Loading

Welcoming You Home Scroll down for information and updates regarding the upcoming school year at Gould Academy.

Dear Gould Familes

For many of us Gould is home, and there is no better place to be in times of peace or tumult. And we cannot wait to welcome you back to campus in a few short weeks.

We are all in this together, and we have an incredible opportunity to work as a team to get it right. There are real challenges ahead of us, but this pandemic also opens the door, shedding light on inherent challenges that our world must address. We will confront these challenges together, as a community. And, we will never lose sight of the “why.” Why we each chose Gould. Why education matters, and why this is the best place, at the right moment in time.

Every part of our planning for the opening of school is guided by wellness for our students and community. We learned from surveys, interviews, and focus groups throughout the spring and summer that the core Gould experience is bringing teachers and students together in relationships that nurture each student’s intellect, growing self-confidence, self-determination, and respect for others. As we modify our health and safety protocols, enhance our mental health services, and coordinate our programs, our collective wellness is the most important element.

Together, we will embody the spirit at the heart of any Gould endeavor: the energy to try, the willingness to risk, and the capacity to persevere. And persevere we shall!

Thank you for your trust in us, and for your patience as we continue to work through the details.

Our preparations have been shaped by a strong collaboration with other Northern New England boarding schools. This coalition meets regularly, sharing public health, educational, athletic, and wellness resources. Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont continue to have among the lowest incidences of COVID-19 in the country. Our region's low population density and Gould's expansive campus make us uniquely suited to manage COVID-related challenges with tremendous opportunities for student engagement, socially distanced learning and recreation, and social-emotional wellness.

Our program modifications center on the whole student — an important balance of an engaged mind, an active body, and a sturdy spirit. As we developed our plans, we learned from the strengths of our Four Point program. At each point, students are encouraged to immerse themselves in new environments, to express their ideas in creative ways, to be aware of oneself and the needs of others, and to learn how to act independently and collectively. Our 2020 school year will be a Four Point to remember!

We know this is a lot of information to absorb, so we invite you to join us for a Town Hall, on Monday, July 13, at 7 p.m. to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Feel free to send your questions in advance to legarel@gouldacademy.org. We will also hold Coffee Chats on different topics each week throughout July and August. In the meantime, if you have questions not addressed in this document, please refer to our FAQ page on the website.

Message from Head of School Tao Smith ’90

Health & Wellness

Gould is one of the best places your child could be right now. The western region of Maine has maintained a relatively low case count, and our Health Center team is strong and knowledgeable. We also know that starting off the school year with a healthy population gives us the best hope of providing a robust and rewarding program on campus.

Toward that goal, we have set certain expectations for your return to campus. Students are asked to quarantine per local, state, and CDC guidelines before arriving on campus. A negative test result will also be required to return to campus. We will do our best to help facilitate the arrival process for students when this is not possible. Students will be tested when they arrive and again before the start of classes. The family will be charged for testing if not covered by your insurance. Random testing may also be pursued later in the term if the situation warrants.

We have taken the following steps to help ensure the health of the Gould Community this year:

  • hired an additional full-time nurse. (Our health center staff includes a director of Health Services and three additional full-time nurses.)
  • maintained increased access to mental health professionals, including no charge drop-in appointments
  • installed signage and sanitation stations to promote good hygiene habits and comply with new protocols
  • increased cleaning and sanitizing schedule and protocols across campus
  • identified spaces on campus, including 24 additional beds, that can be used for isolation or quarantine if necessary
  • modified food services to comply with CDC recommendations
  • ensured adequate PPE
  • developed a daily screening protocol

The most important part of Gould’s health and wellness is our pledge to abide by health protocols, to ask for help when uncertain, and to learn to support each other in our collective wellness.

Campus Arrival & Orientation

We cannot wait to see you on campus! Though we’ll all be wearing masks, they will not hide our wide smiles as you arrive for your first year or for your graduating year. The new preparations for campus arrival are our first commitment to the community, and this resource is designed to prepare you for your experience at Gould this fall. You will receive much more information from us in the coming weeks.

