Catching up with StuCo: VP of Academics John Weaver ’21
Over the past few months, Vice President of Academics John Weaver ’21 has been working alongside Dean of Academics David Laws P’21’23 to help plan out the new academic calendar and adjust the workload.
Over the past few months, Vice President of Academics John Weaver ’21 has been working alongside Dean of Academics David Laws P’21’23 to help plan out the new academic calendar and adjust the workload. As students become accustomed to a hybrid Fall Term, Weaver hopes to continue to implement his goals for the school year.
Explaining the new schedule, Weaver said, “It was a challenge for a lot of people to stay on top of their work in the spring…so [we wanted] to have a little bit of a shortened workload with less class time but slightly more homework.” This modified schedule, designed to ease stress, allows students to spend the same time doing work in a given week while giving them longer blocks of free time and more time between classes.
One of Weaver’s main goals for this year is to increase the resources available to students so that they can “thrive academically.” He has also introduced a weekly academic newsletter, which includes tips and tricks to help students succeed in the classroom, inspirational quotes, messages for motivation, and a word of the week.
Weaver is also planning on introducing an optional Saturday evening study hall, where he envisions “students all coming together on a Saturday evening to get some work done in the Heely Room, the Ambrecht Room, or another public space. This would allow students to collaborate on their work.” While he has been unable to implement these plans thus far due to social distancing requirements, he hopes to work with the administration to create either in-person socially-distanced study spaces or organize Zoom study sessions in the near future.
Another focus of Weaver’s platform is to increase student morale by highlighting Lawrentians’ achievements and increasing participation during school meetings. This year, he changed the format of the Intellectual of the Month award: “Now, it’s not just something that I decide or StuCo decides…the award is decided after a student nominates another student, which I hope will increase academic discussion between students.”
In addition, he has been designing different brain games that can be played online so that students can bond during school meetings. Weaver wants to create activities that “require intense academic knowledge so that students can showcase what they can do while also winning House points in the process.” Once school meetings return to an in-person format, he also intends on adding activities where people interact with those who sit beside them, meeting new people in the process. With these modifications to school meetings, Weaver wants to help “spread positivity among the School community, especially in a year as difficult as this [one].”
Currently, he has been focusing on speaking with the faculty about introducing periodic no homework days throughout the term so that students can have a break from the stressful pace of life at Lawrenceville. In addition, he and the rest of Student Council have been emphasizing the importance of respect and dignity in the classroom to provide all students with a healthy and safe learning environment.
Reflecting on the upcoming year, Weaver said, “Despite the setbacks that have been caused by Covid-19, I’m hopeful and excited for my plans in the future, and I will do my best to support the School community.”