Since Head of School Dr. Julie Sherrill was appointed two years ago, huge changes have been made to the school. While the school’s changes have elicited mixed responses within the community, the structure of the administration has been overhauled and a number of new programs were initiated.
Two years ago, a number of long-time administrators were let go and some positions were eliminated for financial and organizational reasons.
The school’s name was changed. The schedule was completely reinvented. The Gregory School inaugurated brand new spaces for project-based learning, like MIT-certified Fabrication Lab and a Writing Center. Student research opportunities were grown. Fridays were revolutionized.
When so many changes are made, people will obviously complain. Every change that is implemented results in some sort of dissatisfaction, because nothing can ever appease everyone.
However, project-based learning could be the way of the future, and the fact that Head of School Julie Sherrill’s administration has so strongly pushed for it in somewhat of a highly critical and traditional environment is brave, courageous, and progressive.
Sherrill’s encouragement of new projects like the Writing Center, Project Inquiry, and the creation of innovation in the Fab Lab is exceptional in the Tucson community as a whole, making The Gregory School’s high price completely worth it.
The biggest controversy so far is undoubtedly the name change: just over a year ago, St. Gregory College Preparatory School became The Gregory School. Families and students grumbled because St. Gregory had been the name of the school for over 30 years.
However, the school was no longer a religious school, and in fact hadn’t been one since 1984. The new name was introduced to clarify the school’s lack of religious affiliation and to emphasize TGS as a modern, innovative academic institution.
Furthermore, people seem to connect many decisions about the school to the administration even when many of them were decided from the Board of Trustees, including the name change. The school has also improved alumni relations in the past two years, so alumni feel more connected to school’s progress.
The Gregory School is a wonderful community. Some of its aspects, like its community, small size, teachers, rigorous college preparatory curriculum, have been maintained beautifully.
As for its new, nontraditional methods of teaching and learning, while people have not yet embraced them and may criticize them, they are what makes the school unique and what will undoubtedly make it succeed in the future.
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