A Midsummer Message from the Headmaster

Headmaster Clement surveys the construction in the lobby.

“Charles Cook calling.”

Actually, it’s Steve Clement emailing, with a midsummer update from Browning! One of our summer changes at school has been the installation of a new phone system that gives us many options (which I have yet to master...). An oddity as the kinks are worked out is that many calls emanating from Browning are identified as coming from Charles Cook, my predecessor! He retired as Headmaster 28 years ago, so as I begin my last year, I wonder what my legacy will be in the next 28 years. When I took over Charlie Cook’s desk on July 1, 1988, I found two old phones, one the School’s and one personal, and an “industrial strength” typewriter. Imagine the changes in technology that lie ahead for my successor!

Speaking of changes, anyone who saw the School this spring will not recognize it this summer. For the big picture, this is what’s happening: the original school building, 52 East 62nd Street, stands completely gutted on the five floors between the Upper and Lower Gyms. In the 40 East 62nd Street building, the five school floors are also receiving adjustments to the spaces we inaugurated last fall. We are in the final year of the five-stage physical transformation of Browning, and no one is more eager for completion of the project than I! Below are a series of pictures taken by Jeremy Katz ’04, director of communications design, which show the progress of work to date. These photos are essentially a "before and after" depiction of our progress, allowing for an appreciation of all we've accomplished to date. Obviously it is easier to demolish than to build, but on the top floors in 52 we are beginning to see the structural changes which will be the bones of the “new” school.

Of course any school is so much more than bricks and mortar. High points this past spring were the many closing ceremonies: “Let’s Go on a Safari” for the Lower School on 6/5, Prize Day on 6/9, and Graduation on 6/10. In case you missed it, here is the link to the superb speech given by our graduation speaker Leymah Gbowee P '15, Nobel laureate and Browning mom. Here are two other end-of-year videos you might have overlooked, the fifth grade Portuguese Caravel Project and the Form II Subway Design Presentation.

Other quantifiable successes this year include the outstanding college admission record for the Class of 2015 and the news that the 2014-15 Annual Fund broke many records, raising over $1.9 million. We received 100% participation from the following groups: the Board of Trustees, The Browning School faculty, the Class of 2015, the Alumni Council, and parents of the Classes of 2023, 2025, 2026 and 2027. Total parent participation in the Annual Fund increased to 90% for the 2014-15 fiscal year, a school record!

Thank you all for making 2014-15 such a terrific year for Browning. You have given us a great platform for the new 2015-16 school year. During the remaining time, have a wonderful summer!

July 15, 2015