The Return to Campus
  • Students will be expected to test and quarantine per local, state, and CDC guidelines and provide a negative test result in order to return to campus. A second test will be administered before classes begin.
  • Students will be given a specific time to arrive on their assigned date, and student leaders will assist with move-in for boarding students. In order to minimize the number of people entering the dormitories, family members will not be allowed in. Please bring only necessary items to make moving in as easy as possible and to make room cleaning easier.
  • Students will stay with their cohort group of 12 (to include 2 faculty and 2 student leaders) throughout the orientation program.
  • Day students will experience more flexible access to campus as they travel to and from school. Daily screenings will be required as they arrive on campus.
  • We will ask all students and employees to honor community guidelines that will help us stay safe as a community (see the Gould Pledge) and to think carefully about their actions while they are away from campus.
International Students

We are fully aware of the new SEVIS requirements for visas. Since Gould is holding in-person classes, we are able to issue I-20s, allowing international students to return. Since international students will likely have more complicated travel arrangements, they will be given a larger window of time to arrive. This window also allows time for them to quarantine. (See schedule)

Opening Weeks Schedule

August 14-19

International students arrive from abroad

August 21

International students still in the U.S. and any students who fly in should arrive

August 28

Student leaders arrive for campus training

August 31

New students arrive for orientation

September 1-5

New student orientation, with prefects, moves off campus

September 2

All remaining students arrive

September 3-4

Returning student orientation program on campus

September 5-7

All-school orientation program

September 8

Classes Begin

Levels of Campus Response

Our campus benefits from a stunning view of the Mahoosuc Mountain range and the convenience of a village with stores, restaurants, and shops. As we collectively learn to follow new procedures and rituals, we will initially maintain a closed campus. This minimizes community contact and will require adjustments to expectations.

We recognize that the situation is fluid, and we will continue to rely on medical experts and public health guidelines to monitor the situation and adjust our response level (see colored levels below). At any point during the year, we could move toward a less restrictive or more restrictive level. Careful monitoring and a commitment by all to follow the guidelines will help us trend toward the least restrictive level possible.

We know that the level of an outbreak can change quickly. Below is a basic outline of campus activity levels that will guide our day-to-day interactions with each other and with visitors. Our primary objective in creating these levels is to be prepared to adapt swiftly as the situation warrants.

  • An effective vaccine is readily available.
  • Community spread is unlikely.
  • Physical distancing measures are removed.
  • A decline in the number of cases in Maine.
  • Widespread testing is available.
  • Agency guidelines permit schools to open with specific guidelines.
  • School is open with physical distancing measures in place.
  • Masks are worn when moving through public spaces indoors and in any situation where physical distance cannot be maintained (indoors or out). When stationary and physically distanced inside, masks may be removed.
  • Programs, athletics, and co-curriculars are adjusted to meet guidelines as needed.
  • Interscholastic sports continue as scheduled within MAISAD schools.
  • Non-essential visits to campus will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
We assume that when we open in August we will be at this level and will operate with strict guidelines to help promote the healthiest campus possible in hopes of trending toward Yellow.
  • Regional pandemic status has flattened.
  • Testing options are more readily available.
  • Medical facilities have the capacity for new patients.
  • Stay-at-home orders have been lifted.
  • Employees are permitted to return to work with daily screening and strict physical distancing guidelines in place.
  • School is open if agency guidelines allow. Daily screening for all and strict physical distancing guidelines are in place.
  • Masks are worn in all indoor spaces with the exception of a student’s own room or a workspace where no one else is present. Masks are worn in outdoor spaces where physical distance cannot be maintained.
  • Dormitories are open only to residents, and students are confined to their own floors.
  • Large gatherings are discouraged.
  • Programs, athletics, and co-curriculars are more restricted to meet guidelines as needed.
  • Visitation limited to essential visits only (no weekends).
  • Pandemic status continues to be elevated.
  • Testing is not available or is very limited.
  • Stay-at-home orders are in place.
  • Remote learning continues for all.
  • Faculty and students operate from home.
  • Essential employees allowed on campus.

The Campus Experience

An important part of the balance among an engaged mind, an active body, and a sturdy spirit are community activities. From clubs and floor meetings to day student gatherings and sitting out on the fields or visiting the barn, our community is built on collective time together, in structured and unstructured ways. And it is together that we will continue to build our year. We have heard from you and offer a few program highlights.

Leveraging Location

We are inspired by our location. For us, nature provides a challenging canvas for the adolescent journey of self-discovery. Gould’s rich traditions of Mountain Day, Junior Four Point, fly fishing, Polar Bear Club, Outing Club, ski racing, and snowboarding ingrain in our students an appreciation for the challenges and rewards of the outdoors. These pursuits present individual challenges and opportunities for growth that our students and faculty are drawn to, as well as a healthy setting for community and teamwork. More than ever, our experiential learning focus allows us to leverage the robust resources of mountains and rivers, studios and stages, partnerships and people, environmental stewardship and outdoor education.

