Welcome Back

Posted by: Chad Cianfrani, Head of School on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

August, 2015

Dear Families and Friends,

As Oakwood Friends School enters its 220th year of coeducational Quaker learning, we are excited to welcome back returning families and to greet many new ones. Orientation week is rapidly approaching and the campus is abuzz with activity in preparation. The Griffing Gardens surrounding Peter’s Porch have taken root and a bluestone stairway welcomes the community into the fully renovated entrance of Lane Theater. The finishing touches are complete in the new music classrooms and faculty have spent the summer reflecting on curricula, furthering their studies and running educational workshops both locally and internationally. With this foundational work in place, Oakwood Friends School is excited to welcome the journey ahead.

Looking towards the start of a new academic year there are multiple exciting events and educational opportunities on the horizon. One such example is a grant we received this summer to expand Oakwood Friend School’s sustainable gardening and composting initiatives. Since getting news of the grant there has been an excitement in the air. We are working closely with faculty and staff to weave this project into the fabric of our curriculum. This year students will be getting their hands dirty, both figuratively and literally, as they explore the biochemistry of composting, the economics of micro farming and greenhouse structural design. Oakwood’s sustainable gardening initiatives tap resources unique to our spacious campus and align strongly with our mission driven goals of environmental stewardship, sustainability and community service.

Throughout July and August the campus acquires a pace and rhythm unique to the late summer season.  As humidity rises and population decreases the Oakwood community morphs, yet remains equally vibrant and engaging.  Multiple groups and organizations continue to share our campus and engage our community. The campus hosted Quaker Spring, a gathering of Friends from across the Northeast. Our intellectually engaged and creative faculty stayed equally busy this summer. While some ran workshops locally and abroad , others focused participants in the practice of Qi Gong and mindfulness.  An Oakwood run workshop called Voices of Tomorrow Empowered, ‘VOTE’, completed its 12 consecutive year on campus. Using art as a medium for social change, the group discussed policy reform with former State Senator Terry Gibson, filmed PSA videos and constructed public benches for ’Vacant to Vibrant’, a city of Poughkeepsie revitalization initiative.  .

Amidst all of the renovations, campus initiatives and transitions, there remains a tangible feel of what has always made Oakwood a special place. Our Quaker presence permeates every aspect of the community, from the expanses of our campus green spaces, to the learning in our classrooms and in our labs, to the quiet serenity embodied by the simple wooden benches in our Meeting Room.   We draw a grounding from this history, a confidence from the collective work of those before us and a vision moving forward in our shared search for truth.  When you find yourself in the beautiful Hudson Valley in the coming weeks and months, please stop by campus, we would love to see you!

Chad Cianfrani

Interim Head of School