BANCROFT Bulletin Fall/Winter 2012
Sandboxer to CEO, Lucinda Reed Sanders â€™71 Lives Her Passion
Pre-Kindergarten returns to Bancroft with an energetic class of 4 & 5 year olds.
Lower School students enjoy the Greater Worcester Opera’s performance of “Diamonds and Toads,” set to Mozart.
Middle School 8th grade students each perform a role in Delia Ephron’s “How to Eat Like a Child.”
Upper School students call alumni during a winter Annual Fund Thank-a-thon.
BANCROFT Bulletin |
5 News Features
New Logos… Building Resiliency… Auction Supports the Arts… Science Teacher Honored… Project Adventure… and more…
110 Shore Drive Worcester, MA 01605 508.853.2640 www.bancroftschool.org Headmaster Scott R. Reisinger
10 Alumni Profile
14 VISION 2016
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 Laurie Bowater Director of Development Lynn St. Germain Director of Alumni Relations Julie O’Malley Associate Director of Advancement for Marketing and Communications Lydia Barter Development Associate Catherine Hanssen Administrative Assistant Design Linda Dagnello Photography Russ Campbell, Tammy Woodard Cover Photo: Lucinda Reed Sanders ’71 enjoying her winter garden. Photo: © OLIN / Sahar Coston Hardy
Lucinda Reed Sanders ’71, Artfully Connecting Humanity with Surrounding Landscapes
Bancroft introduces new strategic initiatives to go from strength to strength in a changing world
Photos: Russ Campbell
Dear Bancroft Friends: As winter surrounds us, it is my pleasure to present you with this new edition of the Bancroft Bulletin, which includes the FY ’12 Annual Report. This academic year has been a year of challenge, change, and opportunity. The words and images contained in this Bulletin reflect a school that is alive with a clear mission of creating a diverse community of good people who go on to be lifelong learners, teachers of others, and citizens of the globe. In the past few weeks, our School has unveiled our Vision 2016 document that outlines five major initiatives that will ground our work over the next several years. Our Board of Trustees has been vigilant in outlining a clear future direction for Bancroft. Not only do our initiatives call for a greater focus upon project-based learning and the creation of space to reflect this commitment, they also include an expansion of our curriculum and program to serve better the needs of students with diagnosed learning differences, and strengthening Bancroft’s commitment to global education. And our last initiative, the promotion of “goodness” in the lives of our children, seems ever more appropriate at a time when we have witnessed the horror in Newtown, Connecticut. I have had the opportunity of discussing our new Vision 2016 with faculty, parents, students, and alumni. Indeed, during trip gatherings in New York City and Washington last month, over fifty alumni and friends heard about the initiatives first-hand, and the support was overwhelmingly positive. This support speaks to the past success of Bancroft in preparing students for a constantly changing world. We welcome your reactions not only to the Vision 2016 initiatives, but to the Bulletin as a whole. Feel free to drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org. In gratitude for your continuing support,
Scott R. Reisinger Headmaster
Alumni and friends in Washington, DC, and New York City are among the first to hear about Vision 2016.
New Logos, New Look, Same Community The Unveiling of Our Updated Identity
ore than a year ago, the Fred Harris Daniels Foundation generously awarded Bancroft a capital grant to create a new brand identity and redesign of our website. Thus began a far-reaching rebranding campaign and many months of detailed work, culminating in the launch of the new series of logos at the Opening Assembly in September. In addition to the main school logo, we have updated the athletics logo and bulldog mascot. The traditional Bancroft seal—which was not altered as part of this project—remains an important part of the School’s identity as well. The communications team, using extensive feedback from the School community, worked with the Bostonbased Kor Group on the logo design and branding strategy. Students, in particular, had asked for a modern look that would unify the entire student body, Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12. They requested an additional color to be included in the palette, and felt it was important that
the athletics logo clearly represent our teams with a strong and fierce appearance. Judging from their positive reaction at the unveiling, the new design fits the bill. Matthew Barone, former Director of Marketing & Communications who led the identity campaign, was not surprised. “The communications team worked very hard to create an image of the School that unifies the community, respects our history, and aligns us well with a bright future.” Karen Dendy-Smith, principal at Kor Group, commented: “A solid logo and brand architecture is founded on the principle that good design is a balance of form and function backed by a clear understanding of purpose. Great design distills your brand identity to its essence, and is supported by an architecture that has clear hierarchies, making it easy for your audience to understand who you are amidst the fray. At the same time, a cohesive brand program respects the fact that the media landscape is constantly changing and allows for growth.” Our phased launch of the logos has been taking shape throughout campus life for the past few months. The website redesign is well underway, with an anticipated launch date in 2013.
