Circle photo of Stacy Turner outside with notes from the head next to it

On Thursday, December 1, Hamlin Robinson School hosted the grand opening of our new middle school building. It’s hard to describe the myriad of emotions I felt and witnessed.

Given how much time and effort went into getting us here, it was hard to believe the wait was finally over. There was a palpable sense of anticipation as people approached the front door, excited to finally see and explore the new building. When looking at everything together, it is evident HRS is a fast-growing, comprehensive campus with facilities prepared to meet demand and the needs of our students. The current and new buildings complement each other beautifully.

The Hamlin Robinson School name on the north side of the building is visible when exiting I-90 – it’s amazing!

At the event, I visited with current middle school students and families, current lower school students and families, alumni from as far back as the 1990’s, current board members, former board members including one from the late 1980’s, former faculty and staff, a previous HRS head of school, representatives from other schools, donors, the building architects, the project manager, the construction team and their families, and numerous friends of the school. I also had the opportunity to meet many of the family members and friends of our faculty and staff who came to offer support and share in the excitement.

Why is this such a big deal? There are lots of reasons, of course, and some stand out more than others. It goes back to the conversations and philosophy we developed and practiced when we were building our first school that became our permanent home in 2015.

We wanted the space to be welcoming, well-lit, designed to serve the specific learning needs of our students, and to feel warm and special.

I wish I had a recording for every time someone shared with me how they either learned or taught in a space that really wasn’t meant or designed for teaching and learning. That might have been a closet, a basement, a kitchen, a portable, or just a classroom without good lighting or resources. For some reason, the rooms designated for students who learn differently didn’t offer inspiration and never seemed to receive much attention or resources. It wasn’t that long ago HRS didn’t have resources for space either.

I also hear story after story about how students feel when they realize they don’t learn the same way as their peers. The results can be and are profound – from a loss of self-esteem to feeling stupid or dumb, to school refusal, to physical symptoms like stomach aches and headaches – the list goes on. This is a tragedy – because we know there is scientific evidence that effective, multi-sensory literacy instruction works for all students, not just students with dyslexia or other language-based learning differences. Every student deserves to learn how to read.

This new building will allow HRS to enroll up to 225 students in the middle school, and expand the lower school to 275 students, nearly doubling our current capacity. It will also allow us to expand the services of the HRS Learning Center to provide educational resources to families, educators, and the public. There is need and it is evidenced by our growth and our community of supporters. Our educational approach is a proven method, and it isn’t new or controversial – it’s based on the science a reading.

Research suggests if every student was taught to read using approaches that work for students with dyslexia, reading achievement would improve overall.

On the way out, several people commented on the quality, passion, and knowledge of our faculty and staff. We are a dynamic team made up of educational professionals dedicated to the mission established by our founders – to ignite the academic and creative potential of students with dyslexia and other

language-based learning differences. We stand on the shoulders of these founding families – and without them, none of this would be possible.

The new building is impressive and sparked people’s creativity and imagination. The strong sense of community was on display, especially watching the obvious pride in the students as they shared their school and teachers with their families. Overall, the event and everything it represents, was magical.

Stacy Turner
Head of School