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.”
Associate Head of School Jeff Ketcham noted that boarding school families should be able to move quickly on to their assigned dorms to settle in to their new spaces. Day students can join in the afternoon picnic, where they can meet with teachers and advisors.
Mr. Ketcham stressed that families will need to complete all of the required forms in advance in order to make their arrival as smooth as possible. They should also plan to arrive during their allotted time, as early or late arrivals could disrupt the process, he said.
“This new, streamlined process is predicated on [families] doing their part ahead of time,” he noted, adding that families who don’t complete forms in advance could be in for longer wait times in Reed.
Included in the new Welcome Days schedule are several picnic lunches where students and families can meet with all faculty, as well as receptions for families, and meetings with Head of School Robert W. Hill III.
“We believe that the changes made to Welcome Days will shift the focus from what became a lengthy set of mile posts and checkpoints in Reed to a dorm-centered arrival for boarding students and a more efficient process for our day students,” noted Mr. Hill.
He pointed to the recent launch of two new systems—the new website in the spring and new information database over the summer—as solving many of the registration problems. For example, families received important forms and information by mail and email in July. In August, a new system will be in place that will allow families to submit other important information and photo IDs online.
“Since we have been able to shift many of the time consuming details of registration on line,” he noted, “we [are focusing] more attention on families meeting with teachers and advisors.”
For the full Welcome Days schedule and more information, visit www.williston.com/welcome-days