Building Resiliency in Our Students
ancroft announced this fall the creation of a school-wide Resiliency Program that focuses on the academic, social, ethical, and moral challenges our students face at different points in their lives. “Over the years there have been a host of programs that addressed various individual student needs, but recent research supports the concept of building a core Pre-K through Grade 12 program that identifies the importance of teaching resiliency,” said School Counselor, Carol Botty. To initiate this process, a Resiliency Committee was established in the fall of 2011. While there is an abundance of health and wellness information available, the Committee’s goal was to customize a program to meet the college-preparatory needs of the Bancroft community. Members of the Committee explored and participated in a variety of programs including the UMass Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, Yoga Ed., and the Education Initiative from Mass General’s BensonHenry Institute for Mind Body Medicine. From this experience, the Committee determined that our community would be best served by teaching faculty and students a specific skill-set based in Relaxation Response techniques. Controlled studies have demonstrated that students trained in the Relaxation Response curriculum experience:
• • • • •
Decreased psychological distress, Higher grades, Better work habits, Increased self-esteem, and Better coping skills.
Faculty training began in January of 2012 with a halfday introductory Benson-Henry workshop. Using a
“train the trainer” model, the workshop taught the faculty how to use Relaxation Response exercises and self-care strategies for themselves, and how to teach them to their students. With generous funding from the PFA and Bancroft parent and Board member Phyllis Harrington, additional professional training took place in August. The first day involved experiential hands-on practice of the techniques. The second day was devoted to teaching the techniques and incorporating them into the curriculum. Faculty practiced methods including goal setting, motivation, cognitive restructuring, yoga, guided imagery, breathing, and other mind/body techniques. Building off of the Benson-Henry experience and understanding the developmental stage of Lower School students, the Lower School has embraced the Yoga Ed. program. This utilizes mind-body integrating activities, such as linked breath and movement, to support learning and health in the classroom. The philosophy teaches that the ability to slow down and pay attention allows one to connect intention, action, and results. Daniel D., a second grader, commented, “We do a meditation before our spelling and math tests. Sometimes you could forget things, but you remember them after you meditate.” The Benson-Henry Education Initiative returned to the Middle and Upper School Divisions in the fall to lead student assemblies and model in-class application of the Relaxation Response. Additional training opportunities will be created for those students who express an interest in pursuing more in-depth workshops.
Auction Supports the Arts
ast spring, the Parent Faculty Association’s “Passport to the World” Gala Auction successfully fulfilled its goal of making an impact on Bancroft’s Arts Programs. Raising a total of $90,000, the Auction allowed improvements and acquisitions that are being felt immediately by students and faculty. “This is exciting,” remarks Chair of Performing Arts Paul Belanger when talking about how the monies have enhanced the department. “Every student, in all three divisions, has already benefitted. The newest lighting technology in the theater (photo right), the sound system in the music rooms, classroom projectors, and more musical instruments are just a sampling of the additions that have allowed us to push the curriculum to the limits.” Many of the new acquisitions dovetail with the School’s iPad program. “We now have moving lights controlled by the iPad from anywhere in the theater, and sheet music accessible to the teacher and the student on the iPad, while the new sound system will enable students to clearly hear their instruments and voices.”
Visual Arts Chair Bob Dec is equally excited. “I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to have this money dedicated to the Arts. We have been able to purchase items that enhance our teaching, and the students’ experience.” A large-format printer, large flat screen for the media center, additional pottery wheels, studio lighting, additional film and digital cameras, software, ceiling-mounted projectors, and a myriad of furniture to allow students to work in comfort represent just a sampling of what has been added to the three divisions of visual arts. “We have always had the tools to inspire creativity. However, now, with the addition of equipment, furniture, and software, we can teach and students can create using cutting-edge tools.” A heartfelt thanks goes to 2012 PFA Gala Auction Committee co-chairs Laurie Levy and Susan Millette, their dedicated committee members and volunteers, and the generous community who all contributed to a continued commitment to artistic excellence at Bancroft.
Science Teacher Honored as Presidential Award Finalist
Photo courtesy of Anne Marie Groome Hynes
sk any student from Grade 7 to 12 to describe science teacher MaryAnn DeMaria and they will tell you she is “awesome.” Apparently, the National Science Foundation agrees as they named her a finalist for the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. In June 2012, Governor Deval Patrick and state education officials honored her, along with four other finalists from across the state, at a ceremony in the Massachusetts State House. The award is considered one of the Nation’s highest honors for teachers of math and science. DeMaria joined Bancroft’s Middle School science faculty in 2006 where she was instrumental in creating the 7th grade Science Fair and helped launch the MS Lego League Team. Last year she began teaching Upper School science and Advanced Placement biology. Says Headmaster Reisinger, “MaryAnn DeMaria is a superb teacher and colleague, a mainstay of our science program and an ardent proponent of project-based learning.” Her colleagues agree, honoring her in 2011 with the Carpe Diem award for excellence and enthusiasm in teaching while acting as a role model for both students and peers.
