What is the Deerfield Parents Network?
Four years ago a number of parents, trustees and senior school leaders got together to discuss ways of improving communication between parents and the Academy. We looked at our peer boarding schools and reviewed their parent organizations. How should Deerfield better formalize the sharing of important information and advice? After a year of dialogue and hard work, the group created the Deerfield Parents Network.
Now in its third year, the mission of the DPN is to improve the Deerfield Experience for students and their parents. It is an organization run by parents for parents. There are three major initiatives:
First Link: This program eases the transition for new parents and students by assigning a current parent who is available to answer questions and provide advice. Most have found this to be a valuable resource as the new family navigates through the first year. The First Link Committee also hosts an annual New Parent Orientation during move-in day in September.
Communications: Through The Link, a newsletter published three times a year via the DPN website, families can read articles written by parents on topics ranging from the dress code to mid-winter blues to pathways to college. The DPN website itself is a wealth of information with quick links to useful resources.
Campus Events:This DPN committee organizes events during the school year for the Deerfield community and parents. It’s a great way for parents to get to know each other. During this Fall Parents Weekend, a Farmers Market was held on the quad between McAlister and Field dorms. The idea for this activity came from conversations about sustainability on campus. Vendors included local farmers who supply the Dining Hall.
A new initiative for this year focuses on improving the dialogue between the Academy and parents. Thus far the DPN has shared comments with the Dean of Students on new student orientation, dress code revisions and ideas for future Parents Weekends.
All Deerfield parents are members of the DPN. The organization itself is run by a Steering Committee of six officers, nineteen parents and senior administrators including the Dean of Students and the Directors of Admissions, Parent Programs, Communications and Alumni Relations. If parents are interested in getting more involved with the DPN please contact one of our officers or administrators listed on the DPN web site (with direct links to our emails). Together we can improve the Deerfield experience for all.
PHOTO GALLERY: DPN-ORGANIZED FARMERS MARKET, FALL PARENTS WEEKEND, 2013
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