Head of School's Message: September 7

Last Thursday evening, Middle School parents gathered on the field before entering the gym for presentations from subject teachers.
For those parents of 6th and 7th grade students, who joined Chandler’s community last year, Middle School Back-to-School Night 2021 was the first time they had been on campus since touring the School as applicant families during the winter of 2019. There was no food served and nothing to drink, but being together on the field felt like a party. It was good to be together finally.
In previous back-to-school nights, parents follow their child’s schedule and visit each teacher in the classroom. Having the three middle school grade levels rotate through the gym with teachers presenting from a podium made for a different experience. We avoided crowding the classrooms and everyone was safely distanced. Parents got a close-up view of our safety measures as well as an introduction to their child’s teachers this year. In their presentations, each teacher shared a brief biography and described their programs.
As the new in-person school year gets underway, we intend to use the opportunity to reimagine how we organize events like back-to-school night. What have we learned from the past eighteen months that we can use going forward to support Chandler’s mission? Led by Chandler’s Board of Trustees, Chandler is beginning work on a new strategic plan this fall involving all stakeholders, including parents as we look to apply what we have learned in a spirit of ongoing school improvement.
In Why Does a School Not Run or Change Like a Business? - a 2015 article in Independent School Magazine, Robert Evans, a school psychologist, states that independent schools share more in common with religious institutions, villages and families than with corporations. ‘Mission’ is one key difference. “Education has always been a backward-looking enterprise. A school’s mission is to prepare children for the future by teaching them skills, knowledge and values which it can only do by drawing on the past, that is by teaching what we know now. Good teaching is always creative, but not perpetually innovative, and, while it benefits from regular refreshers and occasional overhauls, it doesn’t demand the kind of continuous updating that law or medicine does. Continuity is a core value in school life.”
On Thursday evening, Chandler teachers spoke about their personal dedication, professional expertise and passion (a word they used often) for teaching middle school students that are at the heart of Chandler’s mission, at the core of the School’s identity, and the biggest reason why you chose to send your child to Chandler. As we plan for the future, retaining the excellent teachers that middle school parents met last week, and recruiting faculty of similar caliber when opportunities arise, will be Chandler’s highest priority. 
We look forward to welcoming Lower School parents to campus on Thursday evening.