HOW WE VIEW THE WORLD AND WHO REALLY COUNTS
Students as Social Scientists; NYC as Lab
TheCalhounChronicle The Laramie Project SparksAwareness and Action
DNA and the Great Strawberry Experiment LS Students Celebrate Rainbow Day
BOARD OF TRUSTEES 2009-2010
THE CALHOUN CHRONICLE | Winter 2010
Eric Potoker ‘85 Chair
The Calhoun Chronicle is published twice each year by the Communications Office for alumnae/i, current and former parents, staff and friends.
Karen Segal Vice Chair Erika Brewer Treasurer Milton L. Williams, Jr. Secretary
Steven J. Nelson Head of School LIFE TRUSTEES Robert L. Beir* Eric B. Ryan *deceased
Jill Bargonetti Paul Blackman Julie Boehning Andrea Booth Jon Brayshaw William Ginn Melanie Griffith Dylan Hixon Pamela Kauppila Gail Koff David Kramer ‘02 Dana Loft Mary Louie Debra Mayer Renée Meyers ‘47 Colleen Pike Blair Markus Redding Shaiza Rizavi Rolf Thrane
Edwin Einbender* Constance Stern Flaum ’39 Ronald M. Foster, Jr.* Sally Goodgold Lawrence S. Harris Mark S. Kaufmann Anne Frankenthaler Kohn ’39* Peter D. Lederer Stuart Levin* David C. Masket* Joan Masket Arthur S. Olick Elizabeth Parmelee* June Saltzman Schiller ‘42 Jesse I. Siegel Mary-Ellen Greenberger Siegel ’49 Allen B. Swerdlick Edward S. Tishman *deceased
PA R E N T S A S S O C I AT I O N 2 0 0 9 - 2 0 1 0
OFFICERS Co-Presidents Pamela Kauppila Mary Louie
Vice Presidents, Middle School Joyce Capuano Jennifer Taylor
Secretary Maria Link
Vice Presidents, Lower School/81st Jennifer Harvey Mare Rubin
Treasurer Anne Marie Beurle Vice Presidents, Upper School Janice Berchin-Weiss Colleen Pike Blair
Vice Presidents, Lower School/74th Melani Bauman Kristen Neimeth
Calhoun’s mission: To inspire a passion for learning through a progressive approach to education that values intellectual pursuit, creativity, diversity and community involvement.
Assistant Editor Alison Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org Alumnae/i News Julie Otton ‘04 email@example.com Copy Editor Amy Edelman Editorial Assistants Angela Fischer Michelle Raum Contributing Writers Steve Nelson Heather Sasaki-Parker Anna Snider Photographers Alison Bennett Beth Krieger Heather Sasaki-Parker Design Iris A. Brown Design, LLC THE CALHOUN SCHOOL Main number: 212-497-6500 Admissions/81st: 212-497-6510 Admissions/74th: 212-497-6575 Alumnae/i Relations: 212-497-6592 Communications: 212-497-6527 Development: 212-497-6588 Performing Arts Series: 212-497-6528 Please send changes of address, phone or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Printed on recycled paper (20% postconsumer)
Cover Illustration: IRIS A. BROWN DESIGN
Editor Beth Krieger email@example.com
HOW WE VIEW THE WORLD AND WHO REALLY COUNTS DNA and the Great Strawberry Experiment
Students as Social Scientists; NYC as Lab
LS Students Celebrate Rainbow Day
The Laramie Project SparksAwareness and Action
ON THE COVER: HOW WE VIEW THE WORLD AND WHO REALLY COUNTS, page 16.
W I N T E R
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Contents F E A T U R E S
How We View the World and Who Really Counts
Students as Social Scientists; NYC as Lab
DNA and the Great Strawberry Experiment
LS Students Celebrate Rainbow Day
Laramie Project Sparks Awareness and Action
D E P A R T M E N T S Viewpoint, by Steven J. Nelson
Community Supported Agriculture
Upper School Demo Day
Profile: Steve Vaccaro ’82
Profile: Rachel Zients Schinderman ’89
THE CALHOUN CHRONICLE
EMPaTHy aNd aIMLEssNEss as EduCaTIONaL TOOLs by Steven J. Nelson, Head of School
eldom do the words aimlessness or empathy appear in school mission statements. They should. Seeds of brilliance need a dose of aimlessness to flower. In all art forms, it seems that the most profound work sometimes emerges from near-sloth. Poets and composers often speak of the poem or melody that “came to them” only when the clutter was removed from daily existence. Mathematicians and philosophers seldom develop seminal insights through highly structured, intense work. “I want a brilliant theory on my desk in 30 minutes!” I don’t think so. These things often arise from empty space and silence, from stretches of indulgent, seemingly aimless musing— walks in the woods, long stretches of solitude. The muse arrives only when all the obligatory invited guests have departed.
steve Nelson at Harvest Festival 2009 with (from left) seventh graders Jonah Philips, Claire Cohen, Taylor Gerard and adam Ettelbrick.
This experience is not exclusive to artists and scholars. Innovations of all kinds, in business, technology, science and other fields, don’t automatically come under the pressure of deadlines. They often emerge when the conscious, the subconscious, intuition and knowledge are given room to merge in alchemical bloom. For too many students, time is so intensely structured during and after school that creativity and originality don’t have time to gestate. Educators should make room for some aimlessness, in and/or outside of the school day!
Empathy is similarly underrated. Often confused with its sibling, “sympathy,” empathy is arguably the centerpiece of learning and scholarship. Empathy does not mean “feeling sorry” for someone. It is, quite to the contrary, the capacity to understand another perspective by considering it through the lens of another person, time or situation rather than through only your own. Empathy often involves understanding a viewpoint you have little sympathy for. In December, Calhoun Upper School students staged a powerful production of The Laramie Project, a piece revisiting the Wyoming murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard. The performances were stunning— not only because of their high level of craft, but because of the capacity for empathy that allowed the students to inhabit the characters they played. And not all of the characters in The Laramie Project are sympathetic. The play includes Matthew’s murderers, the town’s unrepentant homophobes and longtime Wyoming folks who sought to reconcile the horror of this murder with their previously unchallenged sense of themselves. It was remarkable to watch teenagers capture the complexity and humanity of these folks, who could have been simple caricatures in a lesser production. Empathy should be a daily tonic in schools. We should lead students to better understand a scientific concept by inviting them to wear the skins of intelligent skeptics. They should come to understand international conflict—including terrorism—not through a simple theological belief in good and evil or through a nationalistic lens, but by immersing themselves in others’ milieu and developing empathy for the complex experiences that can fuel rage. They should learn about important social and historical issues by living for a while on the side of the issue most foreign to their initial point of view. And, of course, our students should learn about the diversity of humankind by listening to and empathizing with one another, not by judging one another from the narrow safety of their own experiences. Real education must leave room for aimless contemplation and draw students into empathic relationships with their subject matter and their peers. None of this is “instead of” knowledge and skill. It must be done to give meaning and purpose to knowledge and skill.
Message from the annual Fund Co-Chairs Last year proved to be an incredibly difficult and uncertain year for many of us. We are pleased to say that despite this, annual Fund giving remained strong, as 70 percent of our families committed to ensure that Calhoun stays a vibrant and viable place for all of our children. While we cannot affect the outside world, we can make a difference at the school where our children spend their days challenging themselves and taking risks as they blossom into truly remarkable individuals. This year promises to be more positive, yet the need to support our school is just as great. all of us working on the annual Fund can only imagine what a difference it would Liz Turner and andrea Booth make if each and every family in our school participated! While there are many charitable options, we strongly urge you to join us in making Calhoun your first priority. The fiscal health of our school depends and thrives on the generosity of each and every one of us. Every gift counts!
New Beir society Co-Chairs Calhoun is delighted to welcome Shaiza Rizavi and Jonathan Friedland as new Beir Society Co-Chairs, joining Susan and Rick Thomson. Shaiza, who is serving her first year on the Board of Trustees, and Jon are the parents of two Calhoun students, Nicholas (second grade) and Anna (first). Their careers in finance coupled with their demonstrated shaiza Rizavi and susan Thomson affection for Calhoun and its progressive mission make them the perfect complement to Susan and Rick, who have been Calhoun supporters since their children first enrolled.
New Class Committee Chairs Class Committee leadership has expanded! Melissa Liberty, mother of Jack (first grade) and Jason (4’s), comes to her new role as Lower School Co-Chair after having served as both a Class Committee and Beir Society solicitor. Joining her as Co-Chair is Cathy Deckelbaum. The (L-R) Patti Galluzzi, Cathy deckelbaum, mother of William (second Melissa Liberty, Jennifer arcure grade) and Katya (kindergarten), Cathy has been an active leader in the Calhoun Parents Association. In the Middle School, Jennifer Arcure and Patti Galluzzi are well positioned to lead the effort as MS Co-Chairs. Jenn, a communications professional, has twin boys in fifth grade, Nicholas and Matthew. Patti, an experienced volunteer fundraiser, has two children, Nicholas (sixth grade) and Juliette (third grade).
sandra Lesage Reaches Out to New Families As part of the school’s efforts to welcome new families to the community, the Development Committee of the Board of Trustees created a new position to help introduce these families to our fundraising, volunteer and giving opportunities. Annual Fund volunteer Sandra LeSage, who agreed to take on this important new role, reports that new families have been very responsive to and grateful for the added outreach. “New families are eager to help Calhoun in its fundraising efforts. They understand how vital they are. Sometimes they just need a hand sorting sandra Lesage out the best way for them to participate,” says Sandra, adding that “I’ve been inspired by how grateful people are to be part of our community, and it is lots of fun to point out concrete ways in which people can help support their new school.” Calhoun is lucky, too, to have Sandra’s fundraising expertise and wisdom, gained from her professional stints with the American Heart Association, the Association for Retarded Citizens and the American Red Cross.
The 2010 Benefit Committee invites you to Mardi Gras and a celebration of the Calhoun Community on
Friday, March 5, 2010! This year the Benefit is going green, so please look for your e-mail invitation or go online to purchase tickets at www.calhoun.org/benefitrsvp.
New this year… a live Mardi Gras band!
