The final weeks of summer are here and the new school year is fast approaching. Before long, we will join the steady stream of cars arriving on Albany Road packed with duffle bags, a lamp, a favorite pillow and something to give our child’s dorm room that personal touch. There is a sense of excitement in the air as friends reunite with hugs and high-fives. Everyone is thrilled to be back and ready to embark upon a new year.
As our youngest of three children returns for his senior year, it will be our tenth Deerfield drop-off and yet I continue to be amazed by this scene. I know we have made a good choice for our children. For them to be enthused about coming back to school tells me this is a community they love and makes them feel at home filled with tremendous opportunity for growth and exploration. Each year marks a new beginning as each grade is full of different experiences and perspective.
For those families joining the Deerfield community for the first time, on behalf of the administration, faculty, fellow parents and students we welcome you to what we hope will be an amazing experience. We know that some new students and families have a bit of anxiety about this next step, which is not uncommon. No matter where your child falls in the range of emotions, try not to worry. Most are thrilled to be here in their own space and have never been happier. Others may find the transition more difficult, but with the support and care of their proctors, advisor, faculty residents and teachers, they will settle in over time. This new chapter may bring some difficult moments, but your child will learn and grow with the continuous support of the Deerfield community.
As Deerfield parents, we are important members of the community as well and we hope you’ll find meaningful ways to connect. Parents of new students receive support from First Link families, who are ready to answer questions and give advice as needed. Whether or not you can visit campus frequently, I encourage you to look for ways to get involved and to engage as much as possible. From afar, you can explore the website, read the Bulletin online and the student newspaper (The Scroll).
You’ll want to mark your calendar to return to campus for Fall Family Weekend on October 14-16 when you can visit classes, meet fellow parents and enjoy a meal with your child’s new friends. You can explore historic Deerfield and take in a DA sporting event on Saturday. Family Weekend is a unique opportunity to experience your child’s daily life on campus and to connect with teachers and other parents. It is an important event that you won’t want to miss.
The Deerfield Parents Network (DPN) is entering its sixth year and I am happy to say it is thriving. Established through a collaborative effort on behalf of the board of trustees and the Deerfield administration, the DPN is a resource for all parents. We work to enhance the connection between the school and parents–all part of creating a strong sense of community–a hallmark of DA. Think of us like any parents’ association!
The DPN steering committee consists of 28 current parents including an executive committee of seven. New to the DPN Executive Committee this year are Ben Binswanger ‘78 as VP of Inclusion and Janice Roberts, Patty Grennon and Elizabeth Weymouth as VPs of Campus Events. We also welcome eight new members who we added to the DPN committee last May – welcome to the team!
Each year at Deerfield, programs are developed or fine-tuned and this year is no exception. Starting with this edition of Deerfield Parents FYI, parents will receive a bi-weekly email communication from the school designed to enhance our awareness of campus events, student life and miscellaneous information. Appropriately named “FYI”, it will help to consolidate and enhance timely information for parents. The DPN will include our parent-to-parent content in a sidebar section of the school’s Parents FYI rather than sending separate DPN e-newsletters. If you are not receiving the new Parents FYIs, please let the school know by contacting the Director of Communications, David Thiel.
If you are interested in getting involved in the DPN, one of our initiatives or parent communications, please contact me by email. The more the merrier and your input is always appreciated.
Again, welcome new students and parents to the Deerfield family and to those returning we can’t wait to see you all!