This past few months has had me reflecting on the past six months, particularly our good news and successes. That is what you might expect when you are at Proctor Academy where our hard work and effort does come with positive outcomes. Of course, we are not about just curating Instagram highlights. To be sure, our work comes with challenges, pitfalls, and even a few pratfalls. But in the main, we are a school that goes from strength to strength, incorporating feedback when we don’t succeed, so that we can get better at what we do, which fits our mission and our motto, “living to learn, learning to live”.
This past November, I put together a list of highlights for the Proctor Board of Trustees to remind them of all our efforts and wins. I’d like to share with you what I shared with them. To give you all a bit of background on how this list is organized, we divide ourselves into four quadrants on our administrative team–Student Experience, Teaching & Learning, Operations, and Advancement. Each team allows us to put the students and Proctor’s Mission firmly at the center of all that we do. So, without further adieu, here are some of the highlights from the school year to date:
Incorporates the Development, Admissions, and Communications Team’s efforts:
- Visioning Process: Launched by the Board of Trustees and the school’s administration, the school engaged in a visioning process that has all of us rallying towards Proctor’s next Strategic Plan. As you might imagine, our people and relationships sit at the heart of everything we do, supporting our efforts in experiential education, promoting and building upon our success with cognitively diverse and neuro-typical learners, and focusing on continued financial and environmental sustainability.
- New Website Is Coming: Within the next year, the communications and marketing team has been actively working on and building out a new and dynamic website. You’ll hear more about this in the weeks and months to come.
- Donor Engagement: As many of you know, to make Proctor best in class, it takes the efforts of parents, volunteers, friends, and donors. Last year we had amazing results in the Proctor Fund, which is our annual campaign, as well as in events that the school hosted. We are proud of the people who continue to prioritize Proctor with their time, talent, and treasure.
- The Proctor Magazine: Have you read it! If you have, you’ll know that it stands out for its insight and highlights of Proctor past, present, and future. We continue to make it a meaningful yearly endeavor.
- Driving Engagement: We know that engagement has been the operating word for our continued theme for the year. It is what makes us the “healthiest school possible understanding, valuing, and connecting individuals to community with compassion, integrity, and growth.” Without engaged individuals or communities, we would be a paler version of ourselves. It sits at the heart of our visioning work.
Like the work in Advancement, the efforts of dining services, housekeeping, security, facilities, maintenance, and the business office help us to support all of us at the school. They keep all of what we do running smoothly and looking good. Here are a few of their highlights from the first half of the year:
- Balanced Budget: We are proud of the way we handle and steward our resources. We are a non-profit, which means the closer our income is to our expenses, we continue to live within our means.
- Solar Arrays: With the addition of the solar arrays on the newly renovated Farrell Field House and Woodlands Building, we can boast that 30% of our power comes from all of the solar generated on campus. We will continue to make our campus green and sustainable in the years to come.
- Campus Master Planning: As in the visioning process launched by the Board of Trustees, the Campus Master Planning Process looks at not only how we are using the campus most effectively, but also ways in which we might be able to use our facilities better. The planning process has been interviewing Proctor’s many constituents to ensure we get the best information and feedback possible.
- Biomass Plant Online: Last year, our Biomass plant which generates a good deal of the heat to our campus was offline due to not having the right parts and supply chain issues. This year, we are back up in running, which will save the school money so that we are not as dependent on gas and oil. That is terrific news for our bottomline.
- Clean Audit: As in year’s past, the school’s auditors came back with yet another clean audit. That means that our financial systems are healthy and that we have a team of folks throughout the school who have made significant efforts to keep us fiscally sound and healthy.
