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Falling Into New Beginnings at Rectory School
Dawn Chmura, Director of Communications

A semblance of pre-COVID normalcy has taken over the Rectory School campus this fall. Although masks, social distancing, and weekly COVID testing are part of the “new normal,” all students are back for in-person learning, new friendships are being made--and old ones revived, and the classrooms and hallways are closer to being back to how they were 18 months ago. We made it through the 2020-2021 academic year under strict COVID restrictions, and everyone--student and faculty alike--is excited about the possibilities of this 2021-2022 school year.

After a quiet summer in the academic buildings and dormitories, Rectory’s campus came alive on Tuesday, September 7.  Boarding students began moving into their dorm rooms and elementary school students had individual visits with their classroom teachers and completed a few initial assessments to start the school year. This activity was just a prelude to the first day of school on Wednesday, September 8, and all in-person learning on Monday, September 13.

Ms. Blakelock helping a student move her luggage into Memorial Dormitory.

The first day for elementary school was a celebration for all as they began their in-person learning on September 8. Head of School Fred Williams and Director of Elementary Maria Carpenter joyfully welcomed students in the drop-off line. Black and orange balloons tied to signs and buildings, and a welcoming gnome greeted students and parents to school. Students eagerly jumped into their learning in the classroom and outdoor learning spaces.

Seven K-1 students grouped outside in front of Rectory's pond. They are all wearing face masks and "1st day of school" crowns

Regarding the first weeks of school, Mrs. Carpenter said, “This is a place where we all belong and can grow together--as teachers, students, and parents. It is wonderful to be back on campus in our beautiful spaces and learning about the world around us.”

Middle school students participated in remote learning for the first three days of school, which allowed boarding students time to quarantine as they waited for the second round of COVID testing results (all students needed to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test before returning to campus). Although remote, students joined morning assembly online, got an initial feel for the rotating schedule, met their teachers and classmates, and signed up for electives and sports.

All students were in their classrooms ready for in-person instruction on Monday, September 13, and what a fantastic week it was! Director of Academics Lisa Hart said, “These first few weeks have gone well. Everyone is off and running; teachers are already building foundational understanding and communities in the classrooms, and I think the jitters students experience in a new year are almost gone. We can continue to focus on learning.”

The elementary students continued their exploration inside and outside, building foundational skills upon which their learning will grow. They are setting their yearly individual goals with their parents and classroom teachers, enjoying visiting their related arts classrooms around campus again, and forming bonds of friendship with their classmates.

Middle school students jumped into the unique student life of Rectory School in an action-packed first week on campus. Advisory groups met, students gathered in small groups to discuss summer reading books, secondary schools began visiting campus to meet with Rectory’s 9th graders, performing arts and electives began, and we had our first chapel of the year for grades 4-9. Fall athletics began with practices, and the cross country and boys’ Varsity B soccer teams had their first interscholastic games on Friday. The week ended with the first of the monthly First Friday events on campus. (First Friday was only celebrated once last year in the spring term.)

Mr. Guertin writes information on the white board during the first Newspaper elective meeting as students look on.

When asked for a comment regarding the first few weeks of school, Head of School Fred Williams said,  “Oh, what a joy to have a campus filled with students and teachers. To have classrooms energized with student learning. To have cheers ringing from the athletic fields. And to have parents smiling even whilst navigating an unanticipated road paving that completely upended carpool Friday morning.”

Rectory School is back in session, and we are looking forward to an amazing year.

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Please contact Dawn Chmura, Director of Communications, regarding the following:

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Rectory School Communications
528 Pomfret Street
P.O. Box 68
Pomfret, CT 06258