MaryAnn DeMaria and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick
New Faculty, Staff, and Trustees Mary Bagley, returns to her role as Director of Library Services. She earned a B.A. in History from Emmanuel College, and an M.S., in Library Science at Catholic University. Heather Canapary, Middle School science teacher, earned a B.S. in Environmental Science & Geosciences, Spanish, and Outdoor Pursuits (Minor) from the University of Oregon, and her MAT in Teaching from Pacific University. Christian Gal, a member of the US English faculty from 2002-2011, has returned in a dual role as Associate Director of Admission and US English teacher. He holds a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College, and an M.A. in English from Brown University. Fanfei Kong, MS and US Mandarin Chinese teacher, earned a B.A. in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, and English, from Beijing Foreign Studies University; and an M.Ed. in Language and Literacy from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Justin Redden, returns to Bancroft in his new role as Director of Institutional Technology. He holds a B.A. in Communications from Framingham State College, and is an Apple-Certified Technical Coordinator and Mac Technician.
NEW TRUSTEES Dr. Sheena Sharma ’89 graduated from Wellesley College in 1993 and from Boston University School of Medicine in 2003. Sheena is a cardiologist working in Webster, MA. She and husband Joseph Cotten have two sons, Akash ’24, and Avinash. Catherine Colinvaux, a partner with the Boston law firm Zelle Hofmann, earned an A.B. in Russian Literature and History from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges, and a J.D. in Environmental Law from Harvard University Law School. Catherine and her husband Phil Zamore have two children, Hannah ’15 and Eli ’19. Gabriele (“Gigi”) Lewis received a B.A. from Salve Regina College in Newport, RI. She is a longtime Bancroft volunteer and the current Chair of the Parent Faculty Association (PFA). She and her husband Gordon are the parents of daughters Casey ’13 and Katrina ’15.
Project Adventure Comes to 6th Grade
Grant-Funded Program Provides Experiential Learning
ast year, 6th grade teacher Abigail Church submitted a proposal to the Sun Hill Foundation for a grant to launch a new program called Project Adventure for 6th graders. “The 5th grade has Camp Kieve, and the 7th grade has the Sargent Center/Nature’s Classroom. We felt it was important to bridge the gap and provide an experiential learning program for Bancroft’s 6th graders.” The goal, she said, was to strengthen the students’ bonds as a class, and help smooth their transition into Middle School. The grant was awarded, and in November the 6th grade took part in the first of two Project Adventure workshops. The students participated in a variety of smallgroup activities that required them to work together to achieve a goal. The photo shows just one of the many activities—raising and lowering a hula-hoop using only one finger on each hand to support the hoop. As the students quickly discovered, even seemingly simple tasks can be quite challenging. One person’s small error, such as moving the wrong way or getting momentarily distracted, can throw off the whole group. The facilitators watch for teachable moments, helping the students notice, for example, that blaming the
person who made a mistake didn’t help anything; it just wasted time and stirred up negative emotions. When the students communicated with positive, supportive suggestions, they were able to solve the problem, and achieve their goal. Afterwards, one student said, “the message I took away from the PA experience was to have different perspectives on problems. If I come across a particularly hard problem, I can try out new ideas.” Another wrote, “I worked on being cooperative. I had to listen to others’ ideas and let my ideas go when I had to.” This Project Adventure workshop highlighted teambuilding and communication. The facilitators will return later this winter for a second session, focusing on problem solving and identifying personal learning styles.
From Kennedy to Kent State
6th Grade Dancer Tours with Billy Elliot and an iPad
(L-R) Headmaster Scott Reisinger; panelists Jim Welu, Shirley Wright, Suzanne St. Pierre ’54, Jerry Lembcke; and Cultural Events Coordinator Hannah Hall-Alicandro.