THE CALHOUN CHRONICLE
senior stands up for Reproductive Rights
WORdsMITHs WRITE NOVELs IN 30 days
On December 2, senior Leah Cramer-Gibbs traveled by bus with 90 New Yorkers to The pursuit of the Great American Novel is alive Washington, D.C., to lobby against the Stupak Amendment. If passed (as part of the and well at Calhoun, as more than 50 students House health reform bill, still in debate at press time), the Stupak Amendment will participated in National Novel Writing Month enforce restrictions on abortions offered through governin November. This is the second (NaNoWriMo) ment-subsidized insurance plans. year that a significant number of Calhoun students “Health care reform needs to happen but it can’t be on participated in what the NaNoWriMo organization the backs of women,” says Leah. While in D.C., Leah “30 days and nights of literary abandon.” calls picketed with hundreds of participants from around the Participants in NaNoWriMo were challenged to country, listened to speakers and discussed abortion rights write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who represents the on November 30. If 50,000 words seemed daunt14th district of New York. ing, individuals were instead encouraged to set Leah was not surprised that she was one of the youngest personal word-count goals. About 15 Middle participants at the rally. “There is definitely a generational Leah Cramer-Gibbs ‘10 School students successfully reached their goals, divide when it comes to interest in abortion rights,” says including Everett Pelzman, who completed the full Leah. “Younger people are more interested in the economy and global warming. Those 50,000-word challenge. “A lot of students were are very important issues but we have lost a sense of ‘My body, my choice.’” So Leah is concerned about ‘getting it right,’ but NaNoWriMo dedicated to fostering and maintaining interest in reproductive rights at Calhoun; she is encourages them to turn their internal editor off,” the convener of the Upper School’s Feminist says Micaela Blei, LS social studies teacher. Majority Club and is hoping to revamp the Help Calhoun upper school students and Novels written by Calhoun students covered a recent graduates gain valuable experience by Upper School’s Peer Leadership program to listing your company's job or internship variety of genres, from horror to love stories. take a deeper look at sex education. opportunities with Calhoun's Internship Bank, Students worked on their tomes independently and “Comprehensive sex education covers abstiwww.calhoun.org/internshipbank. outside of class, but “write-ins” were staged on a nence,” says Leah. “But realistically, some weekly basis during lunch. “We hope to get even teens are having sex. If you know how to protect yourself, the chances of needing an more people involved next year,” says Micaela. abortion are much lower and people can make well-informed decisions.” Interested in joining the ranks of scribes next For Leah, whose mother, Cathy Cramer, was board chair of Planned Parenthood November? Go to www.nanowrimo.org. NYC, reproductive issues have been important her entire life. So when she first came to Calhoun as a ninth grader, Leah immediately joined the Upper School Students 1. More than 50 students began the for Choice Club. The following year, looking to expand her involvement in challenge, but it was seventh grader Everett Pelzman who managed to pro-choice activism, she found her answer in the listings of the Upper School complete a 50,000-word novel in one internship bank – a want ad for teen health educators posted by NARAL Promonth. Choice America’s nationally recognized Teen Outreach Reproductive 2. Calhoun’s aspiring authors included (seated from left) sixth graders Lila Challenge (TORCH) program. Reid, JoJo seifter, Lydia Eguchi and TORCH combines peer health education and leadership training to help ally Greenberg; (standing from left) young people build their self-esteem, learn leadership skills and make responsififth graders Lily Edelman-Gold, Maddie Rubin and Elizabeth Brewer. ble choices in their lives. The six-month training program qualified Leah to 1 become a TORCH educator. Now she makes presentations to private- and 2 public-school student groups, school nurses and participants in community-based afterschool programs on such topics as anatomy, contraception, abortion and doctor/patient confidentiality agreements. “TORCH tries to focus on working with minority groups that might not have access to medically accurate sex education,” says Leah, who enjoys working with other teens. “The most important aspect of TORCH is that it is peer-to-peer; for kids, there’s no higher authority.” At press time, Leah was waiting to hear from colleges, where she is considering majoring in education or social work and plans to continue some form of peer education. “These [reproductive and sex education] issues will always be a part of my life,” she says. “If you want something done, you have to take action.”
SchoolNews sixth Graders drive activities for PaRK(ing) day Sixth graders Clark Vaccaro, Lucas Rogers and Victor Caracci got a good taste of grassroots social activism on September 18, when they spearheaded Calhoun’s participation in the 3rd Annual NYC PARK(ing) Day. Aided by Clark’s dad, Steve Vaccaro ’82, and several Calhoun teachers, the students initiated this year’s project, titled “Catch My Drift.” NYC PARK(ing) Day encourages citizens to take over parking spaces to create small, temporary public parks and
sixth graders Lucas Rogers, Victor Caracci and Clark Vaccaro whipped up delicious smoothies with a bicycle-powered blender, donated by the restaurant Habana Outpost.
spark dialogue about how we choose to use valuable public space. “Catch My Drift” was set up for three hours in a single parking space in front of H&H Bagels on Broadway at
80th Street. Passersby and Calhoun students from all divisions stopped to taste wonderful smoothies made with a bicycle-powered blender (generously donated by Habana Outpost, an eco-friendly eatery in SoHo and Brooklyn). Other activities included the creation of an “urban weave,” using recycled materials, and “ecological wishes” sent aloft with biodegradable balloons. “The PARK(ing) Day project reflects Calhoun's commitment to sustainability initiatives and student empowerment, fostering community activism and leadership,” notes Andrew Hume, Director of Special Projects.
student Calligrapher Makes His Mark
star-Powered Tracks Highlight Newest Cd Calhoun has “dropped” its latest album in the Kids for Kids series; this one, Plus Guest Artists, features top singers from the atlantic Records label, including Cyndi Lauper, ute Lemper and Jewel. Calhoun’s Kids for Kids Cds are the culmination of the school’s unique “Read It, sing It, say It” program, which interweaves reading, spelling and music into an ongoing, interdisciplinary curriculum. The Cds are available for $20 each and may be purchased by contacting Michelle Raum at the Lower school/74th street, 212-4976550, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s Up for Summer?
Find Out! www.calhoun.org/summerprograms
Ninth grader Rex Wei is only halfway through his first year at Calhoun, but he has already made quite a “mark.” “When I arrived at Calhoun, I saw that there was a Mandarin department but no Calligraphy Club, so I decided to start one,” says Rex. “I want to help students learn Chinese. Practicing calligraphy can help them learn the language faster because Chinese characters are pictorial representations of the words that they represent.” Rex, who moved to New York from Singapore in 2008, started practicing calligraphy when he was seven years old. “My mother has a lot of artist friends,” explains Rex. “Artists were often sent from Beijing to Singapore through a government art exchange program, and I started working with one of those calligraphy artists outside of school.” Currently, the Calligraphy Club has about five active members, but Rex hopes to expand it during his time at Calhoun. “I like exposing people to Eastern art. I hope students will want to try something new.” When Rex isn’t teaching calligraphy to US students, he might be found in the
computer lab, where he developed a Web site for the club and created an online census survey for Harvest Festival activities; or in a music room, practicing piano for Calhoun’s Jazz Ensemble or Classical Ensemble (he also studies at the Manhattan School of Music). Rex is happy that Calhoun encourages all of his varied interests. “I was drawn to Calhoun because the school has a strong classical music department and robust art department, in addition to having high academic standards. I also like that the school gives you a lot of opportunities, like the ability to create your own club.”
“Calligraphy is not just about the writing, it’s about the poetry,” says club member amani Orr ‘13 (right), pictured with Ed Watkins ‘13 (left) and club leader Rex Wei ‘13 (center).
THE CALHOUN CHRONICLE
Join Calhoun for the 2010 NyC Gay Pride Parade Save the date for this summer’s NYC Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, June 27, 2010, when Calhoun will be sending a delegation of marchers in support of gay rights for a second year. “Joining the Gay Pride Parade is just one of many activities sponsored by Calhoun to support LGBT issues and further the school’s diversity initiatives,” notes Diversity Director Hilary North. The Calhoun contingent’s plans for the 2010 parade will be publicized on Calhoun’s Web site and announced via e-mail later this spring. For further information, contact Hilary at email@example.com.
Nearly 30 Calhoun students, parents, faculty, staff and alums marched in last year’s Gay Pride Parade on a joint float with Little Red Elizabeth Irwin school.
PMCC Children’s Book Club Highlights asian Culture
suPPORTING OuR FELLOW NEW yORKERs
Parents of Multicultural Children (PMCC) hosted more than 20 children and parents for its annual Children’s Book Club event. Calhoun parents Heather Sasaki-Parker and Emi Filiaci helped fit each participant with a kimono to “get them in character” for the reading of Suki’s Kimono by PMCC co-chair Valerie Herron. The story, about a young girl who is teased for wearing traditional Japanese garments to school, beautifully illustrates elements of Japanese language and culture. The reading transitioned into an enthusiastic dance session with fifth grader Miles Chavarria as guest choreographer and first grader Kurmaley Edwards on the drums. PMCC is a committee of the Parents Association.
In the spirit of this year’s theme, “NyC: Everyone Counts,” 2009 Harvest Festival activites supported service organizations in each of the five boroughs. students designed bookmarks for the Coalition for Hispanic Family services, a Brooklyn-based agency; made coloring books for staten Island university Hospital; created bilingual welcome cards for immigrants participating in the Queens Borough Public Library’s New americans Program; worked on fleece scarves for Concourse House in the Bronx, which has programs to help the homeless; and created murals for the amsterdam addition Community Center for seniors in Manhattan. all craft activities were organized with the help of the nonprofit group Children for Children. In addition to the service projects, cross-divisional family groups got to explore their community and the neighborhood, with activities ranging from community census-taking to automobile surveys to geocaching excursions.
Valerie Herron, PMCC co-chair, reads Suki's Kimono with some assistance from her son, Hayden (kindergarten).
CaLHOuN FaMILIEs COMBaT HuNGER directly after Harvest Festival, Calhoun parents, students and staff extended their day of service by delivering the bounty from Calhoun’s food drive to the West side Campaign against Hunger food pantry on West 86th street. In addition to much-needed food items, the group provided the supermarket-style food pantry with eco-friendly, hand-decorated tote bags designed by Calhoun students.
1. second graders Noelani Wilkinson and Nicholas Friedland 2. Clare Jasper, fifth grade
For more photos from Harvest Festival, go to www.calhoun.org/media.
SchoolNews Cougars Help Cubs, and Vice Versa! A “Math Buddies” program that began a few years ago between older and younger students evolved this year into a unique Upper School elective called Cougars & Cubs. While second, third and fourth grade math students gain valuable oneon-one assistance in basic skills, the five seniors who signed up for the class are gaining an insider’s look at teaching. “The goal of the course is to engage the Upper Schoolers in an organized and
Austin Applegate, Anthony Yacobellis and David Alpert—share their years of experience and observations as Lower School math teachers with their newest, older students. At one recent meeting, they talked about the lesson plans the seniors had been asked to develop. Ben suggested they use a professional development model called the Lesson Study, which he learned as a student in the Bank Street Graduate School’s Math
those moments, and learn from a lesson plan that doesn’t go smoothly.” Erika Brinzac ’10, began the class thinking that working with younger children wouldn’t be so hard—but she quickly learned otherwise. “They’re cute and it’s fun, but it’s definitely not easy,” acknowledges the Wellesley-bound senior, who is thinking about teaching as a career. “The teachers have taught me so much about how to deal with individual
shanta Best ’10 (far left) and Lulu Evans ’10 (near left) work with Lower school students on math skills as part of a new credited upper school elective that focuses on educational pedagogy and lesson-planning.
intensive study of the teaching of mathematics to second-through-fourth-grade students,” explains David Alpert, LS Math Coordinator. The course encourages an exploration of multiple learning styles as a means to developing curriculum and lesson plans for children ages 7 to 10. Cougars & Cubs requires the Upper Schoolers to assist in Lower School math classes three times each week and attend a weekly meeting with LS math teachers to discuss readings, approaches to learning and lesson-planning. By the end of the course, the students will have created their own lesson plans; written reflections on assigned articles; submitted observations on curriculum and in-class work with the children; and kept a math journal. The LS Math Team—Ben Schwartz,
Leadership Program. Originally developed in Japan, this approach helps teachers assess the effectiveness of their individual lesson plans and in-class presentations. “This is a neat way to teach lesson study,” Ben said. “All teachers work collaboratively to build one lesson; then, one teacher teaches while the others observe and take notes. They get together to discuss their observations after each presentation, and amend the lesson accordingly.” By the time the teachers get to the last presentation of the lesson, the plan often looks very different from the way it did when it was first proposed. “It’s the kids in the class who often change the lesson,” explained Anthony. Austin agreed, adding: “There are so many variables [that impact the lesson plan]; every class is a different experience. A teacher needs to learn from
kids: With someone who’s a certain type of learner, you might use a number line; some learn better with Cuisinaire rods; other kids are very advanced and can do it all mentally.” Erika, who is also taking an advanced elective in multi-variable calculus, admits that doing math all the time with the younger children has helped her own math skills. “Easy subtraction and addition are much faster now; they come more naturally,” she says. David Alpert is confident that having the Upper Schoolers assist the Lower School students is a win-win situation for both groups of students. “Perhaps someday, we’ll see our Cougars go on and become professional teachers; they’re a very impressive quintet and their students would be lucky to have them!”
