W+H Media Mashup
A true test of an individual or an organization really comes to light in a crisis. COVID-19 is certainly one of those times when individuals, groups, communities and our Wardlaw+Hartridge family are being tested.
Schools with international students are facing many challenges because of the COVID-19 crisis, and these challenges may continue into the recruitment and admission seasons for the next year or two. Last Friday, I was honored to represent Wardlaw+Hartridge and make a presentation during the National Association for Independent Schools (NAIS) webinar titled Recruiting International Students During and Post COVID-19.
Here at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School, the word inclusivity means that you are given the opportunities to simply be yourself.
As we hit the end of January and the last of the holiday decorations are put away for another year, we look ahead to 2020 to make our promises to be better at this, to do more of that and to make more time focus on this. You get my drift, so fill in the blank as needed. The one thing you should consider is: What am I doing to provide my child the best educational experience possible?
Gerard Gonnella travels to China each year to visit with international families -- both current parents and prospective families. His blog followed his recent trip there in 2019.
As the crisp air begins to descend on New Jersey, we’re gearing up for our annual Fall Fair and Homecoming Day a longstanding tradition at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School.
At W+H, students are provided the tools necessary to stimulate rigorous inquiry, in depth research and writing skills so they can express themselves thoughtfully.
The International Student Program at W+H has recently launched E-Mentoring, an online learning support project that aims at empowering students with their learning.
When I was a senior in high school, I missed eight weeks of classes - two months - starting in late September. Actually my entire public school district and many others in the Wilmington, Delaware area did not have school because our teachers went on strike.
As Upper School Head, I have the privilege of witnessing acts of care, joy, selflessness, support, giving and love, to name a few, every day from students, parents and faculty. Let me share a few from the past several weeks that keep me encouraged and demonstrate the indomitable W+H spirit.
Over the last couple of decades or so, the words diversity and inclusion frequently appear together. Yet I am not sure many of us have taken the time to parse their meanings and understand the important distinction between the two.
I have always loved science and for more than a decade I was a card-carrying scientist and enjoyed all the accompanying fame and riches… or maybe it was the fun and adventure? I’ll get back to you.
Early last spring, when COVID was newly-arrived and we were all just beginning to figure out how we could teach and learn remotely, I shared with students a bit of wisdom from Mr. Rogers: "Look for the helpers.”
A pillar of our Middle School program is service to and learning from others. Churchill’s words are especially appropriate when we consider the many ways our students serve and learn within and beyond the W+H community.
We tell our children and each other that there are silver linings to be found amidst adversity. Our current struggle is a mighty one, the adversary powerful and ruthless. Yet, this war, too, shall pass.
Middle school-aged students crave two things seemingly to be at odds with each other. They want ardently to be seen as and recognized as individuals yet fear being perceived as different.
“I just want to say thank you. I had a good time. I would still rather be at school for Field Day, but I had fun dressing up my dad and playing the fun games. So, I just wanted to say thank you.”
Quotes and verses help us find words when we don’t have them ourselves. Rumor has it country singer Dolly Parton is quoted as saying, “Storms make trees take deeper roots.” Though, recently I found another reference that it was the poet George Herbert who deserves the original credit saying, “Storms make oaks take deeper root.”
At times, we find that it is helpful to see things not only through mirrors but as well through windows. Another voice, or in this case other voices, can bring light to the nuances of a topic that one may have never considered themselves. With that, I turn this month’s blog over to the fifth grade teachers, Liz Schultz and Tim Head, and their students.
“But, Thanksgiving is more than eating… we should just be thankful for being together. I think that’s what they mean by ‘Thanksgiving.’”
As we start this new academic year, it occurs to me that I started my career in a great independent school exactly 40 years ago. (Yes, I am that old). Back then, everything was new to me. This year, everything is new to all of us – though we did have a trial run last spring.