n October, a panel of four guest speakers came to Bancroft to talk with US students and faculty about the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. They shared their personal stories of the time using iconic photographs from the era to illustrate the life-altering changes that took place. Hannah Hall-Alicandro, Bancroft’s cultural events coordinator, collaborated with two of her fellow Cultural Advisory Board members—Bancroft alumna and Trustee Suzanne St. Pierre ’54, former producer for “60 Minutes,” and Jim Welu, Director Emeritus of the Worcester Art Museum (WAM)—to arrange the event to coincide with the “Kennedy to Kent State: Images of a Generation” photographic exhibition at the WAM. The exhibition (which closes February 3, 2013) presents some of the most powerful and iconic American photographs from the period 1958 to 1975—years that included the presidency and assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the American space program and its mission to the moon, the Kent State killings, and the antiwar movement and counterculture. As Hall-Alicandro explains, “Worcester has so many resources that can enrich our students. We knew the exhibit was coming to the museum, so we brainstormed a way to connect with it.” St. Pierre and Welu volunteered to be panelists, and soon Vietnam vet Jerry Lembcke, an author and associate professor of sociology at Holy Cross, and Shirley Wright, former executive director of the City of Worcester’s Human Rights Commission, agreed to join them. As a complement to the panel presentation, Bancroft faculty accompanied US photography and history students to the WAM to see the photographic exhibition. Said Hall-Alicandro, “The best programs incorporate an arts, cultural, community, and a curricular connection as well.”
ancroft sixth grader Yanna Nikitas has spent much of this school year outside the classroom. An accomplished ballet dancer, Nikitas won the role of Sharon Percy in the North American tour of Billy Elliot, The Musical. After opening in Boston, the show took her to five additional cities, with many more to come. A scheduled break brought her back to Bancroft for two weeks this fall. Nikitas credits her iPad with keeping her connected to the classroom. “I can log into the School’s portal to get my assignments, and I can email my teachers if I have any questions,” she says. “And I stay in touch with my friends by email, text, and FaceTime.” Parents Sheri and Steve Nikitas of Sterling, MA, worked closely with Headmaster Reisinger, Middle School Head Roger Jones, and faculty to ensure that their daughter would be able to keep up with the sixth grade curriculum. A tutor helps Nikitas with her schoolwork on tour. English teacher Gil Moore, Nikitas’ advisor at Bancroft, agrees that the iPad plays a key role. “Yanna remains very much a part of this 6th grade class,” he says. “Our worlds are close, even though we’re physically apart, because we can communicate digitally. Yanna can get her assignments on her iPad and send them back. And her classmates can use their iPads to share in her experience, watching clips of her shows or reading about the tour online.” As it turned out, the timing couldn’t have been better. Bancroft’s 1:1 iPad program expanded into the Middle School this year and, as Moore puts it, “the iPad has given all of the students a variety of new learning opportunities.” For information on the Billy Elliot tour, visit www.billyelliottour.com.
A Visionary: Artfully Connecting Humanity with Surrounding Landscapes CEO of Landscape Architecture Firm OLIN, Lucinda Reed Sanders ’71 Shares the Passions that Shape Her Life
© OLIN / Sahar Coston Hardy
By Amy E. Barone
hile studying at the University of Pennsylvania, Lucinda Reed Sanders caught the attention of one of her professors, Laurie Olin. After Sanders earned her master’s degree in landscape architecture, Olin invited her to join his practice. Rising quickly in the firm, she demonstrated strengths in both design and management. In 1996, she was named a Partner at OLIN, leading to a variety of award-winning projects. In 2007, her partners elected her CEO, a role in which she continues to pursue a socially responsive, urbanist mission.
the sense of craftsmanship. “My parents had a substantial alking with Lucinda Reed Sanders, Class of 1971, garden that began out of World War II; they grew their own is like having a conversation with a true visionary. She vegetables, raised pigs; my dad raised bees and had honey.” reflects not only a profound intellect in myriad subjects, She passionately describes how her parents developed but also an appreciation of her childhood, the academic the earth by “managing this landscape” experiences that propelled her forward in single-handedly. Sanders then points out the world of knowledge (Bancroft being how very little land in the United States one), our surrounding environment Cindy Reed is untouched, and further observes that and its intricate systems, and a deep ...the wise man looks into space, and does not we’re shaping the landscape in myriad compassion for humanity. regard the small as too little, nor the great as too big, ways, from agriculture and horticulture, Scheduling a time to chat with this for he knows that there is no limit to dimensions. to meadow or woodland management. leading landscape architect is no easy Lao-tse Sanders’ parents did all of this. “My dad feat; her schedule at the University of would take his cutter bar out into the Pennsylvania’s School of Design, where woods and my mom would advise to ‘cut she is an adjunct Professor, coupled with here, don’t cut here, save these trees, prune her work at the firm OLIN—where she is others.’ They were managing this space CEO and Partner—leaves her with little and making good decisions about the land. “down time.” Juggling a busy schedule This approach to landscape was probably amidst the demands of professional responsible for my expansive view of and personal responsibilities is part of landscape architecture, a view that extends Sanders’ life. Awaiting her flight to Hong well beyond the walls of the garden.” Kong, we caught up with one another on the phone. Bags checked, boarding The Bancroft Factor passes scanned, and itinerary printed, this Bancroft sandboxer explains how she The physical environment of Bancroft found herself a leader in the expanding remains impactful to Sanders, as well. field of landscape architecture. It’s evident that Sanders envisions space dramatically differently than most. She recounts that “a piece of the physical arrangement of Bancroft is gone, but Describing herself as a child who the hallway, progression, and passage are was very “upbeat and happy,” Sanders memorable to me.” The layout of the attributes this to her parents, who were school was “linear.” Reminiscing about profoundly connected to the earth and the original outline of the campus, she their surroundings: “they were grounded comments how it was “up on a hill” and individuals who had deep values and its positioning “placed academia at the their own true sense of peace and joy.” crest of the institution where dominant In the same breath, Sanders transitions learning takes place.” A threshold from her parents, to her experiences at Cindy receives Bancroft’s Esther Forbes Award for for Sanders who smoothly transitions Bancroft, “The positive experiences at Distinguished Professional Achievement in 2011 from landscape of linear structure to its Bancroft contributed to that whole aura metaphorical reference of Bancroft’s pedagogy, “there was of seeing the world from multiple perspectives.” The values a direct connection to the layout of the school—between and skills instilled in Sanders have nothing to do with elementary, middle, and high school—and how as students materialism or unexamined experiences, and everything we knew there was something different on the other side.” to do with how her education at Bancroft provided the Eager to disclose her pedagogical experiences at ability to develop and hone constant inquiry. “At Bancroft Bancroft, Sanders discusses the fact that some of her I always surrounded myself with people who had different best teachers taught history even though, she adds qualities and strengths than my own. When one does this, with a chuckle, “I was never very good at history.” She life can be a lot more interesting!” elaborates, “I’m profoundly interested in history today, Two major themes arise as Sanders speaks: physical but as I look back I understand now that I never had a environments and people. Talking about her parents isn’t concept of time.” Mr. Carlson, however, required students grounded in just influences but directly connected to to write short position papers. There were no dates to part of a larger system, one that connects humanity to its memorize—instead the focus was on ideas. She had to surroundings. “They bought property in Shrewsbury, MA be tested, but it was no longer about getting the ‘right’ and built a house on it from the ground up. My dad built answer, but making convincing arguments. Quietly, she the stone wall around this rather large property.” Sanders adds: “that was a watershed moment for me.” reminisces that the foundation, the house, the wall, all had A Childhood of Constant Inquiry
Carnegie Hall Roof Garden New York, NY / In Progress
The ongoing modernization of New York City’s landmark Carnegie Hall will include this rooftop garden and event space designed by Sanders’ firm.The vertically verdant landscape will be able to accommodate hundreds of people, and will feature storm water systems that capture rainwater for irrigation, and reflective pavement to minimize heat.
Carnegie Hall: © Iu + Bibliowicz Architects
Sanders recalls how being in Mr. White’s English class was a gift, “he was a radical teacher, I remember being exposed to sexuality in novels.” Sharing her memory of reporting back to her parents about class discussions and topics, she notes how Mr. White was able to “push us to think outside the box,” and he was never censored, “I mean, here was this teacher who spoke freely about things that teachers in other schools weren’t allowed to.” Sanders’ responses aren’t calculated or contrived; they reflect depth and complexity. It’s apparent that these experiences, like the observations of the role her parents played with their environment, carry through to her vision of structures, spaces, and people. White, a member of the faculty from 1961 – 2008, remembers his former student fondly knowing that Bancroft’s modern Mondrian campus had an influence on her aesthetics (consciously or unconsciously). “These Japanese Zen, Buddhist, and Chinese Taoist aesthetics,
follow the maxim that ‘less is more’ and the ideal of revealing the beauty of nature and Man’s small presence in the natural world.” Discovering a Life’s Vocation So the question is: how do we make the leap from the sports-loving (basketball, soccer, field hockey), gleeclub-member (self-confessed poor singer, but who loved the exposure to music culture and ethos of the club), and math-loving (geometry and algebra, not so much differential equations), plate-always-full (Sanders recalls her mother saying “you’ve got to stop doing too much”) student at Bancroft to a religion major at Wells College? Easy. When you take an individual who’s not particularly religious in a traditional sense, you get a subject that offers ideas and belief systems. There is a frame of reference where we can see one another, see systems, and see society.