THE CALHOUN CHRONICLE
Ms soccer Fights to the Championships after a strong regular season record of 3-3-4, the Middle school soccer Team defeated Columbia Prep in the GIsaL semifinals and advanced for a showdown against rival Browning—a team that Calhoun had played and drawn against twice in the regular season. unfortunately, the finals ended with a score of 1–0 in favor of Browning, with the winning goal scored in the last 30 seconds of the game. Coach Matthew Vidmar says, “The team made a lot of progress this year. Our teamwork peaked at the right time. In the finals, we played our best game of the season but came up short in the very last minute. The players should be proud of what they accomplished.” < Members of Ms soccer Team pose before the final championship game.
Varsity soccer Ends with Late Winning streak Although the Varsity Soccer Team got off to a rocky start, it gained momentum in early October, finishing the season with a thrilling four-game winning streak. The closing game to the league season ended with a 4–1 victory against Browning. Based on the team’s final rally and the strength of the incoming Middle School players, next year’s prospects look bright! Zuri Pavlin ‘12 shows off some fancy footwork at a Varsity soccer game.
(Top) The Girls’ JV Vollyball Team huddle for a last-minute rally; (bottom) Girls’ Varsity players block a spike.
Varsity Volleyball Places second in League Girls’ Varsity Volleyball had an impressive season, with thrilling non-league wins over Riverdale and Berkeley Carroll and a 6-2 record for the league season that put them into second place in GISAL Division 1. Despite a heartbreaking loss to York Prep in the championship semifinals, “the Cougars were focused and determined to succeed,” says Coach Karen Brauer. “The team has much to be proud of and much to look forward to next year.”
Close Finish for JV Volleyball Girls’ JV Volleyball started out with a bang, beating Riverdale Country School, Birch Wathen Lenox, Lycée Français and UNIS in the first four games of the season. The team ended with an impressive 13-2 record for the overall season and 7-1 for the Division 1 league season. The girls’ second-place standing in the league took them to the GISAL championship semifinals, where they were, disappointingly, eliminated by UNIS in the first round.
Calhoun Performing Arts Series Cross Country Runners Post Personal Bests Varsity Cross Country runners showed their mettle with a series of personal bests this year. Senior Michelle Rudin was the leader for the girls’ side, capturing her first official first-place finish early in the season – marking the first time a Cougar girl has placed at the head of the pack, and sophomore Gabe Berenbaum nabbed a seventh-place finish out of 89 runners in the league’s first meet. In the championship meet, the runners garnered a series of personal bests: Zach Taylor ’12 improved his record by an impressive 2 minutes, 37 seconds; Sean Kawakami ’12 ran an amazing 5 minutes, 35 seconds faster than his previous time; and Emmanuel Ntow ’13 dropped a jaw-dropping full nine minutes off his best time. The Middle School Cross Country Team also recorded a successful season. Each member of the fourrunner team consistently improved his time and all showed their strong commitment to the sport and support for one another. From the first race in late September to the championship meet on October 27, Everett Pelzman and Jonah Gilbert both improved Michelle Rudin ‘10 captures a their time by 31 first-place finish. seconds over the 1.25mile distance, Christopher Alpert by 26 seconds, and Matthew Stein by a full 1 minute, 42 seconds!
See the latest sports photos! Go to www.calhoun.org/media.
MaRy LEa JOHNsON PERFORMING aRTs CENTER
KIDSTUFF Click, Clack, Moo A TheatreworksUSA production
Saturday, February 6, 2pm
If You Give a Pig a Pancake and Other Story Books A TheatreworksUSA production
Saturday, April 10, 2pm
MUSIC Sub Rosa Indie Rock Concert Friday, February 5, 7pm
Jazz at Calhoun: Edmar Castenada Trio Friday, April 16, 7pm
TICKETs: $5 / students & seniors $10 / adults
www.calhoun.org/performingarts dETaILs: www.calhoun.org/performingarts ONLINE REsERVaTIONs: www.calhoun.org/reservations
alison Max appointed Co-director of Lower school Alison Max '85 has been named Co-Director of Calhoun's Lower School. The new title (she was formerly Associate Director) reflects Alison's leadership role in managing the program and faculty in second through fourth grades, and her ongoing position alongside LS Director Kathleen Clinesmith in the oversight of the entire Lower School, 3’s through fourth grade. After receiving her B.A. from Skidmore College, Alison went on to earn an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University. She returned to her alma mater in 1989 as an assistant kindergarten teacher. She quickly moved up to head teacher — first for kindergarten and then for first grade. In 2002, she was named Assistant Director of the Lower School and, shortly thereafter, Associate Director. Alison says, “I started working here as an assistant teacher and planned on staying for one year—last year was my 20th. Every day I think how lucky I am to have a job that I love so much.”
andrew Hume upped to special Projects director Andrew Hume has been promoted to the role of Special Projects Director. In his new position, Andrew will be working closely with division directors and Kara Stern, Associate Head of Academic Affairs, to advance and support interdivisional curricular programming and activities. The new position is a great fit for Andrew, whose contagious enthusiasm for projects and experiential learning was evident in his previous position as fourth grade language arts teacher. A graduate of Knox College, Andrew joined Calhoun in 2003 and received Calhoun’s Uhry/Thompson Award for excellence in teaching in 2008. When Andrew is not assisting with special projects, he coaches Middle School basketball and baseball, and is an active participant in Calhoun’s School & Society Initiative.
Faculty/staff Bylines JEN dE FOREsT, Upper School Director, has two articles slated to be published in academic journals this spring. “Culture, Community, and the Art of School: A Call for School-Centered Research” will appear in the Spring 2010 issue of Independent School magazine, published by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Jen’s second article, “The Adventures of City Students: When the Right to Learn Trumps the Right to Teach,” will appear in the prestigious academic journal Schools: Studies in Education, which is published in association with the University of Chicago and the Francis W. Parker School in Chicago. The article examines the teaching and learning that occurred in Jen’s class The American City while she was still at Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco. In the article, Jen discusses the value of the “learning-by-doing” approach to education. Jen co-taught a New York–focused version of The American City at Calhoun this fall with Lavern McDonald. GaRy JOsEPH COHEN, Upper School phototography/video/poetry teacher, had an article translated into Chinese and published this summer in World Vision Magazine, China—the equivalent of a blend of National Geographic and Time. The article chronicles Gary’s journey last summer from Manhattan to China. His review of Sebastian Agudelo’s book of poems, To the Bone, was published this past fall in Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion. LaVERN MCdONaLd, Upper School Associate Director and social studies teacher, was a featured speaker this fall at Rhode Island College’s 12th Annual Multicultural Conference and Curriculum Resource Fair.
MaRJORIE duFFIELd, US theater teacher, wrote an article entitled “On the Threshold: The Calhoun Laramie Project,” for the December issue of Scene, the quarterly journal of the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA). The article details the behind-thescenes preparation leading up to the Upper School student production of The Laramie Project (see page 26). aLIsON BENNETT, Communications Associate, brings on the laughs as a writer for a house sketch comedy team at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Manhattan. Her team, Gorilla Gorilla, mounts a brand-new show every month. Earlier this fall, one of her video sketches was picked up by the Daily Intel, New York magazine’s blog.
CaLHOuN REMEMBERs BILL BaCHMaN A memorial concert was held at Calhoun in December, celebrating the life of Calhoun music teacher Bill Bachman, who passed away suddenly on Wednesday, November 18. Bill worked part-time at Calhoun in the early 1990s as a substitute teacher and lunchtime recess assistant, before becoming a part-time teacher of clarinet and saxophone for Middle School students. A talented musician, he performed with the L’Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, the American Symphony Orchestra, the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, the New York City Opera Orchestra, the Royal Ballet Orchestra, The Little Orchestra Society, the Goldman Band, the Mantovani Orchestra, the Band of America, and in the Broadway shows My Fair Lady and Man of La Mancha. “Bill was a wonderful teacher, a fine musician and a kind and gentle soul,” says Head of School Steve Nelson. “His presence enlivened our school and we are grateful for his years of dedicated teaching and playing.” Bill is survived by his wife, Loretta.
Visiting Educator Champions the arts in Education By Anna Snider
Linda Nathan, award-winning educator and founding headmaster of the Boston Arts Academy (BAA), came to Calhoun in December to tell how she developed her vision for an urban public school that teaches through the arts by recognizing students as artists. The challenges and successes form the core of her new book, The Hardest Questions Aren’t on the Test. “I was lucky to see, early in my career, the power of the arts to bring together disparate people for a common cause,” said Linda, who was also instrumental in starting Boston’s first performing-arts middle school, and was a driving force behind the creation of Fenway High School—recognized nationally for its innovative educational strategies and school-towork programs. BAA is the city’s first and only public high school for the visual and performing arts. Under her leadership, the
Baa IMPREssIONs OF CaLHOuN Read Linda Nathan's impressions of her day at Calhoun on her blog, www.LindaNathan.net.
school has won state, national and international recognition and awards. Linda calls the arts “a great equalizer” and entry point for building student relationships. Just as valuable, she said, is that the study of technique, whether in drama, dance or fine arts, reinforces the importance of process over product; that “achievement is not about testing to a single right answer.” To illustrate, Linda introduced four BAA seniors and one graduate, who performed a modern dance piece entitled Speech that incorporated excerpts of some of the most politically charged civil rights speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy. After the performance, the dancers— Michael Baugh, Brett Bell, Fedner Dorelus, Jordan Taylor and Seaburn Williams— described how they had choreographed the dance, based on the speeches, using gestures
that symbolized experiences in their own lives. Many of the students agreed that dance had made them better students overall, and helped them connect with specific material—such as civil rights speeches—that they hadn’t encountered before. “This is what great teaching Linda Nathan, award-winning looks like,” said Linda, who educator, author and foundexplained how the choreograing headmaster of Boston phy project put into practice the arts academy underlying philosophical framework of BAA—to encourage students to “reflect, invent, connect and own” their work, a process they call RICO. Calhoun’s school & society’s Josephine Salvador, Director of Calhoun’s Progressive Education School & Society, is enthusiastic about BAA’s Conversations thoughtful reflection on how we teach. “BAA presents has developed its vision and actual structure by “BLACKBOARD BUBBLE” asking hard questions about life and learning, Thursday, February 25, 7pm not just by coming up with new initiatives or with filmmaker and Calhoun alum Jeff Deutchman, and NYC teachers programs every year. Their unifying frameIn this probing documentary, the filmmaker asks work—RICO—and genuine staff involvement NyC teachers why they chose to teach at private in the development are key to their success,” schools rather than public schools. How, he she says, observing that “BAA isn't a high asks, can teachers complain about lack of funding for public education when they themselves are not school that does arts; it's a high school that contributing to the betterment of these schools? recognizes students as artists.” are private school teachers part of the problem or The joint presentation by Linda Nathan, her part of the solution? [The cast includes former us director Loretta Ryan.] students and their dance instructor, Bill McLaughlin, was hosted by Calhoun’s School CALHOUN’S THREE CORE PRINCIPLES & Society as part of its mission to connect Tuesday, March 2, 7pm public and independent educators. Earlier in the with Steve Nelson, Head of School and students day, BAA students attended classes and lunch For this year’s annual talk on progressive with Calhoun Upper School students, including education, steve Nelson introduces the three core junior Carlo Chavarria, who was “buddied” principles that guide Calhoun’s educational with two of the BAA boys. “Seeing how philosophy. after a brief presentation, steve will be joined by student leaders in guiding involved they are in their arts—they do it every attendees through interactive discussions, day—kind of gave me new motivation to really asking questions and exploring ways in which our ‘put myself out there’ with what I like doing,” core principles might be further implemented in daily practice. Carlo noted. Anna Snider is the parent of a Calhoun student.
