IN THIS ISSUE: The Science & Arts of BFS Inaugural All-School Spirit Week
Blue Pride Runs Deep! Impact Report 2020–2021
WE are BROOKLYN FRIENDS
C RI S S Y C ÁC ERE S A PP OIN T ED T O B OA RD OF N YS A IS Brooklyn Friends School is proud to announce that our Head of School, Crissy Cáceres, has been appointed as a trustee for the New York State Association of Independent Schools. The announcement came at NYSAIS’ Annual Conference for Heads of Schools in New Paltz, NY.
Guided by the Quaker belief
that there is a Divine Light in everyone, Brooklyn Friends School cultivates an intellectually ambitious and diverse community that celebrates each individual’s gifts. We challenge our students to value and embrace difference as they develop critical thinking skills and apply their knowledge and intelligence both in and out of the classroom. In this rich learning environment, we inspire all members of our community to voice their convictions, to discover and pursue their passions, and to seek truth. Our graduates are compassionate, curious, and confident global citizens who let their lives speak in the spirit of leadership and service.
Crissy—who is in her third year as the Head of Brooklyn Friends School—served on the Planning Committee for the Annual Heads’ Conference. As a trustee of NYSAIS, Crissy will be a member of NYSAIS’ Commission on Accreditation. Congratulations, Crissy!
THE LIFE is published by the Advancement Office of Brooklyn Friends School for alumni, parents, grandparents, colleagues, and friends. 375 Pearl Street • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Tel: 718.852.1029 • brooklynfriends.org Upper School 116 Lawrence Street • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Family Center 189A Schermerhorn Street • Brooklyn, NY 11201 Brett Topel, Director of Marketing & Communications Karen Edelman, Director of Advancement Emily Cowles, Associate Director of Communications & Community Engagement Peter Mackie, Associate, Advancement & Design Services
HEAD OF SCHOOL
A ME S S AGE F R OM C RIS S Y C ÁC ERE S , HE A D OF S C HOOL One of our community reads this summer was The Art of Possibility, which focuses on the ways in which our framing of circumstances and situations affects our actions, perspectives, feelings, what is possible, and the overall outcome. If you look at moments of challenge as opportunities, then you can see ways forward that capture the strength and beauty of all around you. If you can develop an asset thinking frame of possibility, then you are able to view most actions as ingredients towards something greater. If you can make space for the light of others while also respecting your own, then you can approach moments before you with a collective and partnership stance of engagement. The past 19 months have tested our resolve, inner peace, physical and mental health, motivation, and overall connectivity to the world. Notwithstanding those realities, Brooklyn Friends has persisted, steadily focusing on our school’s ability to be a consistently open and healthy space for our students as well as our community’s ability to gain from one another’s light. I can name with certainty that we have done just that. We are a community that, with humility and resolve, takes confident steps towards continued growth and a realization of all that is possible when we work together as a community. This resolve requires consistency and mutual respect and the centering of the light of all individuals, which means always upholding the highest expectations of one another. It also means making space for our tough moments, learning from them, and recognizing them as essential elements of our beautifully imperfect humanity. My pride as your leader resides in my ever-present lens
to lean on and celebrate one another as a testament of mutual support. We ARE Brooklyn Friends School because living our Quaker identity challenges us to consider how we act on our values daily, injecting introspection and reflection as a core ingredient within our community.
The job of the leader is to speak to the possibility. —Benjamin Zander towards all that is possible for our magnificent and worthy 2-year-old through 12th grade Quaker school in Downtown Brooklyn. The theme of this edition of The Life is consistent with the words that we have been stating since we all regrouped in September—and equally consistent to the actions that our beloved school has been exemplifying since 1867—We Are Brooklyn Friends School. This simple, yet highly nuanced phrase means different things to different people— across varied times and spaces. We ARE Brooklyn Friends School because we are willing to own all parts of ourselves, rather than a selective version – a limited sliver – of our history and learn from it. We ARE Brooklyn Friends School because our centering of children and young adults is steady, and we are unwavering in our honoring of childhood.
We ARE Brooklyn Friends School because we carry a mutual love and commitment to our school, and we KNOW that our students are needed in the world. Our families exemplify this as they speak to the ways in which our school manifests itself into the lived experiences within their homes. Our alumni demonstrate this, as they vibrantly allow their lives to speak in the spirit of service and advocacy for all humanity. Our colleagues model this as they navigate pillars of complexity throughout a global health pandemic while remaining centered on the support and championing of their students each day. In the end, We Are Brooklyn Friends School refers to overall brilliance and might—in and out of our classrooms—guided by the Quaker belief that there is a Divine Light in everyone. Our journey of continuous possibilities is dynamically unfolding, and yet, all we have done is scratch the surface. As our story grows, I look forward to continuously engaging with you. With sincere gratitude, and in partnership,
We ARE Brooklyn Friends School because we have increasingly learned
Show Your Blue Pride! Stock up on Brooklyn Friends School spirit wear at brooklynfriends.org/SpiritWear. Shop for t-shirts, sweatshirts, beach towels, pajama pants, and more! 4
IN THIS ISSUE
IN THIS ISSUE
Crissy Cáceres Appointed to Board of NYSAIS A Message from Crissy Cáceres, Head of School Q&A With Dr. AnaMaria Correa, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Q&A With Suzie Matthews, Assistant Head of School BFS Duo Honored with National Awards A Warm Welcome to Our New Colleagues Blinding Them With Science A Writing Space for Upper Schoolers Inaugural Art Show Exhibit a Huge Hit Woodshop Returns to Students’ Delight Family Center at Brooklyn Friends Athletics at Brooklyn Friends Our Quaker Life BFXplorations Spirit Week Fall Fantasy Parade Alumni BFS Arti-Facts We are Brooklyn Friends Impact Report 2020–2021
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Q&A With Dr. AnaMaria Correa
Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging When Dr. Correa arrived at Brooklyn Friends she did so with strong credentials. Dr. Correa has made an immediate impact on the world of BFS. Having worked in both the worlds of education and art in education—Dr. Correa has quickly merged her experience as a ‘bridge builder’ and ‘conscience raiser’, with her love for students, colleagues, and the BFS community and is ready for anything!
