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The Hill School Begins Its 170th Year

On Monday, August 24, classrooms across The Hill School’s campus welcomed students for the first day of the 170th year in School history.  While there are many temporary changes to the daily structure this year, including the noticeably earlier start date, students and employees alike feel fortunate to have opened the year with in-person learning. 

Reopening campus for in-person learning was made possible thanks to the countless hours of planning devoted by the group of employees who comprised the continuity planning committee.  Analyzing every conceivable aspect of academics, residential life, co-curricular activities and campus events, and daily campus operations, this group devised a comprehensive continuity plan that was created with the primary goal of establishing and maintaining a healthy campus wellness level that permits for in-person learning.  To achieve this, many adjustments were made to campus life including transitioning to a block schedule for academics, assigning staggered meal times in the Dining Hall, and implementing one-way stairwells and hallways in academic buildings, among others.  The earlier start to the academic year allows the entire fall term and half of the winter term to be completed on campus by Thanksgiving, at which time the school will pivot to remote learning until March with the goal of de-densifying campus for the peak flu season.    

View the full Continuity Plan for complete details of the adjustments that have been implemented for the 2020-21 school year.  

A major addition to the campus’ infrastructure, the Shirley Quadrivium Center, opened its doors to students for the first time on August 24.  Constructed as a connecting building between the existing Widener buildings, the state-of-the-art, 45,000 square foot facility contains expansive classrooms and laboratory spaces for Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Engineering.  As part of the $19 million project – the largest capital project in school history – the existing buildings underwent extensive interior renovations.  What previously was the Widener Science Building now houses math classrooms, the Silverstein ’09 Electronic Media Studio, and a modernized lecture hall on the basement level.   

Ten talented educators joined the faculty for the 2020-21 academic year.  This group of men and women bring a diverse wealth of experience to their respective roles as teachers, dorm parents, coaches, counselors, and mentors. This group includes:

Jared Courtney, Dean of the Shirley Quadrivium Center; Maureen Courtney, Ph.D., Instructor of Science and Instructor of History and Social Science; Elizabeth DeOrnellas, Instructor of English and Journalism; Nick Malinak, Teaching Intern; Steve Notebaert, Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Performance; Chuck Reid, Instructor of Mathematics; Terri Reid, Part-Time Learning Support Specialist and Instructor of English; Mark Rhodes, Ph.D., Senior Instructor of Mathematics; Sylvia Rodriguez Vargas, Ph.D., Associate Headmaster; and Shannon Ruane ’12, Teaching Intern.  

Newly instituted for the 2020-21 academic year is the Alumni Trainee program for Hill alumni who have recently graduated from college.  Created to provide young alumni with workplace experience, this program gives each trainee a chance to work alongside Hill faculty in various areas of school life such as teaching, coaching, and residential and student life. 

This year, five alumni returned “home” to campus as trainees: Chris Gorycki ’16, Morgan Healey ’15, Taylor Lange ’16, Kurt Neumaier ’16, and Garrison Smith ’15.