Calhoun’s Mary Lea Johnson Performing arts Center, 81st st. Free admission with RsVP:
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The day’s pickings, with (L-R) Mary Louie, Pa co-president, and Csa organizers Claudia Brown, Trisha Elliot and Loren Luzmore
Community supported agriculture Takes Root at Calhoun a Parents association initiative creates a community-wide opportunity that combines nutrition, education and social activism. By Heather Sasaki-Parker
Each Tuesday this past fall, more than 50 Calhoun families, faculty and staff gathered on the plaza at 81st Street with their own reusable shopping bags in hand, to collect a weekly allotment of produce. The scene became a bustling community village square, where baskets full of fresh fruits and vegetables were stacked high. Here, the produce was still enveloped by the warmth of the soil. There were baskets of crispy collard greens picked a few hours earlier, freshly cut Brussels sprouts still on their stems, white turnips and red radishes waiting to be eaten. Welcome to Calhoun’s new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) food co-op, initiated by parent organizers Loren Luzmore, Claudia Brown and Trish Elliott, with administrative support from Sylvia Kopec and the enthusiastic sponsorship of the Parents Association. The project is a partnership between
Paisley Farm in upstate New York, which also supplies fresh produce to many Manhattan restaurants, and members of the Calhoun community, who signed up last summer to buy fresh seasonal food directly from this local farmer. One Tuesday at the plaza, kindergarten volunteer Lucas Link was practicing the names of the vegetables with his mom while waiting for his first customer. At the earliest opportunity, he showed his big smile and enthusiastically explained what the week’s offerings were; Lucas was especially proud of himself for getting his tongue around the word arugula. He then happily filled the person’s reusable bag. “He is in hog heaven right now,” said Maria Link, attesting to how much her son enjoyed volunteering for the CSA. Shortly thereafter, Upper School senior Lauren Capkanis arrived at the plaza and shared her thoughts about the CSA while select-
ing her fresh produce for her mom. “I love it,” she said. “Everything is so tasty because it’s all freshly picked— especially the collard greens.” While members of the community continued to collect their share of produce, you could hear cheerful conversations describing the dishes made with the rapini they had obtained the prior week. Others shared recipes – some supplied by the farmer, some by Chef Bobo and staff, and others by the CSA organizers. “It’s been a win-win situation for all,” confirms co-organizer Claudia Brown. The community receives a reliable source of fresh seasonal produce while getting exposed to new types of vegetables and recipes for those vegetables. Also, members of the community develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food, gaining a closer connection to the food source. In return, the farmer receives reliable support for
his business and the opportunity to market his food earlier in the season, which helps cash flow and enables him to sustain his farm, pay employees and maintain equipment. Overall, the partnership alleviates some of the economic stress common to local farmers. In addition to the immediate benefits to CSA members and the farmer, Loren Luzmore points out that CSA is already benefiting the wider school community; the CSA’s weekly “leftovers” are donated to the 81st Street kitchen. She and fellow CSA organizers are also working with faculty to develop an educational component. This past fall, Loren (who is a certified holistic health counselor) was invited to Calhoun’s fourth grade health classes to teach nutrition; her six-part program included the introduction of new, healthy foods through taste tests. CSA organizers are also working with Andrew Hume, Special Projects Director, to develop a
curriculum that would bring the farmers to Calhoun to work with students and, alternately, send students up to learn at the farm. Loren notes that her son Andrew, a senior, is working on an independent Masterworks project to help develop the curriculum for students who go to the farm. Topics could include composting or farming techniques that might apply to the school’s new thirdfloor greenhouse and the Green Roof. “It would be great to have symmetry between the farm upstate and the agricultural venues we have here at school,” says Loren. The CSA may have begun as an experiment, but, according to Claudia, it’s been 100 percent successful. “It’s almost an embarrassment of riches,” she says. “Every one of our shareholders would like to rejoin next season, but we intend to open it up to the whole Calhoun community again.” The organizers are
trying to figure out an equitable way to award memberships to interested members of the Calhoun community; a lottery is being contemplated, and split shares will be encouraged. Mary Louie, PA co-president and a huge cheerleader for the CSA project, isn’t worried about the organizational dilemma because the benefits have been so overwhelmingly positive. “The CSA has been a great opportunity to integrate all divisions of the school and to meet parents and staff who share a common goal, appreciating fresh, local produce.” For more information about Calhoun’s CSA, go to www.calhoun.org/csa.
Heather Sasaki-Parker is a parent of two Calhoun students and co-chair of Calhoun Community in Action (CCA), a committee of the Parents Association.
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SchoolNews uPPER sCHOOL dEMO day MaKEs LEaRNING PuRPOsEFuL upper school students participated in their first demonstration day in december, marking the end of the fall semester and the beginning of what upper school director Jen de Forest expects will be a meaningful addition to how our students learn. In her opening remarks to upper schoolers to kick off the day’s events, Jen explained the pedagogy behind demonstration day, tracing it back to an article titled “The Project Method,” written in 1918 by progressive educator William Kilpatrick. Kilpatrick, she noted, popularized the concept that educators have to make learning purposeful. “How do we do that?” asked Jen. “We can have students teach what they’ve learned to someone else, apply it to a real-world problem or make it public.” all three approaches are practiced at Calhoun, throughout the curriculum and across divisions. demo day is just one more avenue to make students reflect on and reinforce their learning. at Calhoun, Jen said “we’re really interested in this idea of making our work public. We can do that through written work, through visual work or, as we are today, by demonstrating it to the larger community. so that’s why we’re here: to demonstrate what we’ve learned, to make our knowledge public and to share it with our classmates.”
In its inaugural run, demo day highlighted a sampling of student projects and presentations from every discipline – history, English, math, science, world languages, art, music and performance. as many as five presentations ran simultaneously, with fellow students and faculty free to choose which to attend. Jen was very pleased with the firsttime presentations. “demo day was a profoundly meaningful and substantive way for the upper school community to end the semester. strong teaching, adventuresome learning, the upper school's ever-present humor and the community's shared desire to know were all made visible.” demo day will be repeated at the end of spring semester this year and after each quarter in the new modular schedule that debuts in the upper school next year.
1. Will sacks ’13 plays saxophone with the upper school Band. 2. Josh Musto ’12 and Bobby aaronson ’12 rock out during a Jazz Workshop. 3. Rachel Morillo ’10 presents her project on Middle Eastern film for History and Politics of the Modern Middle East, a senior elective. 4. Holly Holtz ’11 talks about the biology of jellyfish. 5. Tess Harris ’11, Rachel Foster ’11 and Montana drummond ’11 present a mixed-media depiction of Huck Finn’s journey for eleventh grade English. 6. Hand-thrown and glazed ceramic pot by Naomi Van der Lande ’13. 7. aidan Lukomnik ’10 screens an original spanish-language video, a collaborative effort made for the spanish Cinema class.
“At Calhoun we’re really interested in this idea of making our work public. We can do that through written work, through visual work or, as we are today, by demonstrating it to the larger community.” 10
8. Kate Davis ’10 explains her research project, “Redheads: A Dying Breed,” created for her Molecular Biology class. 9. Andrea Messaoud ’10 explains how street art reflects political unrest in the Middle East, a project for her elective class, History and Politics of the Modern Middle East. 10. Brian Kaspiev ’10 demonstrates how to solve a volume maximization problem using the TI84 for Intro to Pre-Calc. 11. Ruby Dienstag ’11 demonstrates the black/white developing process for the Photography Workshop elective. 12. Willy Kane ’11 exhibits his biology class project on pesticides. 13. James Basuk ’13, Matthew Ferrer ’13 and Gregory Fauerbach ’13 present their Active Physics experiment for a unit on sounds and lights. 14. Reductive Woodcut by Alex Tritto '12, Printmaking I class.
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NYC: EVERYONE COUNTS “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” —attributed to Albert Einstein
HOW WE VIEW THE WORLD AND WHO REALLY
With a nod to the upcoming 2010 U.S. Census, this year’s all-school theme, “NYC: Everyone Counts,” is already helping our students understand how surveys are conducted and statistical analyses are used for public policy around the world. Along the way, the theme has served as an effective conduit for interdisciplinary and cross-divisional study, skill-building, student-to-student learning, and deep reflection on cultural, sociological and social justice issues. Early in the school year, students in 11th grade US History took the lead with an assembly that presented an introduction to the U.S. Census, along with results of their own internal study on the demographics of the Upper School community. Other classwork followed: Students in an advanced Spanish-language class compared past U.S. census statistics to get a sense of the Latino population in New York as compared to the larger New York community; in Mandarin classes, Middle Schoolers used census studies from China to learn more about that country’s culture while adding to their list of vocabulary words; and in ninth grade physical education classes, students were preparing to survey the school community about fitness and health. Meanwhile, fourth grade math students created and submitted a survey to 160 Lower School students and teachers about their hobbies and habits. The activity reinforced basic math skills of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing while teaching the students how to tabulate answers and create graphs. A more in-depth exploration of statistical analysis and “the politics of knowledge” was the theme of a semester-long elective in the Upper School, The 20th Century American City. Students learned how the process of information-gathering and preconceived assumptions can negatively affect whole classes of people when used for social policy. They learned how results can be compromised by the choice of sample group, the collection of survey responses, the phrasing of questions, and the visual presentation of graphs and charts (see page 17). The question “Who counts?” has given teachers a gateway, as well, into discussions of diversity, inclusivity and allied behavior. Rainbow assemblies in both Lower School divisions celebrated diverse families and Coming-Out Day (see page 23). Seventh graders were introduced to DNA and the "biological myth of race" in an interdisciplinary course of study called “Perceptions” (see page 20). And Upper School theater students mounted an emotionally charged production of The Laramie Project, raising awareness about hate crimes and how individuals in a community can have such wildly different views of the world (see page 26). “The aim of the thematic, multidisciplinary approach to teaching and learning, now in its sixth year at Calhoun, reflects one of the core principles of a progressive school,” explains Kara Stern, Associate Head/Academic Affairs, “that students learn by doing, by constructing knowledge, by collaborating in the real work of the school community and the world beyond the school, and by engaging as citizens to promote social justice and democracy.”
