Dear Bullis Families,
So here we are! The school year is upon us. We might be starting a week earlier than usual, but it still seems many moons since we finished in June. Even over this weekend, our terrific facilities crew and many teachers have been on campus putting in the finishing touches. We are ready.
As we begin school, I wanted to report to you about the average class sizes at Bullis. As many of you know, it is a goal of ours to ensure limited class sizes in all divisions. While the number of students in each class is merely a quantitative metric of quality, there is no doubt that smaller class numbers encourage an individualized method of teaching that, in turn, supports a relational approach. While the overall school enrollment has grown to 900, our class sizes dropped last year and further this year due to the hiring of additional teachers. In all divisions, the average academic class size is below 14. In the Upper School, of approximately 321 classes, only three will be above 16. We will continue to maintain this important standard.
Of course, while school starts on Wednesday, everyone (faculty and students) must come to campus today for COVID-19 testing. The testing will take place in the Athletic Center from 8:30am – 3:30pm. Please remember that everyone must have a negative test result before starting school on Wednesday. Results will be available by Tuesday evening, and I will report the aggregated results later in the week. I believe it is almost inevitable that, from the approximately 1100 tests that we will conduct today, there will be positive results. Sadly, even in Montgomery County, the new cases per 100,000 per day have risen significantly, and statistically, we are likely to see positive results. We will conduct testing this year in order to lower the likelihood of transmission; it is a crucial arrow in our quiver. If, for some reason, your child cannot get tested at school today, an external PCR test (negative result) taken within 72 hours of September 1st will suffice and must be uploaded on the Magnus App. (The internal testing results do not have to be uploaded as we have access to them.)
On Wednesday morning, the entire school will gather on the elevated turf field for an all-school assembly…weather-permitting. Of course, with our enrollment of 900, meeting outside is now our only option. I am excited to welcome everyone back, especially new students and new faculty. I will recognize our long-tenured faculty who have reached milestones in their service to the school. I’ll also call out my expectation that as the year unfolds, we are all civil, kind, and generous to ourselves and each other. I understand this sounds somewhat hackneyed (and will so especially to some of our older students), but we need to overtly express the behavior we want. I do indeed expect this behavior from faculty and students, and I know that our parents join me.
Returning families are used to seeing Freddy the Dog and me at the front gate every (most) mornings. Freddy was subjected to a pretty harsh grooming experience recently and now more resembles Dobby, the house elf from Harry Potter, than the Labradoodle that he honestly is. He’s feeling a little self-conscious, so if you happen to see him about campus, show him some love.
I greatly enjoy the beginning of every school year and am so excited to see all of you very soon.
Christian G. Sullivan
Head of School