As a boarding school, where most of our parents don’t come to campus every day, it’s easy to assume that the parent role is diminished in the day to day life of the school. While physical presence may be limited for some, a culture of open communication and collaboration with parents fosters the formation of an important partnership. On the heels of a very successful Family Weekend, I am reminded of the powerful relationship we work to build with parents to enhance the learning experience of their children and the community as a whole.
Parents Leadership Council
Working together to advance initiatives and solve problems, we find better success. By default, all of our New Hampton School parents are members of the Parents Leadership Council, which meets twice a year on campus for presentations and parent feedback. More importantly, the Parents Leadership Council and our bi-annual meetings provide a foundation for ongoing partnership throughout the year.
Last week, we were fortunate to present emerging themes from the School’s strategic planning process to our parents, along with developing goals and ideas. A brief presentation was followed by breakout discussion groups that worked through a set of questions and reported back to the whole group. Parents provided important open and honest feedback to incorporate into our planning process as we shape the future of our school. Their insight is essential to our work, and also provides buy-in, as we confirm next steps and shape our goals and direction.
In addition to the strategic plan presentation, parents and faculty met one-on-one during Family Weekend in teacher and advisor conferences. Together, parents and teachers, reviewed with their student, the work, and progress they were making in each class. Competency-based assessment is helpful in understanding student strengths and strategizing avenues for improved achievement.
Our partnership with parents is much greater than the wonderful Family Weekend we just concluded. We love to have parents join us on campus as their schedules allow. When they visit campus, they can see in action the activities and events they learn about regularly through our various social media platforms. More importantly, they understand the life of their student at school here and see the stages of growth and development that each student works through.
There are limitless opportunities for parents to partner with the school, such as Project Week and service learning days, extended blocks, post-game tailgates, exam bakes, and more. Family involvement enhances our ability to deliver important programs that add value to the New Hampton School experience.
As a boarding school parent, and having two sons in college, I understand the important investment of resources, but more importantly the trusting partnership necessary, that allows a school to do its job of caring for and educating our children, while also supporting and involving our families. In partnership, the resources we can provide our children are profound and fuel an unwavering sense of responsibility for the safety and growth of our students. Some say it takes a village to raise a child. At New Hampton, we prefer to say it takes a nation, a strong and vibrant Husky Nation to be more specific.