From Hilltop to Home

You know your child best and your perspective is often the most telling, but if some of my advice can be helpful to you—in managing their and your transition to boarding school life and potentially setting your minds at ease during times of the year that can be challenging—then I am happy to be of service.

Ryan M. Pagotto, Associate Head of School

Ryan Pagotto

Dear families,

As head of Blair's student life office, it is my pleasure to be involved in many aspects of our students’ lives and to serve as a day-to-day resource for them and for parents. In addition to providing support to students, many of whom are our advisees, my colleagues and I also work closely with housemasters, advisors, coaches and teachers to ensure that residential life at Blair runs smoothly and to identify and manage any challenges proactively. Our work runs the gamut from planning community events, organizing campus clubs and activities, and sponsoring leadership opportunities to planning global travel during school breaks, supporting campus spiritual life, and encouraging student health and wellness.

Given that 80 percent of our students live here on campus, one of my most important roles is to keep parents abreast of what is happening in their child's life at Blair. To that end, I began writing a monthly e-newsletter, From Hilltop to Home, a few years ago, with the aim of providing parents with perspective and counsel based on my 19 years of working with high school students as a teacher, coach, houseparent and dean. While my four children are not yet of high school age—our oldest is 10—and I acknowledge that, unlike you, I have not yet navigated the teenage years with my own children, I’ve been through the boarding school cycle many times now and have seen virtually every challenge that an adolescent can face.

You know your child best and your perspective is often the most telling, but if some of my advice can be helpful to you—in managing their and your transition to boarding school life and potentially setting your minds at ease during times of the year that can be challenging—then I am happy to be of service.

From these letters, as well as the rest of the website, I hope you gain a strong sense of how expertly Blair balances academic rigor with the strong relationships that are the foundation of our genuinely kind and caring community. We are deeply rooted in tradition but also committed to offering our students with a forward-thinking education, providing them with the skills that will help them succeed in life.

Thank you for reading, and I look forward to sharing my insights with you as the year progresses!

Warm regards,

Ryan M. Pagotto
Associate Head of School

March 2021

Let’s go for a walk!

This was the refrain during quarantine week, and it was a beautiful sight to see so many faculty members taking walks with individual advisees or small groups to offer “fresh-air” breaks during the in-room period.

Read More about March 2021
The Arch with snow and wreath

One of the measures we took this fall to protect our “bubble” was to conduct all admission interviews and tours virtually. Any one of our admission officers could regularly be seen walking around campus with his or her phone, laptop or tablet in hand, offering prospective students a sense of the people and place on our hilltop. As we lifted some campus restrictions in late October, we offered prospective families Sunday driving tours of campus as well.

Read More about November/December 2020
Campus aerial photo

In a normal year, we would be looking ahead to our annual Halloween “family-style” dinner in the Romano Dining Hall. Our checklist would include adding a few extra folding tables to accommodate day students who wished to join i

Read More about October 2020
Fall Campus

“It’s not all that bad!”

This is the response I’ve received when I’ve asked students, “How’s it going?” over the last few days. And I’ll take it! As a parent and person who has worked with teenagers for many years, I know it is far better than “fine,” and likely more of an honest response than “Oh, Mr. Pagotto, everything is perfect, thank you for all that you and the administrative team did to bring us safely back to school.”

Read More about September 2020