Not many know that the pathway to landscape architecture also includes a profound love of logic that comes with math and philosophy. She adds, “I love the argument of philosophy.” But, the story doesn’t stop there. Sanders, discovering her own vision of life, went on to obtain a Master’s in Landscape Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design. The marriage to landscape architecture was “inevitable.” To work with the complexity of the world in which we reside; to engage, shape, and impact her surroundings, Sanders concludes in a genuine, slow deliberation, “that is my passion.” Sanders talks admiringly about how studying under Ian McHarg, as well as Laurie Olin and Robert Hanna, allowed her to “think big but become adept at working at the middle and small scale.” Sanders carved her niche in the field of landscape architecture despite serious obstacles. Her husband died in 1991 when her two daughters were 6 and 4. “Ashley and Christina, now 27 and 25 respectively, have been the humanizing part of my life with this crazy schedule. They were my raison d’être during some really tough emotional times. I raised them with 13 different au pairs. Let’s just say we now have an expanded international family which sometimes takes us to wonderful places like the Swiss
Comcast Center Plaza
Philadelphia, PA / 2004–2008
© OLIN / Sahar Coston Hardy
Winner of the 2009 Urban Land Institute Award of Excellence, the OLIN-designed plaza at the base of Philadelphia’s Comcast Center office tower is a vibrant civic space for residents and workers. Conceived as a series of vertical and horizontal layers, the plaza features a hedge that defines the space and filters noise; an illuminated glass box beneath a sculptural trellis of glass, steel, and vines; and a dynamic fountain that provides a linear veil between the structures and the main plaza.
Alps for weddings.” Her partner Nick has also been a source of strength for more than a decade. “He puts up with my boundless energy, and outright supports the places it takes me and us.” When asked about obstacles she faced as a woman in the field of landscape architecture, Sanders responds, “Your question is in past tense, as if the obstacles are over. Let me assure you, they are not.” As CEO and Partner in one of the top three to five landscape architecture firms in the world, Sanders still finds herself “the only female with any authority in a room.” Men and women, she believes, “approach life differently; they have different styles. When only men are at the table, the way problems and issues are approached can be biased.” However, she adds, “client culture is important to understand, and to the degree there are issues, they may not always—or even significantly—be gender issues.” Landscape architecture, she explains, is the “deliberate and conscious shaping of the external environment, incorporating multiple systems: living, ecological, social, environmental, and artistic with cultural significance.” There is no one system that constructs a space or the experiences that manifest through its presence. “It is important that we connect on every level. To the extent that we connect to the urban fabric, that fabric must be conceived to support the intention of the civic or public realm.” Top projects for this visionary include: Central Delaware Master Plan, Gap Rooftop Garden in Downtown San Francisco, Carnegie Hall Rooftop Garden, and Wagner Park, to name a few. Sanders is excited about the direction in which the firm—and the field—are headed, “It’s easy to get caught up in practice and not evolve—this is extremely dangerous. We must continue gathering knowledge, experiences, and goals in order to shape the future.” In her professional realm, every partner is expected to be tackling contemporary topics and staying ahead of the client demands so that they can either shape the clients’ perspectives or become an early leader. Sanders concludes “this is what I mean about the importance of education, as it is an ongoing necessity for those who wish to remain leaders.” A muffled airport announcement that they are boarding Sanders’ flight, which is one of many she’ll be taking during the month, brings our discussion to a close. A product of grounded parents, it’s evident that this landscape architect has strong roots connecting her to an inquiry-based pedagogy that was propelled by teachers who scorned rote memorization and disconnected facts. Like the stone wall that framed her parents’ property, or the original structure of Bancroft School up on the hill, the environment and humanity are interconnected in this astute observer’s imagination. Her advocacy today reflects her systems thinking: “regardless of the scale with which we work, it’s a holistic practice toward the land, which is artful and reflective of deep cultural values and beliefs.” Amy E. Barone is a freelance writer and Instructor of Writing and Rhetoric at Syracuse University.
E GRESSIV ITY PRO N IL IO IV T C A ED NIC ENGAG EMIC COMMU L A IP B H O S GL AD DER ENT AC HIP LEA TORS CONFID ITY PARTNERS U D CA N ITY NERS E R A E COMMU L N QUAL L IO A S N S A IO P S LLENCE PROFES H EXCE T G N E R ST
12 – 2016
Vision 2016: Bancroft introduces new strategic initiatives to go from strength to strength in a changing world By Jason M. Rubin
ancroft School has been rewriting the rules for Pre-K–12 education since 1900. Now, with Vision 2016, a set of strategic initiatives that reflect and respond to changes in the School, the community, and the world at large, Bancroft continues to show its commitment to educational innovation. As alumni well know, Bancroft is a place where teachers infuse a rigorous curriculum with the joy and excitement of hands-on, experiential learning—where students respect their teachers, their peers, and themselves, bringing equal parts enthusiasm and effort to their tasks. Well into the School’s second century, this recipe has been proven effective as, year after year, Bancroft graduates distinguish themselves at the finest colleges and universities, and in careers devoted to making a difference in the world. Yet rather than rest on its laurels, Bancroft has decided to look not only at what it is doing right, but what it could be doing better.
