TA News

Head of School Weekly Email: Adult Learning + Collaboration Time = Increased Student Learning

Dear TA Families,

The Value of Adult Learning

To do our best work with students, educators need occasional time in our professional schedule without students. The annual fall inservice in early October is an important milestone for teachers, support staff, and administrators. The pause in the normal routine of teaching classes and running school allows us to do deeper collaborative planning, share strategies and resources, and help each other get better at what we do. We had a really full agenda on Friday and are grateful for the professional development time together.

In addition to the inservice last week, a smaller group of teachers participated in a special ropes course training on Thursday, led by High 5 Adventure Learning. We are excited to build our capacity and be able to further integrate the TA low ropes course into student learning and leadership experiences across the curriculum. Participants represented six departments, including Kathy Hooke (science), Sarah Hancock and Kristen Downey (English), Jen Pratt (math), Kara Toms (counseling), Mark Weigel (physical education), and Scott Ellis and Ehrin Lingeman (outdoor program). The TA faculty were also joined by PE teacher Phil Chaput from Thetford Elementary School. The ropes course, one of many outdoor education resources on our south campus, is tucked in the woods along the tree line, with elements running from the hill above the compost station, alongside the garden, to the entrance of Pete’s Path.

Student Learning Spotlights

Students in Rachael Brown’s physics class were outside this week for a marble-launching lab, investigating motion in two dimensions. The challenge for students: use their data to calculate the velocity of a marble as it exited a launcher and then make an accurate prediction about where that marble would land when launched from a given height.

Students in Ehrin Lingeman’s middle school outdoor leadership elective have an enormous project this quarter, a project that will have an impact on the Thetford Hill community for generations to come: plan and plant an apple orchard! The new orchard is on the Academy Road lower field, near the entrance to the Torrey Mountain Bike Trail. The first trees went in this week.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Thetford Academy is closed on Monday, October 9 in honor of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, an officially recognized holiday in Vermont since 2019. President Biden’s proclamation for the 2023 Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a powerful summary of why the federal government and states like Vermont have created this holiday: to honor the role and history of Indigenous peoples in our country, to acknowledge the violence and oppression of the past, and to signal and create a more inclusive society for our present and future generations.

Upcoming Events

  • 8th Grade Parent Meeting (re: overnight trip planning) – Oct. 11, 6pm
  • TOP Canoe Outing – Oct. 15 (more details)
  • PSATs for Juniors – Oct. 18 (note the NEW date)
  • Half Day for Students – Oct. 27

On the Sports Front …

  • Best of luck to all of our runners in the Woods Trail Run today!
  • Cheer on our varsity soccer teams and support senior fundraising at the concessions stand this week. The boys play at home on Tuesday 10/10 and the girls on Wednesday 10/11. The JV boys and co-ed middle school teams also play at home this week – Tuesday 10/10 for middle school and Wednesday 10/11 for JV. All games, 4pm start time.
  • Best of luck to the TA golf team in the championship tournament on Tuesday.

Thanks to all who make the volunteer-powered Woods Trail Run the amazing community and athletics event that it is, rain or shine!

Carrie Brennan, Head of School

Featured photos this week: adult learning (and fun!) on the TA ropes course, student learning (and fun!) in physics class, and our new TA orchard (thanks to student expertise and effort!).



We set high expectations. We challenge all members of the school community to reach their highest potential.


We value initiative, courage and dedication. We take personal responsibility for the goals we set and work hard to achieve them.


We work and learn together. We see teachers as coaches, students as team members, families as partners, and learning as practice and action.


We provide individuals with personalized support and guidance. We care about each other and the larger community.


We respect differences among people. We welcome the contribution of varied perspectives to a rich and flexible school culture.