POST IRMA

The first week of September 2017 was met with excitement and optimism by the entire GHS community. The faculty and staff, the most experienced in the school's history, had just completed days of intense professional development and training and were putting the finishing touches on their classrooms. The campus had never looked better than it did at student orientation, our team was ready, and morale was high. This was truly going to be the best year ever for Gifft Hill School. However, the first day of school on September 5th did not welcome eager students through the doors. Instead, faculty members packed up the classrooms they had worked so hard to prepare and readied the school for what everyone hoped would be a near-miss by Hurricane Irma. On September 6th, St. John took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma and then another blow from Hurricane Maria exactly two weeks later. Gifft Hill School sustained damage from both storms, but through the hard work and commitment of the Board, staff and a team of volunteers, the school was able to open its doors to students on September 25th, 2017.

The island of St. John sustained almost unimaginable destruction from the storms, with almost 90% of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed. Many of our teachers, administrators and families lost their houses and most of their possessions. Power will likely not be restored island-wide for months. The lower campus was running on generator power, where all the students from preschool through 12th grade are currently learning each day, until electricity was restored in November. The decimation of the island also crippled the economy, so GHS is waiving tuition for the 2017-18 school year and opening our doors even wider to children who were not previously enrolled at GHS. Ensuring access to education is part of the DNA of Gifft Hill School and the right thing to do for our families and our islands. GHS families will be the people who help rebuild St. John, and their children need a school to attend. We are honored to serve the strong, resilient and committed families of "Love City".

Our staff is working tirelessly to continue to provide the engaging programming on which we pride ourselves. New students are welcome to inquire about enrollment by stopping by the Lower Campus to pick up an application. A placement assessment will be scheduled. Following the assessment, parents will receive a placement recommendation, and their student(s) may start school the following Monday or Wednesday.

Repairs to the Upper Campus are beginning, and we are making plans for the future. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the school, we look forward to the next 40 years with anticipation and hope!

If you would like to contribute to our efforts, please consider making a donation. We appreciate your support!

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