BANCROFT Bulletin & Annual Report
Fall/Winter 2013 – 2014
Scott R. Reisinger: Headmaster 1999 – 2014 Extraordinary Leader, Extraordinary Time
Art teachers Connie Moore and Mary Edwards enjoy a laugh with their MS students.
Kindergarten students, pencils in hand, get down to the business of learning.
Emmy-winning director Harvey Hubbell spoke at the HGP-sponsored screening of “Dislecksia: The Movie.”
Harlem Globetrotter “Handles” used his signature skills to teach important ideas about bullying prevention.
BANCROFT Bulletin |
Fall/Winter 2013 –2014
4 Letter from Board
Welcome to Trevor O’Driscoll… 4th grade travels to Plimoth… and more…
BancrofT School 110 Shore Drive Worcester, MA 01605 508.853.2640 www.bancroftschool.org headmaster Scott R. Reisinger
8 Scott R. Reisinger:
Headmaster 1999 – 2014 An extraordinary leader in an extraordinary time
assistant headmaster Gary J. Mathieu Bancroft Bulletin is published biannually and is mailed to alumni, parents and friends. Submissions are encouraged; send articles, letters, and photographs, along with any change of address to: email@example.com Editorial Team Susan Cranford Director of Admission and Institutional Advancement
President Kevan Gibson News Features
14 Bancroft Launches
Hope Graham Program Nurturing, respecting, and educating diverse learners puts dyslexia in its place
Laurie Bowater Director of Development Lynn St. Germain Director of Alumni Relations Julie O’Malley Associate Director of Advancement for Marketing and Communications
Photography Russ Campbell, Karla Cinquanta, Julie O’Malley cover Photo: Scott R. Reisinger with students in front of McDonough Center Photo by Karla Cinquanta
16 Alumni Class Notes Celebrating “Pikie”… Stephanie Burns ’93…In Memoriam
an experience of excellence
Design Linda Dagnello
Lydia Barter Development Associate Karla Cinquanta Website and Data Coordinator
Trustees Unveil VISION 2016 Strategic Initiatives will Lead Bancroft into the Future Bancroft Launches New Website Responsive Design Unveiled Class of 1963 Sets New Reunion Record Raising the Bar for 50th Reunion Giving View More >>
Headmaster’s Letter Financial Report Our Volunteers Our Donors
2012–2013 Annual Report
31 2012-2013 Annual Report 46 Remembering Ed Gauthier
Dear Bancroft friends: Typically, this is a space reserved for our Headmaster, Scott Reisinger, to offer his perspective on individuals, activities, and events taking place on and around the Bancroft campus and within the extended Bancroft community. Often, in conversation, he refers to these events and activities as the ‘good work’ that is constantly being done by students, faculty, staff, and alumni. With this issue, we have the opportunity to reverse the normal course of events and provide a perspective on Scott and his tenure as Headmaster at Bancroft. What I trust will become evident is the ‘good work’ which Scott has dedicated himself to, day in and day out, during his fifteen years at the helm of this learning institution. Something that may require a more subtle observation—yet is plainly evident as we’ve come to know, respect, and love Scott—is his choice of title and its reflection of the individual, his leadership style, and his commitment to education. It wasn’t something that I was consciously aware of until I recently heard Scott describe why he chose to be called ‘Headmaster’ as opposed to other options such as Head of School or Principal. Headmaster is not an unusual choice. Similar to Dr. or Mr. it represents degrees earned or respect given. But, it is certainly not something that many of us stop to think about, given the frequency of use in the course of our daily lives. When asked, Scott simply explained that he considered himself to be the head teacher...master teacher...someone dedicated to the process of teaching...to the process and joy of learning...a craftsman practicing his craft...declaring the importance of education...and his dedication to it. There is little coincidence in the fact that the School’s mission statement includes the phrase “...lifelong learners and teachers of others,” which will always be a wonderful reminder of the man and what he stands for. It is my distinct pleasure to invite you to join me in celebrating Headmaster Scott Reisinger and his tenure at Bancroft School with this beautifully presented retrospective. But, while we are engaged in honoring the work that has been accomplished, Scott would be the first to remind us that we must not lose sight of what opportunities lie before us. And, in so doing, we extend a warm and inclusive welcome to our next leader, Trey Cassidy. Together with Trey, the Board of Trustees is poised to continue the legacy of ‘good work’ Scott Reisinger has built during his distinguished tenure as Headmaster of Bancroft School. Sincerely,
Kevan Gibson President, Board of Trustees
Meet Trevor O’Driscoll, Head of Middle School
