Begin the Conversation

After months of apprehension and excitement, Head of School John Palfrey has begun his tenure as Andover’s 15th leader.

Such a major change in leadership offers a unique opportunity for a critical reexamination of Andover life: from its major features to its most minute details, and from its administration to each student and the collective student body. The examination should equally identify what elements should be preserved, protected and celebrated as it ought to expose areas in need of improvement. It is with this intention that the Editorial Board of The Phillipian has compiled the following note.

The list in itself is not intended to present developed arguments; rather, our aim is to provide a referenceable resource with which future discussion can be fueled. We hope it proves useful, both to Mr. Palfrey and to the community as a whole.

Uniform structures for grading: for instance, a common essay rubric for each section and teacher of History 300 or English 300 and plain-language expectations for comments on papers.

Cultivate a diverse and balanced body of thoughts for presentation to the community. Think Kaleidoscope, but broader and not limited to All-School Meeting.

Teacher evaluations: are they effectively administered and implemented?

Flexible Syllabi and Course Direction: can students be more fluidly involved in the planning and execution of their classes, both before and during the course?

A system for “shopping” courses: students might have the opportunity to preview a class in a 15 minute mini-session at the end of the previous term, similar to how language classes attract students in the spring.

Development of more interdisciplinary courses like the Law, Justice and Tyranny seminar, the Bob Dylan Seminar and the Abbot Global Seminars.

More flexible access to All-School speakers. All-School Meetings bring incredible speakers to campus, often providing the community access to these speakers at luncheons during seventh period. However, these lunches are often impossible for students to attend.

Re-discuss the role of European History in the History curriculum. Is it still appropriate for Andover not to offer a full, detailed course in European History, like the History 340 class that no longer exists?

Reexamine the method by which proctors and prefects are chosen. Do student positions that necessitate close interaction with students require more student input in the selection process?

Should popular electives be limited to only one section, particularly if a complete second section of a first-choice elective could be filled and replace another elective with only 6 students?

Can JV teams be more effectively integrated into varsity programs? Do the varsity teams that integrate their JV teams enjoy the most success? Do athletics funding and coaching reflect these trends?

Examine the athletic facilities: does Borden still satisfy our community’s needs, both competitive and fitness-related?

Turn Andover’s gaze off-campus. Trips like Niswarth and experiential and collaborative learning in places like Lawrence could contribute materially to Andover’s academic environment by exposing students to different perspectives.

These entries highlight issues that we feel are most pressing and most likely to be otherwise unaddressed; however, a list of this nature is naturally incomplete.

We invite the community to continue the discussion. We can be reached at letters@phillipian.net.

-The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXV

This Editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXV.