Parent Newsletter by Franny Shuker-Haines

Dear Buxton Families,

Please forgive the absence of a parent newsletter last week. I was having a dental emergency that briefly took over my life. All better now, but I just want to say that dental pain is the worst! I gave birth to three giant babies without anesthesia, but there’s something about having that kind of throbbing pain inside one’s head that is worse. So: forgive me!

We are chugging along. It’s been heartening and encouraging to see kids continuing to show up, do their work, and stay relatively cheerful. And when kids aren’t feeling especially upbeat, I have been really impressed by how readily many students seek out help and counsel from our faculty and staff. I also continue to be grateful for our faculty’s consistent attention to the kids. Faculty meetings are still what they have always been: thoughtful discussions about how kids are doing, what might help, who might be the right person to reach out, how to give the appropriate academic and emotional support. The fact that our teachers continue to remain committed to and inspired by this work, no matter the circumstances, is one of the things I appreciate most about Buxton.

One of the things students—and families—are asking about is next year. And I want to reassure everyone that we have every intention of opening on campus in the fall. Of course there are potential obstacles, and we will have to be mindful and careful about them, but we are actively working on scenarios that will enable us to be here in Williamstown for the 2020-’21 school year. Governor Baker of Massachusetts just outlined a four-step rubric to bring the state back to the “new normal,” which also gives me hope. Things on campus may have to be different (spreading the kids out more, eating meals differently, drastically restricting our contact with the outside world), but from what we are hearing, the kids are up for that. They just want to be back home.

We are also making plans for graduation. We have a subcommittee exploring different options, both technical and logistical, and we will share our plans soon. Know that we are committed to giving this senior class a proper send-off, complete with all the speeches and all the celebration. I talked to the seniors briefly yesterday about this yesterday, and I think they were relieved to hear that plans are underway. So: keep June 13th open on your calendar. At some point on that day, we will be holding graduation for the class of 2020, and you are all invited.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to hold our weekly Buxton/Parent get-together this Wednesday. It’s been really wonderful hanging out with you guys, and I will be back on the 20th. In the meantime, I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.

All the best,


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