s the parent of two small children and the head of Bancroft’s Middle School, Trevor O’Driscoll admits that the 50-minute commute from Providence is the quietest part of his day. As much as he appreciates this window of calm, Trevor actually thrives amid the noise and haste of the Middle School. “I’ve been involved with middle school since I began my teaching career in 2001,” he explains. “I just fell in love with this age group. The kids have this emerging sense of justice that’s really powerful. They’re unabashed about being curious. They’re adaptable. And they get my jokes,” he adds, “which is important.” In turn, Trevor gets middle schoolers. The years from sixth through eighth grade are filled with changes —curricular, developmental, social, physical—that frequently lead to questionable behaviors. “I have never met a student who, at her center, didn’t want to be thought of as smart and good,” continues Trevor. “It’s our responsibility as teachers and mentors to remind students how their actions can help them live up to this image, whether that means praising them for their work on a Chinese test, a great play on the soccer field, or a selfless act.” “Middle school students often draw incorrect conclusions. They struggle to make connections between their own thinking and the world at large. They can act badly in new social situations. They can be intolerant. To be frank,” he says, “my students can be very wrong. Quite often. But I love it when they’re wrong since that is precisely when I find opportunities to foster better thinking. I find the chance to work with these stubborn, determined, curious, independent, earnest, and joyful learners irresistible.” Trevor and his wife Vanessa, a seventh grade English teacher at The Wheeler School in Providence, have a few more years before their own children are middle schoolers; daughter Oona is 5 and son Cormac is 2. Trevor was the MS dean of students at Wheeler before joining Bancroft in July 2013. Although happy at Wheeler, he says that ultimately it was an easy decision to come to
Bancroft. He had set a professional goal for himself to run a middle school division, and when the opportunity arose in Bancroft’s Middle School, he saw a chance to realize his goal in a school he truly admired. After getting to know our campus and community during the interview process, Trevor felt sure he would be an outstanding fit in the role. Our search committee felt the same way.
“I find the chance to work with these stubborn, determined, curious, independent, earnest, and joyful learners irresistible.” “Trevor has quickly made his mark as an outstanding divisional leader,” says Headmaster Scott Reisinger. “His effectiveness as an educator comes from a place of sincere respect for and commitment to the children and the faculty. He models the work ethic and integrity we strive to instill in our students, and he does so with humor and compassion. We are fortunate to have our Middle School in his exceptionally capable hands.”
4th Grade Brings 21st Century Technology to the 1600s
any of us remember field trips to Plimoth Plantation as a wonderful opportunity to meet and interact with “actual” Pilgrims and Native Americans from the 1600s. But thanks to today’s technology, Elaine Shack’s 4th grade class recently added a whole new level of interactivity to the experience. For their recent field trip to the “living museum,” the fourth graders were allowed to bring iPads from the Lower School to take photographs and gather information about the homes, food, clothing, work, and play of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people in 1627 Plymouth. Back at school, Mrs. Shack and LS librarian Lisa Leach worked together to help the children synthesize the information they gathered, and use the iPads to present it in an innovative way. The idea began last summer, when Shack and Leach received a Fargo-Gauthier Grant to attend a three-day workshop on iPad use in the classroom at Harvard Law School. While there, they learned about Tellagami, an iPad app for creating short video presentations. They knew immediately that students would love the handson process of creating their own animated narrators and reports. (An example is shown in the photo inset.) “True project-based learning requires an end-product or presentation to an audience, which can be daunting for children, who often struggle with public speaking or written reports. Personalized videos are an excellent way for students to demonstrate what they’ve learned in
a creative, interactive way,” said Shack. “Through trial and error, they develop valuable skills including timing, microphone use, and editing as they record voiceover narratives, type captions, and display their photography.” “The children were so invested,” says Leach. “It was a wonderful process to watch. This was an indepth, thoughtful project-based learning unit, and the technology layer definitely enhanced learning. The kids were so proud to share their reports.”