You have a vast experience doing DEIB work, whether inside or outside of the education space, but what made it the right time for you to step back into an independent school at this point in time?
for this work. Two, I know the importance of who I am in the PWI school space. I know what being in this space as Dr. Correa, a brown person with my humanity and my lived experience is sort of a counter‑narrative to the ways the identities show up in this school. It’s important for children to see me, for families to see me, and to engage with me and learn with me as partners.
I studied education and am arts trained so whether it’s a public school or an independent school, it is the community that I have always been drawn to and I thought it was important to return to an independent school for a few reasons. One, the leader was very important to me. I needed to work for a person of color and a person who is aligned with mission, vision, and values
My father’s stuffed peppers, my husband’s sancocho and pizza, and wine.
Is there one moment in your short time here that stands out?
I would say that the most extraordinary thing that has happened so far this year is feeling seen and welcome. That is a new experience for me despite the fact that I have earned leadership positions. It is the first time in a historically white space where I have
Favorite Moment in Time
Probably the day I decided to release myself from having hair. That was a very freeing moment. Being with my mother.
been fully seen and embraced. … Another moment or moments that nobody sees that I have experienced that are very touching are the little cards and tokens of appreciation that are left on my desk. Those move me to tears.
What has surprised you most about the BFS community that you may not have been expecting?
I think the all around joy and commitment of the people who work here, that demonstrated gusto that people bring to their work is something that is consistent from top to bottom across the board. Joy is a counter‑practice to opression. A lot of folks are not aware of the power joy has to heal and create community and belonging. Dr. AnaMaria Correa received her B.A. in Literature and Secondary Education from Hunter College, an M.F.A. in Theater from Brooklyn College and, in 2020, her Ph.D in Urban Education from The Graduate Center.
Like Water For Chocolate, The Godfather, Saturday Night Fever, Cinema Paradiso.
Q&A With Suzie Matthews Assistant Head of School
When Suzie Matthews arrived at Brooklyn Friends she had more than 20 years of experience in the world of education. Most recently, Suzie was the Assistant Head of School and Upper School Head at Sante Fe Preparatory School in New Mexico. BFS is thrilled to have her back in New York—specifically right here in Brooklyn!
You obviously felt that BFS would be a good fit for you when you took the position of Assistant Head of School, but how has that been reinforced so far this year?
It has been reinforced every day! From the leadership retreat and introductory one-on-one conversations with colleagues this past summer, to visiting classes and participating in Meetings for Worship, I have enjoyed the many opportunities to connect. My recent appearance as a BFX “Mystery Guest” at our extended day program was a wonderful experience.
Is there one moment in your short time here that stands out as a “Whoa, that was cool” kind of moment?
The Fall Fantasy Parade was one of many such moments! I love helping build new traditions, whether it is Spirit Week or our Opening Days for colleagues. After many weeks of planning,
I would have to say I love Maryland Crab Cakes and New Mexico Enchiladas (but not together!)
seeing our full community come together with joy and spirit on a chilly Friday morning was a thrill that will stay with me.
What has surprised you most about the BFS community that you may not have been expecting?
One of the things that drew me to BFS was the opportunity to be at a school with a wide range of ages. I wasn’t expecting to fall so in love so quickly with our youngest community members, though. Seeing the fundamental and critical work our colleagues do every day, whether it is singing the handrail song in the stairwells with Preschool students or planning a
Favorite Moment in Time
Any time I can make time for mindfulness (usually at-home yoga or walking meditation while hiking) is my favorite time of any day.
lesson about mathematical models for an IB math class in the Upper School, leaves me each day with a deep appreciation for the staggering amount of energy that goes into our collective work. Suzie Matthews received her B.A. from Drew University and an M.A. and MEd. from Teachers College Columbia University. She comes to BFS after most recently serving as the Assistant Head of School and Upper School Head at Santa Fe Prep in New Mexico.
Adrienne Rich, Nikki Giovanni, Naomi Shihab Nye; the Requiems of Brahms and Verdi
BFS Duo Honored with National Awards
hroughout the 2021–2022 school year, the phrase We Are Brooklyn Friends School will be repeated over and over throughout Downtown Brooklyn. While the five-word statement is seemingly a simple one, We Are Brooklyn Friends is actually quite complex and full of nuance. In the end, it refers to overall excellence—in and out of the classrooms—guided by the Quaker belief that there is a Divine Light in everyone. People are apparently noticing, as since the start of this young school year two members of the Brooklyn Friends colleague community have been honored with prestigious, national awards. Frank Cabrera, who is in his first year as BFS’ Director of College Counseling, was recently honored by the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools (ACCIS) with the inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Champion Award. Meanwhile, Vlad Malukoff—who has taught history at Brooklyn Friends for the past 23 years— was named as an Outstanding Educator by the prestigious University of Chicago. The fact that Cabrera was honored by his peers just days into his first school year comes as no surprise at Brooklyn Friends. “We feel blessed to have Frank within our community,” said Brooklyn Friends Head of School Crissy Cáceres. “In his interview process, Frank named in various ways the core nature of social justice work in his life. He had concrete examples of his immersion in DEI work both within the world of college counseling and beyond. As such, this well-deserved award makes all the sense in the world.” The DE&I Champion Award is presented to an ACCIS member with more than five years of college counseling experience who have engaged in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives in their school community and beyond the institutional
level. They must demonstrate a deep understanding of and commitment to DE&I work as an educator. “I was in total shock,” Cabrera said about finding out he had received the DE&I Champion Award. “I am on the DE&I committee for ACCIS and one of our new initiatives is to recognize both newer and seasoned college counselors who have demonstrated a deep commitment to DE&I work. I was really excited to shine the spotlight on the incredible work so many within our membership are engaged in. … So when I heard my name as one of the two honorees, I was floored.” Meanwhile, 785 miles away from Brooklyn, Malukoff was nominated as an Outstanding Educator by a Brooklyn Friends grad who is a member of the University of Chicago’s Class of 2025. He was one of thousands of educators nominated for positively impacting students’ lives. The Outstanding Educator Award has existed for more than three decades—Vlad is the third Brooklyn Friends teacher to receive the honor—and is an accurate representation of the type of teacher Malukoff has been throughout his time at Brooklyn Friends.
