On July 1, 2019, Jefferson Huang, Ph.D., became the inaugural president of The St. Paul’s Schools, marking a historic moment for our institutions. Backed by a unified Board of Trustees, Dr. Huang provides strategic and operational oversight of our three schools to ensure that St. Paul’s students of all ages benefit from learning in a small-school setting with the opportunities that a large, interconnected campus can provide.
Prior to joining St. Paul’s, Dr. Huang was Vice President at Claremont McKenna College, where he served for 24 years in roles of increasing responsibility centered around Student Affairs and Admissions. Early in his career, he was associate dean of students at Bard College in New York. Dr. Huang is a scholar of Philosophy who has taught many courses and researches and writes on ethics and technology among other issues. He completed his Ph.D in Philosophy at The Claremont Graduate University, as well as a B.A. and M.A. of Philosophy at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York.
Jeff and his wife, Catie Huang, have two children: Abby and Topher. When his children attended Saint Mark's Episcopal School in Upland, California, Jeff served as chair of the school’s board.
- Building a Better Community: A Board Committee on Equity and Inclusion 7/17/20
- Reopening Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year 7/15/20
- Important Distance Learning Update 3/25/20
- Covid-19 Update and Distance Learning 3/12/20
Dear Members of The St. Paul's Schools Community,
July 1 marked my first day as chair of the Board of Trustees for The St. Paul's Schools. As a 1988 graduate of St. Paul's and parent of two current students, it is my pleasure and honor to serve the schools in this capacity. I extend my deepest gratitude to our outgoing chair, Liz Robinson, for her leadership and invaluable service to the schools.
Looking ahead to the 2020–2021 school year, the board and administration are facing a unique set of challenges and opportunities. As you know, work is underway this summer to analyze and reconfigure every element of the campus experience to ensure that the schools can reopen safely this fall. I am writing today, however, to address another issue that demands our attention given the unrest in the nation surrounding continued racial inequality and violence against minorities.
Over recent months, the schools have received a significant number of reports from students, alumni, and families documenting experiences of racial injustice on our campus. Most notably, the board received a powerful letter written by two recent SPSG graduates and co-signed by more than 140 of their fellow alumnae. This letter not only described student experiences but implored the board to lead in creating a safer, more empowering environment for our Black students and faculty.
Around the same time, alumni and students began using the "Black at The St. Paul's Schools" Instagram page as a platform to anonymously share their experiences of marginalization and discrimination in our community. Reading these accounts is a painful experience. While each story is unique, the themes are clear and unambiguous. Black students across all parts of our campus and all eras have been subject to racism at The St. Paul's Schools. It is unacceptable, and we must do better.
Our mission as a board and our foundational Episcopal values require us to ensure that all of the children entrusted to us feel safe, welcome, and valued within our schools. It is our duty to ensure that the schools are a diverse and welcoming community on every level, from the students to the faculty to the composition of the board itself. Now is the time for a broad, campus-wide examination with the goal of taking action at every level. I have called upon my fellow trustees to take the lead.
In a special meeting on Friday evening, the board unanimously approved a motion to create a board-level Special Committee on Equity and Inclusion. The group, which is charged with making meaningful changes to advance equity across the institution, will be responsible for coordinating initiatives in partnership with the administration, making recommendations, and reporting on progress. Their work will focus on topics including, but not limited to, school culture and policies, curriculum, hiring practices, and public acknowledgement of the history of Brooklandwood, which was built in 1790 by a slaveowner—a fact that is noticeably missing from our school story and our history lessons. The committee will engage with the community to gain feedback on specific issues and solutions to help us move forward.
Knowing the deep affection many of us have for The St. Paul's Schools, it is not easy to confront the very real ways in which we have fallen short of protecting all students. However, I speak for the entire board when I say we are deeply proud of the students and alumni who have spoken up with searing honesty and demanded better. Now the work falls to us to honor their voices and their courage by making real change.
I look forward to carrying out this important work together.
Joseph L. Sutton '88
Chair, Board of Trustees
The St. Paul's Schools
I hope you are enjoying a restful summer. Here at The St. Paul's Schools, we are working hard to prepare for a safe return to campus, and we are pleased to share with you our Reopening Plan for 2020–2021. The Emergency Response Team has developed this plan with the health and wellbeing of all our community members as the foremost priority and the goal of bringing our full student body back onto campus five days a week.
Please read the document thoroughly with the understanding that all of these plans are based on the current public health assessment and are subject to change. We will update the plan regularly as more information becomes available.
We thank you for your flexibility and your continued partnership as we work to provide a high-quality educational experience for our students under these highly unusual conditions. We look forward, with great anticipation, to the time we can all be back on campus together.
Jefferson Huang, Ph.D.
President, The St. Paul's Schools
Dear K–12 Families,
On the eve of our first day of distance learning, we would like to convey our gratitude to you, our extraordinary community, for your flexibility and support through these highly unusual times. With Governor Hogan's announcement this morning that public schools will remain closed for another four weeks, we have decided to follow the guidance of the Maryland State Department of Education and extend our distance learning period through April 24.
Knowing that we will be in this virtual mode for longer than anticipated makes it all the more essential that we offer clear guidance on how it will work. Last week you received some general guidelines around distance learning from your division heads, and the processes will become clearer as your sons and daughters begin to experience it firsthand. At this time, we would like to share a few high-level thoughts to help set expectations as our community enters this new mode of learning.