A Website Designed for all Devices
e hope by now you’re well acquainted with Bancroft’s redesigned website, which went live just before school started in early September. One of the most exciting features of the new site is its “responsive” design, which automatically adjusts the display to fit the screen of whatever device you’re using to view it—a boon for tablet and smartphone users. We were thrilled to be one of the first independent schools to incorporate responsive technology. The new website is the result of a long and thoughtful process that included extensive surveys and feedback from all constituents in the Bancroft community. The redesign went through many iterations as the team worked toward our goal of a clean, modern, friendly website that was attractive, informative, easy to use—and captured the spirit of our wonderful School. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to The Fred Harris Daniels Foundation, whose generous grant to enhance Bancroft’s communications made the whole redesign possible. We hope you like the new look, which presents our community in a vibrant light, while respecting the traditions that have strengthened Bancroft for more than 100 years.
Bancroft’s Next Head of School, Trey Cassidy
e may be our headmaster-elect, but Trey Cassidy was on campus in another capacity in early December—that of prospective Bancroft parent. While in New England visiting family over Thanksgiving, Trey and his wife Bonnie extended their stay to allow daughters Page (11) and Bridgette (8) to make their Bancroft admission visits. Like all future Bancroft students, the girls spent time getting to know
the campus and the classmates and teachers whom they’ll join when they enroll in the fall of 2014. While here, Trey met with Headmaster Scott Reisinger, Board President Kevan Gibson, and the three division heads: Jyoti Datta, Lower School and Hope Graham Program; Trevor O’Driscoll, Middle School; and Roy Gillette, Upper School. He has also scheduled other visits to Bancroft between now and his start date. As Trey completes his final months as Assistant Headmaster and Head of Upper School at University Liggett School in Michigan, Scott and the senior administration team at Bancroft continue to work with the Board to ensure a smooth transition this summer. Trey will officially become Head of Bancroft School on July 1, 2014; the same day Scott Reisinger assumes his new role as Head of Trevor Day School in Manhattan. Trey looks forward to working with the entire Bancroft community “to build on the School’s commitment to help students find and follow their passions as intellectuals, artists, athletes, and community members.” He, Bonnie, Page, and Bridgette are excited to begin this new chapter of their lives in Central Massachusetts, and to participate in all aspects of life at Bancroft School. And we are equally excited to welcome them.
Meet the Artists
isual arts came alive in October at the PFA Cultural Series Meet the Artist event. Seven artists set up shop at indoor and outdoor stations, while groups of students stopped by to watch, ask questions, and learn about the creative process. As coordinator Hannah Hall-Alicandro explained, “this event brought a group of artists and craftspeople together on campus to display, discuss, and demonstrate their work. It was a great opportunity for students to see the ways that art plays a key role in people’s lives, well beyond their school years.” Painter Isaac Camp ’08 was among the participating artists. Earning the “class artist” distinction while a Bancroft student, today his art is a unique, multi-sensory blend of musical rhythms, chords, and melodies with painted images, textures, and colors. He explains that his unique artform is possible because he has synesthesia, a condition in which one sense (for example, hearing) is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses (such as sight). When Isaac hears music, he also “sees” colors and patterns. His skill as a painter allows
him to transfer that visual imagery onto the canvas, creating gorgeous works of abstract art. Other artists “performing” on campus were Heather March (bead making); Ingrid Hathaway (ceramics); Emery Wegner (glass working with torch); Bruce deGraaf (photography); Andy Volpe (medieval art & print making); and Brenda Sullivan (gravestone art).
