Dear Bush Community,
We are writing to update you on the Education Master Plan (EMP) and the future of experiential education at The Bush School. The EMP was developed in 2017 as a vision for dynamic learning environments that challenge our students to explore their passions, while promoting collaboration, curiosity, inclusion, and creativity. The EMP is a guide for creating optimal spaces and serves as a forward focused educational roadmap for teaching and learning.
This is the first project update of the year, and we will be communicating with you quarterly to keep you apprised of progress and to answer questions as they emerge. For new families, this may be the first time you are hearing about the EMP, while others have learned about the school’s plans as they have unfolded.
Just as new insights into the science of learning inform teaching practices, school campuses evolve over time to reflect students’ needs and a school’s strategic vision. The most recent campus improvements at The Bush School took place in 2006, with the construction of the Lower School building, Mag Gym, library, and underground parking structure, and in 2000, with the addition of Wissner Hall on the Upper Campus.
Our 2017 Education Master Plan is comprehensive and presents the next iteration of our campus, including an additional Upper School building, a new Middle School building and Center Campus, and remodeling Gracemont to address updates to the city’s policy for retrofitting masonry on historical structures.
Given the scale and integrated scope of the plan, the Board recently made the thoughtful decision to begin implementation and start construction of the Upper School building in June 2020, following the steps laid out in the Education Master Plan.
This strategy will relieve pressure on common spaces around campus. It will also allow us to provide enhanced opportunities for social, socioeconomic, and geographic diversity at Bush through increased enrollment, thus enriching the classroom experience and our community overall. The timely completion of this first phase of the EMP gives our community the opportunity to celebrate a significant achievement that will positively impact Bush’s future.
We are very excited to share that early commitments from the Board of Trustees and other Bush families have given the Board full confidence to move forward with the first stage of the Educational Master Plan. Just like previous campus improvement efforts, Bush will rely on the generosity of the community—current parents, Trustees, alumni, former parents and Trustees, and grandparents—to advance the project with a capital fundraising campaign.
Relationships are the heart of the Bush experience—whether between students and teachers, families, or among students. Upper School faculty and staff are excited about the impact these new spaces will have on their work, and we look forward to sharing their ideas and plans in the months ahead. It will take a village of committed families and community members to ensure the campaign for Bush’s new learning spaces is successful. There will be opportunities for everyone in the community to be involved; in fact, we’re counting on it.
We are working with members of the Campaign Leadership Committee (Mike Galgon, Chair), the Board’s Oversight Committee (Karen Marcotte Solimano, Chair), the Resource Management and Audit Committee (Reed Cundiff, Chair), and the Education Master Planning Committee (Sergio Chin-Ley and Salone Habibuddin, Co-Chairs) to set the course for the timing and funding of value engineering, design development, permitting, and financing. While we’ve accomplished a lot to date, there is still much to do before June 2020. We are confident about the future of The Bush School, its students, and the promise and potential of this campus.
We will send our next update just before the Thanksgiving break. In the interim, if you have any questions, please feel free to email us. We look forward to working with all of you as we spark students’ passion for learning, service, and purpose well into the next century.
Percy L. Abram, Ph.D.
Head of School
Karen Marcotte Solimano
President, Board of Trustees