He is a legend in the eyes of his students. He teaches with his whole heart. He is a gem. “I heard students present, as well as alumni, talk about Vlad and the impact he had had on them long before I met him,” said Brooklyn Friends Head of Upper School Kamaya Prince Thompson “ ‘He is a legend,’ one student said. What I noticed the first time I met him was how his energy, love, and belief in the potential and ability of each student. This is why he is a legend in the eyes of his students. He teaches with his whole heart. He is a gem.” For Vlad, the past 23 years have been special.
Frank Cabrera, Director of College Counseling
Vlad Malukoff, Upper School History Teacher
“I can’t believe it, but I have been here since 1998 and I started here the same week that I got married for the second time, so it’s easy to remember both dates,” he said with a laugh. “I have even more passion now for teaching in a way because I’m more confident. I’ve been very fortunate. … When you see a student who develops an interest in what you are teaching, that’s the most rewarding thing.” Vlad was honored via a Zoom celebration on Oct. 25th.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON BROOKLYN FRIENDS SCHOOL Please visit brooklynfriends.org.
A Warm Welcome to Our New Colleagues! Rami Abdul-Karim Middle School Humanities and English Teacher Brittany Adkins-Williams Educational Technology Integrator and IT Specialist Lia Albuquerque Kindergarten Associate Teacher Andrew Andrade Third Grade Associate Teacher
Caitlin Barry Upper School English Teacher Tyler Bauer Middle and Upper School Music Teacher Latrina Buckner Safety Officer Frank Cabrera Director of College Counseling
Tyla Chedu Facilities Michelle Cole Middle and Upper School Dance Teacher Dr. AnaMaria Correa Director of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging Phoebe Costello First Grade Associate Teacher
Leigh Cross Upper School English and History Teacher Alaina Daniels Middle School Science Teacher Paisley Davidson Upper School Learning Specialist Sophia Dougherty Third Grade Associate Teacher
Stephen Eckert Middle School Drama Teacher and Productions Manager Natalie Emery Lower School Long Term Substitute Teacher Laleña Garcia Kindergarten Head Teacher Gabe Gordon Middle School History Teacher
Millicent Green Upper School Administrative Assistant Emily Henry First Grade Associate Teacher Amelia Jenison Lower School Music Teacher Alex Jimenez Director of Technology
Steven Karaiskos Upper School Psychologist and All School Well Being Coordinator Christopher Kavanaugh Educational Technology Integrator Natalie Kirch Kindergarten Head Teacher Rebecca Lawrence Family Center Assistant Teacher
Bill Livingston Upper School Science Teacher and C.A.S. Coordinator Edgar Marshall Middle School Dean of Students Mariah Martens Health and Human Development Teacher Raquel Martin Director of Facilities Management
Suzie Matthews Assistant Head of School Stephanie Mayer Middle and Upper School Music Teacher AJ Nguyen Middle and Upper School Physical Education Teacher Megan Nuxoll Chief of Staff to the Head of School
Tiffany Olson Nurse Michael Rae-Grant First Grade Head Teacher Adela Sinclair Lower School Science Leave Replacement Elena Speridakos Lower School Learning Specialist
Brett Topel Director of Communications and Marketing Brian Tridgell Upper School History Teacher Tiffany Wright Middle School English Teacher Clarence Zachery, Jr. Chief Financial and Operating Officer
t’s a vast expanse and a long journey from the Preschool 3s to being a senior in Upper School. Or is it? When it comes to the science curriculum at Brooklyn Friends School science is science, and although the topics change from year to year, and are of course age-appropriate, whether it is the children in the Yellow Room looking at a silk worm they found under a microscope, or the young men and women in 12th grade taking part in the monitoring of oysters in the Billion Oyster Project, BFS students stand at the forefront as young scientists. And they get started early. “We have had many conversations about Autumn and all of the changes that happen during this season,” said Head of Preschool Maura Eden about BFS’ 3-year-olds. “Our science table is chock full of all different kinds of acorns, tree branches, magnifying glasses, and books about trees and leaves. We added a bird’s nest on the science table.After observing some of the items on the table, one of the students asked what the bird’s nest was and where we got it from. That launched into a whole conversation about how birds build their nests.”
explore the world of science by learning all about the weather, including learning how to read thermometers that measure temperatures, hot or cold. Students also worked on experiments where they made it “rain” in their classroom and didn’t even need umbrellas! Our fourth graders have been learning all about our brains, including the fact that the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and the right side of the brain controls the left side of our body. They learned that the brain is our body’s boss and that many messages are sent from the brain to the rest of the body.