headmaster Scott r. reisinger 1999 to 2014
Extraordinary Leader, Extraordinary Time by Laura Porter
s Scott Reisinger prepares to leave Worcester for Trevor Day School in New York City, certain phrases recur as the Bancroft community reflects upon his fifteen-year tenure here. “He is such a good listener.” “All the decisions he makes are through the lens of whatever is good for the students.” “He is passionate about justice and things being fair.” Parents, faculty members, students, trustees and administrators alike stress Scott’s leadership in bringing greater diversity to the student body, inculcating a broader understanding of different learning styles, and, above all, helping to create a compassionate and collaborative community that recognizes that learning begins at home but thrives with greater global awareness. By all accounts, he has overseen a fundamental period of change that has taken Bancroft into the 21st century, change that goes well beyond the new bricks and mortar or a tripled endowment, though those developments have been vital to the continuity of the School. After all, the short list of physical innovations on campus since the Reisingers three—Scott, Anne, and then five-year-old Hannah—arrived in the summer of 1999 encompasses the McDonough Center; the revitalized and revamped Fuller Science Center; the installation of the solar electric system; and significant advancements in technology, including the iPad Initiative. It goes without saying that growing the endowment from $9 million to $26 million leaves the School with a strong foundation that will help to ensure its vitality for years to come. “I love the School,” Scott says simply. “It’s the most important work I’ve done other than my marriage and my daughter. I’m so immensely proud of what we’ve done here, all of us.” And he does mean “all of us.” “Anything said about these years has to be ‘we.’ We have been blessed with the best Board of Trustees and
faculty; our parents are wonderful,” he says. “I’m proudest of the children and who they are.” In 1999, Bancroft “needed a special leader who could heal and be comforting,” notes Nancy Tumulo, who was president of the Board of Trustees at the time. “Someone who had high ethical standards as well as scholarship and intelligence and vision for the School. And who could deliver it in a way that was inclusive of all of the constituencies at the School.” Scott had been assistant head and head of the lower school at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, Connecticut, when Bancroft approached him. He and Anne, who was then a clinical professor of public health and political science at Columbia University, decided the time was right “to try for one more headship,” he says. Hannah was just going into kindergarten.
“It’s all about recognizing the dignity of each child, meeting individual needs, and guiding them toward who they are meant to be.” Jo Herron Truesdell ’72 served on the search committee that helped select Scott. Her perspective includes her years as a Bancroft student as well as many years as a Bancroft kindergarten teacher. “Every head has come at the time they’ve needed to be here,” she says. Scott was a “natural K-12 head; he had breadth.” Moreover, even many years later, she remains struck by a phrase in one of the recommendations that accompanied his application materials. “It said that Scott was as comfortable behind the counter in the dining room as he was addressing the Board of Trustees,” she recalls. “And that has so truly been borne out in his time here.”
ancroft School’s first headmaster, Frank Robson, began his tenure at the School’s founding in 1900. He served for 15 years. Scott Reisinger assumed the role in 1999. When he departs at the end of this school year, he, too, will have served 15 years. Although the two men led Bancroft School at the turn of two very different centuries, they shared the charge to build a superior educational community. As a learned historian, Scott understands how profoundly the world can change over time. Perhaps his deep respect for the past is why he has been so successful preparing and leading Bancroft School into the future.
Frank Robson joins his students for a photo outside the Elm Street campus.
He spent much of his first year listening, hearing from everyone throughout the School in order to “create a narrative that departed from past narratives and get to know each other’s stories,” he recalls. In many ways, that process has been a persistent thread throughout the past decade and a half, underlying school-wide efforts to define and redefine Bancroft’s mission, both through formal strategic thinking processes as well as the day-to-day experience of working with children. Early on, Reisinger asked each teacher to define his or her own educational philosophy. Through conversation and collaboration, faculty, staff, and administrators conceptualized Bancroft’s mission, the most recent reiteration in 2012. It is a simple but profound message, the essence—or what should be the essence—of education: We afford students the opportunity to discover their passion in life and to learn to embrace confidently and responsibly the moral and ethical challenges of being lifelong learners, teachers of others, and citizens of an increasingly complex global community. “The mission statement is aspirational,” says Scott. “We don’t get there all the time,” though he notes that three schools heads on the NEASC reaccreditation team in 2008 told him that Bancroft was more on-mission than any other school they had visited.
