A message from the Head of School, David Braemer, during the summer months of 2021.
Schools exist at an interesting intersection of past, present, and future. We look to the past for traditions that affirm our guiding principles and to learn from the lessons, both positive and negative, that come from experience. In regard to the present, we value the unique opportunities that we have each and every day to positively impact our students and our community. As for the future, there is the excitement that comes with knowing that great institutions are constantly improving, and that our best days should always lie ahead. It is in this spirit of development that this edition of Ensights focuses on our efforts to look forward as a school and, in particular, the strides we are making in terms of program, place, and people.
In a truly Ensworthy manner, our community was able to thrive in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and to use the past year as a springboard to future opportunities. Many of the programmatic modifications we were forced to make last year are factoring into our future planning. Whether it is in our use of classroom technology, the structure of our daily schedule, or how we connect our two campuses, the evolution of our programs has been shaped, and in some cases, accelerated, by the past year. As a result, we are poised to take advantage of our learnings from what was a truly unique experience to be an even stronger school going forward.
From a facilities standpoint, progress continues with the third and final phase of construction on the Red Gables Campus. Having broken ground on a new lower school building this past November, we are on track for its completion in December, and we plan to take advantage of this facility when we return from the winter holidays. This building, which will house third through fifth grades in addition to new administrative offices, along with major renovations to existing lower school classrooms, will create tremendous new opportunities for our students and faculty as we look to the future.
We are also excited to welcome Darwin Mason back to Ensworth as our new Head of Middle School. His intimate knowledge of Ensworth as a former faculty member and current parent, combined with his exceptional leadership experience at area schools, will serve as a catalyst for the continued development of our middle school program. Darwin, along with Heather Caponi as Head of Lower School and Nowell Hesse as Head of High School, create an effective team of academic leaders across each division, all of whom are relatively new to Ensworth. Their collaboration will further unite our school with the goal of maximizing the student experience across the entire kindergarten through twelfth-grade experience.
Our focus on being a forward-looking institution reflects the fact that education is an aspirational endeavor and that schools should always be committed to growth and development. By taking advantage of the opportunities that exist for improvement, we model the expectation that we have for our students and enhance their experience now and in the future. This is the type of dynamic that makes Ensworth an exceptional school and ensures that we will thrive regardless of what challenges lie ahead, just as we have always done.
Although few people want to continue living under the restrictions necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, intrepid educators at Ensworth have learned that going back to the way they used to do things is not always the best course of action.
An ever-increasing issue challenging Independent Schools is appropriately managing risk while maintaining the warm and open community that we all value and appreciate. Yet, headline-grabbing crises involving independent schools in recent years have shone a spotlight on the importance of engaging in a robust enterprise risk management (“ERM”) process.
This summer, the activity on the Red Gables Campus has been a bit atypical. Instead of lines of cars, backhoes and forklifts have occupied the hookup lanes. The playground has become a quiet field—a blank canvas awaiting new equipment.