The dozen members of the incoming faculty are not only joining a thriving community at the Williston Northampton School, they’re bringing an even stronger sense of community with them. Some of the new faculty members have spouses already at Williston; others are coming with their families to live and work at the school.
“It’s a fairly diverse group, but there are common themes,” said Dean of Faculty Peter Valine of the 12 new faculty members. “One thing that’s common to all of them, and this doesn’t always happen with each rookie class, is that they’ll all be living on campus.”
Mr. Valine said that having the new faculty both work and live at the school will create deep community connections—especially since so many of the faculty have had experience at other independent schools.
“All of them bring enthusiasm and excitement,” he said. “It’s like this infusion of energy and ideas that I think is incredibly exciting for the school.”
Food service seems like such a simple thing. Walk into the Birch Dining Commons during any mealtime and the options seem endless: salads, hot entrees, made-to-order options at the grill, a deli bar, a pasta bar, and several options for dessert.
Yet, behind the scenes, quite a lot of thought must go into every dish.
After all, the options should be fresh, locally sourced, and of the highest quality. They should meet strict nutritional and dietary standards—food allergies are always a concern—while also being incredibly tasty, so that what’s served on campus can compete with options at area restaurants. There should also be dishes that adhere to vegetarian, vegan, and other requirements, and enough variety to satisfy the pickiest eater.
Meeting all of those various requirements is a tall order for any dining staff, and it’s only been getting harder—particularly one without a dietician, nutritionist, computerized menu, or national-level purchasing power.
“There are many complications involved with managing a dining services in the 21st century,” said Williston’s CFO Charles McCullagh. “You have so many more things to consider.”
This year, the Williston Northampton School is unveiling a new approach to the start of school, called Welcome Days.
After hearing from families that the growing number of checkpoints and stations during registration were causing delays, Williston’s administration decided to speed up the process.
Rather than going through multi-stage registration in the Reed Campus Center, families will instead stop briefly in the Grubbs Gallery to confirm that they have completed their health forms, permissions, and payments.
They will then proceed to the Dodge Room, where they will receive a tote bag with their new Surface, pre-loaded with required programs; their room keys or key cards and IDs, also known as Sammy Cards; the Student Handbook; and their academic schedules.
Director of Parent Relations Rachel Goldberg said she hopes Welcome Days will help families get right to the most important stage—meeting faculty and moving in.
“The process will become streamlined because they’ll be able to do it all beforehand,” she said. “Families will have the opportunity to meet with faculty, advisors, and dorm parents…they’ll get to connect with adults in the community and do more things that are important to them.”
It was a typical summer morning for Security Manager Anne O’Connor. She began the day by clambering across the Reed Campus Center roof, looking for a good place to put a new emergency siren system. By that afternoon, she was checking in on a delivery of two new bicycles before heading over to the Easthampton Police Department for a face full of pepper spray as part of a safety training course.
Williston’s security manager, who joined the school last summer, admits that she’s been busy over the past couple of months.
“It’s been a busy, progressive year,” she said. “And I don’t see any slow down as far as our moving forward with security on campus.”
Since her hire last August, Ms. O’Connor has been quietly implementing a series of wide-ranging changes to the school’s security department. Those upgrades have included multiple new systems, equipment upgrades, changes to campus policies, and a series of training sessions that she hopes will not only create closer ties between the Easthampton emergency services and the school, but also strengthen the bonds between the security department as a whole.
Many of the images were bleak: sunburned soldiers sprawled over their cots in the crushing desert heat; deep drifts of sand with boot tracks leading to three green Port-o-johns; an Afghan solider in a doorway below an ominous mound of sandbags with a transistor radio pressed to his ear.
Then there was an American soldier standing in a lush field, exhaustion written all over his face. The temperatures had reached 120 degrees that day, and the men had been carrying 100 pounds of gear through dense, humid fields.
Photographer Ben Brody took a long look at the picture, projected onto a screen in the Dodge Room, Reed Campus Center, where he was presenting the last seminar in the 2014 Photographer Lecture Series.
“He was killed six weeks after I took this photo,” Mr. Brody explained of the solider whose portrait he had taken.