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Brendan Largay, Head of School

The Power of Three

I am a big believer in the power of three. Whether considering the structural strength of the triangle, the magic of literary characters like Harry, Ron, and Hermione, or the masterful speechwriter’s rhetorical device of delivering ideas in threes, I have always believed in and subscribed to the power that a group of three things can have.

So, what three things are preoccupying me as we turn the calendar page from January to February? The same three things that always do at this time of year: admissions, high school placement, and hiring. Three fundamentally critical aspects of our school’s health that all happen to intersect at the same time.

The admissions work of our dynamic team of Audra, Hema, and Andy (another power trio!) has helped to ensure that BDS will see another wonderful collection of students join us in the fall. They, with the support of faculty, have spent January welcoming and screening countless prospective students to inform the decisions we will make for that critical moment when we send out our letters to families on March 10. From my vantage point, that team has some magic of its own, as the work being done defies its small size.

High school placement, under the guidance of Sarah Merrill, and with the support of Liz Gray, is the counterweight to admissions—the graduation of eighth graders counterbalances the arrival of students in the younger grades. This year, our eighth grade students applied to 28 independent high schools, including eight boarding schools and four single-gender schools, and five families have selected their public school option for next year. The process of ninth grade admissions is a process equally rigorous to ours. English and math recommendation letters, a letter co-written by Sarah, Liz, and me, myriad phone calls, and campus visits are all part of our advocacy for students as they seek entry into some of the region’s (and country’s) most selective schools.

Hiring season—the last of this trio of comings and goings—brings with it the emotional pull of goodbye and also warm welcomes. Teachers choose to move on from BDS either in pursuit of a new calling or to enjoy retirement; we hire to fill their shoes and currently, to support our five-year middle school enrollment growth initiative. The hiring process is a rigorous one internally. Every search is posted and recruited for at a national level. Hiring teams include a combination of four to six faculty and administrators who work collaboratively to review potential candidates. They keep an eye towards excellence in all things—instruction, innovation, cultural competency, and a child-centered ideology—to determine who will be that next great teacher that joins Belmont Day.  

Candidates spend time with Dr. Hoyt, me, and with the folks in the respective department or division. Teaching faculty candidates teach sample lessons. Preserving and advancing the excellence of our faculty is of the highest importance and the intentionality and the thoroughness of our process helps to ensure that we continue to meet that high standard for our students.

These three key aspects of our work at Belmont Day fall at just about the same time; while each is powerful independently, as a triad, they gather significance and strength for our school.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

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Giving Thanks

On Tuesday, we will gather for our annual Thanksgiving assembly—an opportunity to express gratitude as a community.

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