NYC: EVERYONE COUNTS
AS SOCIAL SCIENTISTS; NYC AS LAB Census studies may be helpful in giving a broad picture of our population, but students in a new Upper School elective discovered that qualitative interviews and ethnographic observation give a richer portrait of a community. Jen de Forest, US Director, and Associate US Director Lavern McDonald proved that point this past fall, when they team-taught a new senior elective course called The 20th Century American City. The course, a natural fit with this year’s theme, NYC: Everyone Counts, helps students understand how scholars from different fields approach a common problem by using the primary research tools of the social scientist—ethnography, oral history and visual displays of information. “We challenged our students to gather and interpret new knowledge, and to construct tenable theories to explain what they see going on around them,” says Jen. A second goal of the course was “to make the school a more active participant in the surrounding community and to bring the school’s mission of civic engagement into the classroom.”
PREPARATION AND PRESENTATION During the course of three research projects, all focused on the history, culture, people and social structures of life in New York City, the students explored the idea of “the politics of knowledge”—the power of a compelling data set or a convincing theoretical framework to influence social policy. To this end, they read and discussed a selection of sociological and psychological studies about how cities work by such influential authors as Jane Jacobs, Kenneth B. Clark, Robert Putnam, James Q. Wilson and George Kelling.
The first project (Top) seminar-style discussion in The 20th was to conduct Century american City an ethnographic class; (bottom) sam Lieberman ’10 and study of the neighborhood to Cristina alvarez ’10 answer the question “What is happening on the sidewalks of Broadway?” The students debated what it means to be a reflexive observer and discussed basic ethnographic notetaking strategies, including how to take jottings and data dips based on the example of Jane Jacobs (the author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities and renowned Greenwich Village activist, who
Students explored the idea of the “politics of knowledge” while reading such influential authors as Jane Jacobs, Kenneth Clark, Robert Putnam, James Q. Wilson and George Kelling.
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(Near right) For their oral history project, Erika Brinzac ’10 and Marjolaine Goldsmith ’10 interviewed Bob Milburn, father of Peter Milburn ’84 and grandfather of sophia (3’s). The interview call for senior citizens actually brought together two Calhoun grandparents who had gone to high school together! Other interviewees included: Robert simon, grandfather of Gabriel simon (ninth grade); Ronald Gilbert, grandfather of simon Gilbert (tenth grade); and Ed Hurley, grandfather of sofia Rock (eighth grade). (Far right) Ben Ellentuck ’10 and Jacob dannett ’10
challenged Robert Moses over redevelopment and urban renewal projects). “The students were particularly inspired by our reading of Jacobs’s chapters on the uses of sidewalks,” recalls Jen.
for understanding what was going on in New York at that time. “The project helped the students learn how to build a grounded theory, to let the data tell you, and not go into it with preconceived notions.”
Ethnographic studies were followed by an oral history project that posed the question “How do city seniors describe the period of urban renewal in New York City?” A call went out to Calhoun grandparents and a local senior center. To prepare for the interviews, the students read Studs Terkel’s Division Street to learn the art of oral history, and visited Columbia University’s oral history project (“the greatest archive of oral histories in the country,” says Jen). They also read articles about qualitative methodology, discussing such interview protocol as the importance of dressing appropriately, making eye contact and being polite.
For their third project, the students used neighborhood census data from 2000 to understand how statistics can help us construct a visual thesis with graphs or charts. The students were asked to contrast two variables, either within one neighborhood or between two New York City neighborhoods. “Graphs are deceptively simple but really have to be designed carefully,” says Jen, who had the students read excerpts from Visual Explanations by Edward Tufte, Yale professor and guru of visual information. “The class went through multiple drafts and critiques of their charts/graphs. If someone didn’t understand what the thesis was, the student had to rework his or her chart. It was as much about presentation as the intended content.”
Using the taped interviews, the students learned how to do data coding to build a theory. “Data coding is about ‘parsing’ text to try to make sense of how the interviewees answered, in this case, how they viewed their experience of New York City in the 1950s,” explains Jen. “It is about reading ‘beneath’ the context, analyzing for meanings not necessarily intended.” For instance, she adds, did the interviewees’ answers about their neighborhoods tell us something about race relations? It is, she continues, a very sophisticated way to build a theoretical framework
Final Project: Social Capital The final project was originally going to be a policy analysis debate, but Lavern and Jen were thrilled to see that the students’ enthusiasm carried the class in a totally different direction: to turn their new social science skills toward investigating the “social capital” (the strength of the bonds) in the Calhoun Upper School. After much debate, the students
arrived at the final phrasing: “How is social capital manifested/produced within Calhoun’s Upper School community?” Discussion ensued about the sample group: Should it include faculty? All Upper School students? One grade or multiple grades? Should it be random, purposeful or holistic? Jen encouraged them to “choose a demographic that you care about,” at which point they decided to use a “snowball sampling” technique [a research sample in which subjects are recruited from among acquaintances] and to augment quantitative surveys with qualitative interviews. Protocol would include coding for interviews, as they did with the senior citizens in their first oral history project. On Upper School Demo Day, the students presented the results. “We looked for specific hypotheses to investigate,” explains Marlena Marcus ’10, who decoded the interviews. “For instance, what is normal versus deviant behavior in terms of cutting in line? And do clubs, sports and other activities add to [one’s] social capital [at Calhoun]?” The results of this project were less important to these researchers than the process. They pointed to the numbers, but reminded the audience of how results can be compromised in multiple ways: by the choice of
BEN ELLENTUCK '10
BEN ELLENTUCK '10
Jen and Lavern were impressed by the students’ grasp of the subject matter and the process, and their initiative to go beyond what was required. “When you treat teenagers like scholars, they behave like scholars,” observes Jen. “They can come up with new, tenable knowledge… and that surprises them!”
J AC O B D A N N E T T ‘ 1 0
“I don’t agree with the way [the U.S. census] looks at people as numbers, especially because you can’t know every single thing about a person,” says Marlena. “But I came to the realization that it shows a true facet of our population.” Jacob Dannett ’10 agrees that “the numbers are helpful for a big, broader picture; when dealing with lots of numbers, you can reach out to more people. Qualitative [analysis] adds depth, though; that’s where the strength comes.”
students used neighborhood census data from 2000 to understand how to use statistics as a way to construct a visual thesis using graphs or charts. The students were asked to contrast two variables, either within one neighborhood or between two New york City neighborhoods.
E R I K A B R I N Z AC ' 1 0
Yet, despite the hurdles in constructing reliable statistical studies, there was general agreement that, when executed and analyzed properly, quantitative studies can be a valuable resource. This, in turn, helped the students understand the value and limitations of the national census.
E R I K A B R I N Z AC ' 1 0
sample group, the execution and collection of survey responses, the phrasing of questions and the visual presentation of graphs and charts.
20th Century American City: SELECTED READINGS Chapters from Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities; Dark Ghetto: Dilemmas of Social Power by Kenneth B. Clark; James Wilson and George Kelling’s “Broken Windows” in The Atlantic; Robert Putnam’s essay “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital” in The City Reader; Studs Terkel’s Division Street; Visual Explanations by Edward Tufte; transcript from PBS special “The First Measured Century,” on The Moynihan Report: When Politics and Sociology Collide.
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NYC: EVERYONE COUNTS
DNA AND THE GREAT STRAWBERRY EXPERIMENT Census studies ask us to identify and categorize ourselves. But where do these categories come from? Are they based just on perception or on scientific fact? There’s a powerful scene in the movie Race: The Power of an Illusion—Episode I when high school students from a racially diverse urban high school test their own DNA and send the samples to a lab. The students are surprised at the results, which reveal genetic connections that belie their differences in skin or hair color, ethnic background and heritage. It is a powerful message that was brought home to seventh graders this fall, who screened the awardwinning documentary film as part of their yearlong English/social studies curriculum, “Perceptions: Finding Ourselves in the World.” As they continued through their studies of world history and literature, the students were asked to question the lens through which they look at other cultures. This exploration gained even more relevance when science teacher Alba Polsley joined the interdisciplinary program by adding a DNA unit to her fall syllabus as well as a replication of the experiment conducted in the PBS documentary. “I had been teaching my seventh graders about chemical bonds– covalent and hydrogen bonds – so they already understood how protein molecules are connected to form a structure [protein molecules are the
bases of DNA structure],” says Alba. “So it was easy to expand the unit and redirect my lesson plans to the study of DNA.” The students began with basic questions: What is DNA; how is it related to living organisms; and how are all living organisms related? “They learned that 99.9 percent of DNA is similar in everyone, and that what makes us different are traits,” says Alba. “The students figured out that every living organism has the same four protein bases that make
up DNA. The only difference is the amount of each protein base, which is limitless.” Discussions ensued about genes and traits, similarities and differences—all of which echoed the themes in the film they had watched and the questions they were pondering in social studies and English class. The students discovered, for instance, that the color of skin is a trait, and that traits can change over long periods of time, depending on
“[The students] learned that 99.9 percent of DNA is similar in everyone, and that what makes us different are traits.” – Alba Polsley, science teacher
seventh grader Kazumi Fish mashes her strawberry into a re-sealable plastic bag for the first step in the experiment. Extraction buffer (diluted detergent-based solution like dishwashing liquid) is poured in with the mashed strawberry to break down the fatty layers of strawberry cells.
(Right) using a transfer pipette, cold 95-percent ethanol is added to a filtered strawberry mixture, which separates the mixture into two distinct layers. Translucent strands of dNa begin to climb together where the ethanol layer meets the strawberry extract layer. By rotating a wooden stick in the ethanol, above the extract layer, one can wind (or “spool”) the dNa.
(Left) science teacher alba Polsley demonstrates how to carefully insert the pipette.
environment. “For instance, if I have dark hair but move to a place with a lot of sun or salt water, my hair will get lighter and skin will get darker. Over thousands of years, that can become a dominant trait.” Alba notes that the evolutionary theory explains that the settlement of modern humans around the globe led to the mutation of various traits; hair color, skin color, body hair, shape of eyes. Alba asked the students to conduct a survey at school and home (five interviews per student) about common physical traits — widow’s peak, eye color, hitchhiker thumb, earlobes attached or unattached.
They converted the information about traits to histograms [a graphical display of tabulated frequencies, shown as bars], to see patterns and understand which traits are more common than others. Most important was the selection of an experiment that would support what the students were learning about DNA while reinforcing the skill sets that had been introduced earlier in the semester regarding the scientific method and the writing of lab reports. The chosen experiment was to extract DNA from strawberries, with observations and conclusions to be included in a final DNA portfolio. THE CALHOUN CHRONICLE
“The learning objectives for the strawberry DNA extraction was for the students to observe firsthand that DNA is in the food that they eat, to learn the simple method of DNA extraction, to be able to explain the rationale of each step, and finally for students to be able to explain why DNA extraction is important to scientists,” explains Alba.
ate their work. Final DNA portfolios included the results of the students’ surveys, histograms, photographs and drawings, in-class tests, working papers and self-evaluations. In the process, they learned what a portfolio is, and how to put it together carefully and completely. One group of students, she says, went so far as to make a DNA rap video.
