I vividly remember sitting in my office as the Upper School Director at Darlington School nine months ago putting plans in place should we need to implement virtual learning “if we could not return” to in person classes after our March spring break. During this planning process my leadership team never imagined that the potential for several days of online classes would turn into several weeks and eventually several months of distance learning for our students. As an educational leader it was painful knowing that we could not replicate the authenticity of in person classes virtually in such a short planning period, and it was equally as challenging to have to cancel signature events like athletics, prom, and graduation for our students.
The most challenging question pondered today by school leaders and parents, centers around our students’ academic, social and emotional growth during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Articles, like this one, remind us that we will not know the toll that the last few months will have on our students for years to come.
This fall I began my 20th year in education, and my first year as an enrollment officer. I have loved the opportunity to speak with families about Darlington’s academic, athletic, and fine arts programs. During these first months I have spoken with many families who are concerned about the regression that they have seen in their students. Many of these families are considering an independent school education for their children in hopes that a skills based curriculum with an emphasis on active learning will empower their children to regain the confidence that has been lost in all phases of school and life.
I have been asked numerous times “what separates Darlington from other schools?” For me, the answer is simple: At Darlington, we have an individualized approach to education that focuses on the needs of each student. We empower our students to lead, solve problems, and use their creativity throughout their academic career. At Darlington, we are designing learning experiences from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade that will prepare students for a lifetime of thoughtful living and learning.
What sets Darlington apart? We are a community of trust. The relationships formed between our dedicated faculty members and students in the classrooms, during advisory, on the playing fields and stages, and in the dormitories foster a deep understanding of how each student learns. Darlington’s Teaching and Learning Center is designed to provide individualized academic support to students pre-K through 12th grades with identified learning differences. Our learning specialists work directly with students in the Center and in the classroom to help them achieve academic success. Research tells us that students who struggle academically are bearing the brunt of online and virtual learning and will require support in order to fill in the gaps that have been created during this pandemic.
At Darlington we know the world demands more from students than simple comprehension. Our classrooms foster creative thinking by providing challenging, skills-based assignments that have more than one right answer. A classroom filled with creative thinking produces fluency, flexibility and originality while offering new ideas in a variety of diverse contexts and through an array of unique perspectives.
At Darlington students will graduate with the confidence, connections, and compassion they need to succeed in college and their career, guiding them towards being meaningful contributors to the greater good throughout their life.
It is my hope you will find time to Discover Darlington and schedule a time come see us for an individualized private tour of our school.