A Summer Message from Dr. Watts

Dr. Randy Watts
Reflecting back on this past school year is a surreal experience...Masks…. Hand sanitizer…. Quarantines…. Broadcast Learning…. CDC guidelines…. Contact Tracing... Videoconferences….. These words had little or no significance eighteen months ago and are now burnt into our collective memories.
To the Brookwood Family:
Reflecting back on this past school year is a surreal experience...Masks…. Hand sanitizer…. Quarantines…. Broadcast Learning…. CDC guidelines…. Contact Tracing... Videoconferences….. These words had little or no significance eighteen months ago and are now burnt into our collective memories.
As the veil lifted in the spring and each day brought the joy of increased normalcy, we placed reinvigorated significance on the simple joys of being together at ballgames, field day, and closing ceremonies. 
Through it all, we had an outstanding year. In all, we have learned, grown, and prevailed. Brookwood School has emerged in a position of significant strength. I would like to share with you an overview of the state of the school. This will include updates and accomplishments from this past year and, in some cases, recent years:
Student Body
Brookwood has increased in student enrollment each year for the past four years and is tracking to have a larger enrollment for the upcoming academic year. While we have seen a record level of interest in Brookwood, and have made some moves to expand some of our grade levels, the goal within achieving healthy enrollment numbers is to continue to seek a deeper mission-appropriate applicant pool, and thus admitting students who we believe will be a great fit for our school.
At present, we have reached or exceeded capacity in many of our grades. To accommodate this interest, we will expand our Junior Kindergarten program to three sections, as well as expand the 8th, 9th, and 10th grades to three sections. We have also continued to diversify our student body in many ways, notably in ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. 
Brookwood continues to have a healthy balance of tradition and innovation in our curriculum. We continue to emphasize the foundation of learning (e.g. reading, writing, critical thinking, and verbal expression). Additionally, we have emphasized innovation through our STEAM, Design Thinking, and Foundations of Innovation classes. 
Here are some of our academic highlights: 
  • Brookwood is now a two-time Apple Distinguished School. We are one of about 450 institutions in the entire world with this recognition. 
  • We were recognized by the Gallup organization in Washington, D.C., recently as a thought leader in creativity and innovation. We were one of ten schools in the country chosen as a site for in-depth research.
  • A college admission consulting firm that is widely used by colleges and universities provides a ranking for every high school in the U.S. On this ranking scale, Brookwood’s Upper School was in the 93rd percentile when compared to all high schools in the country.
  • We continue to outpace our local competition in SAT scores by at least 250 points.
  • Over the past 6 years, 89% of the students who took AP exams scored 3+. About 75% of students scored a 4 or 5.
  • 26 students were named AP Scholars.
  • 44 students were inducted into honor societies; 26 into the Louise Jeanes Hines Chapter of the National Honor Society, and 18 into the Antonio de Nebrija Chapter of the Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica. 
  • Over the past seven years, we have increased our AP offerings by 50% and have added several advanced classes to the Upper School.
This year has arguably been the most successful year in athletics in Brookwood’s history. Our varsity teams earned a total of nine region championships, one state runner-up, and one state championship. We had two individual state championships in track and one doubles team state runner-up in tennis. Ten members of the 2021 graduation class will play athletics in college — almost a quarter of the class. 
The Arts
The pandemic posed many challenges to the arts, specifically, with performing arts. I am proud that we were able to have a One-Act competition in the fall and they were recognized for their strong performance, and the all-school musical (albeit a virtual production) this winter. I am excited to see what our young actors will be able to do next year.
Regarding visual arts, one senior placed second in the GISA Visual Arts Contest, GISA’s first-ever art contest. Middle School students studied color theory with cupcakes and custom-colored frosting, and Lower School students turned Crozer Cafeteria into a gallery since local art shows were canceled. All divisions submitted amazing pieces of art for the annual auction, proceeds from which will help spruce up the playground. 
A more comprehensive list of our students’ success in interscholastic competition this past year can be found here.
Brookwood’s Graduates
Brookwood seniors boast a long history of 100% college acceptance, with 93% of the class of 2021 accepted to their first or second-choice schools.  Graduates have found their collegiate home in outstanding colleges and universities. You can find a  list of colleges & universities to which Brookwood students have matriculated in recent years on our college profile.
This past May, we bid farewell to the 44 members of the Class of 2021.  We will miss these fine young men and women and are excited for them as they take their first steps into their adult lives.  There are many ways to measure the success of a school, with college outcomes being one of the strongest measures of perceived success. 
This fall they will attend — among other impressive schools — Auburn University, Baylor University, Clemson University, Coastal Carolina University, College of Charleston, University of Chicago, University of Colorado Boulder, Elon University, Florida Institute of Technology, University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Southern University, Mercer University, University of Miami, University of Mississippi, Samford University, and Sewanee: The University of the South.
Here are some specific accolades for the class of 2021: 
  • The highest SAT score from schools in Thomas and in surrounding counties once again went to a Brookwood Student.
  • Our STAR Student is also the Thomasville-Thomas County system winner.
  • We had two National Merit Commended Scholars.
  • The class, as of the end of their eleventh grade year, included 6 AP Scholars, 4 AP Scholars with Honor, and one AP Scholar with Distinction. We expect that more will join their ranks when this year’s AP scores are released in July.
  • Ten of the members of the class will play athletics in college
    • One in clay targets
    • One in golf
    • Two in soccer
    • Two in football
    • Four in baseball
  • Four Seniors competed in the Literary Competition. One won the state championship in Personal Essay.
  • Three boys in this graduating class are Eagle Scouts.
  • One member of this class was on the Rose Queen Court.
  • This class was admitted to 5 of the top 50 national universities and 2 of the top 30 national liberal arts colleges in the country.
As a final note….. 25 of these graduates — 57% of the class — have attended Brookwood since Junior Kindergarten or Kindergarten.  
Strategic Vision
Brookwood has completed its five-year plan, “Inspiring Leaders.” This past year, we once again engaged the services of Ian Symmonds & Associates to generate a new strategic plan, “Advancing the Brookwood Way,”  which emphasizes the following:
  • People — Attract and retain a best-in-class, diverse, inclusive community
  • Program — Expand our innovation and delivery
  • Place — Invest in our learning environment
  • Pliancy — Enhance our long-term resilience
The strategic plan document is the result of a thorough review of our school, our surrounding environment, and the current and projected educational landscape. We went to great lengths to seek input from stakeholders, analyze data objectively, engage the wisdom of our steering committee, capitalize on the success of our previous strategic plan, and utilize the vision and thought-leadership of Ian Symmonds & Associates. 
Our strategic planning process has yielded a vision that has exceeded our expectations. In a succinct and thoughtful manner, this plan powerfully articulates where we are — and we are going — in the context of our unique community and school culture.
In the fall, we will share more specific goals for our strategic plan, as well as announce details about a vision for Brookwood’s campus development.
Final Thoughts
The relative quiet of the summer has been a time of reflection and planning. When our students return in August, they will find returning and new teachers who are eager to support and challenge them. They will find the campus returned to “normal” with a few surprises mixed in. They will find old friends and some new faces. Most importantly, they will find the welcoming Brookwood Family ready to take on another year.
I wish you safe, relaxing, and adventure-filled summer days!  Go Warriors!
Warm regards,
Dr. Randy Watts
Located in Thomasville, GA, Brookwood School is a private school for grades JK-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.