Seventh grade science is a perfect time for a more advanced understanding of the scientific method and how to write lab reports, says Alba, who also requires the students to create portfolios and self-evalu-
The final activity in the class—and one the students were most looking forward to—was one that was shown in the film Race: The Power of an Illusion; they were preparing to do a swab test for DNA samples from the
Seventh graders gained a greater understanding of the scientific method, how to write lab reports and create portfolios, and how to self-evaluate their work.
seventh graders Henry spiro, Elijah Cabrera Jessica davis prepare their dNa study of strawberries.
students, and have them tested by an international lab that would identify each person’s genetic heritage. “These mitochondrial DNA tests have shown that all humans can be traced back to Africa,” Alba says. “They will give the students further evidence that physical differences do not indicate ‘different races.’”
RESOURCES for Seventh Grade DNA Studies The seventh grade DNA studies were augmented by two University of Utah Web sites that Alba says are age-appropriate, informative and very interactive: Learn Genetics, for its program on cells (http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begi n/cells/scale) and a basic tour of DNA (http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begi n/tour). Alba also used music to help the kids learn and memorize the scientific jargon of earth sciences, life sciences and physics: The first song was “We are DNA,” by the Brooklyn-based group Beats, Rhymes, and Science, from Flocabulary [original hiphop music and standards-based curricular materials to teach academic content for grades 3-12]; the second song was “Meet the Elements” from the album Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants (another NYC-based group).
NYC: EVERYONE COUNTS
LS STUDENTS CELEBRATE
RAINBOW DAY Learning About Differences and Allied Behavior
While census studies count households and legislatures debate what constitutes a marriage, our youngest children come up with the real answers as to what makes a family: “A family is about love”; “People that look out for each other”; “[People] having support and love”; “Someone who makes you breakfast”; “Someone who walks with you and never gets lost.” By Alison Bennett
“Stand up if you have a family!” LS theater teacher Megan McDonnell instructed her rapt audience of toddlers, kindergartners and first graders, who enthusiastically jumped to their feet. The occasion for celebration was the Rainbow Day assembly, when the Lower School celebrates the diverse families that make up the Calhoun community. Timed to coincide with National Coming-Out Day, the event was introduced last year by Megan and Ngina Johnson, kindergarten teacher, as a way to enrich the Lower School’s social studies curriculum and to bring awareness to diversity in families. The social studies curriculum for 3’s through first graders has always focused on self, family and community, by encouraging the children to explore and celebrate differences through literature, dramatic play, songs and related activities. But now there is a conscious effort to include sexual and gender differences as well as cultural and ethnic diversity to help the children understand themselves in relation to others. “Respect for our community is one of the central tenets of a Calhoun education, and it starts with our youngest students,” says Lower School Co-Director Alison Max ’85. “Teachers harness the children’s
natural curiosity about differences and help them put their observations into context. Rainbow Day, combined with ongoing group discussions, provides a platform for deeper consideration and learning with supportive adult guidance.” At the Rainbow Day assembly, each cluster adopted a different color and dressed accordingly; many clusters made rainbow-shaped signs. Three’s teacher Debbie Morenzi and first grade teacher Dustin LeVasseur led the children in a sing-along of “Under One Sky,” adapted to include different kinds of families—moms and dads, two moms, two dads, grandparents, and assorted other combinations of loved ones.
poem that had been composed using Lower School students’ thoughts and feelings about families. “The younger children were so excited to hear their words come from a different voice,” recalls Megan. Equally exciting to the children was having the Upper Schoolers join their celebration. “The faculty jumps at
Following the group song, tenth grade students from an Upper School life skills class (called Perspectives in Action) recited a
First grader sophie Levy proudly holds up her handmade rainbow.
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opportunities to mix up the ages, because the younger students really look up to the older ones,” she says. Continuing with the interdivisional spirit, Ben Schwartz’s fourth grade students read and performed scenes from the book And Tango Makes Three, based on the true story of two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who raised an egg as their own offspring. Ben says that the experience was as valuable for his fourth graders as it was for the younger children. “My own students' reactions to [reading the book] And Tango Makes Three, and the opportunity to assist and perform at 74th Street, was exactly what we hope for: marked enthusiasm, wellconceived questions and overwhelming compassion for others,” says Ben. When the reading was repeated at a Rainbow Day assembly for second, third and fourth graders at 81st Street, the presentation was followed by an improvisational roleplaying session about allied behavior. “Teaching allied behavior begins by looking at opportunities to stand up for one another,” explains Ben. “In class, we talked about moments in our lives when we've defended one another, or wished we had.” The students talked about people in
“Too often, when we speak of ‘diversity issues,’ there is a focus on targeted/minority groups, and folks who belong to privileged/majority groups struggle to find ownership… But when the crucial role of ally is included…the conversation about human rights is refocused to truly include everyone.” – Hilary North, Diversity Director
their lives who had needed the support of allies at times, and how easy it might have been to avoid getting involved. Hilary North, Director of Diversity, believes that teaching allied behavior is the key to getting the whole community involved in social justice issues. “Too often, when we speak of ‘diversity issues,’ there is a focus on targeted/minority groups, and folks who belong to privileged/majority groups struggle
Calhoun’s youngest enjoy performances by fourth and tenth graders during their Rainbow day assembly, a celebration of all kinds of families.
to find ownership within these conversations,” says Hilary. But when the crucial role of ally is included in the discussion, the conversation about human rights is refocused to truly include everyone. “In this way, you help majority folks explore their sense of responsibility in tackling social justice issues and in playing a proactive role in the creation and sustenance of inclusive environments,” she explains.
Ben says the value of open discussions about allied behavior became clear in the weeks that followed. “There was no better example of the importance of teaching allied behavior than when a number of my students saw a younger student being picked on, and quoted our discussion about standing by one
(Right) Fourth graders present an improvisational theater game that encourages students to stand up for one another as allies. (Below) Tenth grade students recite an original poem composed of Lower school students’ thoughts and feelings about families.
another,” he remembers. “Fourth graders understood the message clearly; being part of a solution isn't always easy, but is always within our power.” Ben said he was very impressed with the nine- and tenyear-olds’ ability to grasp the difference between the easy decision and the right one. Says Ben, “Listening to young children speak about sexual orientation and the need to combat bigotry reminded me of precisely why I've spent the last eleven years at Calhoun, and why I'm so excited for my own children to attend.”
CELEBRATING NATIONAL COMING-OUT DAY National Coming-Out Day was founded in 1988 by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary in honor of the Second National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights in Washington, D.C. The internationally observed day encourages discussion about sexual orientation issues. At Calhoun, National Coming-Out Day activities take place in every division— some prompted by teachers, others by student groups.
(Left) Fourth graders Nicole Carey and Romi Konorty read And Tango Makes Three to an audience of delighted Ls/74th st. students. The book is about a family of penguins that has two fathers.
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NYC: EVERYONE COUNTS
THE LARAMIE PROJECT SPARKS AWARENESS AND ACTION “We have an obligation to find ways to reach our students. And the question is, how do we move—how do we reach a whole state where there is some really deep-seated hostility against gays?” — Rebecca Hilliker, University of Wyoming professor, as quoted in The Laramie Project These words, performed by Ruby Dienstag ’11 in the Upper School’s recent production of The Laramie Project, still resonate today—particularly for parents and educators. “I think it’s important that theater teachers create opportunities for the hard discussions—in this case, about hate and difference, and about inclusion,” says Margie Duffield, director of The Laramie Project and US theater teacher. The award-winning play, by Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theatre Project, chronicles the reactions of the citizens of
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Laramie, Wyoming, to the hatemotivated murder in 1998 of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay college student. Choosing to stage The Laramie Project (the second time Margie’s done so in her 10 years at Calhoun) was partly in answer to the yearly theme and Calhoun’s diversity initiatives, but more directly related to the fact that Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother, was slated to speak at Calhoun in early October, thanks to the school’s Performing Arts Series.
Her appearance at Calhoun was, as Margie expected, a forceful and emotional experience for the cast, and clearly informed their performances. Solomon Billinkoff ’10, (who played the role of Jedadiah Schultz, among other parts), agreed that “hearing Judy Shepard speak made me connect to the script more; it elevated the importance of what we were doing.” Margie was thrilled with the production and the process, which she says provided teaching moments about
“Hearing Judy Shepard speak made me connect to the script more; it elevated the importance of what we were doing.” — Solomon Billinkoff ’10
< (Left) some of the cast of The Laramie Project, mounted by The upper school Theater deparment in december.
acceptance and allied behavior at every turn. “The kids felt it,” says Margie. “They cared about the play, and Matthew, and the characters in this town. They connected with the idea that this could be them, or their town, or a dilemma they could face— to stand up for something or to look away.” In addition to the public performances of The Laramie Project, excerpts of the student production were performed for Middle and Upper School students at assemblies. The impact of the school’s presentation of The Laramie Project continues to fan out. “The play can be a powerful teaching tool for the whole community,” says Margie, who shared her experience in an article for Scene, the quarterly journal of the International Schools Theatre Association, an organization that brings together young people, artists and teachers from different countries. The play’s ability to generate public discourse about LGBTQ (Lesbian/Gay/ Bi-sexual/ Transgender/Queer) issues was taken seriously by the cast. “Theater is a very important medium for raising awareness; it is accessible to the public and provokes an open forum for debate,” says Solomon. But, he warns, “sitting and watching a play isn’t taking action or supporting the issues. The Laramie Project needs to be the spark that ignites discussion and encourages people to go out and do something in their community.”
JUDY SHEPARD AT CALHOUN Judy Shepard’s evening talk at Calhoun on October 5, hosted by Calhoun’s 2009-10 Performing Art Series, was a sold-out event that attracted students, staff and parents as well as many educators and neighbors from the local community. Judy Shepard, who has championed hate-crime legislation since her son Matthew’s murder in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming, talked about the impact of homophobia and the importance of understanding and appreciating diversity, “My message is acceptance. Hate is a taught value, but so is love. And you can make a conscious decision not to hate,” she said. Earlier in the day, she was joined on PIX News Closeup (Channel 11) by Calhoun’s Head of School, Steve Nelson, for a discussion about the need to teach our children about allied behavior and how “not to hate.” Just weeks after Judy's visit to Calhoun, on October 28, 2009, President Obama signed into federal law the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA). HCPA extends hate-crime legislation to cover individuals attacked for perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability. In addition, HCPA extends the Department of Justice’s ability to aid state and local jurisdictions with investigations of bias-motivated violent crimes.
see video excerpts and photos of The Laramie Project at www.calhoun.org/media
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REUNION 2010 June 3 & 4, 2010 JuNE 3: aLuMNaE LuNCHEON For all graduates through 1974. Special welcome for Reunion Years ending in “0” and “5.” Location: Calhoun's Robert L. Beir Lower School at 74th St.
JuNE 4: REuNION EVENING For all alumnae/i. Special welcome for Reunion Years ending in “0” and “5.” Location: Calhoun's Mary Lea Johnson Performing Arts Center at 81st St.