Whether discussing nature and habitats, or cooking up some playdough in the kitchen, Brooklyn Friends’ Preschool students certainly get the most out of their science time. It’s the start of what will be years of informative science education the students will enjoy at BFS. Several flights upstairs, the younger Lower School students continue to
In the Middle School, students are experiencing a wide-variety of science topics. Fifth graders explore a general science course, with a focus on Life Science. Students complete hands-on projects, labs, and dissections exploring the difference between living and nonliving things and the evolutionary process. In the sixth grade, BFS students engage in a Physical Sciences course, which focuses on energy, matter, forces, motion, and the periodic table of elements. Students engage in authentic scientific practices and learn the seven crosscutting
concepts identified in the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS). Seventh graders focus on biology and how life is sustained in all its forms. Topics include microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, evolution, human physiology, and DNA with a specific collaboration with The Innocence Project and how DNA has served an imbalance of power and perpetuated oppression in the United States judicial system. In the eighth grade science classes, students learn about Earth & Environmental Science, focusing on topics such as astronomy, geology, environmental science and an in-depth study of a particular environment: The Northeast Coastline. Students study the formation of the Earth, the Sun, the Moon and other members of our solar system.
While the entire Upper School has many different science classes and a robust, comprehensive curriculum, in IB Environmental Systems & Societies, students have been trying to get in some field work this fall before it gets too cold. To support learning about ecosystem dynamics involving energy flow and nutrient cycling, 11th graders participated in the state-wide “Day in the Life of the Hudson River” by measuring aspects of the river ecosystem including Chemical, Physical and Biotic properties. “The result was lots of life,” said Bill Livingston, Upper School Science Teacher. “We found 12 species of organisms and good water quality, about what we expected at Brooklyn Bridge Park. This investigation overlaps with our ongoing
monitoring of an Oyster Research Station for the Billion Oyster Project.” Seniors, meanwhile, have been studying soil and terrestrial food production systems around the world, as well as developing plans for their own independent investigations as part of their final IB Assessment. Of course, there is a lot more going on in the science classrooms of the Upper School. In Upper School IB Biology, students earlier this year studied the heart and blood pressure and completed lab work to support their studies. They are now studying basic immunology and learning about the challenges our body faces when exposed to a number of different pathogens. In addition, the seniors are beginning work on their IB
Internal Assessment research project, which can either be a hands-on series of experiments or an analysis of secondary data in a new and novel way. First year biology students have studied cell organelle structure and function, with a focus on cellular specialization, the differences in the number and densities of stomates, the tiny structures on the underside of leaves, and have explored cell membrane dynamics to try to infer how various pharmaceuticals can enter cells. These science classes throughout all of the BFS divisions represent just a portion of the overall science curriculum. One thing is for certain, however, there is no shortage of interesting science topics— and plenty of young BFS minds to achieve new discoveries. A special thank you to all of our BFS Science Colleagues, who contributed to this story and took some of these great photos.
A Writing Space for Upper Schoolers
enjamin Franklin might have said it best: “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” Now, the Upper School students at BFS have a special place to help them hone that craft—the Brooklyn Friends Upper School Writing Center.
Brian Trigell, who heads up the Writing Center. “Students are encouraged to sign up for appointment slots throughout the school days to receive one-on-one support on whatever piece of writing they want to focus on. To date, it has been a huge success.”
The Writing Center was created to serve as a welcoming space for all Upper School students to receive individualized support and feedback on their writing assignments. Whether it’s coaching students through the fundamentals of how to structure an essay, offering an extra pair of eyes to proofread some work, or encouraging them to find their voice as a writer, we’re here to help.
The Writing Center’s comprehensive website has not only many resources for students to reference, but pages and pages of writing tips and advice.
“Currently we have an expanding roster of 10 different teachers, learning specialists, and students on our team who are volunteering their expertise,” said BFS Upper School Humanities Teacher
“The writing center is an incredible opportunity for all BFS upper school students to hone their skills in academic writing,” said Daniel Paccione, Assistant Head of Upper School for Academics. “Working in collaboration with teachers and their peers, students can visit this space as often as they need to get individualized help in their writing. We are so thrilled to offer this space to our students to continue their learning journey.”
he answer came in a multitude of mediums—drawings, paintings, photos, collages, dioramas, sculptures, videos, and more. The venue was the inaugural Brooklyn Friends School Community Art Exhibition, in which artists from throughout the BFS community created and selected works which responded to the question. The exhibit, which was displayed throughout the Upper School building on Lawrence Street, included artwork from students as young as kindergarten through colleagues and professional artists, and was curated and conceived by BFS’ Artist in Residence, Chris Cooper. “The community is always inspiring me,” Chris said. “There’s so much inspiration all around us to pull from.” Having the art exhibit was the perfect way to highlight our strong and vibrant community. “I think art is incredibly powerful,” said BFS Head of Upper School Kamaya Prince Thompson. “What better way to begin the new school year than to have our own artists … and all of that artwork together up on our walls.”
One of the young artists who had his work hanging on one of the walls of the Upper School was John, a third grader who contributed a colorful, abstract painting to the exhibit.
I think of people, connection, and the sharing of ideas,” Isabel said. “When I saw the string I immediately thought of people connecting and I thought of the beads as ideas and people sharing them.”
The community is always inspiring me. There’s so much inspiration all around us to pull from.
In the end, the man who provided so much of his own art to an exhibit he was so passionate about, was thrilled with the experience.
“I was feeling a little de-energized, and for me doing abstract art really helps,” John said about the day he painted his submitted work. “I just splattered paint everywhere and I think that’s a really good way to get you energized for the day.” Another student who contributed to the exhibit was Isabel, a ninth grader who is in her first year at BFS. Her piece of art was a diorama, which stood upon a white pedestal. The box was filled with doll pins standing like people, which had strings spanning from pin to pin, and beads on the string. There was also a flashlight allowing viewers to cast a shadow of the doll pins against the back of the diorama. “The doll pins looked like people to me and for me when I think of community,
“I love being able to hear everybody’s feedback and hear what they’re saying to each other,” said Chris Cooper, whose own contributions to the exhibit includes a giant wall of stickies in which guests were encouraged to write what community means to them and largerthan-life art pieces in all of the stairwells. “Just to bring a little fun to a space that you spend so much of your time in.”
