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Webinar: Boarding Schools Continue to Offer Unique Opportunities


This fall, we embark on a school year like none that has come before it. Yet, despite the challenges, the young people I meet cannot help but be excited at the budding promise of a new school year. Educators—even as they shoulder additional burdens of care and complexity—genuinely look forward to working with their students. This is why students, families, and independent schools are such an inspiration to us here at The Bertram Group. This fall we bring you a series of columns highlighting the latest developments that affect the school search process for independent schools, applying to colleges, and identifying therapeutic educational settings.

The Bertram Group recently hosted a webinar that illustrated how each institution is making the most of its strengths and unique school culture to best serve students during this time. Panelists included Lisa Spengler, Director of Admission at Cate School; Jeffery Beaton, Director of Admission at Choate Rosemary Hall; Jill Hutchins, Associate Head of School for Enrollment Management at Dublin School; Caleb Thomson, Director of Admission and Enrollment Manager at The Fessenden School; Quentin McDowell, Associate Head of School for External Relations at Mercersburg Academy; and Shanique Garcia, Director of Multicultural Recruitment at The Taft School.

We continue to be impressed with the creativity and resilience that boarding schools bring to ensuring a student experience that aligns with their mission. A tremendous asset of boarding schools is their experienced faculty who during the school year work around-the-clock for the benefit of students. That dedication did not diminish when students were off-campus last spring. Our panelists talked about the significant investments their schools have made over the summer to prepare for different scenarios as needed throughout the year. These schools invested in professional development to amplify their impact in the virtual learning platform. At the same time, these schools have redesigned campus spaces and developed rigorous safety protocols to maximize the likelihood for an on-campus experience.

The panelists also spoke about adaptations within admission offices to help students and families get to know their schools without coming onto campus. The virtual opportunities for exploring a school’s mission and program have never been more expansive, and admission officers are experts at helping students and families get questions answered. This is just as true for those conducting college searches.

From our work at The Bertram Group, I can assure you that even before this year, students have matriculated at boarding schools without previously having set foot on campus—and have then thrived at their schools. At their foundation, school searches are about finding synergy between the values and needs of unique students and families and the opportunities and community culture of schools. This year, as always, we can achieve that goal by fully engaging in the process with hope and optimism. At The Bertram Group, we look forward to hearing from you to help your student realize his or her educational hopes and dreams.