One of his other key priorities has been a significant shift toward greater diversity. “Bancroft is now more affirming and accepting of people, thanks to courageous kids and faculty members and a board that says we value diversity, that diversity makes us better.” He remembers an early meeting with the Gay-Straight Alliance, the first student club he met with after he arrived. “I said to them, ‘how can I help?’” he recalls. “They said, ‘We thought you were coming in to close us down.’” Enhancing diversity on campus has also involved a broader understanding of how we all learn. Bringing a
traditional curriculum and a traditional delivery style in line with recognition of differentiated learning styles has been an essential step forward for Bancroft. “It’s all about recognizing the dignity of each child, meeting individual needs, and guiding them toward who they are meant to be,” says Reisinger. To that end, in the last decade, project-based teaching and learning as well as full learning support for students in all grades has become the norm and not the exception. This approach has culminated in the creation of the Hope Graham Program. Designed for students in first through eighth grade with dyslexia or language-based learning differences, the program opened this fall. Students in the Hope Graham Program take language-based classes with trained faculty, and join their companion classes for all other classes and activities. At the heart of this tremendous process of growth and development has, of course, been the faculty. A team leader in every sense of the term and a teacher himself, Reisinger grows emotional in discussing “the dedication of these folks” and the magic that results in a classroom led by a gifted teacher. “The most important thing about education is not facilities but teachers,” he says. “A good teacher can teach out in the middle of a field.” From the start, he has been committed to bringing Bancroft more to the fore in the Worcester community. An historian, he has served as a trustee at the Worcester Historical Museum and developed close relationships with local educators. Seniors now participate in a required co-op project during their final semester, working at a variety of agencies, and both learning from and contributing to the Worcester community. “Community” now encompasses the world. Making the goal of global citizenship a reality, Bancroft now has alliances with two schools in China, a relationship initiated by parent Nan Zhang and carried into fruition by Scott Reisinger. Students, administrators, and faculty from both countries have exchanged visits, and Mandarin is now offered in Middle and Upper School. Moreover,
fourteen students from China are attending Bancroft’s Upper School, living with local families. It goes without saying that there have been challenges along the way, some internal, others external, and all requiring patience and sensitivity from the entire Bancroft community. On a blue-skied Tuesday in September of 2001, terrorist strikes from New York City, to Washington, DC, to a field in the middle of Pennsylvania touched off behind-the-scenes turmoil at Bancroft that was never translated to the students. “It was one of the scariest days I have ever had here,” says Scott, remembering quick decisions that had to be made to keep the School open and running smoothly. Lower School students were protected from the news while older students were able to call loved ones and watch the coverage.
“The most important thing about education is not facilities but teachers.” It was a moment, like many, where few saw the difficult work beneath the surface. In referring to Scott Reisinger’s behind-the-scenes style, Gary Mathieu borrows a description of Worcester’s Bishop Flanagan as “the kind of person who could put out a fire and no one got wet.” “I see the toughness when it has to be. I’ve been at some of those meetings,” says Mathieu, who has been on the faculty since 1969 and served as Dean of Students, Academic Dean and interim Upper School head. “In challenging or difficult circumstances, he keeps the person’s dignity intact. People leave holding their heads high. It’s a knack that he has.” That knack is part and parcel of Reisinger’s personality and another one of his callings: he has been a deacon in the Catholic Church since 2008, a vital part
Celebrating the Work We’ve Done Together Scott reisinger’s visionary leadership has brought Bancroft School headlong into its second century. He leaves the School positioned at the forefront of independent education, with a solid foundation of academic excellence, financial stability, and a sustainable infrastructure. But perhaps the true legacy of his tenure is reflected in Bancroft’s diverse and vibrant community where every child is known, cared for, and loved.
McDonough center Opened state-of-the-art Lower School, Middle School, and Health Centers fuller Science center renovations Established sophisticated science facilities for expanded curriculum Global Initiatives Developed China Partnership, International Student Program, and introduced Mandarin language
financial Stability Increased endowment from $9 million to $26 million commitment to community Initiated Bancroft–Elm Park Worcester Partnership, Senior Cooperative Program, increased financial aid culture of Goodness Empowered a community of inclusion, respect, and acceptance
Technology Integration Expanded computer science curriculum and launched the region’s first 1:1 iPad Initiative
Mission & credo Cultivated a diverse community of good people who are lifelong learners, teachers of others, and citizens of the globe
Professional Development Facilitated training for faculty in executive functioning, project-based learning, All Kind of Minds
foundation for the future Established sustainable campus, Pre-Kindergarten, Hope Graham Program, Vision 2016
“I love the School. It’s the most important work I’ve done other than my marriage and my daughter. I’m so immensely proud of what we’ve done here, all of us.” -S.R.R.
