Some of us are in our first year teaching, others in our 40th. Our experiences vary, our skill sets as diverse as our passions. And yet a common thread runs throughout our purpose in this community: we are passionate about connecting with and changing the trajectory of young people’s lives.
For the past 76 years, Andover has served as a gathering place for residents from the surrounding region as the town green in front of the Stone Chapel, Fowler House, and Gannett House are flooded with flea-market booths, games, and food vendors before the action halts for a community parade down North Street and Main Street. Roughly 10,000 visitors line the streets as we celebrate America’s independence and remind ourselves of the freedoms promised to all citizens in the U.S. Constitution.
About a month ago, a mother robin built her nest directly above the entrance to Proctor’s Admissions Office. For days on end, I lugged a ladder out of the closet and tried to snap the perfect picture of the nest full of chicks. Alas, I was never able to capture a good enough of picture to post. Late last week, when I checked the nest on my way into the office, it was empty. Mama robin had done her job. She fiercely protected and successfully raised four babies until they were able to fly out of the nest and into a life of their own.
Each academic year only 16 students are selected to be a part of European Art Classroom. To say that it is a privilege to be in Aix and travel around Europe is an understatement. Proctor has challenged and stretched me as a student and as an individual. Being here as a student in Europe is no different. We might not have the same rigid 8:00 am to 5:30 pm schedule, but we are challenged in other ways. We are given more freedom to explore and when I say explore, I do not mean just the sites.
Each week a new student gets to write the blog. We can write about whatever we want. The thing is when teachers give you the freedom to write anything it is either amazing and the words come flowing onto the page, or a painstakingly slow process where you are stuck so long looking at a blank screen that you start to hallucinate or forget what words even are. So where to start?
Each program at Proctor exists for a reason. Our unique academic model did not develop by chance, but rather through the vision and commitment of those who came before us at this small boarding school in central New Hampshire. In its infancy, Proctor’s Learning Skills program became one of the first formal academic support program for dyslexic students in the country. Over the past seventy years, Learning Skills has developed into an integrated academic support program unlike any other.
Last week an interesting article was published in Forbes magazine about the disruption occurring in the independent school world. Michael Horn discussed the challenges facing many schools as tuition prices rise faster than wages and technology and charter schools introduce new approaches to learning. At Proctor, we feel these disruptions all around us, and while we are cognizant of how we must adapt to an ever-changing landscape, we are as confident as ever in our educational model.