MANCHESTER >> At many schools over the past week or two, children have returned to their desks to tentatively listen to lectures and read through handouts. Some faced with a new teacher, classmate or even head of school.
Maple Street School happens to be one of the many with a new leader. Fanning M. Hearon III entered the independent private school on July 1 and vowed to spend much time with each grade during the first few weeks back.
So far, he's been invited by a kindergartner to play four square during recess and eat lunch outside with children of all ages.
"We're off to a great start," Hearon said. "There's a strong sense of community here."
Hearon used to be surrounded by high school students and noted that the younger classes are much more enthusiastic about being at school and about life in general.
He explained that the job description requested the new head of school to interact with the children as much as possible.
"That's the beauty of a small school," he added. "I interact at recess, during lunch and I'm in and out of classrooms."
A total of 112 students strolled through Maple Street's front doors on opening day on Sept. 6, along with 12 new students.
It hasn't been a full week of classes, but Hearon acknowledged how balanced the school's curriculum is, as well as the students and how they interact with each other. He witnessed 10 children playing basketball during recess and 20 playing soccer at the same time. Meredith Morin, director of advancement and communications is also new to the school and mentioned that upper grade children sometimes get paired with younger students. This encourages the community atmosphere and balanced interactions.
Maple Street also welcomed three new faculty members: Suzanne Alfano who will teach 8th grade history; Kelsey Moore-Quinn who will coordinate math and science programs; and Karen Thomson who previously participated in the school's Apprentice Program.
Instead of kicking the year off with a bundle of new programs and changes, Hearon explained that this is the "year of reflection and review."
"We're purposely not adding anything new, but we'll be doing a curricular review of math and science programs," he said. "The last 18 years we've had two head of schools both serving nine years. There's nothing pressing to do right now. [It's about] finding what we do well and sticking with it."
Maple Street is a day school that serves kindergarten through eighth grade in Manchester. It places high value on academic achievement, performing arts and meaningful engagement as well as a focus on athletics, according to its site.
Contact Makayla-Courtney McGeeney at 802-490-6471.