Retreat to advance Last January Bancroft’s Board of Trustees convened a two-day strategic planning retreat, attended by over 30 members of the Board, administration, and invited guests from around the country. The goal of the exercise, explains Board President Kevan Gibson, was to facilitate innovative thinking, debate priorities, and create a strategic document—Vision 2016—that identifies the key initiatives upon which Bancroft should focus during the next three to five years. “This is my first full year as president, and we have a few new members; it seemed like a good time to get folks together to ask questions—see where we were and where we wanted to go,” explains Gibson. “What made the retreat successful was the fact that everyone present really jumped in. We had excellent discussions among people who were serious about making Bancroft School even better.” Headmaster Scott Reisinger agrees.
“This isn’t about rethinking what Bancroft is all tests but if you can’t analyze a problem and conceive about,” he says. “It’s about taking stock of our strengths a workable solution, you can’t add value in today’s and thinking about ways to be more effective, serve economy.” more needs, and live our ideals more fully. Vision 2016 “Project-based learning,” he continues, “takes on represents the best of our mission and incorporates the real-life problems in a collaborative and interdisciplinary best practices that will environment. Our Science guide us for the next few “This isn’t about rethinking what Bancroft Department has been taking years.” the lead on this and currently is all about. It’s about taking stock of our offers a course that uses project At the conclusion of the retreat, participants had strengths and thinking about ways to be based learning. We’re looking reached consensus on five more effective, serve more needs, and live to expand that model to all initiatives. What follows is our academic areas.” our ideals more fully.” an overview: Initiative 1: The Bancroft “Learning Laboratory Method” Project-Based Learning, Adaptive Technology, and Optimal Learning Environments Bancroft is well known for its excellent academics, grounded in a progressive, inclusive approach to hands-on, experiential learning. The idea of projectbased learning at Bancroft is not new. “We’ve been talking about this a lot,” says Reisinger, but since the School aligned itself with recent neuroscientific research suggesting that all students learn differently, its importance has become more pronounced. The Learning Laboratory Method reflects what is now known about how students learn, and acknowledges the ways in which the world and workplace have changed in recent years to become more interconnected and collaborative. To quote from the Vision 2016 document, “Our objective will be to further develop our project-based learning curriculum with additional openended and inquiry-based opportunities that will foster the analytical, communication, and collaboration skills that will be required of our graduates.” To do that, the School will examine its curriculum and teaching methods, provide for faculty enrichment and development, and ensure that graduates are not only adept and flexible problem solvers but also self-directed learners and teachers of others. “Companies are looking for problemsolvers,” says Reisinger. “You can do well on
Initiative 2: The Bancroft Academic Center for Excellence A Flexible Space for Flexible Learners, Pre-K through Grade 12 The Bancroft Academic Center for Excellence (BACE) is a capital improvement initiative that will add 16,000 square feet to Bancroft’s campus, creating a nexus for student-centered learning, life, and culture. It will be an all-school facility, centrally located, that will enable students and teachers to work collaboratively on project-based assignments and engage in educational teleconferences with partner schools in other countries, among other activities. Architectural plans for the expansion are currently in development but will accommodate the integration of various educational technologies. At the same time, the BACE will serve another important function: enabling students from different grades to mix informally. According to Jim Condon ’83, president of the Bancroft Alumni Council and a parent of two Bancroft students, “In a lot of ways, Vision 2016 is not so much an evolution as it is the School coming full circle. Bancroft is reclaiming and reinvigorating some of the things that have always made it distinctive.” “When I went to Bancroft 40 years ago,” he continues, “the School was much smaller. There was a lot of mixing and mingling between Lower Schoolers and Upper Schoolers. I looked up to the older kids as role models. It was very meaningful to me. As it got bigger, those opportunities lessened. Even though the BACE is an expansion of space, I think it will help to make Bancroft ‘smaller’ in a good way.”
Initiative 3: The Hope Graham Program at Bancroft School Serving the Needs of Students with LanguageBased Learning Differences Building upon the School’s longtime commitment to nurture, respect, and educate diverse learners, the Hope Graham Program at Bancroft School is designed for students with diagnosed language-based learning differences in Grades 1 through 8. The program seeks to nurture the intellectual curiosity of these bright learners through small group and individualized instruction using a systematic, multi-sensory approach, hands-on learning, and assistive technology, facilitated by expert teachers. Named after former Lower School Head Hope Graham (1958-’82), a pioneer in language-based learning, the new program will be led by current Lower School Head Jyoti Datta. The Hope Graham Program will leverage the latest research and pedagogy to inform instructional practices best suited to meet the needs of diverse learners.
“We firmly believe that each child brings with him or her unique strengths and challenges.”