of his life that complements his love of teaching, ideas, history, and humanity. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg conundrum, but “I believe his diaconate work has been an asset in his work here,” says French teacher Nicky Puccio.“That man is so patient; he is such a good listener.” Every year, he finds time to spend half an hour talking with each individual senior. Kate Anderson ’07 was student body president during her senior year at Bancroft and returned to shadow Scott for a week as a sophomore in college. She describes Reisinger as open to new ideas and genuinely interested in listening. “I really felt as if I was heard,” she says. “He truly cared, not to be politic, but because he wanted to learn.” Sandboxer Solon Kelleher ’11 was active in student government and studied ancient Latin plays with Mr. Reisinger in an independent project during his senior year. During Solon’s independent study sessions with him, Scott took them from translations of Latin to discussions about “what humor, truth are,” says Solon. “Huge topics. We started talking about philosophy without my even knowing it.” He also remembers Scott’s visits to his first grade classroom during the new headmaster’s initial year on campus, and his playing the banjo for the Lower School during “Snuggle Up and Read” evenings in the library. “Have you ever noticed,” Solon asks, “that Mr. Reisinger never seems to age?” Scott would probably be the first to dispute the impact of the past 15 years on him, but it is clear that his years at Bancroft have been deeply meaningful. “How can you feel anything but joyous and sanguine and hopeful about the future when you’re working with kids like this?” Current board president and Bancroft parent Kevan Gibson is not the first to equate Scott’s leadership with his role as a father, noting that his years as headmaster have coincided precisely with the raising of his daughter, Hannah ’12, now a sophomore at George Washington University. “Scott provided the best possible opportunities he could provide her and now it’s time for her to develop. Similarly, it’s a wonderful time to let the School move into its next chapter.” To that end, says Gibson, Scott is using this final year to solidify the work he has done at Bancroft, intent on leveraging relationships he has built to turn them into support for Bancroft. But for Scott Reisinger, it will alwaysbe about the students. Laura Porter is a Columnist for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and the parent of two Bancroft alumni, Max Richman ’07 and Zoe Richman ’11.
A Daughter’s Perspective
y father has not only been a role model to me throughout my nineteen years of life, but also my hero. Our thirteen years at Bancroft together saw our relationship grow ever stronger, while allowing me to closely observe his immense leadership and personal skills that I hope to emulate in my own life. I have been incredibly proud to witness first hand all of the hard work he has done for the Bancroft community that he loves so very much. I, as a part of the Bancroft community and as his daughter, would like to thank my father for the leadership and love he has instilled in the Bancroft family these past fifteen years that will endure even as he moves on to new experiences and opportunities. - Hannah Reisinger
Writing words and letters in sand trays provides visual, tactile, and kinesthetic input.
Engaging Students Who Learn Differently The Hope Graham Program at Bancroft School Puts Dyslexia in its Place
t first glance, the classroom looks like any other in the Lower School. But if you know what to look for, there are subtle differences. The room is uncluttered. The walls are painted in soothing colors. There are only a handful of students in the class. The teacher is projecting her reading lesson onto an interactive smartboard. There is an iPad for every child. And there are those green, oddly shaped seats known as “gumdrop chairs.” This is a Hope Graham classroom. A cornerstone of the School’s Vision 2016 strategic plan—the Hope Graham Program (HGP) at Bancroft School launched this fall. The 15 students now enrolled in HGP are in Grades 2, 3, and 5. All have languagebased learning differences (LBLD)—commonly referred to as dyslexia—a neurobiological condition that makes it difficult to acquire reading, writing, and spelling skills, despite average to superior intelligence. With the right accommodations and teaching methods, however,
students with LBLD are very capable of achieving academic success. HGP is here to make that happen. Very small class sizes, abundant technology, and multi-sensory, kinesthetic, phonics-based instruction based on the respected Orton-Gillingham reading program are all important elements of the Hope Graham Program. The three dedicated HGP teachers are all expertly trained to tap into the children’s strengths and help them dramatically improve their literacy skills. Thanks to a generous grant from the Fred Harris Daniels Foundation, the two HGP classrooms are equipped with an array of technological and sensory tools. Among them are the aforementioned gumdrop chairs (officially called Zenergy Chairs), which provide a slight but constant motion when a child is seated. “It may seem counterintuitive, but studies have shown that the movement of the chairs helps kids with attention and focus,” explains Candace Anderson, associate director of
