Virtual Family Week

See highlights, including Rawson’s address and Friday’s assembly devoted to global education impacts of COVID-19.

October 26, 2020
Academy Building bell tower seen through fall foliage.

Exeter parents got a peek at campus life this fall and an update on what the rest of the school year might look like during Virtual Family Week 2020.

Principal's address

Principal Bill Rawson ’71; P’08 kicked off the four-day program on Wednesday by providing an overview of how students and the campus community have adapted and embraced stringent safety measures made necessary by the pandemic.

“It’s been a complicated year and an exciting year, and I am so impressed with your students and how they’ve risen to the occasion,” Rawson told the online audience.

Family Weekend is a staple of Exeter life in October, with parents and families ordinarily roaming campus, visiting classes and speaking with faculty and staff. This year’s program is being presented entirely online but features a robust roster, including forums and “virtual meet-ups” of affinity groups not previously offered.

Rawson updated parents on a variety of topics, including the Academy’s commitment to making concrete progress on the issues of diversity and equity; the school’s renewed mission statement; campus master planning; and the yearlong reflection on 50 years of coeducation at PEA, “Her Voice at the Table.”

The principal also spoke about planning for the rest of the academic year. Discussions are underway about when campus might reopen after the holidays, including delaying the students’ return until February and bridging the winter and spring terms without a traditional spring break. Rawson said he hoped to make a formal announcement about those plans in early November.

“Being together means a lot,” he said. “That’s why we want to try hard to get them back here as conditions permit. The more they do, the more excited they are to do more.”

COVID-19 and global education

On Friday, featured assembly speaker Emiliana Vegas P’19, P’21 of the Brookings Institution spoke to the Exeter community about global educational opportunities during the pandemic. Vegas shared data from May of this year that showed the disproportion in remote learning opportunities between countries of different income levels. 

“What we’re predicting and already observing is that the gaps between children who are growing in low-income countries and high-income countries, that were already stark before COVID-19, are likely to grow a lot,” she said.

Vegas explained that the lost educational opportunities will also create a lasting impact on the global economy. 

“What we found is if students were out of school for four months, we estimated the loss in GDP would be between $10-15 trillion worldwide.”

Vegas acknowledged the financial strains the pandemic is placing on governments around the world, but said “it’s very important to not lose sight of the need to continue to invest in education.” 

Event schedule

See the full schedule of events below. All events have been recorded and posted to the Parent Portal.

Wednesday, Oct. 21

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET
Principal's Address
Hear an Academy update from Principal Rawson ’71; P’08 and Assistant Principal Karen Lassey. 

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
Health Forum
Get an update from Medical Director Dr. Katy Lilly, Dean of Student Health and Wellness Johnny Griffith, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services Dr. Szu-Hui Lee and Lamont staff on how they’re supporting student health. English Instructor and Associate Dean of Student Life Christina Breen will moderate the forum. 

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET
Cracking Kids’ Secret Code
Join psychologists Dr. Chris Thurber and Dr. Szu-Hui Lee from our Lamont Health and Wellness Center for an uplifting and interactive virtual workshop on combating homesickness, preventing miscommunication, and enhancing parent-teen relationships.

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET
Academic Forum
Director of Studies Scott Saltman, Dean of Academic Affairs Laura Marshall, Learning Specialist and Coordinator of Academic Support Jonathan Nydick, and Dean of Faculty Ellen Wolff will update you on academics at the Academy during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET
Adviser Meetings
Schedule a time to meet with your student’s adviser one-on-one.

Thursday, Oct. 22

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. ET 
Anti-Racist Exeter
Hear from Principal Bill Rawson ’71; P’08, Director of Equity and Inclusion Dr. Stephanie Bramlett, Dean of Multicultural Affairs Sherry Hernandez and Dean of Faculty Ellen Wolff on how Exeter is working towards becoming an anti-racist school.

1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET 
Plans for a New Dorm
Learn about the Academy’s new dorm with Campus Planner/Architect Heather Taylor, Director of Facilities Management Mark Leighton and Trustee Janney Wilson ’83.

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET 
Global Initiatives
Come hear from Director of Global Initiatives Eimer Page and Assistant Director of Global Initiatives Meredith Faxon about the range of travel programming usually offered annually by Exeter, and also about the virtual offerings that are happening in the 2020-21 school year.

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET
Religious and Spiritual Services
Meet the new Director of Religious and Spiritual Life Reverend Bonnie-Jeanne Casey, Religion Instructor Rabbi Jen Marx Asch, and Buddhist Meditation leader Matt Daniell to learn about the Academy’s religious and spiritual services.

5:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. ET
Family Affinity Gatherings
Affinity groups provide opportunities for learning, fellowship, and support among members who share cultural experiences. You know you are in the right affinity group if you can say unequivocally, “I am __________” and speak to that group’s collective identity and experience from the “I” and “we” perspective. Please feel free to visit more than one affinity space that is meaningful to your family.

5:00 p.m. – 5:45 p.m. ET
Families of LGBTQ+ Students Meet Up with Instructor in English Mercy Carbonell and Director of Student Activities/LGBTQ+ Coordinator Joanne Lembo

5:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. ET
Families of African-American/Black Students Meet Up with Director of Equity and Inclusion Dr. Stephanie Bramlett and Multicultural Student Affairs Intern Danique Montique

6:00 p.m. – 6:45 p.m. ET
Families of Latinx Students Meet Up with Instructor in Modern Languages Viviana Santos and Associate Director of Admissions and Director of Multicultural Outreach Nahin Jorgge

6:30 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. ET
Families of Asian Students Meet Up with Dean of Multicultural Affairs Sherry Hernandez and Instructor in English/Asian Student Program Coordinator Wei-Ling Woo

7:00 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. ET
Families of International Students Meet Up with International Student Coordinator Jen Smith, Instructor in History Hannah Lim, Instructor in Modern Languages Ning Zhou and Instructor in Modern Languages Diego Ardura-Faraj

7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. ET
Balfour Class Rings for Senior/PG Parents
Drop in on this Zoom meeting to learn more about the tradition of Class Rings and to ask questions. Session led by Balfour representatives Steve Erickson and Linda and Steve McDowell. 

Friday, Oct. 23

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET
Student Activities/Clubs/Affinity Groups Forum
Find out about the different activities, clubs and affinity groups on campus from Director of Student Activities and LGBTQ+ Coordinator Joanne Lembo, Director of Service Learning and Day Student Coordinator Liz Reyes, Dean of Multicultural Affairs Sherry Hernandez, and Assistant Director of Student Activities Kelly Mcgahie. 

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
Theater and Dance Forum
Hear from Instructor in Dance Amberlee Darling and Chair of the Department of Theater and Dance Lauren Josef about the fall theater and dance programs. 

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET
Athletic Forum
Meet the new Athletic Director Jason Baseden, Director of Athletic Training Adam Hernandez, Assistant Athletic Director/Sports Information Director Brian Muldoon, Strength and Conditioning Coach Shaun Fishel, and Former Chair and Instructor in Physical Education Hilary Hall to hear about fall athletics at the Academy. 

1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET
Assembly: The Impact of COVID-19 on Educational Opportunity Around the Globe
Enjoy remarks from Senior Fellow and Co-Director of The Brookings Institution Emiliana Vegas P’19, P’21 and stay on Zoom afterwards for the opportunity to ask questions! Introduction from Emilio Abelmann ’21.

2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. ET
Music Forum
Hear from Chair of the Music Department Kristofer Johnson, Instructor in Music Rohan Smith, Instructor in Music Peter Schultz, Instructor in Music Eric Schultz, Music Program Administrator Barb Darby, Adjunct Instructor in Music Keala Kaumeheiwa, and Adjunct Instructor in Music Charlie Jennison about fall music programs.

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. ET
Adviser Meetings
Schedule time to meet with your student’s adviser one-on-one.

Saturday, Oct. 24

10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. ET
Deans Forum
Hear from Dean of Students Brooks Moriarty, 9th Grade Coordinator Tyler Caldwell, Dean of Residential Life Carol Cahalane, Associate Dean of Student Life Christina Breen, Associate Dean of Advising Courtney Marshall, Dean of Health and Wellness Johnny Griffith, Dean of Multicultural Affairs Sherry Hernandez, Dean of Academic Affairs Laura Marshall, and Day Student Coordinator Liz Reyes. 

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET
College Counseling Grade Level Forums
Meet the College Counseling Office and hear from the experts about what to expect for each grade level.

Prep parents will hear from Associate Director of College Counseling Marnie Terhune and Instructor in English and 9th Grade Coordinator Tyler Caldwell.

Lower parents will hear from Associate Directors of College Counseling Jeff Wong and Courtney Skerritt.

Upper parents will hear from Associate Directors of College Counseling Cary Einhaus and Ramiro Campos.

Senior parents will hear from Dean of College Counseling Betsy Dolan, Senior Associate Director from Columbia University Diane McKoy and Dean of Admissions from Carnegie Mellon University Mike Steidel. 

12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. ET 
Adviser Meetings
Schedule time to meet with your student’s adviser one-on-one.