Headmaster Drew Casertano shared virtually with parents his annual spring State of the School Address, his final address of this nature in his 31-year tenure as the school's head. His message was optimistic and appreciative, reflective and forward-looking.
Mr. Casertano focused on six attributes in seven words to summarize the state of Millbrook School today: here, healthy, full, strong, well-positioned, and better.
We’re here together, finishing our third week back after spring break and 22nd week overall of in-person learning. We will have 28 weeks of class time this year, the standard we meet every year. The addition of three weeks of remote classes means we've actually increased class time for students this year—quite an accomplishment considering the challenges caused by COVID-19.
We're healthy. We continue our COVID testing weekly for boarding students and twice weekly for day students. We've had less than 10 students test positive since September, and established protocols kept everyone on campus safe. We’ve worked really, really hard in our protocols to achieve this, and parents have partnered with us in these efforts. A healthy school and some beautiful spring weather are allowing us to move towards normalcy as students enjoy Spring Fest and World Culture Fest and gather outside every day. We're returning to formal dinners (by form) for the remainder of the school year and look forward to meeting for assemblies outside rather than on Zoom.
We are fully enrolled! We had a COVID admission process that left each candidate feeling known and needed. Many of our current families have been extremely helpful in this process that was up 20% in terms of applications and 30% in terms of enrollments.
We are financially strong due to strategic planning at the board level. We have an A-rating with Standard and Poors and praise from them. Our school’s financial strength is not matched by all of our peer schools.
We are well-positioned. No one is better suited or more prepared to lead Millbrook going forward than Headmaster-Elect Jon Downs '98. He is prepared to enhance and sustain what makes Millbrook, Millbrook, and our trustees saw his potential many years ago as they began planning for this transition. The future is bright, and the foundation is strong.
We are in better shape than anyone imagined 12 months ago. There were many questions at this time last year about where we might be in September and what this year would hold. We were planning for the worst, but twenty-two weeks into the school year, we are playing sports, running Earth Week activities, in classes, and more. We fought to be here, and parents have had trust in the process. We weathered some storms together and kept at it. The forecast is propitious.
As Mr. Casertano concluded his final State of the School Address at Millbrook, Mr. Downs added to the thanks shared earlier in the head's comments - thanks for the trust that parents have put in us, critical feedback, and suggestions on school life during a pandemic. We look forward to finishing the next several weeks together and continuing the Millbrook Momentum!