Hybrid Learning at Prep

Dear Griffins,

Even well into adulthood, most people can remember the feelings they had before and on the first day of school each year—fresh new notebooks packed into bookbags that had yet to be broken in and fresh new adventures waiting to be had. Those of us who have devoted our lives to education never tire of that first day of school feeling. We love the new opportunities we have to engage with bright young people who are making their way in the world.

Of course, school has been in session at Prep since the fall. And though our connections have been almost entirely virtual, we have consistently witnessed the things that brought us to the profession in the first place: the joy of discovery, the thrill of unlocking curiosity and creativity. But there’s a special kind of palpable energy that comes with having students on campus. I am inspired by the character, grace, and resiliency with which Prep students and faculty and staff members have leaned into the challenges of the last several months. So, it has been especially heartening to watch the authentic and enthusiastic way that our hybrid model was launched last week, with our 7/8 Dyad—and 45 students who are new to Prep this year—finally arriving to campus to see teachers and administrators who were excited to welcome them home. And we can’t wait to repeat the process tomorrow with our 9/10 Dyad (please check your phones for updates and dress for the weather) and next week with students in grades 11 and 12.

All the pomp and circumstance befitting such an occasion was on full display last Tuesday, with teachers decked out in playful costumes and holding hand-lettered welcome signs. I heard from so many students, parents, and colleagues that even with face masks and physical distancing, it just feels right to be together once again. I couldn’t agree more.

None of this would be possible without the tenacious and tireless work of so many members of the Prep team. My gratitude to them is boundless. Because of their agility, commitment to kids, and creativity, we have been able to design a responsible and comprehensive framework for hybrid education that prioritizes the academic and developmental needs of the students in our care. We are also proud of our capacity to select technology platforms, build hardware systems, and design lessons that enable us to teach and support our students opting to remain online. Naturally, we will fine-tune our systems as we continue to bring more Griffins back to campus, and I thank you for your partnership and flexibility as we work together to make the unparalleled Prep experience real, for all of our students, in an unprecedented year.

There is a reciprocal exchange between students and teachers that is as old as formal schooling. Our students recharge and renew us, and we, the educators, can show them things beyond their horizon lines. What an honor it is to be able to forge these transformative relationships, even through such uncommon circumstances. Thank you for being with us.

All my best,

Aaron Schubach
Head of School