- We acknowledge that distance learning will be both the same and different. The education we deliver will be fundamentally the same. We will continue to deliver our mission to develop the mind, character, and spirit of our St. Paul's students. At the same time, we will need to adjust the way we teach. Content will come in the form of pre-recorded lessons and posted assignments, but there will also be plenty of opportunities to connect through live video conferencing with advisories and classroom teachers. (Please grant permission for your child to participate in these video sessions by e-signing this form.)
- We have faith in our community. We have faith that you will find creative ways to come together (virtually) and to lift each other up. We have faith in our faculty, many of whom spent their spring break learning new technologies, sharing ideas, and devising lesson plans for distance learning. Importantly, we have faith that every member of our community will allow themselves and each other grace and understanding during this transition into distance learning.
- We want to hear from you. We have shared our initial plan, but we do not claim to have all the answers at this moment. What we have learned from schools around the country who are ahead of us on this journey is that these plans must be fluid and will have to be tweaked as we go. Please be sure to share your feedback with teachers, advisors, and administrators and reach out if you have any issues.
Staying connected from a distance will not be easy, but it is more important than ever. Our learning support teams, counselors, deans of students, and chaplains all are making plans to support students and maintain community connections. For our part, we are committed to communicating frequently and transparently as we learn what works best. Please take care of yourselves and your families and we will be in touch again soon.
Jefferson Huang, David C. Faus, and Ereni Gleason Malfa '89
As you know, the World Health Organization yesterday declared the coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our school community. However, The St. Paul's Schools takes very seriously our responsibility to keep our community safe. In light of rapidly changing circumstances, we have decided to close campus effective 6 p.m. tomorrow evening through the end of spring break. This decision applies to all divisions, including our preschool/pre-K, which originally had been scheduled to remain open next week. While we know this decision will present challenges for families, we strongly believe it is the right choice for our students and the larger community.
After spring break, buildings will remain closed. We will shift to distance learning for students in kindergarten through grade 12 and provide learning resources for our 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds. We plan to continue distance learning through the week ending April 3, with the knowledge that circumstances could change. For ongoing updates, you may refer to the COVID-19 resource page on our website, and we will provide updates via email as well. At this time, we can share the following details.
We are extending the students' spring break by two days in order to provide time for our faculty to plan on March 24 and 25, so that the transition to distance learning is as seamless as possible. Students will resume classes remotely on March 26. In the coming days, your division head will follow up this email with more detailed information about what distance learning looks like for your child's grade. We want to be clear that school is not closing. During distance learning, we still expect students to put forth the same effort, and their progress will be assessed. Middle and upper school students will "meet" virtually once or twice a week with their advisors for a check-in on their academic progress and their wellbeing. Lower school families will check in daily with their homeroom teachers. We are committed to providing technology support—including loaner computers and mobile hotspots—to any family who needs it, and more instructions will be forthcoming over break.
Events & Athletics
All campus events that are scheduled between tomorrow evening and April 5 will be canceled or postponed, including the Brooklandwood Bash. After-school programs and programs that require on-site participation will be suspended until our buildings reopen, including our Bridges tutoring program, The Dance Conservatory (TDC), and the MICA arts program. In addition, all sports practices and competitions will be canceled until we resume on-campus operations, which we know will be disappointing news for our scholar-athletes. We are coordinating closely with the MIAA and IAAM to determine what this interruption in the season means for our athletes and teams, and we will keep you informed.
All school-sponsored spring break travel has been canceled. We understand that many of you have personal plans to travel over the break. The Department of State is now advising U.S. citizens to reconsider all travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. If you do travel abroad, your child will need to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine before returning to campus. If you believe your family has come into contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, or if the Department of Health or your physician instructs you or an immediate family member to self-quarantine due to possible exposure, please share that information with us (ERTcoronavirus@stpaulsmd.org). All personal health information will be kept confidential. No student will be penalized academically for missing class (in person or online) due to illness or quarantine, and we will support remote learners even after in-person classes have resumed.
Hygiene & Social Distancing
In our continued efforts around cleaning and sanitization, we will thoroughly disinfect all surfaces of our school buildings over break. Please continue to emphasize the importance of proper hand hygiene and encourage your children to avoid large social gatherings in the interest of slowing the spread of the disease. We understand that social distancing can take a toll on students' emotional wellbeing, and we want to assure you that our school counselors and chaplains will continue to be available to students throughout these difficult times.
Our commitment to the health and safety of the entire St. Paul's community is our number-one priority. We continue to work closely with county health officials and our consulting school physician to make sure we are following best practices. We know this is a stressful time for everyone, and we wholeheartedly thank you for being part of this strong and supportive community of wonderful families. We also want to recognize our faculty and staff, who are putting in extra hours to ensure a successful shift to online learning and who have been skillfully helping our students process the news around COVID-19, even as they may be experiencing their own feelings of worry or anxiety. The flexibility of the entire St. Paul's community during this unpredictable situation is tremendously appreciated.
If you have questions, do not hesitate to email ERTcoronavirus@stpaulsmd.org. Otherwise, you will hear from us again very soon with more details about the transition to distance learning.
Jefferson Huang, Ph.D.
The St. Paul's Schools
Ereni Gleason Malfa '89
Head of School
St. Paul's School for Girls
David C. Faus
St. Paul's School for Boys