By Nicole Wolcott
I grew up in Montana and graduated from the University of Montana in 2000. So, when the pandemic descended ruthlessly on our Brooklyn neighborhood – our home for 20 years – it made sense for us to return to Montana.
I knew of Sussex's reputation and was excited for the opportunity to have our daughter attend a school rooted in outdoorsmanship and citizenship with a progressive, academic curriculum. Still, we were nervous that our daughter would feel awkward and displaced. It's not often that you decide to send your child to a school without having the ability to go onto campus in person. The reality was that Sussex had carefully considered safety restrictions – ones that would ultimately gift us with in-person learning – but that made the decision a bit of a “leap of faith."
We decided to leap!
Once school got going, the administration reached out to us for a meeting as a way to introduce and integrate us into the school. We were invited to campus for a face-to-face meeting in a time of nearly ubiquitous Zoom conferences. We were taken aback when we arrived to find both co-directors taking the time to sit with us in a private meeting and answer our questions as well as ask us about our daughter and our perspective. It was a completely authentic and reassuring experience.
"We were both taken aback when we arrived to find both co-directors taking the time to sit with us in a private meeting and answer our questions as well as ask us about our daughter and our perspective. It was a completely authentic and reassuring experience."
In a time of transition and confusion it alleviated concerns about our daughter getting the attention and inclusion she needed. Since then we’ve had many opportunities to experience Sussex's concerted efforts at open communication with parents, whether it is when teachers or administrators reached out to us directly or when they responded in a timely way to our inquiries.
We love Sussex.
Nicole Wolcott is a parent to a Sussex fifth grader. She and her family relocated to Missoula during September of 2020. They were heartened by Sussex's undaunted approach of having children outside for class or indoors with the doors and windows open. Nicole became a parent representative and helped with events throughout the year. This year she is part of the advancement committee, the events committee and is a parent rep again.