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A Shifting Landscape

Modified classroom at Tabor Academy
Path to the library
Tabor Academy's docks
Tabor Academy's turf field
A Shifting Landscape

The Coronavirus pandemic landed on the shores of the Sippican Harbor during one of the busiest times in the Tabor Academic cycle — planning for a new class of Seawolves. At the same time as our newest students were receiving their admissions packets, our current students, faculty and staff were headed home to plan, prepare and execute on a trimester of distance learning. Despite some uncertainty regarding the road ahead and the need to adjust to new “office space,” Tabor’s Admissions & Financial Aid Office marshaled on, reaffirming confidence in the admissions process while preparing to welcome new students and families into the Class of 2024.

While the choice proved extremely complex for local and regional families, the decision proved to be even more involved and nuanced for national and international families. Despite myriad challenges, including crossing borders, securing visas, booking flights, confirming accommodations and accessing other services essential to overseas travel, 48 of our international students returned to campus this fall to resume their in-person Tabor experience. The remaining 75 students are engaging with their teachers, classmates and peers and joining Tabor’s co-curricular and extracurricular experiences via Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Classrooms are equipped with cameras to provide for synchronous learning and to allow the remote experience to be as similar as possible to the on-campus experience. In classrooms around campus, Tabor students are doing their best to include their international classmates in the life of the school.

Our Chinese students are experiencing a particularly unique remote opportunity, thanks to Tabor Trustee Nini Suet ’03 and her colleagues at Shang Nancy Friends, a highly regarded consulting agency. Nini and the consultancy founded OnBoard, a day program that offers international students academic support, social interaction, and co-curricular options at education centers at the Shang Nancy Friends offices in Shanghai and Beijing. Twenty-two Tabor students, including most of our new students, are participating in this program. These students enroll in Tabor’s online classes and receive grades and credits for their work, and the staff at Shang provides support and encouragement that enhances the stay-at-home model of online learning. Nini and her colleagues also graciously invited students from other select boarding schools to join OnBoard.

As our newest Seawolves adjust to their new home and our returning students acclimate to a slightly different look and feel on campus this year, the Admissions Office is hard at work sharing the Tabor experience with students who are just beginning the 2021 admissions process. This summer, my staff provided in-person tours and interviews while socially distanced and masked. We have also designed a variety of interactive, informative, and customizable virtual experiences for prospective families including information sessions, student panel discussions, and tours of campus.

The office is also collaborating with member boarding schools of the Independent School League and the Great Boarding Schools Consortium. Tabor’s admissions officers have been invited to serve as panelists on virtual events hosted by other organizations as well including Boarding School 360, Parents League of New York and individual “feeder schools.” Partnering with other boarding schools and developing new and innovative opportunities has been a rewarding “silver lining” of our new normal. 

531 students
373 boarders / 158 day
265 boys / 266 girls
22 states / 16 countries
43% of students are from outside Massachusetts
23% international students
15% students of color
36% receive financial aid