April 20, 2020
Now more than ever, families are our educational partners. We no longer have access to our inspiring school building and a physical presence that can be so important to an educational environment; instead, we must find a way to transmit the curiosity and community of a SEM classroom into your homes, through wires and LCD screens. That effort is more likely to succeed if we are unified.
Much of our decision making has involved prioritizing that which is indispensable to a SEM education. In this, we have relied on our mission statement, the first two elements in particular: character development and intellectual independence. For example, to ensure that these core values receive the emphasis they deserve, we are putting less emphasis on formal grades this trimester. Seniors who take an AP class but choose not to take the AP exam will still get an AP designation on their transcripts. In our view, formal measurement is less important than nurturing our students’ curiosity, independence, and integrity.
For all the pain this historically epic pandemic is causing, it also presents a historically epic training ground for the kind of resilience, flexibility, and self-reliance we build our educational program to fostering in our students. In our lessons, spring break activities, and extracurriculars, we are taking time to emphasize these traits as we help our girls process this unprecedented experience.
We hope that you can reinforce these messages in whatever way suits your household and please know that--pandemic or not--we are always ready to help you support your child’s growth. Your daughters are all in different places, and all of them are doing just fine. Some are even excelling beyond their usual productivity and results! The goal is for them to take the next step, and then the next one, with guidance and support from you and from us.
We look forward to doing this work together over the coming months.
Assistant Head of School for Academics and Equity
I just wanted to take this moment to tell you how impressed I am with SEM's response to this crisis. My daughter still has a sense of normalcy in her day. She still feels connected to her teachers and classmates. I have overheard her class lectures and now truly understand how fortunate she is to be a SEM girl!
- Lori Roman P'23
Town Hall Zoom Calls for Families
Because commitment to community is a hallmark of the SEM learning environment, Head of School Helen Marlette regularly hosts grade level town hall Zoom calls with SEM families, including the families of the incoming freshman class of 2024. The director of communications is available on those calls as is one of both assistant heads of school and often the dean of students and dean of teaching and learning.
4/29 - 5:30 PM Rising Freshman
5/5 - 5:30 PM Freshman
5/5 - 6:00 PM Sophomore
5/7 - 5:30 PM Junior
5/7 - 6:00 PM Senior
5/19 - 5:30 PM Freshman
5/19 - 6:00 PM Sophomore
5/21 - 5:30 PM Junior
5/21 - 6:00 PM Senior
6/2 - 5:30 PM Freshman
6/2 - 6:00 PM Sophomore
6/4 - 5:30 PM Junior
6/4 - 6:00 PM Senior
The schedule that began when we returned from spring break on April 14 was designed with the entire SEM community in mind--students and families, as well as faculty, staff and their families.
Classes are scheduled on the hour to provide more predictability.
Afternoon and morning classes rotate so all SEM students, many of whom are now in different time zones, can experience real-time coursework; and the class meeting times allow for a flexible blend of asynchronous and synchronous teaching and learning.
One day each week is devoted to community events, academic support, and SEM traditions. Each Wednesday will feature advisory, Morning Meeting, Help, and extracurriculars like SGA elections, club meetings, and senior presentations.
Head of School: Helen L. Marlette
Assistant Head of School for Community Life: Natalie Stothart
Assistant Head of School for Academics and Equity: Kanika Durland
Director of Communications: Erin Kelly P'13 & P'17
Dean of Students: Eva Cunningham
Dean of Teaching and Learning: Caitlin Littlefield
Director of Technology: Beth Adamczyk