Head of School Weekly Email: Looking Back & Ahead
February 12, 2023
Dear TA Families,
Looking back on the week, here are a couple of highs – and one low – that I’m reflecting on and want to share with you …
Founders’ Day Re-Cap
We started the week on a high note on Monday – playing, reflecting, performing, competing, and eating together as a whole school. The temps were reasonable and Founders’ Day was worth the wait. If you haven’t seen it yet, take 3 minutes to watch this awesome compilation of photos and video clips from the planning days and event: https://youtu.be/Y8SY5Buvc5g. (Speaking of Founders’ Day and awesome, check out this 2022 article about the history of our unique TA tradition by Ceci Luce ’24 in VTDigger last spring – also worth 3 minutes of your time!)
DEI Community Events
We ended the week on a high note as well, with a Friday evening film screening of the PBS film Driving While Black in the MJR Theater as part of Black History Month. This is the first in a series of monthly DEI-focused community events, and we look forward to growing our audience and outreach. Keep an eye out for future invites. Thanks to the Student Alliance for Racial Justice (SARJ) and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Coordinator Tony Strat-Cortez for organizing and hosting!
Hoax Threats to Schools
The low note last week was dealing with the experience of 21 schools around the state receiving hoax threat calls on Wednesday morning. This was very disconcerting for many of us, even though (fortunately!) our school did not have to deal with an actual threat call. It was certainly a distraction, drawing valuable energy, emotion, and time away from teaching and learning toward crisis planning and communications – for TA and for educators throughout Vermont. We hope our two emails to families on Wednesday were informative and helpful: one from Head of School Carrie Brennan at 11am sharing updates from state officials and another from Dean of Students Siobhan Lopez at 7:30pm addressed to students and their well-being. We are grateful to the Thetford Police Department for being in close contact with us throughout the day. Our TA Safety Committee continues to develop and refine our emergency planning.
Looking ahead to this week and beyond …
Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) – Tuesday 2/14
On February 14, students will participate in the biennial Youth Risk Behavior Survey in a special morning advisory session. The survey is now administered entirely online, and students must bring their laptop (fully charged!) to school on Tuesday. We are required to provide parents with a notification letter and the opportunity to opt-out, should the family choose; here is a link to both for your reference. To learn more about the survey, the data, and its relevance and impact, visit the Vermont state website.
Laptop Resources & Expectations
In Spring 2020, when the school closed in response to the pandemic, we took a new direction with technology resources, moving to a 1-to-1 laptop program, and we have stayed on that path ever since. What started as a necessity for remote learning has become an integral component of our academics. Students in the 7th through 10th grades were all issued a Chromebook laptop when they started at TA, which is theirs to use throughout their years at the school. Our older grades have access to check out a TA laptop for the year, and also have the privilege to bring their own device to school if they prefer. Our expectation is that each student brings their laptop to school every day and is prepared to use it in classes as needed. Please support your student in their care and use of their laptop, including proper storage and nightly charging. Let us know if you have questions about access and expectations with student technology resources.
Teams in Final Stretch of Season
- Congratulations to the indoor track teams, especially the girls who finished second in their division at States last weekend. Read more on the wrap-up to their season.
- The TA robotics team heads to States on Saturday – good luck to our middle school and high school competitors, who will go up against schools in VT and NH to earn a spot at the VEX world championships this spring.
- In the basketball world, state playoffs begin on Feb. 20 for girls and Feb. 27 for boys. We will keep everyone posted on game times as they are finalized.
- Alpine skiers have two more races this winter: on Feb. 16 at Bromley and Mar. 2 at Pico.
- ICYMI: The latest athletics update on Feb. 1
- Youth Risk Behavior Survey in advisories: Feb. 14
- 11th Grade College Night, Part 2 – Panel w/College Reps: Feb. 16 @ 6:30pm
- Senior Girls’ Basketball Home Game: Feb. 16 @ 7pm
- Senior Boys’ Basketball Home Game: Feb. 23 @ 7pm
- Upcoming break: TA will be closed February 27-March 3
- Check out the calendar page on our website for other school events
With Valentine’s Day coming up, sending love and appreciation to our TA community,
Carrie Brennan, Head of School