Open House Events
Coffee with Ms. Connor!
Thursday, December 1
8:30 - 9:45 a.m.
Parents of Early Childhood Applicants are invited to a morning of conversation with St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's Head of School, Virginia Connor, and lower division director, Emily Holt, to discuss our program and philosophy on educating young children. Please contact Karen Lee in the admission office to RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall Open House
Thank you to everyone who joined us on October 6, 2016 for our Open House event. On behalf of the entire school community, we are appreciative of your interest in St. Hilda's & St. Hugh's. Below are highlights from the evening.
Open House Presentation Highlights Faculty, Diversity, and “A School Built for Children”
Stability of faculty. Dedication to the early childhood and elementary years. Authentic and intentional diversity. A facility built for young children. These, said Head of School Virginia Connor at last night’s Open House for Prospective Parents, are some of the essential elements that parents should consider when choosing the right school for their child.
More than 200 prospective families came to the Open House. After a brief presentation from Connor and Director of Admission Kate Dworkoski, parents had a chance to ask questions and then tour the 80,000 sq. ft. facility. Throughout the building, faculty and current parents were available to answer questions about what takes place in each learning space—from the sandbox in the 2s classroom, to the camper on the outdoor playdeck, to the rooftop greenhouse, to the classroom kitchens throughout the building.
“A great school rests solidly on the shoulders of great teaching,” Connor said. In addition to her own 36 years of experience in New York City independent schools, she highlighted the years of service of her faculty, more than half of whom have taught at the school for 10 years or more. “Our teachers are highly intelligent, intellectually curious, and they have fun in the classroom. That’s what children need.”
Diversity was an important theme. “While most schools founded in 1950 were created to pull families of similar backgrounds together to insulate them from the outside world,” said Dworkoski, “our founder was purposefully breaking down barriers and bringing students from all backgrounds together. This is our birthright as a school.” Today, she said, more than 50 percent of families identify themselves as coming from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds.
Parents asked why they should choose an elementary school over one that extends through high school. “Childhood is a sacred time,” Connor said, emphasizing the importance of a facility, teachers, and a school budget designed for and directed toward young children alone.
Sandi Wright, the mother of three current students, agreed. “Your child changes so much between kindergarten and eighth grade,” she said. “The right school for your 5 year old may not be the right school for your teenager.”
Parents also asked about the school’s religious identity. Chaplain Elizabeth Garnsey described the school’s Chapel program as helping children “learn the language of spirituality.”
“We provide children with a tool kit of spiritual practices, not beliefs,” she said. “They learn about the practice of prayer, of meditation, of listening, and of service.” Religious knowledge classes, she said, which begin in first grade, are based on the Judeo-Christian tradition and give students a firm foundation in bible stories from the Old and New Testaments. As students progress through school, they study world religions and take on service projects in the neighborhood and beyond.