Whew! Where did the summer go? With all of the activity on Girard College’s campus this past summer the time just seemed to fly by.
Most of the activity was the culmination of at least a year of planning for this very moment: the opening of the 2016-2017 school year. This year is especially important as we complete our transition to an Elementary/Middle School and High School organization.
The faculty, staff and administration have been working very hard since June to make the opening of school this year very special. Both academic and residential faculty participated in our fourth Summer Institute during which they honed their skills in professional development activities with the goal of continuing to demonstrate effective practices in and out of the classroom.
As part of the reorganization noted above, the Elementary/Middle School (formerly the Lower School) went through a complete transformation in order to accommodate the seventh- and eighth-graders who are moving to the West End from the High School (formerly the Upper School). Grades six to eight now constitute the Middle School, and it is our firm belief that we can better address their social and educational needs in a space specifically planned for their use. The Elementary/Middle School physical space has been improved with a new art room and science lab. In addition, the Elementary/Middle School has transformed the library and computer lab into a three-room “Tech/Reading Room” complex that will be able to serve the full range of the students (1-8 grades) that now occupy the building.
There was plenty of work completed at the East End and in the High School as well. Students entering the High School will be welcomed into a brighter, freshly painted building. Additionally, and as a result of a generous alumni contribution from Lt. Col. Joseph Glasser (USAF Ret.) '42, Fran Manley '53 and the Girard College Class of 1959, the High School Library will be outfitted with new furniture that promotes collaboration and exploration. We are looking forward to high utilization of the Enrichment and Collaboration Center (the “EC Center”) beyond the school day and into the evening with some creative scheduling and a partnership with Temple University.
We enter this year having completed one of our more successful recruiting seasons thanks to the outstanding leadership of the Enrollment Management Office and the hard work of everyone who participated in the admissions process. As a result we will welcome 100 new students and families to the Girard College community this year, taking our enrollment over 300 students. Those new to Girard College have already begun to understand and appreciate our values and traditions having participated in the first overnight New Student Orientation program held here at Girard. From all indications, the three-day program was a great success.
Another “first” that took place this summer was our Summer Bridge program designed for our new and returning ninth-grade students. Thirty-nine freshmen had the opportunity to meet, bond and learn about the rigors of high school over a seven-day period that also required the students to stay overnight. (Photo above.)
Wow! It really was a particularly busy summer, but all of this effort has resulted in improvements that will benefit our students and improve outcomes.
I speak for everyone in the faculty, staff and administration in saying, “We are grateful to see you back and can’t wait to get the 2016-2017 school year underway!”
Clarence D. Armbrister