Friday, March 27, 2020
As Head of School, I want to provide the overarching philosophy and guiding context for our entry into remote learning. Please be aware that the state of Massachusetts has closed all schools, public and independent, through May 4. We will be evaluating whether or not our campus will reopen for the remainder of the year, and we will make that decision by April 24. Starting this Monday, we launch our remote learning program online.
One of the most important aspects of what makes Walnut Hill work is the deep and enduring sense of community. The single greatest challenge we will face over the next coming weeks will be to find a new way to define and experience that feeling. We have taken for granted the conversations during lunch, the exchanges across campus as we move about our day, or the opportunity to stop by someone’s office or classroom.
Every single member of our community is located at a unique place across the planet. Some of us are in the same time zones, some are not. We don’t have the same technology and we have lost the privilege of the resources and materials of our campus facilities. Orson Wells once said “The enemy of art is the absence of limitation.” In this spirit, I ask us to engage with one another knowing that we will not have the luxury of many of our everyday resources and tools. This is a creative and artistic limitation that should force us to imagine new ways to communicate our ideas to each other and the world around us. Now is the perfect time to explore the truest form of artistic creativity and expression and let’s make sure we use every channel to our disposal to share that work with the rest of the world. Tag your creative work #walnuthillarts.
The work completed over the next several weeks will be graded on a pass/fail basis. Regular traditional attendance will not be taken. The effort students put in will be directly proportional to what they will get out of it. We have streamlined our resources to two primary platforms: our online portal using Finalsite will serve as our learning management system, and Zoom will facilitate virtual meetings, class sessions, and communications with individual teachers and advisors, between students, and for larger all School gatherings and communications. We are aware that some students may be unable to access the Google Accounts and so we recommend that you forward your GMail to an account you can access in your current location. This should not be an issue for most students. In order to make this easier to access we have designed a web page dedicated to these resources. It is organized by academics, as well as each individual art area.
Here is the link to the remote learning platform - you and your student will need your finalsite login information to access this link: https://www.walnuthillarts.org/remote-learning
Much of what has made Walnut Hill so unique is the approach our faculty take in working with young artists. The only aspect that has changed, in my opinion, is the physical location of our community members. I am truly indebted to all the members of our community, as well as our academic and arts leadership and department heads for their efforts in designing these experiences in a matter of just a few weeks. The times we are living in are historic and all of us are trying to do our best to make meaning of them, and our roles, in living through history. Therefore I ask that we approach our work together in this new way, with a deep sense of curiosity, a willingness to be both learners and teachers, regardless of what our titles said before we left Highland Street for spring break. We are both now, and all of us will become different after this collective experience, and regardless of whether it lasts for weeks or months, we will have been tested by our motto, Non Nobis Solum, not for ourselves alone.
For official updates follow @walnuthillarts on Instagram and Facebook or visit our COVID-19 page. For updates from me follow me on Instagram and Twitter or visit my blog.
With deep admiration and enthusiasm,
Head of School