REuNION yEaR CLass aGENTs 2005: Hannah Scarritt-Selman 2000: Bart Hale 1995: Sonia Bonsu, Nnabuihe Maduakolam 1990: Candace Cavalier 1985: Zoe Friedman, Alison Max, Bobby Rue 1980: Charles Oppenheim, Fred Taverna 1975: Lori Serling Sklar To help plan and recruit for the upcoming Reunion 2010, or to find out what it means to be a class agent volunteer, contact Julie Otton ’04, Alumnae/i Relations Coordinator, 212-497-6592, firstname.lastname@example.org
aLuMNaE/I MEssaGE Last year, former Board Alumnae/i Representative Nnabuihe Maduakolam ’95 developed a mission statement for the Alumnae/i Network, encouraging us each to be “personally engaged with Calhoun as volunteers, donors and advocates, to advance Calhoun’s standing as a flagship school among the nation’s most enlightened progressive institutions.”
Dear Alumnae/i: “Tell me why are you here.” It was a Saturday morning and I was asked why I was sacrificing the little free time I had to learn about proper board governance and help develop a multi-year plan for Calhoun. Why was I spending so much of my time helping Calhoun? Deep down, I knew the answer: It was the same answer as when I was 14 and going through the application process to find the right high school. It was the same answer that brought me back to Calhoun for Harvest Festival and other alumnae/i events after I graduated. Eventually, it is what drove me to ask to serve on the Board of Trustees as the Alumnae/i Representative. But it was not until I was asked why I was serving on the Board that I was able to articulate my relationship with the school: Calhoun has had a strong hand in shaping the person I am today by creating an atmosphere where I felt comfortable to fully express myself. This is why I was drawn to give back to the school. This meant spending my time working with the Board of Trustees, whose task is to ensure that Calhoun will continue to provide the same wonderful experience for students in the future that it has for students in the past.
While continuing to follow the mission set forth by Nnabuihe, my goal this year is to expand the Alumnae/i Network by helping alums to feel more connected and involved with the school. To this end, our third annual Alumnae/i Pub Night in November had a record turnout, and we are currently planning the second Alumnae/i Networking Evening and Spring Reunion, which we hope will be equally successful and well attended. In his Alumnae/i Pub Night welcome speech, Eric Potoker ’85, Board Chair, asked attendees to take some time to think about what Calhoun really meant to them. I encourage all alumnae/i to come up with their own answers to Eric’s question. It can be beneficial to take a step back and truly consider the effect that Calhoun’s progressive education has had on your life. Hopefully, after taking the time to think about Eric’s question, you will feel motivated to give back to the school. For some, this may mean volunteering time or donating to the Annual Fund. For others, it may be attending an alumnae/i event. Whichever way, let’s make sure we are celebrating the Calhoun experience and that we are doing it together. Feel free to send any concerns, questions or suggestions my way. Sincerely, David Kramer ’02 ALUMNAE/I REPRESENTATIVE TO THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
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Log in to Calhoun’s newly designed
Alumnae/i Portal www.calhoun.org/alum
NEW FEaTuREs s Easier login s Personalized “MY Group” class pages with 4 One-click access to classmates’ e-mails 4 Discussion board for classmates 4 Calendar for classmates 4 Class photo gallery — post your own RETuRNING FEaTuREs s Alumnae/i Directory s Alumnae/i Events Calendar s Class Notes s E-mails for former faculty and staff s Reunion information s RSS Feed for School and Alumnae/i News
HOW TO LOG IN Click on “Alumnae/i” at www.calhoun.org, or go directly to www.calhoun.org/alum for easy instructions. For your login to be successful, Calhoun must have your correct e-mail address; please send it to email@example.com and you will be notified as to your login within 24-48 hours. Invite classmates to submit their e-mails if you don't find them listed in the online Alumnae/i Directory!
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Alumnae/iClass Notes BIRTHS To sara spolan Marricco ’88 and John Marricco, a baby girl, Stella Rose
MARRIAGES Madeleine arthurs ‘85 to
Judson Wright dale allsopp ’91 to
Jacquelyn Scafidi Brian Taylor ’91 to
Sharon Freedman Chris Chou ’96 to
Jessica Mong adam Messinger ’01 to
IN MEMORIAM Evelyn Preis Cahn ’20 dorothy Crayder Newman ’23 Betty Epstein Goldberg ’30 adele Baron Marks ’30 Hazel Levine Tepper ’32 Phyllis Baron Luxemburg ’42 doris Oppenheimer Bernhard ’43 Barbara Janos ‘57 andre Bell ’77
1960s Joan simon Hollander '60 writes: “I am enjoying both my mathematics tutoring practice and my life as Grandma. After raising three beautiful daughters, I now love being grandma to three little boys: Banjo (almost 5), Caleb (3), and Charlie (2). I see all of them every week—often until late afternoon, when I then start seeing my math students.” dr. Maxine L. Margolis ’60 is professor emerita of anthropology at the University of Florida and an adjunct senior research scholar at the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University. Since retiring from UF in 2008, Maxine has been residing in New York with her husband, Dr. Jerry Milanich, also retired from UF. In 2009 she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was invested as a
Fellow in the academy in a ceremony in Cambridge, MA, on October 10, 2009. Jo-ann Geffen ’62, president and
CEO of Jag Entertainment, a public relations and celebrity booking company in Los Angeles, has released a new book this fall entitled Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Story Behind the Song. As one of the editors — along with Chicken Soup for the Soul co-founders Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen — Jo-Ann looks behind the songs of many musical icons to understand the artists’ true inspiration, influence and background. Mary ann Oppenheimer ’63 writes,
“Michael and I moved to Dayton, OH, in June. He is now president of Antioch University McGregor and I am foundation director for the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton.” Erica McNight Jessel ’64, who
came to Calhoun in her senior year from Scarsdale, graduated from Boston University and has been living in Stevenson, WA (population 500 when she and her husband, Rick, first got there in 1974, now 1,000). She recently retired from her job as a social worker at a local senior services county agency, where she worked for 15 years. Rick, a retired psychologist, was the first director of a mental health counseling center in Stevenson. Their son, Peter, is finishing his second-year residency at the University of Michigan Medical School, and was just accepted at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR, for a three-year fellowship. Writes Erica: “I remember playing basketball with Miriam stern Machado ’64, who was such a great player! I remember Erica Fox because of our first names. I hung out with Karen Liste Hagen ’64, who was the daughter of one of my mom's close friends. Karen was living
in Norway, the last I heard. I also was friends with Lucille Naimer ’64, who, like me, transferred from Scarsdale for our last year of high school. My hobbies are painting, gardening, windsurfing, cross country skiing, snowboarding and biking. Rick is a primo fisher, who catches lots of salmon and steelhead in the local rivers here (especially now that he's retired). We live in a beautiful rural setting called The Gorge, nestled by the Columbia River, which divides Washington and Oregon; windsurfers and kite boarders from all over the world come to sail in Stevenson and in Hood River, OR, 20 miles upriver. If anyone from the Calhoun class of ’64 comes this way, please stop by and say hello. We'll make a delicious salmon dinner for you! Tedra Levine schneider ’64, who is
still living in Connecticut and working as an interior decorator and designer, has been acting in community theater and indie films (TriState and Polyphony), and recently appeared in a studio film, Life Before Her Eyes with Uma Thurman. “I was an extra in three scenes, but only one scene made it into the movie,” reports Tedra. “The movie was released in limited cities throughout the U.S. and then went immediately into DVD. It wasn’t one of the better movies I’ve ever seen, but it was fun.” As for upcoming news, Tedra is looking forward to the birth of her third grandchild in early July. “Life is good!”
1970s andrea Frierson ’72 is a lyricist,
librettist and emerging playwright. Last year, she and her collaborator were awarded Dramatists Guild Writing Fellowships, following two years in the Tony Award–winning BMI
Musical Theatre songwriters’ workshop. The highlight of the fellowship, admits Andrea, was, “pizza with playwright Edward Albee!” An excerpt from her new musical, Sister Aimee: Live at the Capital Theatre, was presented at Playwrights Horizons last summer and again this past October. A ten-minute play that Andrea wrote, Houston, was part of the Going to the River Festival at the Ensemble Studio Theatre, which featured the work of female African-American playwrights. The characters in Houston were loosely based on her parents, she says — both New York City Opera singers. By the way, adds Andrea, “my Calhoun classmate Michele Mais ‘72 is still my best friend.” daphne Muscarella dennis ’76
writes: “My fiancé and I just moved to a huge 18th-century farm outside Philadelphia. Who said the country was peaceful? Obviously someone who never heard a screech owl at 2am.” Daphne is a professional genealogist and “historical detective,” who continues to enjoy acting, teaching writing and “raising my delightful nine-year-old daughter, Eliza.” Katherine schaefer Charap ’79 is
living in Manhattan with her new husband, Ross Charap, and her son, Sam, a junior at Calhoun. Ross is a partner at the law firm of Moses & Singer, where he does entertainment and copyright law, representing composers and publishers of music, recording artists and others in the music industry.
1980s alison Max ’85 has been named
Co-Director of Calhoun’s Lower School! Congratulations, Alison! (Read about her new post on page 10)
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Alumnae/iClass Notes steve Vaccaro ’82 aims to Reclaim New york’s streets by Julie Otton, Alumnae/i Coordinator
Lawyer and avid cyclist steve Vaccaro ’82 and his son, Clark — a sixth grader at Calhoun — took their passion for bicycling and environmental advocacy to the streets of the Upper West Side on September 18, when the father-son team galvanized Calhoun’s Middle School to sponsor and support a public space on Broadway and 80th Street as part of the National Park(ing) Day initiative (see page 5). Students from all divisions, as well as passersby, enjoyed weaving recycled materials on an urban loom and tasting smoothies generated by a bicycleoperated blender — with added help from Steve’s wife, Lisa, and seven-year-old daughter, Charlotte. Steve locked his bicycle, which he rides most days to Calhoun and to work, and talked with us. What is the Park(ing) Day project? The idea behind Park(ing) Day is to rethink our decision to devote precious,
limited public space to free or low-cost curbside parking. People take this for granted, but in fact it is a public subsidy for car owners at the expense of other street users. Why are we giving public space away to drivers in Manhattan — do we really want to encourage pollution and traffic congestion that much? Were you always involved with community activism? I got involved in politics and environ-
mentalism during college, at Wesleyan. After college, I spent eight years as a union organizer. Working with the American Federation of Musicians, I helped win equal pay and benefits for female vocalists. At the time, my mother and sister were both working as vocalists, so that campaign was personally very meaningful. I also worked for the Committee of Interns and Residents, helping win hours reductions for overworked interns in New York City hospitals. steve Vaccaro ’82 (right) with Middle school students during Park(ing) day last september.
After eight years of community organizing, you went to Rutgers Law School. What kind of law do you practice now? I’m a litigator at Debevoise & Plimpton, where I mainly represent
large companies and insurers in complex tort litigation. But I also participate in Debevoise’s extensive pro-bono program.