Recharging on Weekends

Gould weekends center on restoring our individual and collective balance and focus on enhancing our community. Our weekend plans will evolve from student interest and offer a variety of equitable activities that balance safety, accessibility and affordability, a diversity of backgrounds, and levels of preparation of all students.

Dining

“Food is mood,” art teacher Lauren Head is often heard saying. Here are the major points about adjustments to our food service.

  • In order to de-densify meal times, we will assign time slots for lunch and dinner.
  • Dining areas will be arranged to adhere to spacing protocols.
  • Food will be served by the dining staff.
  • Formal dinner and buffet lines will not occur.
  • Grab-and-go options may be provided.

The Academic Experience

The learning journey of each student lies at the heart of the Gould experience. Since March, we have been researching and designing the safest way to open school and also to provide continuity in a Gould education — whether face to face, remotely, or in combination. From the feedback on the spring term, we learned that students need more synchronous class time, more consistency in remote teaching practices, a greater sense of community in their learning experience, and increased feedback on their learning for goal setting and reflection. Our plan is founded on four principles that emerged from our learning:

Equity & Access

We will ensure that every student has the support needed to be successful from wherever they are in the world.

Flexibility

We will create even greater flexibility in learning platforms to transition seamlessly between face-to-face and remote teaching and learning.

Applied Learning

We will design additional hands-on learning opportunities that promote critical thinking, reflection, and the direct application of skills to real-world problems and projects.

Student-Led Inquiry

We will build more student voice and choice into learning so students can better own and direct their education.

Learning Model

Gould will enhance our blended learning model for the 2020-2021 academic year, combining the best of traditional classroom learning with the best of digital course delivery. Our approach is to de-densify learning spaces so that both safe distancing and robust, engaged learning can be maintained. Face-to-face time will be used to connect, listen, and promote conversation and community.

Students will attend classes in one of three ways—in person, remotely on campus, or remotely off campus. Students who are not physically attending class are expected to be learning remotely and will be connected to the teacher and classmates through classroom technology. Students learning remotely on campus will have access to learning spaces such as the library, Ordway Dining Hall, and empty classrooms. Our class days will be divided into blue and white days, which will limit the number of students physically attending class on any given day.

Remote Learning Technology

Gould is adding video conferencing systems to classrooms. These systems will provide remote learners with a 360-degree view of the classroom with speaker tracking and clear audio. Students will connect to the classroom system using their Gould-issued laptops and their own headsets from a designated learning space.

Weekly Schedule

Our new weekly academic schedule reduces the number of classes, or DOTs, per day in order to simplify the schedule, add flexibility to passing time, and provide longer two-hour blocks for Applied Learning on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

These Applied Learning blocks are designed for longer hands-on opportunities, such as fieldwork, labs, and project-based learning. Rotating through DOTs 1-6, each class will have four Applied Learning blocks per trimester.

We will send out revised course schedules to students by the end of July and allow them to make revisions and additions to their schedules until September 1.

Program & Facility Enhancements

Over the next month, Gould will prepare for a stronger academic experience that is more deliberately connected to a student’s overall growth and development by taking the following measures:

  • Assess physical spaces to ensure seamless remote learning
  • Develop a blended-learning model to include applied learning
  • Enhance the advising program with the seminar curriculum, now called the Gould Plan for Success, or GPS
  • Incorporate remote learning technology

Athletic & Co-curricular Experience

Gould’s athletic and co-curricular programs are an integral part of the school’s educational process and are consistent with the school’s goal to help students develop a strong body and a sound mind. The pursuit of high standards, the willingness to seek challenge, and the responsibility to one’s community are woven into all that we do. We know that this fall will be different, and it will be challenging, but being active every day will be a priority regardless of the restrictions we face. We continue to explore all options to provide for fall sports and co-curricular activities.

As schools across the world return to athletics, we will evolve and update our policies. Specific guidelines and protocols for physical distancing, face coverings, and sanitation, are being developed and will be strictly followed. Each sport will have its own specific guidelines, which we will share with you, train our athletes and coaches on, and work hard to fulfill on a day-to-day basis.

