Mr. Schneider, Belmont Hill Head of School, held a State of the School address to faculty and staff in which he explained how the administration is looking into the future. In a broad sense, the first half of this year’s address involved reviewing COVID protocols, staffing changes, spring expectations, and admissions. DEI work was also mentioned, with Mr. Schneider outlining the progress Belmont Hill has made and the areas in which more work must be done. The second half looked more towards the future from a strategic standpoint. The status of the school next fall was discussed, including how lunch will be run. With the chance that not everyone will be vaccinated by next fall, the organization of lunch will dictate the schedule. Advisory time was also a prominent topic, as Mr. Schneider did not want to lose all the time that goes towards discussing DEI or other prevalent issues and building deeper relationships. In the 2019-2020 academic year, the school was completing the AIM (Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism) survey; however, due to the pandemic, the school decided the report from the survey should not be shared publicly. Rather, with the call on the school from Alumni, Faculty and Students alike, the school decided to accelerate its investment in DEI work. Mr. Schneider stated that for advisory, he wanted to find a mix between depth and brevity in advisory for the upcoming year. He also proposed advisory lunches, which would involve DEI discussions similar to lunch today. Additionally, Mr. Schneider remains hopeful to preserve Belmont Hill’s dress code, but is unsure whether masks will continue to be required.
Mr. Schneider also presented possible long-term changes for the following 30 years. Among these changes was the development of the land across the street, which is planned to be an updated dining hall; however, this plan is not set in stone. Mr. Schneider hopes to create an environment that prioritizes family-style lunch while offering more choice and more space for the Belmont Hill community. There will also be additions to the science wing in the future.
For those who like the current location of the front office along with Mr. Schneider’s office will also be disappointed as the front office will be moving to the Howe House. Mr. Schneider offered that this would allow him to develop stronger relationships with the students by being closer to the academic side of campus. Along with this change in location, the school will be deploying an all new school website on August 1st. Lastly, Mr. Schneider noted his commitment to increasing opportunities for students in the computer science and robotics programs.
Mr. Schneider noted that the State of the School address is about a commitment to improvement, celebrating what has been accomplished (a lot in this pandemic world!) and, to keep the positive change moving forward. The Panel looks forward to these improvements!