Comprehending the complexity of the role the advisor plays within Proctor’s educational model can only be fully understood once a family has experienced the relationship first hand. We fully recognize this is not the cliche` pitch of "You have to see it to believe it!" prospective families want to hear, but we feel strongly the only way to fully appreciate the role of the Proctor advisor in your life is to live it yourself. In the meantime, here is an open letter to incoming families from a Proctor advisor.
Earlier this week, we published the 2017-2018 Greenbook (Proctor’s Student Handbook) and sent a series of permission forms to parents to complete in advance of the upcoming school year. This process takes place each summer, both for returning and new families, and serves as an important acknowledgement of the rules, expectations, and boundaries essential to sustaining the Proctor community. The temptation for some might be to glance over the forms, identify where to sign or initial, and click submit. To check the box and move on with summer plans. Our hope is this process is a bit more intentional because we recognize joining a community, especially a community like Proctor, is not something you should take lightly.
Each year, the Proctor community bids farewell to retiring faculty and staff. On June 30, Susan Currier will answer her final phone calls and emails from those of us needing technology or database assistance, while Brenda Godwin, Laurie Zimmerman, and Phil Goodnow each taught their final classes, coached their final games, and said a final goodbye to their advisees in May. Combined, these four individuals have given Proctor 112 years of service to Proctor’s students. While the 2017 edition of the Proctor Magazine (published in September) will have a full feature highlighting the impact of Susan, Brenda, Laurie, and Phil’s time at Proctor, here are few highlights from their respective careers.
This past weekend, Proctor hosted its annual Alumni Reunion weekend as alumni from around the globe returned to campus to reconnect with their Proctor experience. For many of our older alumni, including the remarkable 22 members of the Class of 1967 who returned for their 50th reunion, campus looks much different than it did during their time on campus. Not only have Proctor’s physical footprint and programs evolved considerably since 1957, but so has enrollment from roughly 100 students (all boys) in 1957 to 370 students (boys and girls) from around the globe today.
I used to walk down the halls of my large public high school and hide. I was terrified of having a discussion with a teacher or administrator. I had always been a fairly shy person, but school had exacerbated this trait to a new level. As I got older, it began to influence my performance in school. I did not allow myself to have conversations about assignments, or ask questions about material covered in class.
Another fresh coating of snow covered campus last night as we reach the midway point in this quick three week stretch between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. Student Leaders Cope Makechnie ‘17 and Nick Ho ‘17 sent out a campus wide Secret Santa list last night, wreaths are hung around campus, and a general excitement about the upcoming holiday season prevails on campus. As students work through projects, readings, and begin to delve into the Winter Term, we are reminded of our unique role as adults living and working in a boarding school community.
The notion of project based learning was the catalyst for Proctor’s revitalization in the early 1970's when newly appointed Head of School David Fowler, Assistant Head of School Chris Norris, and many others drove the school in a new and exciting direction. For the past forty years, Proctor has led the educational world in experimenting with student-centered, project-based learning, and has developed rich school culture that intuitively embraces the core principals of student-centered learning. We understand, however, that we must never become complacent with our teaching practices, and must continue to identify new and exciting ways to bring real world problem solving into the daily life of of our students. In order to do this, we must spend intentional time BEING students.