TEACHING AND LEARNING:
This team is made up of Academic Department Heads, Academic Departments, Learning Skills, Off-Campus Programs, and College Counseling. They make sure that the quality of our academic offerings stay attuned to the needs of current students and families, and that they prepare all of our students for the world they will inherit. The highlights of this team are as follows:
- A Dynamic Group of New Faculty: In hiring faculty members in one of the most competitive environments in recent memory, our various hiring teams and committees filled positions with thoughtful and committed people who we hope will become the strong and seasoned guides that our community expects and will cherish for years to come.
- Professional Development: The Academic Dean’s Office and Learning Skills Department hosted a successful simulation of how students actually learn this past August. The work and insight gained during those simulations has helped all of us become more thoughtful in how to reach every student at Proctor. The work has led to a teaching committee that is further exploring and articulating the Proctor Teaching Model.
- Wellington Engagement Index (WEI): The WEI is a powerful tool that measures how engaged students are in every class, which will offer powerful feedback directly to teachers. As we collect more data, teachers will be able to further amplify good practices and adjust when they see students are needing more. The successful and effective use of the Wellington Index will help us to continue to adapt and shift as the needs and interests of our students change.
- Off-Campus Programs: With the addition of Fall European Classroom and Winter Ocean Classroom coming up next month, we saw a number of options for off-campus programs get added that allowed for more choices for students this school year. We will continue to tinker with our various offerings in the future to ensure that we keep the balance of on- and off-campus experiences vibrant and robust.
- The Woodlands Building: Seen as the gateway to Proctor’s 2,500 acres, the new Woodlands Buildings allows for a launching pad of classroom and meeting space that abuts our trails and on-campus experientially classes and activities.
The Student Experience Team reflects our commitment and challenge to build upon the great work throughout Proctor’s 175 year history. This team is made up of Athletics, Residential Life and Dorms, Advising, Wellness, Discipline, Clubs and Activities, Day Students, and the Health Center. Everything we do at the school supports the work of this committed and hardworking team. In the waning weeks of the year, we salute how much they work closely with students, parents, and each other to make the Proctor Magic come alive. Here are just a few of the highlights from the first half of the year:
- One of the Largest and Most Diverse Classes: Not just in the class of 2026, but all throughout the various grades, our students have brought their curiosity, accomplishments, and good spirits to classes, the dorms, activities, and the field of play. We know that the new students admitted this past year will continue to have a profound impact on the school far beyond their time at Proctor.
- Student-led Assemblies: Under the intrepid leadership of their student leaders, students rose to the fore to make impassioned pleas about their interests, clubs, and sports, as well as having fun with games that kept us all laughing and feeling a part of the wonder of Proctor.
- The Play “Almost, Maine”: Portraying characters from or traveling to the fictional town of “Almost, Maine,” the Proctor student performers, designers, and crew provided us with breathtaking moments and poignant scenes that still resonate throughout the fall and into our almost Maine-like winter, which finally arrived after a bashful and warm fall.
- The Proctor Football Program: Actually, any number of sports teams could have been listed here because of their own personal successes depending on the particular game or contest. (The undefeated Junior Varsity Girls’ Soccer Team comes to mind). And, yet the Football Program scored its very first victory in a NEPSAC Bowl Championship Game, with some impressive victories along the way. The team achieved their ultimate goal, and then some, launching a junior varsity program to boot. What a great season!
- The USSS/FIS Programs Gold Certification: Proctor’s USSS/FIS Program is now one of only three non-ski academies in the nation to achieve gold certification. It underscores the hard work of the current team and past school administrations to make Proctor “more than a ski academy,” putting the school in a class all unto its own.
TWENTY PLUS ONE:
Powerful Student Spirit: You feel it everywhere, supported by every single human on our 2,500 acre campus; the spirit, vitality, life, kindness, and love for each other permeates everything that we do. Seeing what we do up close and personal only underscores our love of this place and the joyous work that we do throughout the school year. May it always be so!
Brian W. Thomas, Proctor Academy Head of School
For the young and old at heart, listen to a classic from THE classic performer that spanned more than seven decades of entertainment, Jimmy Durante singing “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Listen HERE.