Compliments, Core Values, and Core Competencies

21 Nov

Chris Williamson
Head of School

I shared at the Open House a few of the very recent compliments I have received about Applewild with the families at the Open House, and I want to share more of them with you. I regularly hear wonderful comments about the school, about how our alumni in secondary school and college are prospering, and about appreciation for teachers. The past two weeks or so were particularly full of such moments:

  • A mother of an alumna in her freshman year at college is earning a 4.2 GPA because, according to her mom, she learned how to study and be organized and ask good questions at Applewild.
  • Another “parent of alums” sought me out at the Rummage Sale to mention that her son, having earned two degrees at Carnegie Mellon, is completing his tour of duty as a Lieutenant in the Marines and heading to Stanford Business School. His sister did equally well after Applewild and is now a writer living on the Cape. They both, according to their mom, were encouraged to think for themselves, to prepare well, to problem solve, to love to write and read history (and to do good lab reports!) at Applewild; and this had a lasting impact.
  • I visited a secondary school last Friday and met with some of our alumni who are there and with the Head and some faculty. Our alumni were very impressive in their conversation with me, and I asked the adults later if all the students were as wonderful as these students. The answer was “Many are, but we love Applewild kids. They are prepared, engaged, they care, they contribute.”
  • Marshall Fund musician Randy Armstrong told us how special Applewild is, and he had emphasized that with Peggy and me at dinner the night before. He noticed how willing to participate the students and teachers were, how comfortable they were asking questions, how well the students listened. A part time teacher at Phillips Exeter, Randy visits many schools; and he singled out Applewild as a uniquely positive, energizing place.
  • A friend of the school, recently retired, was training to be a docent at the Fitchburg Art Museum. When the trainer started talking about school groups, she identified some of the challenges that docents need to be prepared for. Then she said, “If you get an Applewild group, though, they listen, they are interested, they are polite, they are prepared, they care about learning what you are explaining, and they ask good questions.”
  • A School Head from an area secondary school visited and came away very impressed by the physical plant, the way the students interact with each other and their teachers, and with how welcoming and affirming this environment is.
  • Parents took the time to thank us for providing you with good information about “growth mindset” and reminders to talk with, and monitor, your children’s on line time and “virtual” presence.
  • Another School Head said about Applewild, “You have a wonderful environment, great facilities, and a kind, safe, peaceful culture and climate.”
  • An educational consultant described Applewild to me as “an inclusive place with high standards where we are focused on and nurture the individual child.”

These comments help capture the magic of Applewild. As we look ahead to Thanksgiving and the holiday season, there are many reasons to give thanks. For all of us involved at Applewild, and certainly for me, a key reason is this school that so carefully nurtures healthy growth in children and young teenagers and prepares them to go confidently into the world to make a difference.