The Next Peak Campaign Takes Care of the People Who Take Care of Thacher
As much as Thacher’s idyllic setting and program are a part of the Thacher experience, it’s people who are the heart of Thacher. This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, and it seems fitting to recognize and honor these individuals who continue to do so much for Thacher, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, and to remember the Next Peak Campaign which continues to focus on taking care of them.
With two week’s notice, Thacher’s teachers made extraordinary efforts to transform their physical classrooms into engaging virtual classrooms. Our faculty thoughtfully packed up their advisees’ rooms when covid-19 prohibited students’ return from Spring Break and continue to have one-on-one meetings with their students when a student struggles with a learning concept. Thacher teachers continue to educate, nurture, and guide their students despite physical distance and, because of this, Thacher learning continues and the Thacher web of human connections and relationships stay strong.
But it’s not only teachers who make Thacher the way it is. There are many others. These individuals deserve recognition too as they are also vital to the Thacher educational experience. Like Thacher’s teachers, these people relearned and reimagined their roles in record time to keep Thacher well in light of the pandemic.
The Facilities staff continue to maintain the beautiful Thacher campus but now do so while maintaining strict safety protocols as they work and have the extra burden of keeping all shared spaces such as the library and restrooms safe for those still living and working on campus.
Covid-19 or not, Thacher’s horses need to be fed and cared for and the HorseDepartment has had its hands full maintaining and growing Thacher’s herd and making improvements to horse facilities.
The professionals of Thacher’s Health Center remain on call and available to all in Ojai and beyond.
With the need to reschedule and reimagine this year’s reunion, Alumni Relations staff has been in touch with alumni more than ever all while offering new ways for Thacher alumni to network and connect through the newly launched Toad2Toad program.
Gymkhana Weekend and the Thacher Family Benefit traditionally helped raise 20 percent of the Annual Fund. When the coronavirus caused the cancellation of this important event, the Development office has continued to work to cover Thacher’s operational costs by pivoting to The Walker Bell Challenge, an event that promises to “bring everyone to the table” virtually in support of Thacher.
The Business Office hasbeen busy keeping Thacher on track, processing tuition refunds, addressing parent concerns, and enrolling new students.
Despite the absence of students on campus, School leadership and Administration has never been busier keeping its widespread community healthy and informed, all on top of the business of educating students in new ways and stewarding the campus.
Thacher’s small Communications Office has become the conduit between Thacher and the rest of the world. The Pegasus Project[link] was born to connect Thacher’s widespread community.
Mentioned last but certainly not least in terms of importance to Thacher’s overall well-being is the Tech Office. The Tech Office is Thacher’s lifeline during the pandemic and has been working overtime to ensure that communication and connection are possible.
Because the heart of Thacher is human, Thacher’s greatest financial needs are human too.
The Next Peak Campaign is laying the groundwork to better endow competitive teacher and staff compensation, increased retention, fellows teaching opportunities, expanded professional development, and more comfortable living conditions.
The fruit of the campaign is already visible. Four new faculty and staff homes have been built, several more have received substantial updates, with more planned for the summer months. There has been progress with faculty salaries and professional development opportunities, and there are over 100 applications for each Fisher Fellows position at Thacher. As the campaign continues to make its impact, so too do Thacher’s faculty and staff.