FROM AARON SCHUBACH’S PARENT OPEN HOUSE SPEECH TO FAMILIES, SEPTEMBER 24, 2022
Welcome, everyone. I’m Aaron Schubach. Thank you for joining us for our largest community event of the year; we’re glad you’re at Santa Fe Prep today and every day.
Welcome, especially to our 88 new students and their parents. You are in the right place. It took us 59 years to get ready for you to arrive, and you’ve jumped right in!
We began our year with Outdoor Education trips in the Upper School and, two weeks later, with our trip to 100 Elk in Middle School. These brief expeditions allowed our students to get to know their peers, their teachers, and even themselves.
We are also proud of the two full days we have spent on TAP – our Teen Action Program – which helps our students become stewards of their communities and the natural world. From Glorieta to the Jemez and here in Santa Fe, our students built trails and habitats and cleared riparian zones in local watersheds. Our students also fanned out to work at the Botanical Garden, Atalaya Elementary, and Desert Montessori and worked on projects on our campus. In addition, our STEM girls group led multiple science initiatives at Atalaya Elementary. And we are incredibly grateful that, after two and half years of covid restrictions, we could re-establish our relationship with Santa Fe Public Schools serving the students at Aspen Elementary.
Our students are leading in other areas:
- We have several new student-directed clubs this year, including a club dedicated to understanding the stock market, personal finance, and business principles and a club for young women interested in government and politics.
- Our Model United Nations program is larger than it has ever been.
- Because we know that individuals can hone their leadership skills in addition to their artistic sensibilities in drama, we are grateful that rehearsals for our fall US play – Clue – are well underway. Performances will debut on November 4.
- Because we believe an active body creates an active mind, we are proud to support our fall athletes and teams. If you have not yet subscribed to the Santa Fe Prep VNN athletics website for updates and summaries, ask us how and we can help.
We are also grateful:
- I am thrilled that our core values – courage, curiosity, respect, resilience, and integrity – shine not just on paper but in action. For example, students this week had a chance to celebrate freedom of thought and active discourse by investigating the issue of banned books in America.
- I appreciate that our school community reflects the larger Santa Fe Community, with 40% of our students identifying as people of color.
- Over the last three years, 36% of our students have received financial assistance to attend Prep – comparable to most other independent schools, only about 20%. This year, thanks to our community’s past and current generosity, we were able to award the largest allocation of tuition assistance that we’ve ever given – over 1.6 million dollars.
- We are grateful that 82% of our parent community chose to support the Annual Fund last year – up 20% from 2021. Their generosity makes Santa Fe Prep the innovative and financially accessible school you see today. And I know we can sustain this philanthropic momentum. Partnering with me in this critical work is Director of Advancement Michael McNeill. This week you received a letter explaining how the finances of Prep are generated and used to further our mission. We need your support and hope you consider making Prep one of your top philanthropic priorities.
As we move forward, we know that we will continue to improve:
- On November 15, educational experts from the Independent School Association of the Southwest will convene at Prep for three days and recertify us as the only NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) accredited Middle and High School in Santa Fe.
- In our 59th year, I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work with this parent community to plan our next 60 years. Watch for several strategic sharing sessions in the next two months. Our four areas of strategic planning include the following:
- Optimizing future-forward Academics
- Supporting Tuition Assistance through the Leonard Family Scholars Endowment
- Supporting the highest caliber of Faculty and Staff
- Creating inspirational campus spaces
As you spend the morning with us, be on the lookout for the following:
- How your child’s teachers aren’t just subject matter experts, they actually know your child and how they learn.
- Some new and returning courses are being taught this year, such as Anatomy and Physiology, Astronomy, The Science of Automobiles, Financial Literacy, and Economics.
- You will also see the ways that we ask your child to stretch their ideas and skills. Sometimes you will see your child’s world become simpler as they have a connect-the-dots epiphany. Sometimes you will see their world become more complex as they move beyond oversimplifications. As a parent, it can be uncomfortable to see your child stretch – but it is far harder to see them stagnate.
Thank you for being here.
Head of School