by Dani Cooke
On Monday, March 19, head of school Greg Bamford responded to student concerns about a lack of transparency and confusion around the intentions behind Watershed’s increasing enrollment in an all-school community meeting. The idea for the presentation originated with the student council, who had been asked by many students to address larger class sizes over the past few semesters.
Greg cited finances as the primary reason for such growth, explaining that increased enrollment allows for more financial independence within the school (without which May Terms and mid-semester travel might not be possible). Increased enrollment allows the school to follow a trajectory of ceasing dependence on certain outside donations in favor of more autonomous self-reliance.
Many students, especially those who have attended Watershed for more than two years, express concern over the limitations imposed by larger class sizes on opportunities for field work and student-teacher interaction. However, there is also widespread agreement that these limitations are typically overcome, as mid-semester travel opportunities and incredibly exciting May Term options remain available.
Additionally, with a larger student body, more intellectual and cultural diversity is fostered within our small school community. The difference in the social scene within a school of one hundred and a school of thirty is massive, and many students, especially those in high school, appreciate the social flexibility offered by a slightly larger educational environment.
Perhaps the most important piece of information students took away from Greg’s presentation was this: the school’s growth is intentional. It is part of a clearly-mapped future plan that was created with Watershed’s best interests in mind; one which will adapt accordingly as Tim Breen assumes the role of Watershed’s head of school.