FOR MORE ON OUR INAUGURAL ART EXHIBIT
The Art Exhibit has been brought to life in a 10-minute video feature, which can be viewed on brooklynfriends.org.
CHRIS COOPER, ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
u e to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the woodshop at Brooklyn Friends closed its doors on March 9, 2020. Until this past September, that is! With the dawn of a new school year, Lower School visual arts classes, such as woodshop, are back and better than ever.
“First and foremost there is the baseline of safety, of course,” Thomas said, “but from there I think it is really important to trust the students and I have to be able to trust the kindergartners just as much as I trust the fourth graders. Without that trust, nothing happens.”
“I sense a real excitement from the students to have woodshop back,“ woodshop teacher Thomas Keasling said. “There’s just a real palpable excitement and it feels great to be a part of that.”
In terms of creating, Thomas has conceived what he feels is a winning formula.
Each Lower School class has the opportunity to create projects in the woodshop, and—of course—those projects are age-appropriate in terms of challenging their skill levels. However, each grade starts in very much the same way—gathered around Thomas, now in his seventh year teaching woodshop at BFS—going over everything from project instructions, to strategies, and of course, safety.
“There are so many reasons why we value woodshop so deeply in our programming,” Jason explained. “One is that it allows children to really think of a vision of something that they want to create and implement. They have to first think through the possibilities that are before them and then work with tools and hands-on experiences to craft and create something in the woodshop program.” In the end, for Thomas, the most exciting part of the program is the satisfaction the students get for completing such exciting projects.
“I have taken what I felt were the best elements of what was already here and have added to that,” Thomas said. “In terms of curriculum building I design projects around introducing a new skill set, or maybe a new tool and our projects sort of build in complexity.” For Head of Lower School Jason Novak, the return of the visual arts classes—including the immensely popular woodshop—was much-needed here at BFS.
“Once they see that they can do it, that they can actually put in the thought and effort to get it right, there is just a real sense of pride there,” Thomas said. “I think that is one of the main reasons why the woodshop has a emotional place in people’s memory about BFS.” See photos of woodshop as well as more visual arts activities on the opposite page.
FOR MORE ON THE RETURN OF WOODSHOP
In our Brooklyn Friends School Video Feature, we speak with Thomas and Jason about the excitement surrounding the return of one of the most beloved classes in Lower School. You can check out the video in the MEDIA section of brooklynfriends.org.
A ME S S AGE F R OM
C RISS Y C ÁC ERE S
Dear Brooklyn Friends School Community, Since the opening of the Preschool on the second floor of Pearl Street in 1985, Brooklyn Friends School has had a strong belief in and commitment to early childhood education. Leading our meaningful program for two-year-old children since its founding, and designing every element of it, has been our illustrious Director of the Family Center, Sara Soll. Thus, it is with bittersweet joy and tremendous love that I ask you to join me in celebrating Sara, who after 35 years impacting generations of children, families, and colleagues, has made the decision to retire from Brooklyn Friends School at the end of the 2021-2022 school year. In 1986, already a parent of two BFS students, Sara’s journey as a member of the BFS colleague body began with her role as one of the earliest members of the Preschool teaching team, where she immediately stood out as an extraordinary early childhood educator. Since then, as teacher, and subsequently Director of the Family Center for the past decade, Sara has guided hundreds of children on how to be a friend and a compassionate member of a community, launching each one of them on a lifelong journey of learning through play. As I have personally shared with her, Sara will always be a beloved member of our Brooklyn Friends family, and the way that she has led with boundless expertise and her full heart and soul will continue to influence how we care for the learning and growing experiences of our youngest students for generations to come. We joyously look forward to collectively celebrating Sara throughout this school year to honor her undeniable legacy. Before occupying its current home at 189 Schermerhorn Street beginning in 2011, the Family Center was founded in 1991 as a full-day program for two-year-olds. From its inception, The Family Center has been more than “childcare”—it has been and is a strong and compelling early childhood program that reinforces our commitment to educating the “whole child” at the earliest possible age. With Sara’s full support of this as a worthy and
HE A D OF S C HOOL
important evolution of the Family Center experience, I share an exciting development. Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, the Family Center will come full circle, and our youngest students will return to Pearl Street where the program once began, officially denoting our Preschool program for two year old students as the official entry point to Brooklyn Friends School. The planned “inaugural” class will have a dozen students. This step boldly recognizes that early childhood education is a foundational starting point for the arc of our 2-year-old through 12th grade Quaker school, giving students the opportunity to exponentially grow in their identities as strong learners and kind and justice-minded human beings in our world. The Family Center has held an important place in the history of Brooklyn Friends, and I recognize that change often brings with it varied emotions. As such, I encourage us all to remember that this is a physical movement. The program, teaching colleagues, and soul of the Family Center will continue to be with us and thrive. At this moment, I humbly request that you join me in honoring the validly bittersweet happiness of this occasion, as we focus on centering both our beloved Sara, our Family Center colleagues, and our youngest students and families in the time ahead. In the weeks and months ahead, we will be sharing many opportunities on how you can show your appreciation and care for the way Sara has shined the light on our community. On the opposite page, please read a personal letter from Sara.
With deep appreciation, and in partnership,
A ME S S AGE F R OM
SARA S OL L DIREC T OR OF FA MILY C EN T ER
Dear Families, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have known at a very early age that I wanted to be an Early Childhood educator, although in those days it was most commonly called a Nursery School teacher. Forty-eight years later, I am happy to confirm I was right! In 1986 I joined Brooklyn Friends to teach 3-year-olds in the second year of the Preschool. Our daughter was in the first class and had moved on to Kindergarten to join her brother in the Lower School. After being a parent for four years and teaching for twelve years in other settings, I had truly found my home. I already knew that the core values aligned with who I was as a parent and the educational environment we wanted for our children. There have been many changes over my years here in the school and in my positions. But in my experience, despite the ups and downs, those core values stayed true and have allowed me to grow, stretch, and try things I never thought I would do. Being a teacher, supporting young children as they step out into the world and begin to learn about themselves in a new context is a joy. Watching their growth and development as they embrace their classroom community is always exciting. Each child, family, and class are unique and keep us growing and learning. I know how special it is to wake up every morning and look forward to the day ahead with the children. Educators deal with many different transitions every year. Although I know this will be a new and very different transition,
it is the right time for me. A wise friend told me I would know when it was time to retire, and I do. Time to be an in-person Grandma and be able to spend more time with my California family and my Brooklyn family. Time for me to pause as I consider what will be next. Joni Mitchell wrote one of my favorite songs that beautifully speaks to the passing of time. The chorus speaks to me now: And the seasons, they go round and round And the painted ponies go up and down We’re captive on the carousel of time We can’t return, we can only look Behind, from where we came And go round and round and round, in the circle game A new season, a new circle is ahead for me. Every child, parent, family, and colleague I have been fortunate to know and work with through the years is a part of who I am and my circles. I will carry all of you with me wherever I go and whatever I do. I imagine September will feel very different as that has been the start of a new year for so long and I can’t imagine completely disconnecting from BFS or from the world of young children. I am proud to have been part of the formation and growth of the Brooklyn Friends Preschool. I am especially proud of the school’s continued dedication to the education of children as young as 2 years old. I cherish my many memories as I look back. And I am excited to see what is ahead for me as a new circle begins.
Congratulations to all of our student-athletes who competed this fall and showed everyone what Blue Pride is all about! A special shout out to our 13 seniors who closed out their soccer and volleyball careers at BFS in style.
Our Quaker Life Celebrating Quakerism and the Value of Community in Practice at Brooklyn Friends School.
n October, the Spiritual Life Committee of the Board of Trustees hosted a virtual gathering for Brooklyn Friends School families focused on “Quakerism and Community.” Members of the Spiritual Life Committee spoke about and explored the concept of Community, central to Quaker values. They addressed what it means to them personally, and to the many families, colleagues, and BFS community members who seek and live this spiritual practice in their lives. It was moving for our school community members, both new and veteran, to hear from Spiritual Life Committee members on how the “C” in SPICES is a guiding light in their lives. Jonathan Edmonds, BFS Lower School Math Specialist, shared how he brings Quaker practice to his work as a teacher. He shared, “I’ve made it a practice of literally pausing for a quiet moment before I enter a classroom to consider how this will be a meeting for learning. I ask if I’m prepared and ready to share what I know effectively and with joy. I ask if I’m ready to listen with curiosity to what others are bringing of what they know. Secondly, I allow myself to plan lessons and experiences with a direction that is hopefully focused and cohesive, but that is also open to the unexpected as individuals share their truth. I remind myself that each classroom’s community time together is unique and that I can’t possibly anticipate all that will emerge as we gather together around a problem or a game.” James Lynch, BFS class of 1981 and current parent, spoke about the impact of Brooklyn Friends School and Quaker education on his life and work. James is an attorney, college professor, and President of the Buddhist Council of New York. James shared, “I can’t say enough about Brooklyn Friends. Quakerism is always with me. There is nothing that I’ve done
in my life since leaving Brooklyn Friends School that has not been impacted by my time at Brooklyn Friends School.” He added, “there are infinite possibilities in each human being. That’s what I learned at Brooklyn Friends School.” Thank you to the Spiritual Life Committee for hosting this powerful and insightful gathering on our Quaker life for our community!
Monthly All-Community Meeting for Worship
The Brooklyn Friends community comes together on a monthly basis for Meeting for Worship. Currently hosted virtually, the Spiritual Life Committee hosts this spiritual practice that is at the heart of our Quaker life. By regularly returning to our Quaker roots as a community, these monthly Meetings offer tremendous peace, insight, and closeness among us as we collectively steward BFS. Please check the BFS website calendar at BrooklynFriends.org/Calendar for our next Community Meeting for Worship.
Upcoming Professional Development for Colleagues on Our Quaker Life
In February, we will welcome the Friends Council Education to engage with our colleagues at a professional development day. We will explore how Quaker values manifest in our daily lives at BFS and what it means to work at Quaker school.
Essential Questions in the Middle School
To kick off the school year, eighth grade students led the Middle School in exploring three essential questions. What is a query? How can we “find” our silence? How do we share a message at Meeting for Worship?
Simplicity Peace Integrity Community Equality Stewardship The Quaker Testimonies
The Quaker testimonies are a dynamic body of beliefs and ideals that have evolved over time and vary between groups of Friends. They guide Quakers in putting their faith into practice. At Brooklyn Friends School, we consider a set of common testimonies distilled from centuries of Quaker practice by Howard Brinton, the foremost 20th century Quaker theologian. The testimonies follow the acronym S.P.I.C.E.S.
A Quaker Book of Wisdom by Robert Lawrence Smith
The Care Relationship Committee of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting generously donated copies of A Quaker Book of Wisdom by Robert Lawrence Smith, the former head of Sidwell Friends School. This book is available for any Brooklyn Friends family who would like to deepen their understanding of Quakerism and its testimonies. The Spiritual Life Committee will be hosting book discussion events about A Quaker Book of Wisdom in the coming months. To receive a copy of the book for your family, please fill out the form at brooklynfriends.org/quakerbookofwisdom.
