News & Updates 4/2/21

From Todd:

If you were to stop by my office, and I was not around, there is a very good chance that I am with the PK students. We have an amazing group of students at every level, and I am proud and thankful that they are on this campus everyday. However, the PK students are simply unfiltered fun. They are happy, energetic, open minded characters who are as thrilled to talk about what they had for breakfast as much as what it would be like to live on the moon. There is an absolute sincerity in every word they say, unless of course it is April Fool’s Day and they are playing a prank on me (still waiting for that new blue Jeep to arrive). This is an age that sets the bar for forgiveness and perseverance. I have joked regularly that “every day is a new adventure during COVID,” but that statement is literally true for all our PK students everyday as they learn to find their way through new friends and new experiences. And just like us, they will make mistakes, but more often than not, unlike us, they move past those mistakes in a matter of moments and are off trying new strategies and making new friends. Perhaps, that is why I am over there as much as I can be. Here is a group of students finding their way in a new community, learning new rules, adapting to expectations, and managing new relationships, but they offer to share their Cheez-Its without hesitation and when the paint spills, there is more likely a giggle than a tear. I am sure it happens, but I do not recall ever seeing an angry PK student on the campus since I arrived. They may be sad or disappointed for a moment, but then the parachute game begins and they are back on track. For me, as I study our PK students, there is no question that we should all be more like them.

Strategic Plan
All of you should have received a survey regarding establishing a strategic plan for the organization. It is a relatively quick survey, and we would certainly love your feedback. Please click the link below to complete the survey.

9th Grade
Over the course of the last six weeks, a group of teachers and administrators have studied the possibility of adding a 9th grade class at the New School. There was tremendous support from our current 8th grade families, and the programs that we discussed were exciting, balanced, and unique. Ultimately, the pandemic was part of our consideration as we thought about starting the program, but unfortunately, the ongoing unknowns about next fall are part of the reason that we do not feel the timing is right to start a new program. Space has been a key part of the school’s ability to stay open, and we are concerned that adding a 9th grade will stress the space that we can use. Although we will not be able to add a 9th grade for the 21-22 school year, it is something that we will continue to consider as the situation on the island changes. 

Graduation and 8th Grade Events
Recently, the state of Massachusetts and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released guidance for in-person graduations. As of April 2, it is the absolute plan of the New School to celebrate the current 8th grade class on June 10. We will have  graduation under a tent on the back field. At this point, guidelines require us to limit attendance to six guests per graduate. Although we are not able to have all the students attend, we will hopefully invite the 7th graders to wish their friends well at graduation. I am certain this will be a special event, and you will be getting additional information as details develop.

This is the second year in a row that the Washington DC trip has been canceled. This week, the Upper School team met to discuss possible safe trips for our 8th grade class. We are considering having two trips for the 8th grade in their last six weeks as New School students. The first will be an on-island overnight event, and the second trip will be to Northern New England for three nights. Agendas and schedules are being framed in the next week and the team will let you know plans as soon as they are available.

Happy Passover and Easter to all!!
Todd Eveleth, Head of School

Nantucket New School