We are working closely with other MAISAD (Maine Association of Independent School Athletic Directors) schools, thinking creatively about how we can create opportunities for interscholastic competition. Our peer schools in Maine are developing very similar reopening plans and screening protocols, which gives us a level of confidence to pursue interscholastic play.

NEPSAC schools in New Hampshire with whom we normally compete have made a decision not to travel across state lines for interscholastic competition. This is consistent with current and developing guidelines from national governing bodies and follows closely the most current protocols and guidelines established by the CDC and the State of Maine.

Interscholastic play with Hebron Academy, Hyde School, Kents Hill School, and potentially others, will be scheduled on Saturdays commencing September 26. Schedules for soccer, field hockey, cross country running, and mountain biking are being developed. Golf is the exception and will utilize the Wednesday afternoon sports window to hold its matches, as this is a day that tee times are more readily available.

  • Families will be allowed to attend home games only.
  • Visiting teams will not utilize Gould locker facilities, and no visiting fans will be allowed.
  • Gould will play all fall sports with one school on any given Saturday, minimizing travel and exposure.
  • Competing in soccer and field hockey, because of their close contact nature, will be determined by the most up-to-date protocols provided by the CDC, NEPSAC, and MPA.
  • Athletes will continue skill sessions, conditioning, and intramural play if interscholastic competitions are not allowed.

Gould is fortunate to have mountains, lakes, and rivers at our doorstep to provide many healthy activities and to expand our co-curricular offerings. From a strong drama and technical theater program, to Farm & Forest and an equestrian program, we have many options to explore. In addition to our usual program, we are adding:

  • Expanded Outing Club offerings
  • Professional DGA disc golf course thanks to trustee Greg Young P'19
Sign-ups for fall sports teams and activities will be sent to students in the coming weeks.

Guidelines for winter athletics are still in flux, but Sunday River has committed to be in full operation this season, providing the opportunity for our athletes to commence on-snow training in the late fall as we have in the past. Sunday River is actively engaged with school leadership and the coaching staff to maximize on-snow training and competition opportunities this year.

The competitive schedules through USSA, USASA, FIS, and peer schools have yet to be determined and will largely depend on CDC guidelines. Snow sports directors will collaborate on an intramural competition program in the event that US Ski & Snowboard or FIS does not support a full regional competition schedule. We believe that competitions will likely be within region and are committed as a group to providing the best experience possible for our collective schools.

With our new T-bar, we will conduct training to the maximum of our capabilities while adhering to those guidelines as well. Sunday River will open up season-pass sales to Gould students in the fall.

The Residential Experience

While we recognize the importance of our residential experience, dorm life also creates unique challenges in a pandemic. Working together, being mindful of the entire community, and following new safety protocols, we are confident that we can preserve the rewards that come from residential living at Gould.

Major points about residential life:
  • Gould will house students in all three dormitories, and most students will have roommates. Bunk beds will not be allowed.
  • Specific traffic patterns within the dorm will minimize unexpected contact.
  • Lights out times will be staggered to allow for bathroom use that follows CDC guidelines.
  • Numerous hand-washing stations will be positioned throughout dorms.
  • High-touch points will be cleaned regularly.
  • Students will not be allowed to visit other students’ rooms. This will be adjusted to the current campus activity level if the community experiences no outbreaks on campus.
  • Common areas and kitchen spaces will have limited initial use.
  • Students should limit what they bring to school, to allow for easier room cleaning. (More on that later in the Community Guide)

#GouldHome

We are excited to welcome you back on campus for a new school year!
Reopening Task Force members: Jerry Bernier, Chris Brooks ’99, Jason Chase, P’20,’24, Brad Clarke, P’12,’15,16,’19, Deb Costello, P’11,’12, Phyllis Gardiner, P’09, Bob Harkins, P’14,’16, Chris Hayward, P’16,’19, Olivia Hendry, Lindsay Legare, Rob Manning, P’14, Leo Menard ’03, Deb Menezes, P’18, Wendy Penley, Julie Reiff, Pam Senese ’82, Sara Shifrin ’88, P’19,’23, Gina Skillings, P’21, Tao Smith ’90, P’23, Chris Sparks, Sarah Taymore, P’09,’11, Bill White ’80, Dave Willis, and Greg Young, P’19 and thanks to Gould’s student leaders, who gave much thought and valuable feedback to the plans for arrival, orientation, and registration for new and returning students, to dining hall and meals, student activities, healthy campus protocols, and changes to experiential learning and Four Point, as well as seeking input from their classmates.