Simplicity: Focusing on what is essential, rather than material distractions. Peace: Resolving conflicts peacefully and working actively for peace. Integrity: Maintaining our beliefs in all parts of life. Community: Taking care of one another. Equality: Honoring each person and working against oppression. Stewardship: Giving ourselves up in service and being environmental stewards
It’s No Mystery Why BFX Fridays Are Fun! O ne of the brightest lights of the 2021 school year to date is our newly-launched extended day program, BFXplorations! Re-imagining an afterschool program, BFX is grounded in equity, joy, and exploration, and is a place where children want to be! Focusing on the needs of our students, equity, and the critical importance of joy and connection in children’s lives, the BFX program offers all children equal access to daily play, study and homework groups, as well as these special agerelevant “Xplorations” in movement, art, science, sports, storytelling, and more. Equally as important, the program offers children an opportunity to wind down and relax at the end of their school day. While students get to enjoy many different fun activities at BFX, one of the highlights each week comes with
the Friday Mystery Guest. Each Friday afternoon, a member of the Brooklyn Friends community arrives at BFX with their own special activity! To date, there have been some fantastic guests, as classes have been divided into groups of Preschool students and students Kindergarten through Grade 6.
Through the first week of November, Preschool guests have included: Maura, who had fun with the children doing storytelling and movement; Coach David, who taught juggling with scarves; Crissy, who held an exciting storytime called “All About Wishes”; Vanessa Reynolds taught the children all about houseplants; Joy explored different kinds of storytelling with the children; Vernessa, a guest of Sara, also focused on storytelling.
Crissy held a workshop about Train Poetry, while AnaMaria had the house rocking with a community dance experience; Speaking of rocking the house, Melanie, Tommy, and Joy had a blast with the children doing Karaoke, while Martín taught us all about celebrating Indigenous People’s Day; Maura hosted a special dance party; Brett taught the students about journalism and how to create our own magazine; and Suzie held a masterclass in origami.
Registration for the second semester of BFX will begin in mid-December. One thing is for sure—the Friday Mystery Guests will continue to impress! For more information, stay tuned to The Weekly and brooklynfriends.org for the latest information.
For the older children (K–6) the Mystery Guest’s topics were a little more advanced.
Blue Pride Day
Fall Colors/Wacky Hat/Silly Socks Day
Fall Fantasy Parade
Class Notes 1966 Kathryn Kapuler
Regards to the Class of 1966 from their classmate from Kathryn Kapuler (Carlson) “This has been a trying time for everyone, with Covid 19 and anxiety about going out to concerts and museums! I hope my classmates are all well, and I reminisce about the old days, since my granddaughter started high school!
1971 Class of 1971
Despite a global pandemic, many members of the Class of 1971 (who had already been vaccinated!) were able to gather to celebrate their 50th reunion and got a tour of our campus. They were excited to see how our students experience their alma mater today. The day was filled with reminiscing and laughter!
I have also retired from skydiving logging a total of 5,368 jumps, however, I still make a BASE jump or two every year. My only remaining dangerous sport is motorcycle riding. Wish me luck.”
1977 Eric Drooker
The powerful art of Eric Drooker ’77 once again graces the cover of The New Yorker magazine with “The Impossible Dream”. As stated in The New Yorker on November 15, “The prevailing mood, of justified gloom and necessary optimism, inspired the artist Eric Drooker’s latest cover, which features an appearance from that enduring dreamer of impossible dreams, Don Quixote de la Mancha.”
was virtual due to the pandemic). Congratulations Rachel!
2002 Dahlia Dumont
We love hearing from Dahlia Dumont ’02 who continues to perform with her band The Blue Dahlia in New York City when she’s not in Paris. Take a listen at TheBlueDahliaMusic.com.
2013 Amara Granderson
Congratulations to Amara Granderson ’13! Amara who was recently in a Ford commercial, directed by Award Winner, Chloe Xiao. Amara lives in Los Angeles but returns to New York to visit often! bit.ly/30ccUUp
1972 Burke Fitzpatrick
Burke Fitzpatrick ’72 is looking forward to reconnecting with his classmates at his 50th reunion this coming June! He shared the following update: “Last month I retired from the South Carolina Office of the Attorney General where I was serving as the director of the state Crime Victim Services Division. Thanks to BFS, I’ve had a long and rewarding career working in South Carolina’s state criminal justice system (as a practitioner, not a defendant) beginning in 1980 after receiving my Master’s. The English and analytical skills I learned in 13 years at Brooklyn Friends have served me well.
2020 Max Bassin 2020 Cameron Winter
1989 Rachel Petraska
Rachel Luks Petraska ’89 is a Guidance Counselor in Shelburne Vermont and was selected as “Guidance Counselor of the Year” for the State of Vermont last year. She was invited to a luncheon at the White House in February (which
Congratulations to two of our young alumni, Max Bassin and Cameron Winter, Class of 2020. They, along with their band Geese, has been taking the music industry by storm. You can listen to Geese on Spotify and read all about them in The New York Times and Rolling Stone Magazine! They’re heading out on tour soon but we can’t wait to catch up with them when they’re back in town! New York Times: nyti.ms/3c9bNHI Rolling Stone: bit.ly/3qBV5Jx
In Memoriam 1962 Norman Kurland
Kurland ’62. After almost 60 years, Norman’s connection to his classmates was very strong and there was laughter and tears as story after story was told about their friendships.
1962 Robert “Bobby” J. Markowitz
2005 Lillian Frost
Many members of the Class of 1962 gathered at the Brooklyn Friends School meeting house to celebrate the life of their friend and classmate, Norman
Alumni Tour 2021—2022
BFS is going on tour and we want to see you! Throughout the school year we will be visiting several cities where we hope to meet with as many of our alumni as possible. We’ve got a special project in the works where we’ll be doing video interviews with alums all over the world. If you’d like to help organize an event in your city, please reach out to Karen Edelman, Director of Advancement at email@example.com.
Following is a letter shared with the alumni community in our October 17th Alumni News. For those of you who do not receive our electronic Alumni News, please be sure to share your email address with firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Welcome To The New School Year!
