The admissions process at Shore, as at many independent schools, is inherently personal and deeply individualized. Families typically make multiple visits to the school to get an intimate feel for the Shore community, and interactions with teachers and administrators help reveal whether students and the Shore education are a fit for each other. But now that schools—and admissions offices—in Massachusetts and around the country have seen physical campuses closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, it’s easy to wonder whether families will experience the same level of personalized attention and access through the process.
The answer, according to Shore’s Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management, Daphne Faldi, is an emphatic “Yes.” Just as the school has launched Shore Online
, a distance learning program for all students in Pre-K through Grade 9, so have Faldi and her team translated most aspects of the Shore admissions process
into virtual versions—including the personal touch.
“We’ve been picking up the phone and calling more families than ever before,” says Faldi, “and they’ve been so appreciative. We’ve been able to have great conversations—not just about the school, but about how they’re doing. That’s been the silver lining of this pandemic—the human connections that somehow feel stronger than ever. They’ve allowed families to get a true sense of the caring and concern that define the Shore community.”
The key messages that Faldi and her colleague, Assistant Director of Admissions Sara Kerney, are sharing with families are, first, that the school and the Admissions Office remain open and, second, that the admissions process shouldn’t add pressure during an already stressful time. “We’re here,” says Kerney, “and we can move at whatever pace works for them.” Because Shore’s Admissions team has pivoted to an entirely virtual process, “Families have more flexibility than ever in getting to know Shore,” Kerney says.
When families are considering Shore, Faldi and Kerney now have a wealth of virtual resources
to share with them to communicate the information they need to understand the Shore experience. Shore Online, the schoolwide distance learning program, has been up and running for several weeks, and it allows the Admissions team to offer a detailed look into the school’s approach. “Online learning gives us the ability to know the program and speak about the program in an even more intimate way than before,” says Kerney. “We can drop into any online discussion or Morning Meeting or view any class assignment at any grade level now and share those things with our families who are considering the school. We can really communicate the ways our faculty is taking care of our children.” Virtual tours
and other online materials add color and depth to the picture the Admissions team is able to paint for families.
Beyond this wealth of resources, families considering Shore have access to phone or video conversations with not only Faldi and her team, but also teachers, parents, and other members of the Shore community. These help to inform them about what the Shore education looks like in the classroom, how the school connection feels at home, and what it means to be a part of the close-knit community of Shore families. Assessments and conversations are also carried out virtually, so that both families and the school can feel confident about the fit between the child and Shore. “Education is being tested during this global health crisis,” explains Faldi, “so now more than ever we want to support people in finding the education that’s right for their child. More than at any other time in recent memory, every school doesn’t fit every child. Helping families learn about Shore is now that much more important.”
Even families with concerns about what school might look like in the fall—in the event that the COVID-19 health crisis continues to impact the state—can find reasons to feel confident in Shore. “Not knowing is scary,” acknowledges Sara Kerney. “But we are a school that’s built a robust approach to distance learning, and we are prepared for as long as it takes for this crisis to end.” Families in various stages of the Admissions process regularly get updates about Shore Online, an innovative hybrid program that picks up where the in-school curriculum left off. Combining asynchronous independent work with synchronous in-person sessions conducted via video-conferencing, Shore Online delivers the best of both face-to-face and virtual learning for children in all grades. “For our students, the learning continues, no matter what,” says Kerney.
All this means that families who are ready can now choose Shore more quickly and efficiently than ever. The full complement of virtual Admissions resources ensures families have everything they need to make their decision, and virtual application forms and enrollment documents make completing the process seamless. “If I could tell families one thing, it would be, ‘Proceed with confidence,’” says Daphne Faldi. “Our office is confident we can provide a complete look inside our program, and families can be confident that the excellence they see is what they’ll get.” What is more, says Faldi, “Our goal is to ensure placements that set children up for happiness and success at Shore, and so families can feel certain that our Admissions decision for their child is thorough and complete.” We may be living in uncertain times, but Shore’s Admissions Office is doing its best to provide certainty for families in search of inspired education