very organization has transformational moments. Moments when the institution is forever changed and new momentum is built because of the opportunities that become possible. For WT, there have been many. From our founding in 1887, to the move from the pillared portals on Fifth Avenue to our current location on Morewood Avenue, to becoming coeducational, WT has not been content with standing still. Decades from now, 2021 will be seen as one of those transformational moments, not because of the pandemic but because of the strategic advancements we have been able to make in the midst of it.
Many years ago, at a time when the school was struggling financially, former WT Trustee and Honorary Alumnus Putnam ‘Put’ McDowell had the foresight to find a solution to preserve the property on which sits our Upper School Building. That decision laid the groundwork for WT’s subsequent success, and paved the way for the creation of the Joan Clark Davis Center for Interdisciplinary Learning. Once completed, the Center will house forward-thinking educational programs that will propel our students ahead in their post-WT pursuits.
We take seriously our responsibility to be educational leaders and continue
to find ways to set the standard which other schools will follow.
But it will not just be a new building that demonstrates our commitment to Rethink Time and Space. American education has long been steeped in a schedule and calendar better suited for the agrarian society we once were. And while small steps have been taken over the years to think differently about how we organize the school day and year, it is time for us to be bolder in our approach. To help us challenge our own beliefs and practices, we have engaged with the District Management Group as we explore how best to organize our time to support our progressive educational program.
Additionally, we have not slowed on our commitments to the work of diversity, equity, and inclusion which is central to our credo to “Think also.” We are grateful to the many alumnae/i, employees, parents, students, and Trustees who made the time to complete our survey earlier this year and for providing valuable insights into what it means to be a part of the WT community. The data gathered will help us to shape our approach and programs so that our students are prepared to succeed in an increasingly diverse world.
For 134 years, WT has em- braced opportunities and faced challenging moments with courage. We take seriously our responsibility to be educational leaders and continue to find ways to set the standard which other schools will follow. With admission demand for WT at another all-time high, our work is clearly resonating. We are grateful to those on whose shoulders we now stand and who made sure that WT would continue to thrive well into its second century. Thank you for your support through this challenging time. We will come out of this stronger and wiser in the post-pandemic period. But I am not surprised. After all, we are WT.