“We have always had such students,” says Datta, “and we have served them to the best of our ability. Now, partly because there is more awareness and therefore more diagnoses being made, we are seeing a larger population of diverse learners. Fortunately, we are also better able to serve them and include them in our academic programs.” “We firmly believe that each child brings with him or her unique strengths and challenges,” she continues. “Our experiential and hands-on curriculum, enhanced by multisensory, tactile, and kinesthetic learning, projectbased learning, field trips, and embedded technology, will provide an ideal match for students with learning differences.”
Adds Reisinger, “This is such an important initiative that we’re hoping to move quickly on it; our plan is to enroll the first students by September 2013.” Initiative 4: Global Studies for the 21st Century Bringing the World to Bancroft, and Bancroft Students to the World Global studies, global citizenship; these are existing aspects of the Bancroft experience, and their importance is growing exponentially. That’s why a more formal and expansive Global Studies Program is a key initiative of Vision 2016. While Bancroft has had sister schools in China and France, with short-term exchanges, the proposed Global Studies Program has three aspects: • Welcoming international students to the Bancroft campus to work towards a Bancroft diploma, thereby providing a greater multicultural dimension to the Bancroft experience; • Implementing an enhanced Global Studies curriculum featuring true collaborations—via Skype, email, and teleconferencing—with our international sister schools on projects involving global challenges, be they political, economic, environmental, or social in nature; and • Creating a foreign travel graduation requirement, consistent with the School’s overall global mission, with little or no impact on tuition.
“Colleges take great pride in their study abroad programs,” says Gibson, “and the business world is inherently global and internationally interconnected. To best prepare our students for the challenges and opportunities they will face once they leave Bancroft, we need to introduce them to other cultures and customs, and give them experience collaborating with—and learning from—people from different backgrounds.” Adds Assistant Head of School Gary Mathieu, “Through a multifaceted program including travel, study, and service opportunities, the Global Studies Program will further develop Bancroft students as global citizens who honor cultural diversity, act in an environmentally sustainable way, and participate in today’s interconnected global community.”
Simply put, a student may draw upon a math lesson taught in a Bancroft classroom in his or her life or job many years down the road. That is the value of a core academic education. In the same way, Bancroft graduates in college or within their careers may find themselves in situations where success will depend on having internalized a more interpersonal lesson. Respect, courtesy, tolerance, inclusiveness—these can no longer be considered “soft” skills in a complex, fast-changing, and often confusing world. “We want to take citizenship to a more personal level,” says Gibson, “starting with each individual student.”
“We are operating from a position of strength,” says Gibson. “We are fortunate in that we have strong internal support for these initiatives and, we believe, the ability to fulfill them.”
Initiative 5: Advancing Goodness in a Changing World Helping Students Make Positive Personal Choices
“Advancing goodness” is a high ideal no matter what the area of human endeavor. At an independent school like Bancroft, however, it is neither a new nor an intangible concept. The Vision 2016 document acknowledges that Bancroft has been committed to building students of character, and teaching respect, tolerance, and citizenship at all levels of the School: “Building upon the School’s historic leadership in this endeavor, we shall further develop our overall program with the goal of raising moral and ethical questions through healthy discourse, in developmentally appropriate ways, across the disciplines, Pre-K through Grade 12. We will therefore work to enhance a school culture that already values and rewards empathy, kindness, goodness, respect for human and cultural differences, decency, and personal integrity.” “There is a standard of conduct that civilized people are expected to uphold,” says Reisinger. “Not just here in the School, in the classrooms, in the hallways, and on the athletic field, but at home, in the community, in the workplace, and in the public sector.”
From Vision to Action Strategic thinking is an essential aspect of any organization or institution. But just as important as the thinking is the doing. Plans that stay on paper do not facilitate progress. The success of Vision 2016, then, lies in the implementation. To a person, Bancroft’s leadership is confident of this success. “We are operating from a position of strength,” says Gibson. “We are fortunate in that we have strong internal support for these initiatives and, we believe, the ability to fulfill them.” “We have a three- to five-year window,” adds Reisinger, “during which time we will be marshaling our own resources and the financial generosity of foundations, alumni, the community, and various friends of Bancroft. We know what we want to do and we know how to do it. With broad and committed support we will turn Vision 2016 into a remarkable reality for our current and future students.”
Jason M. Rubin is a Boston-based writer and author
Reunion Weekend 2012
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Mission Statement Bancroft, an independent, coeducational, collegepreparatory day school, prepares talented, well-qualified, and motivated college-bound students, Pre-Kindergarten through Grade12, to pursue and realize their academic, personal, and social potential. We provide a comprehensive, caring, and creative curricular and extracurricular program that fosters an experience of excellence for each student. Inspired students, a superior faculty, and engaged families thrive in our diverse, safe, and supportive community. 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.
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