2015-2016 Annual Report | Letter from the Head of School

I found myself in a conversation during our recent Admissions Open House with another colleague and a prospective parent, both of us trying to explain the culture of Solebury School and what makes us who we are. At the conclusion of our discussion, my colleague noted that what he appreciates most about Solebury is that at its core, everything we do, every decision we make, every action we take, is based on what’s best for our students.

I smiled.

I smiled because a myriad of examples came to mind:

  • We launched STEM Week last fall.
  • We spent much of last year crafting a new schedule that provides significant benefits for our students. This schedule allows our faculty to take a deeper – and different – dive into their teaching using the longer blocks of time while diminishing students' homework load each evening, reducing anxiety and stress. Also, they can to sleep a bit later in the morning due to our new start time, a necessity for all growing minds and bodies.
  • We developed a new Technology Policy for our boarding students, focused on helping to free them from their various screens at night when they should be sleeping.
  • We recognized Cathy Block and Janice Poinsett last year with the Home and School Above and Beyond Award – one a faculty member and the other a key member of the Admission team – both recognized for working tirelessly on behalf of our students and improving their experience at Solebury School.
  • Over the summer we finished the renovations in the Barn Theatre with the construction of the tech booth, a much improved, more user-friendly addition to the theater.
  • We developed a strategic plan that charts the School's future for the next 10 to 15 years.

The examples could go on and on. The central tap root to all these additions and changes is: How can we continuously improve the educational experience of our students? And the bedrock upon which all these efforts, efforts that now stretch back over 90 years, is your financial support. Without your support the improvements are delayed, the high quality of the faculty and staff can’t be supported, the program is stuck and we find ourselves slowly lurching toward mediocrity. And in the intensely competitive world of independent schools, mediocrity is the first step on the pathway to extinction.

Your generosity has been vitally important to the school that Solebury is today – full of bright, motivated young women and men imagining intriguing, engaged futures, taught by a talented and creative faculty, supported by an equally amazing staff. Every day, the magic of a Solebury education unfolds on this jewel of a campus. Every dollar contributed is stretched to the limit to support, both directly (think new Tech Booth), or indirectly (think recognizing outstanding faculty and staff), Solebury students. For all the ways that you have ensured that Solebury School continues to thrive, both today and in the future, my deepest appreciation and thanks. From all of us who live, work and play at the corner of Philips Mill and School Lane – we fully appreciate how lucky we are and how important your contributions are to our work, and our success.

Tom Wilschutz
Head of School


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