The addition of Community Days to the 2021-2022 master schedule allows for days without classes, placed strategically throughout the semester. Director of Middle School Sean Fitts enacted this change to the schedule and aims to bring the community together after being disconnected by the pandemic and give students time to destress and catch up on work. During the previous school year of online learning, Marlborough implemented a change to the schedule by designating time on Wednesdays for mathematics and science tests in an effort to help students better manage their workload. To make the transition from online to in-person learning smoother, Community Days will act as a similar break in the week and encourages peers and grade levels to spend time together and connect.
“Dealing with the pandemic, we thought it was really important to incorporate some time into the master schedule where we can come together as a community, but also take a pause and give students the opportunity to catch up on work and connect with teachers,” Director of Upper School Jawaan Wallace said.
Fitts believes that Community Days will be highly beneficial for students’ personal connections.
“With a busy schedule filled with different classes every day, we rarely have time to get together and socialize.” Fitts said. “Building relationships is key in all the changes we are working on related to equity, inclusion, and restorative practices.”
A typical community day is broken up into two parts. The morning portion is devoted to bonding time between peers and includes different activities that aim to foster a stronger connection within each grade level. The second portion of the day allots time for students to meet with teachers and student-formed study groups.
“I don’t have a free period, so having time to study and collaborate with peers is extremely helpful because I don’t have to cram all my work into an already busy schedule.” Sascha Salat ‘23 said.
Not all community days fit into this structure; they are intended to be flexible and the administration hopes to adapt them to student needs. According to Wallace, students can expect “unique” community days in the future, like a pajama breakfast. Community days will also be used as a time for specialized classes, like chamber choir and dance, to meet.
Dean of Student Life Brett Quimby is in charge of the programming and overall logistics of each community day. Quimby is collecting student feedback and working with the deans of each grade level to inform decisions about future programming.
“I think it’s unique for us to be able to use our incredible resources and creativity to grow this into something more epic over time, so I am looking forward to seeing how community days evolve over the next year.” Fitts said. “This all depends on student participation and the response of the community.”