Validating Our Work

By Lynne Palmer
Director of Admission and External Affairs

I recently spent three days at The Enrollment Management Association’s annual conference with over 900 admissions colleagues from independent schools in the U.S. and Canada. The challenges schools are facing are quite compelling, and it is clear that school representatives are eager to find creative ways to respond and be proactively prepared for what trend in education is on the horizon.

Donna Orem (interim president of National Association of Independent Schools) gave a presentation on Emerging Trends in Education. We heard about new cost models, micro schools that are rising from vacant buildings in busy cities, behaviors and traits in the GenZ population and corporations that are getting into the business of education because their work force is unprepared with simple skills.

As Ms. Orem spoke about these compelling topics and trends, there was a consistent message to the audience about how schools can, and must, not only pay awareness to these trends but also remain vigilant with a visionary plan that prepares for opportunities by thinking creatively and courageously. As she highlighted how schools should focus their efforts, she referenced the need for mastery over seat time and competency-based educational models as the future of education. I wanted to jump out of my seat (in the very back row) and shout out “been there…done that!” Knowing that in 1990, Brewster was actually implementing (courageously) an approach that put students at the center of the learning process with classrooms designed for active and engaged learning where you don’t find rows of desks.  Where differentiated curriculum challenges the individual learner and growth and achievement is always measured by demonstrated mastery.

I felt proud knowing that Brewster Academy has been at the forefront of visionary approaches and continues to lead the way today with a curriculum for building emotional competency and an evolving community living curriculum that emphasizes our social impact and accountability. But, at the end of the day the most satisfying feeling I had walking out of that room was knowing that we are serving our kids to the best of our ability with accountability to their future that is exceptional.