From the Head
Welcome to Manlius Pebble Hill School!
I am thrilled you have decided to explore all that our community has to offer, and you are doing so at a very exciting period in our history.
Thanks to remarkable efforts made by my colleagues and our MPH families, which included a shared commitment to health and well-being, our community has been fortunate to have enjoyed the last two school years (2020-21 and 2021-22) “in person.” Together we met the challenges of a global pandemic head on, while simultaneously advancing significant initiatives for the School.
Building upon much of the good work we accomplished, the 2022-23 school year promises to be equally dynamic and even more promising. And what a thrill it is to witness, once again, those special, uplifting, hard-to-capture-in-words community building blocks, such students eating lunch together with adults around dining hall tables and engaging in lively conversations; older students assisting in classrooms with younger learners; and previously “on hold” traditions coming back to life—like the inspirational opening ceremonies on the first day of school.
As we move forward, we will continue to be a community that prioritizes good health, in all respects, for all community members. To wit, the Health and Safety Guidelines 2022-2023 document provides guideposts for our daily commitment to well-being and safety. And while we will adapt and adjust our protocols, as necessary, as external variables shift around us, the main tenets of our path forward will always align with our mission — to inspire our students to think critically, act responsibly, and discover a passion for lifelong learning — as well as with our core values (authenticity, respect, curiosity, kindness, and agency), which provide a helpful framework for the education we offer and for our collective experience as members of this community.
While we continuously strive to enhance all facets of school life, allow me to highlight three areas of recent improvement that feel especially meaningful at this time:
- Our new academic schedule. This block schedule with an eight-day rotation allows for more choice, ongoing in-depth instruction, and more-regular (daily) community time, largely dedicated to our hearty Clubs Program and our intentional, SEL (social-emotional learning) skills-infused Advisory curriculum.
- The Core Health curriculum that began last year for all grades continues on in more-robust fashion this year. The program reflects our commitment to approaching personal growth holistically, combines elements of our physical education and Advisory programs, and covers salient areas of health, including social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and environmental. It is designed to empower young people with greater personal agency by providing them with information and tools to develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for their own health and well-being, as well as that of others.
- A revitalized focus on building community. With an in-person experience that has returned to near-normal following a “pandemic pause” on certain types of gatherings and events, we are placing intentional emphasis on rebuilding community life. Beginning in September, we have enjoyed resuming some long-held traditions, including our communitywide Back-to-School Picnic, Grandparents’ Day, a Homecoming weekend that included numerous activities for all ages and for both past and current families, and an enthusiastic student pep rally that preceded the Homecoming athletic contests. With many more “community builders” still to come, we are heartened by renewed feelings of “togetherness” and school spirit.
As you peruse our website, you will learn more about the education we provide and the experience of our students, and you may begin to gain a sense of the benefits of our diverse community, where we work together to create a culture of compassion, respect, and support for one and all.
May I brag a little about my colleagues? At MPH, faculty roles extend far beyond ordinary classroom instruction; in fact, in my 34-year career in independent education, I have never worked with a group of educators that is more deeply committed to knowing our students in ways that reach beyond a particular subject area or curricular offering and with a clear focus on developing positive, healthy relationships throughout the community.
If you like what you see on our website, I invite you to reach out to our Admissions team to continue your exploration and to learn about the admissions process. And whether your journey leads to MPH or to another school, please know that we will support whatever is best your family.
All best wishes,
David J. McCusker, Jr.
Head of School