Diversity at Suffield Academy

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September brings new faces in every school, and with them new energy and new challenges. Suffield Academy has welcomed 72 freshman and 35 new sophomores this year, bringing the school population for 2017-18 to 414, a number that all agree is right for the school’s mission. Approximately a third of those students are day students, and 48 of them are from the town of Suffield, approximately 17% are from 28 foreign countries. It is a diverse group, but one with common characteristics,: a record of activities which reflect good citizenship, evidence of good character, clear leadership potential, a strong desire to be part of the Suffield Academy family, and of course grades and test scores that predict academic success in the kind of environment that the Academy support. Foreign students must also be proficient in English.

Each incoming student is matched with a mentor in an older grade, with choices based on similar experiences and interests; monthly meetings assure that the connection is working well for both. There are many strong counseling and advising roles which are part of the school’s focus on student welfare, among them an International Students Advisor. Ninety-five percent of the faculty live on campus, which provides easy opportunity for all students to enjoy adult support as well as less formal interaction. A visitor to the campus can feel the presence of high expectations, combined with a climate that is conducive to appropriate risk taking, what has long been a hallmark of the school. Suffield takes care of its own, from the first moment a student sets foot on its campus.

Because Memorial Hall is in the process of being rebuilt, and because the process is scheduled to take about a year, there was a need for immediate classroom space for those courses displaced by construction. To meet that need, a creative and sensitive solution was found: the new dormitory has been outfitted first as classroom space, and later will be transformed into a classic dorm arrangement. In this way the school is guaranteeing that there is no disruption in the program or discomfort in awkward temporary spaces. The well-being of its students is the Academy’s highest priority, which accounts for the strong loyalty its alums feel when they graduate and go about their adult lives; the freshman calls is a group of life-long “alums in the making!”

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