’ eyes are the greatest indicator of the strength of our approach, we have also appreciated the wonderful external feedback we have received over the last year showing the fruits of the tireless efforts of our faculty and staff. From the outstanding AP scores, to the unprecedented number of writing and art awards, to the accomplishments of our athletes, to the wonderfully diversified college acceptance list, these indicators suggest that our students are growing in important ways and reaching their personal goals.
I feel fortunate to work with a group of educators who are committed to a culture of continuous improvement. In our meetings over the summer we have looked back at last year, gone over our anonymous evaluations, and looked at what went well and what we need to improve. Every summer we engage in a “blue sky” thinking exercise where we propose mission-driven ideas that we would love to see implemented if there were no restrictions to their development. Many of our current programs, like the senior projects and endurance sports program, evolved from this exercise and we are currently discussing new potential programmatic initiatives. We are also spending time preparing for the arrival of our new faculty and staff who are arriving over the next week. We believe this group of adults will have a powerful impact on your child’s education and personal growth. I look forward to introducing them to you on Opening Day on September 8th.
Here are some other developments we are working on as we prepare for the year:
Dean of Students Simon McFall and Director of Residential Life Erin Bouton have been attending conferences, networking, and reading as they work to enhance our residential life program. As the worlds of our teenagers become increasingly complex it is more important than ever for our community to help these young people navigate through these exciting and difficult years. They are developing a residential life curriculum, training our residential faculty to work with young people, and working with Director of Buildings and Grounds Andy Hungerford to build more common spaces into our dormitories.
· Speaking of Andy Hungerford, he and our Board of Trustees and our Business Office under the leadership of Jennifer Whitesel have been busy this summer with a number of major construction projects that will have a significant impact on your child’s education.
o We are building a student “café” area under the current Lehmann Dining Hall to help relieve the pressure on our seating upstairs. We believe this will be a welcoming area for students to have a meal or work on their homework in a varied and comfortable setting.
o We are building four New Hampshire-proof tennis courts using a post tension concrete system that is guaranteed to withstand the freeze and thaw cycle of our climate here. The concrete is being poured this week and the courts should be fully cured and ready to play on in another month.
o We are weeks away from the groundbreaking for the Steele Boathouse on Thorndike Pond in Dublin. The new boathouse, our first for rowing, will provide a beautiful venue for supporting a program that is developing outstanding qualities in our student-athletes.
o We are in the process of installing a small snowmaking and irrigation system on Memorial Field and the Norm Wight Ski Slope that will allow our skiers to get practice on snow starting in November and cut down significantly on our travel time and travel costs. In the summer the system will be used to irrigate Memorial Field.
o We have completed the construction of two state-of-the-art math classrooms in the Evans Building—allowing all of our math faculty to teach in one area to enhance collaboration.
o None of these projects would be happening without the generous contributions of our parents, alumni, trustees and friends of the school. I thank Director of Development Erika Rogers and her team for their tireless efforts to make sure we have the very best facilities for our students and teachers.
· We have been working with Jay Hardikar P’16, P’19 on plans for a fourth trip to India in March. We have contracted with Lodestone Security International, a leading consultant when it comes to developing foreign travel programs, to create the safest and most educational travel program possible for our school. We will have more information on this trip at our Family Weekend this fall.
· We have hired a new Director of Dining Services, Sven Green, and he is looking forward to creating three tasty and healthy meals for our community each day. He will build on the great foundation that Jay Whitaker and his staff created and he is excited to collaborate with multiple local food providers.
· Dean of Enrollment Management Jill Hutchins and her team have filled the school with some wonderful new students. We plan to open school with a total enrollment of 153 students, 110 of whom are boarders, 45% are girls and 55% are boys, 22 students are international students from the Bahamas, China, Finland, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, and Spain, and our domestic students come from 18 different states. Ms. Hutchins has been working with our Board of Trustees President Peter Imhoff P ’18 to update the website—we hope you enjoy this work in progress.
There are many more developments to report, too many for one letter, so I will stop here and invite you to read our newsletter, check out our Facebook page, read our blogs and come visit to get a sense of the excitement on campus. While there are many changes taking place on campus, the most important things are not changing—particularly our commitment to providing the most enduring educational experience possible for your student. I personally look forward to partnering with you to fulfill our mission and see that your child receives and makes the most of their year ahead at Dublin.