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Emblematic of a school year unlike any other, Pingry's annual back-to-school events—traditionally held on-campus in each of the school's three divisions—were hosted virtually this fall for the first time ever. Despite the unusual format, they were deemed a success!
The Lower School's Back-to-School Night, held on September 24, kicked things off, with Lower School Director Dr. Thu-Nga Morris and Head of School Matt Levinson providing live, opening remarks. Families then "met" via Zoom with homeroom teachers for an overview of the curriculum, and were treated to virtual tours of grade-level classrooms and common areas. Teachers of special subjects also provided presentations.
In her sentiments to faculty following what she called a "phenomenal" evening, Dr. Morris said, "I was blown away by your preparation, enthusiasm, and passion for our students. Thank you for welcoming our parents, offering the reassurance they need during this time of uncertainty, and exemplifying the spirit of childhood."
The Middle School's event, held on October 8, gave families an opportunity to learn more about Middle School teachers, advisors, and programming. It began with remarks from Mr. Levinson, followed by a 20-minute live session with advisors. Next up was a live panel with Middle School Director Laurie Piette, Dean of Students Mike Coakley, Academic Dean Allen Thomas, Director of Athletics Gerry Vanasse P '14, '20, and Middle School Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Bria Barnes. Finally, families received links of pre-recorded videos introducing them to each of their child(ren)'s teachers.
"In this year of innovation and inspiration, the Middle School faculty once again rose to the occasion," said Ms. Piette after the event. "Though we wished we could have joined each other in person, this year's format provided opportunities for connection and communicated key information."
As it has in the past, Upper School Parents' Day took place on a Saturday morning, October 3. Families received a personalized schedule of events—expertly created by Apu in the Technology Department in a mere five days—a combination of pre-recorded classroom "visits" with faculty followed by live advisory sessions and closing remarks by Upper School Director Ananya Chatterji P '25.
Reflecting on the extraordinary circumstances surrounding this year's back-to-school event, Ms. Chatterji found certain advantages. "COVID-19 has granted us the opportunity to rethink annual events that we typically approach in a 'standard' way, and Parents' Day was one of those events. . . I loved being creative with what it could be, and teachers jumped right in to make it happen. I am so happy with how it came together, and while I would rather have been in person with everyone, I felt we made it into something special."
Photos: Grade 3 Teacher Devan Zadrozny "meets" with parents during the Lower School's Back-to-School Night on September 24; Upper School Director Ananya Chatterji gives final remarks to close out Parents' Day on October 3.
Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org