HGP. “Sand trays, handheld manipulatives, and regular two-or three-minute ‘brain breaks’ are some of the other ways teachers provide the multi-sensory experiences that engage students and ignite their excitement and confidence,” she adds. Jyoti Datta, the director of HGP and head of Lower School, says the daily interaction between the Lower School and HGP teachers and students is carrying benefits beyond the HGP classrooms, into the entire community. “I like to call it ‘cross-pollination.’ When our students in HGP join their grade-level companion classes for subjects such as science or math, an HGP teacher will sometimes accompany them for added support when necessary,” she explains. “Students in the companion classes have the benefit of two teachers in the room, at times, who each bring unique strengths. The Lower School faculty often gain new insights about teaching diverse learners from their HGP colleagues. And it also helps students recognize their own unique learning styles.” Getting children thinking and talking about how they learn is important for all students, not just those with LBLD. “We saw a nice example of this at the beginning of the school year, when every child in Lower School made a personal learning circle,” says Jyoti. A learning circle is a diagram filled with pictures, words, or phrases that represent the child’s unique gifts, as well as their areas of struggle. Like a target, strengths go near the center of the circle, while challenges go toward the outer edges of the circle. One student’s learning circle showed math in the bullseye, with art and soccer in the next ring. This child found biking, piano, and spelling a bit more difficult, while sitting still and not talking in gym were the biggest challenges of all. Another child — perhaps a student in HGP— wrote in the center of the circle, “Things I do best: science, math, art, PE, band, computer.” On the outer edges of the learning circle were the things she
struggled with: drama, reading, writing, and spelling. Some students put pictures in their learning circles; other used mostly words. Every one was unique. “The learning circles were a wonderful jumping-off point to facilitate open, honest conversations. Every child has something to offer, even though we aren’t all good at the same things,” said Jyoti. “We want to create a safe peer community in which the children acknowledge, celebrate, and share their strengths, and support each other in the areas that are more challenging.” Candace Anderson points out that Bancroft has always provided learning support for struggling readers, but a child with LBLD has more intensive needs. “Before HGP, we sometimes had to reluctantly tell families that a more specialized school might be a better placement. Today,” she says with a smile, “we are that ‘more specialized school.’ We can meet those needs right here at Bancroft.” The Hope Graham Program is the only program of its kind in Central Massachusetts. And despite its newness, it is already showing results. Susan Domski, whose son Zach is a fifth grader in the Hope Graham Program, wrote the following to Jyoti Datta earlier in the school year: “Zach is incredibly proud to be at Bancroft. I am not exaggerating when I say he is always smiling when he gets off the bus. He is so excited to share about his day. He is regaining his confidence and I think he sees that there is hope for him as a student. I want to thank you for giving us back our joyful boy.” Restoring a child’s confidence, hope, and joy in learning was the lifelong passion of Mrs. Hope Graham, the program’s namesake. As teacher in the 1950s, then as head of Lower School, and as a tutor for many years after her retirement, Hope Graham recognized the intelligence and potential of her students with dyslexia, and gave them the keys to unlock their gifts. Bancroft is proud to carry that legacy into the future. – Julie O’Malley
HGP classrooms feature innovative, multi-sensory tools and technology to help children with LBLD focus and learn.
rEMEMBErInG Mr. GaUThIEr Edgar A. Gauthier 1932–2013
“Adieu, mon professeur”
Ed Gauthier was a beloved presence on the Bancroft campus from 1958 through his retirement in 1994 and beyond. He dedicated his professional career to Bancroft for over four decades in many roles—French teacher, librarian, dean of discipline, Assistant Headmaster, and in 1999, Acting Headmaster. He authored the Bancroft School Centennial History, and was the 2000 recipient of the Milton P. Higgins Award for Service to Bancroft School. Ed enjoyed visiting with former students and was a favorite guest at reunions and special events year after year.
“Ed Gauthier is why people go to a school like Bancroft.” -Betsy Gummere Hall ’68 “He will be the epitome of the best of Bancroft School forever.” -Virginia Woodbury, Former Trustee “Mr. Gauthier looms as one of the giants of my formative days at Bancroft.” -Peter Janhunen ’85 “Almost always, Ed made one feel better about himself and the world.” -Steve White, Colleague “Edgar was a dear friend and mentor to so many of us who will join his hundreds of friends around the world in mourning the passing of this decent, brilliant gentleman” -Scott Reisinger, Headmaster
Read more and add your memories on our Tribute page: bancroftschool.org/mrgauthier
Kimono-clad second graders enjoyed a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Non-stop action and fancy footwork marked this MS soccer game.
These US Horizons club members spend Saturdays working with children with special needs.
Third graders wrote, illustrated, and read their own books to US students.
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Upper School’s Powder & Wig presented The Diary of Anne Frank in December. Senior Sarah Whalen portrays Anne in this poignant stage adaptation of the tragic Holocaust-era autobiography.