- Parents News
Ryan Oliveira, Pandemic Response Coordinator, and Angie Farese, School Nurse, appeared on the first episode of the new school year of the podcast W+H Unscripted.
Rudy Brandl ’83, Director of Communications and Publications, interviews the school’s health and safety leaders about many factors associated with the pandemic and how the W+H community has been successful in its return to school. The 15-minute discussion includes positive news and some useful tips for staying safe, healthy and strong.
- Parents News
Organized, clean and efficient food service is one of the most important elements associated with a safe return to school during the pandemic. Despite the many challenges created by COVID-19, Sage Dining Services has delivered quality and safety to Wardlaw+Hartridge students, faculty and staff.
Under the direction of head chef Anibal Rodriguez, Sage employees trained in all the necessary safety procedures and developed a plan to serve the W+H community on a daily basis.
“We had a plan coming in and we executed,” Chef Anibal said. “Overall, it’s been great and getting even better every day.”
Chef Anibal and his staff revamped the serving system in the kitchen to make everything “COVID friendly.” All items are pre-wrapped, including hot entrees, sandwiches, salads, fruit, desserts, condiments and utensils.
“Pre-wrapping all the meals has definitely been a challenge,” Chef Anibal said. “We went from having open buffets to wrapping 500 meals a day. It’s going well and we’re keeping people safe.”
Other upgrades include touch-free beverage dispensers and hand sanitizing stations throughout the AP Room and serving area. Dish washers wear face masks and plastic shields and all kitchen staff members are wearing face masks at all times.
Even with all the safety upgrades and training, success does not come without cooperation and teamwork from the full W+H community. The Lower School has been using an order and delivery system, sending menus home to parents and filling orders with classroom delivery. Older students have been sitting at tables for four with partitions dividing their eating space.
Chef Anibal added that dividing the Upper School into three lunch periods, which essentially reduced the AP Room crowd from 220 to 50 students at a time, has been an enormous help. Controlling the numbers is keeping everybody safe and making the flow efficient.
“Middle School and Upper School lunches have been awesome. The kids have really accepted the new rules and followed them better than expected,” Chef Anibal said.
Middle School athletes began outdoor practices this week, joining the Upper School teams on the soccer fields, tennis courts and cross country terrain. The volleyball season, due to indoor restrictions, has been postponed to later in the school year.
Game competition for the Upper School athletes and teams begins next week, while the Middle School teams will continue practicing and compete in intra-squad events.
All athletes and teams have been advised on the rules proper procedures for daily screening, locker room use, wearing masks, distancing, use of the training room, sanitation and pickup at dismissal from activities.
The Wardlaw+Hartridge School is committed to continuing to provide meaningful theatrical experiences for its student actors. We are excited to present a directed, polished and staged virtual play that provides meaningful content and opportunity for our theatre students to grow their skills and technique. We look to provide an opportunity for our students to continue to build their skills as artists and for our W+H community to engage in a shared theatre experience.
This will include a brand new full length play entitled One Stoplight Town written by playwright Tracy Wells. We will be the first to produce this new title and premiere the show! Auditions and rehearsals will be done virtually with a final show that will be pre-recorded, edited and then live streamed for our audience to experience in November.
Auditions are due Sunday, Sept. 27.
- Parents News
One of the most beloved traditions at W+H each year is Fall Fair. But with all the changes COVID-19 would necessitate, that event was rapidly turning into the Fall Un-Fair. Rest assured, with safety as our top priority, our intrepid planners have been hard at work to re-imagine this important tradition for a one-time-only community-wide event that we are dubbing Picnic Palooza.
We all know what a picnic is, but what’s a palooza, you may ask? Webster’s says: an exaggerated event; extraordinarily impressive (that’s Webster’s Dictionary, mind you, not our esteemed Head!). Please plan to attend our backyard party of epic proportions: mark your calendars for Saturday, October 24 at 11:00 a.m. and watch for details as the date draws near.