Campus has been incredibly quiet this week; even quieter than our remote December provided. Meetings related to our repopulation of campus in January and end of year fundraising projects fill some of our calendars, but an opportunity to disconnect allows us to reflect on our collective work at Proctor.
As year-end reflections from 2020 start filling our social media feeds, we are reminded of just how much has transpired during the past 365 days. At Proctor, we experienced an amazing pre-Covid-19 winter term, the announcement of a Head of School transition, the rapid shift to remote learning in March, and our first virtual graduation, before a summer of social unrest, return to school planning, and the launch of a successful Fall Term on-campus in the midst of a global pandemic. Through it all, we have shared blog posts, videos, and updates of life on campus with the greater Proctor Family.
Yesterday was the darkest day of the year. The sun rose at 7:16 am and set at 4:12 pm offering less than nine hours of sunlight to the village of Andover. Living in northern New England we are used to this physical darkness, and learn to cope with it by embracing the outdoors (read more about that here). But this year is different as the emotional darkness of a global pandemic matches the physical darkness of the Winter Solstice.
Despite over 135 course offerings, individual classes do not differentiate Proctor from other independent schools. Instead, the entirety of the Proctor experience, and the collective opportunities available to students, set us apart. In order to help students synthesize their varying experiences, on campus and off, Proctor introduced the Academic Concentrations Program in 2015.
Temperatures will plummet overnight as we bid farewell to a mild first half of December and anxiously await what Winter Storm Gail will bring Wednesday evening into Thursday. As the winter winds shift, we each have a choice to make: retreat indoors and curse the cold, snowy winter ahead or embrace the amazing outdoor recreation opportunities available to us in rural New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. At Proctor, we choose the latter.
Nine months ago (March 6, 2020) we loaded busses, cleaned out dorm rooms, and bid farewell to students for Spring Break. We knew COVID-19 was becoming “a thing” that might impact our return to campus for the Spring Term, but we had no idea how much our world would be turned upside down. While this global pandemic is far from over, we pause today to reflect on five lessons we have learned (so far) as a school community from COVID-19.
Twenty-six members of the Proctor community (students, faculty, staff, and Trustees) heard the words below shared by Eddie Glaude, Jr. during the opening keynote of the National Association of Independent Schools annual People of Color Conference held virtually last week. Drawing more than 5,000 educators and 2,000 students from around the country, the PoCC provides a safe space for leadership, professional development, and networking for people of color and allies of all backgrounds in independent schools. For Proctor’s cohort in attendance, the workshops, affinity groups, and speakers challenged us to think critically about our school and how we can help build a new America through our work as an institution.
A few evenings ago, I opened the Netflix app on my phone and browsed “recommended” movies as I spun on the stationary bike in Proctor’s fitness center. I clicked on Moneyball (for the third or fourth time), and as I mindlessly listened to the dialogue, I thought little of the Hollywood dramatization of Billy Bean’s experiment to use data to measure the intangibles that would allow him to build a winning team out of the small market Oakland A’s in 2002.