The Oakwood Community

Posted by: Chad Cianfrani, Head of School on Monday, March 23, 2020 at 12:00:00 am

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Oakwood Community,

Oakwood Friends School has a 224-year tradition of leaning into uncertainty, building community, and supporting a diverse population. While necessity drives us to physically distance ourselves this Spring, we are exploring multiple ways to shorten the gap between us academically, socially, and emotionally. Oakwood’s faculty and families are creative, thoughtful, nimble and resilient. A true community of learners - we prepare students from around the Hudson Valley and around the globe for lives of consequence and meaning. If there is anything you would like to discuss, please feel free to reach out to me directly at, or (845) 462-4200, Ext. 332.

Over the last several weeks I have witnessed the best in family, friends, students, faculty and parents. What is being asked from each of us right now is immense. The support, care, and response within our community has been immense in equal measure. We are entering into a difficult next few months. Families are adjusting to prolonged school, office, and business closings. Teachers are creating and adapting online learning curriculum, and our community is exploring digital ‘meet-ups’ to support each other socially, emotionally and spiritually. The global spread of C19 has changed the arc of all our lives in ways that would have seemed preposterous just a few weeks ago.

And yet the Oakwood community, adapts, supports, and moves forward. Recently, we welcomed the newest member of the Oakwood family, Jon and Desiree’s healthy baby girl. We have said tearful goodbyes to a few international seniors, who will be finishing their spring term from home. We have also received surprise bundles of kale and greens on our doorsteps from on-campus community members working in the greenhouse.

During the last weeks of March we focused our energy and resources in supporting your students and your families. Our faculty adapted content, and remotely trained on our digital distant learning platforms. We are now partnering with and learning alongside students and parents in this new format. We have realistic expectations and are collaborating with multiple peer institutions who are addressing similar challenges.

This is new to all of us as we support each other and learn together as a community. Our digital work this spring will focus on core subject material and social connection in equal parts. While we maintain a degree of continuity in our academics, we will explore new modes to connect with each other. Seniors - try not to worry. We will support you this spring and you will graduate in June. Colleges have already reached out with the understanding that this spring will look very different. We will all need to be flexible in our expectations and focus on the positive.

I ask that we challenge ourselves to reach out when in need, to help where we can, and to hold each other in the light. We will learn together as a community. Be safe. I look forward to seeing you virtually... and in person in the weeks and months to come.


Chad Cianfrani
Head of School