The start of the school year always brings about a sense of renewal. This is particularly poignant in a year that continues to evolve alongside the challenges brought forth from a global health pandemic that we have all been impacted by. Nothing brought me more joy than seeing the full Brooklyn Friends School student body arrive at school on September 9th, and just as last year, in person.
December 9-11: Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia January 7: Philadelphia, PA January 22: Denver, CO February 10-12: Florida April 1st: Boston April 21-25: California, Seattle
January 31: 6–8 pm March 3: 6–8 pm April 5: 6–8pm If you don’t see your city listed, please reach out to Karen Edelman, Director of Advancement at email@example.com to arrange a Zoom interview!
We are also planning gatherings in the New York City area:
Whether you attended our school last year, 10 years ago, or 50 years ago, I hope you join me in welcoming the latest group of young people who will, in a few short years, join you in calling themselves Alumni of Brooklyn Friends. Every day, we witness our students flourish in the classroom, in athletics, and showing leadership within the student body. If you don’t already, I encourage you to follow us on Facebook or Instagram where the stories of how we live our mission are told daily. I also invite you to join us on our Facebook Alumni Group and our LinkedIn Alumni Group to connect with your fellow alums.
part of the human ecosystem and that your presence and voice matters.” I am committed to creating opportunities where we can gather as a community of Alumni, because I know that you are passionate about the past, present, and future of Brooklyn Friends School. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing several opportunities for gathering, both virtually and in person. In the meantime, I welcome your engagement and can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. In partnership, and with hope for our collective future,
As I shared in my message to you at the close of school this past June, “There is something about BFS that makes you know that you are a meaningful
Each week in The Weekly, BFS Arti-Facts examines a moment in history from the Brooklyn Friends Archives. These short stories remember people, places, and events from the rich 154 year history of our school. Here are a few of our favorites from this school year: 1 Mother’s Club Becomes Parent’s Club
This note pays tribute to all of the Dads of yesteryear at BFS. Not that we don’t appreciate and respect all of our current Dads, but back in 1933—well, that might have been a bigger ask. Throughout the storied history of Brooklyn Friends, which dates back to the school’s earliest days, there was always a proud and active Mother’s Club. At their monthly meeting in February of that year, it was proposed that the club become a “Parent’s Club” in order to include the fathers of students. To conform with the constitution of the Mother’s Club, this proposition needed to be brought before the club and voted upon. That took place in March, and the amendment was carried by “a large majority” and “plans for the future includes the fathers of Friends School,” as written in the school newspaper, The Life. Just a little fact to take note of—the vote was not unanimous. :)
2 Meet You at the Luncheonette
This note is only somewhat connected to BFS, although it was—quite literally connected to Brooklyn Friends. Wait, what? OK, in 1928 the building which houses our Preschool through eighth grade on Pearl Street was first opened as Richardson Hall, the main campus for Brooklyn Law School. That much everyone knows, especially since the words BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL are carved eternally above our front doors. However, as you stand outside looking at the school and glance to your left you
will see bicycles parked in a cutout next to the building. What you probably don’t know is that back in the late 1920s and 1930s that space was occupied by a small luncheonette, which no doubt fed many of the hungry law students, as the building originally had no cafeteria. Whether or not the luncheonette actually predates 375 Pearl Street is unknown. What we do know is that by the time Brooklyn Friends moved into the building in 1973, the luncheonette was apparently already gone. I am sure our current students—and colleagues, for that matter—wish it was still there.
3 A Part of Brooklyn
This note highlights the lead story of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper on Thursday, January 29th, 1948. The headline was big and bold and across the top of page 1—FRIENDS SCHOOL SAVED; CITY DROPS SITE. New York City, it seems, was trying to evict BFS from its location on Schermerhorn Street so that they could build a new Brooklyn jailhouse. The jail would replace the Meeting House, as well as the school building itself. The move was seen throughout the community as extremely controversial and Brooklyn Friends School seemed to hang in the balance. However, there was an inner light from Brooklyn Borough President John Cashmore, who announced after months of debate that he was abandoning the plan because this school is “a part of Brooklyn,” he said. And they “haven’t the time, money, or place” to relocate. The school’s reaction was captured best by the President of the PTA at the time, Mrs.
H.J. Szold, who told NYC Mayor William O’Dwyer: “I think you and your board are going to rate higher than the Dodgers in Brooklyn now.”
4 Discovering the Discovered
This note features a coat of arms that was discovered high above Pearl Street on the exterior of BFS. This shield, which appears to contain two crosses and two open books, was discovered when taking the BFS Drone out for a spin. The coat of arms is not at all visible from the street. The question was—what was this and what does this represent? Web searches were proving fruitless. We know the building Brooklyn Friends was the original home of Brooklyn Law School, but research could find no connection between the law school and these markings. The architects of the building, which was built in 1928, were Thompson, Holmes & Converse (who also designed Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital in Manhattan and the original buildings of Lehman College in the Bronx). Still, nothing. However, when you search enough times on the internet, the answer comes forward. Brooklyn Law School was originally affiliated with St. Lawrence University—and the coat of arms is from that school. As I walked outside onto Pearl Street and looked up toward the coat of arms, I realized something for the first time. That same coat of arms is depicted just to the left of the words “Brooklyn Law School” and right above our front doors, in plain sight. Oh, and it clearly says St. Lawrence University in Latin. So much for the mystery…but it was still a fun adventure.
1 “Mothers Club Becomes Parents Club” from a 1930s era edition of The Life, the student newspaper 2 Pearl Street in the 1920s and 1930s and Pearl Street today. 3 “Friends School Saves as City Drops Site” Brooklyn Eagle, January 29, 1948 4 St. Lawrence University crest adorning our Pearl Street building PHOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT
WE ARE BROOKLYN FRIENDS
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Brooklyn Friends School 375 Pearl Street Brooklyn, NY 11201
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