Walnut Hill School for the Arts

Academic Update: 2020–2021 Overview

On behalf of all of the academic faculty, I want to offer a warm welcome to all of our new students and families, a welcome back to all of our returning Walnuts, and for everyone, some quick updates on the academic program.

Walnut Hill is a school dedicated to the education of young student-artists. The academic faculty approach this work with the highest of aspirations for ourselves and our students, recognizing that great artists need more than great artistic technique - they need to be sharp observers of the world and of their society, they need to be reflective and open to feedback and revision, and they need to have confidence in their voice and in their ability to express themselves.

We also recognize that 2020 is shaping up to be a year like none of us have ever seen before - These are uncertain times - there is a lot of change in the air, and hugely significant social and political movements are underway. There is a lot to process. We believe that this year is an especially important time to be an artist and an especially important time to be an artist at Walnut Hill. Here you will find the tools and training to understand and reflect on the world, and to imagine and envision what’s next. This is not a year of challenges to get through, this is a year of challenges to embrace.

I want to give a quick recap of our academic structure this year because it’s important to understand some of the changes you will see in the program and, frankly, some of the complications in designing the schedules for everyone

Please find here introductions from the heads of each academic department outlining the plans and changes for the year ahead. In some cases, things look familiar. In some cases, things look quite different. Be sure to review the SIMPLE SUMMER ACADEMIC CHECKLIST below to be sure you’ve got your preparations underway!

World Languages Introduction   Humanities Introduction   Math & Science Introduction

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your summer. We hope you have been staying safe, of course, but also that you have been reading, creating, building, practicing, and growing this summer. We’re excited to see you this fall.


Ben Gregg
Director of Academic Studies

Simple Summertime Academic Checklist

Want to continue your studies in French or Spanish?
Take your language placement test.
Sign up for your online placement interview in FRENCH or SPANISH.
Is English not your native or primary language?
Sign up for your online placement interview in ELL.

Have you finished your SUMMER READING?
Have you started work on your MATH REVIEW PACKET?
Have you taken your online math placement test? (Yes, this is for everyone this year!)

Who to Contact

For course availability and changes

Jen Donabed

For policies, requirements, other info

Benjamin Gregg

Director of Academic Studies
For info on Math & Science courses

Thomas Keenan

Science and Mathematics Department Head, Westerly Dorm Head
For info on World Language courses

Monica Lee

Head of World Languages
For info on Humanities courses

Jason Stumpf

Humanities Department Head
For info on Academic Support

Sayrona Gifford

Director of Academic Support