Has your pro-bono work overlapped with your interest in cycling? Absolutely. I’m lead counsel in a lawsuit against
the NYPD, alleging unconstitutional enforcement of the law against cyclists suspected of taking part in monthly “critical-mass” bike rides. The critical mass cyclists ride together throughout the city without a fixed route as a celebration of cycling. By 2004, the event was drawing thousands of riders. The NYPD initially was tolerant, but then suddenly changed strategy at the August 2004 Republican National Convention, when they arrested hundreds of cyclists for conduct such as blocking the box or failing to keep right. Many of those arrests were later proven unlawful, but the NYPD continues to this day to selectively enforce the law against critical mass cyclists. Police chase around a group of five cyclists suspected of participating in critical mass and ticket them for petty equipment violations or for violations based on laws that aren’t even in effect in New York! We tried our case in federal court in May 2009, but we don’t yet have a decision. How does it feel to be mentoring your son, Clark, and his classmates to be activists? It’s wonderful to be doing politics on the Upper West Side again after a 20-year hiatus — and with the school’s support! After Park(ing) Day, Clark and I went to two Community Board meetings to support the creation of protected bike lanes. Clark gave statements at both meetings, facing heckling and interruption at one of them, but he got his message across with grace and force. I think his fine drama training at Calhoun helped! Now Clark is always asking me, “When is the next community board meeting?” Having grown up on the Upper West Side, I see how far we have come on “livable streets” issues and want to do more, but even more important to me is helping show Clark and his friends the excitement of getting involved and putting yourself out there for a good cause.
Alumnae/iClass Notes 1
sara spolan Marricco ’88 and
husband, John, had a baby girl, Stella Rose, on April 30, 2009. Writes Sara, “Her big sister, Madeline, is proud to show her off everywhere we go!” Ross Kleinberg ’88, david
from Venice, she enjoyed a cruise to Dubrovnik, Croatia, Ephesus and Kusadashi in Turkey, and Santorini and Corfu in Greece, before returning to Venice and back to New York City. She says, “It was awesome.”
Potischman ’88 and alex Rohrs ’88,
Brian Taylor ’91 got married to
still close friends from their Calhoun years, met at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan “to get out of the house, support hands-on learning, munch on diner food, but most importantly, catch up with kids in tow, who made the playdate even more meaningful.” Next time, the guys say they’re planning a bowling party and more classmates!
Sharon Freedman last September “in a fantastic ceremony with such beautiful weather,” he says. “We had a blast the entire weekend and feel that it surpassed our wildest dreams…and we had wild dreams.” After the wedding they were off on their honeymoon to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Brian says, “Now that the wedding plans are (luckily) behind us, I am focusing on my career. I have been primarily focusing on voice-overs. My biggest client is Comcast — I am the announcer in several of their spots. I have several other spots running, too.”
1990s diánna Martin ’90 taught acting
classes at Hunter College last fall and continues to teach at Martin Acting Studios in New York, where she instructs adults and teens. “I'm finding aspects in myself and my teaching that remind me of teachers I learned from at Calhoun, as well as from my father (an acting teacher and director), and my mother (an actress),” says Diánna. In addition to her teaching, Diánna is involved as a director with Oberon Theatre Ensemble, an off-off-Broadway company in its 12th season. Her plays have received praise in Backstage and Show Business Weekly. Jodi Katz ’91 enjoyed an incredi-
ble trip this past summer. Leaving
Heather sayles ’92 is completing her eighth year teaching at Calhoun, as a head teacher in the 3’s program. She also became certified to teach yoga to young children a few years ago, and has since integrated a yoga program into the curriculum for the Lower School 74th Street students, 4’s through first grade. Now almost all the students in Little Calhoun know how to say, “Namaste!” Chris Chou ’96 celebrated his marriage last summer to Jessica Mong, surrounded by Calhoun classmates, including Glace Chou ’82, Cary Rosner ’78, Winston Chou
’95, Masumi Takamizu ’96 and Richard Lin ’97. The couple then
went on a monthlong, whirlwind around-the-world trip for their honeymoon. Now, Chris is preparing for his next career, which will be an entrepreneurial and green spin on real estate development. “Only preliminary steps have been taken,” he says, “but at least it's something!” Jason Fleetwood-Boldt ’97, who recently moved back to New York from California, is working as a computer programmer for East Media. dana Messinger ’97, who spent a
number of years practicing corporate law, is now working as assistant director of admissions for Johns Hopkins University, her alma mater. The job change came after a year in politics, working for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Dana is living in Washington, D.C. Molly Kaplan ’98 writes, “In a nutshell, I studied olives in Africa and Europe for a year after college on a Watson Fellowship, came back to New York, became a pastry cook, then a manager
1. ’88 Boys Back in the Hood: The Children’s Museum of Manhattan on the upper West side was treated to the ’88 Calhoun crew last fall. (L-R) alex Rohrs ’88 and his son, Benjamin (two); Ross Kleinberg ’88 and his daughter, sophie (six), and david Potischman ’88 and his daughters, Phoebe (two) and Ellie (five). 2. Heather sayles ’92 teaches yoga to children in Calhoun’s 4’s through first grade. 3. Chris Chou ’96 and Jessica Mong were married last summer.
and maître de fromage at Gramercy Tavern. I just completed my master’s degree in media and communications at the London School of Economics and am trying to break into public radio back home in New York!”
2000s Rebecca simone stein ’00 gradu-
ated last spring with a master’s in social work from New York University. She reports that she loves her job as a psychotherapist at the Park Slope Center for Mental Health, where she works with children, adolescents and adults. Rebecca is also a candidate in psychoanalysis at the Training Institute for Mental Health and serves on the board of Odyssey Productions, a theater company she founded with friends. adam Messinger ’01 recently married Marina Fooks, a med
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Alumnae/iClass Notes Rachel Zients schinderman ’89 Chronicles Parenthood by Julie Otton, Alumnae/i Coordinator
Rachel Zients schinderman ‘89 has found a new career in motherhood: she is the founder of “Mommie Brain” writers’ workshops, which are aimed at helping parents document pregnancy and parenthood and have been featured in L.A.’s Daily Candy Kids. Her personal experiences as the mother of Benjamin, now three years old, are chronicled in a popular column she writes for the Santa Monica Daily Press and in her recurring appearances as a monologist in the L.A. stage production of Expressing Motherhood. Where did the idea come from for “Mommie Brain”? My son, Ben, had a traumatic birth, so when I decided to stay home with him, I was having a hard time and needed a way to build myself back up. There were many classes being offered for new parents, but nothing to get your mind back into shape. I had the idea to offer writing workshops for moms for a while, but didn't implement “Mommie Brain” until the summer of 2008, when Ben was turning two—and was much stronger and doing very well. A couple of months later, I began writing my column [for the Santa Monica Daily Press]. How are your columns different from other articles on parenting? If they are different, I guess it is because I focus on some of the parts that people don’t talk about as much. Sometimes I struggle with writing about Ben and sharing too much, but then other people who are having struggles contact me and I realize that my writing sparks conversation about special needs. I am not an expert; I’m just honestly writing about my experiences. Now that Ben has started school, I am trying to get my pieces into other publications and focusing more on teaching. I am also documenting Ben’s whole life right now, which is another way to cement this time.
P H OTO C R E D I T: E R I N C L E N D E N I N
What inspired you to write about your difficult experiences with motherhood? When
Rachel Zients schinderman ’89 and son, Ben
my father died, my mother, Eileen Douglas, took a bad situation and wrote a book about it called Rachel and the Upside Down Heart. This was how she processed [his death]. I realized that the book helped other people, that you can write about yourself and it’s not self-indulgent. Nothing is wrong with exposing yourself and writing about your own challenges.
When did you start writing? After graduating from Syracuse University and then the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, I moved to Los Angeles in 1996. I tried acting at first, but eventually became a TV producer and freelance writer. I worked for the TV show Blind Date and the E! Channel; freelanced for The LA Times Magazine and Backstage West; and did readings around L.A. In 2004, I completed a master’s degree in professional writing from the University of Southern California, with the grand hope of finishing a book. Ben was born and the book wasn’t getting written, so instead, I started approaching local newspapers with the idea of a column about motherhood. Do you still have any connections to Calhoun? It’s great to be back in touch with my Calhoun friends through my writing (posted on Facebook). It’s easy to feel an instant closeness with the people you went to school with, and they’ve been really supportive and equally honest about what they are dealing with, too. I am still best friends with Allyson Lieberman ’89. We Calhoun girls need to stick together! Learn more about Rachel at www.mommiebrain.com and check out her column in the Santa Monica Daily Press at www.smdp.com.
Alumnae/iClass Notes student at Albert Einstein. Adam teaches sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hunter College and is finishing his Ph.D. through the University of California at Riverside. Jennifer Meyers ’02 and summer Rej ’02 have been hard at work on their jewelry and accessories company called Three Blondes. The merchandise recently debuted for sale at Clyde’s Chemists on Madison Avenue. “It’s been A LOT of hard work, and it's just the beginning!” writes Summer. The products can be viewed on their Web site, www.shopthreeblondes.com. salehe Bembury ’04 graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in industrial design. Combining two passions, art and design, he has been busy designing shoes. This past fall he was a footwear designer at Payless, but he was recently offered a new position as a women’s footwear designer at Fortune Footwear. Salehe has designed for such brands as Airwalk, American Eagle, Alice + Olivia, and Bebe. Katie slade ’04, who graduated
from Skidmore in May 2008 with a B.A. in molecular biology, recently moved to Philadelphia to work in an immunology research lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Katie brought her horse, D.J., along for the move. She plans to apply to veterinary school next year. Max Marcus ’05, graduated from
Vassar last May, where he studied physics and astronomy. Back in New York and living in Stuyvesant Town, he is currently a graduate student at Columbia, pursuing his master’s in the philosophical foundations of physics. Chelsea stilman-sandomir ’05
graduated from Goucher College last May with a major in English and secondary education. She decided to come back to Calhoun
after four years away as an intern “a little bit in the Lower School, helping out in second grade math classes,” she says, but mostly in the Upper School, working with teachers Gary Cohen and Bobby Rue ’85, “where I’m gaining a wide variety of teaching experience in photo classes, creative writing, and Gender and Film. This is such a wonderful opportunity and I'm very excited to be spending the year here!” Erika storm Wasser ’05, who
attended Upper School through eleventh grade, graduated last spring from Boston University with a degree in broadcast journalism. During her senior year at BU, Erika participated in the Rooftop Comedy’s College StandUp competition, making it through to the final four of the regional semifinals as the only girl. Now in New York, Erika recently completed a stint as a writer on the Tyra show and is performing stand-up in clubs around the city. Check out her blog, www.widewordofwasser.com. Ben abrams ’06 is finishing up his
finance degree at the University of Michigan. He is all set for graduation with a job offer to work at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), where he’ll be doing proprietary trading. Emily Capkanis ’07 is a junior at
Drew University, majoring in studio art with a minor in sociology. Her artwork includes printmaking, ceramics and sculpture. Eventually Emily would like to combine her interests in art and public relations to represent artists.
years. “This would mean a big move away from coal and oil to solar and wind power,” explains Andrew, who notes that to get their agenda heard, he and his campaign colleagues have been participating in “sleep-outs” — overnight protests on Boston Common.
2 1. Chelsea stilman-sandomir ’05 is working with Calhoun’s Lower and upper school teachers in a yearlong internship. 2. Pia Marcus '09 spent this past fall semester working in an orphanage in Morocco.
Pia Marcus ’09 spent this past fall, her first semester as a Washington University freshman, in Morocco. She writes, “I lived in Rabat, working in the Lala Maryem Center for Abandoned Children with a nonprofit organization called Cross Cultural Solutions. Muslims do not believe in sex before marriage, so pregnant single women end up abandoning their newborns here rather than facing the [social] stigma and (most likely) the rejection of their families for being single mothers. Abandoning children is technically illegal in Morocco (a law only passed in 1993), but instead of curbing the [number] of children that are abandoned, the law has simply forced women to leave their newborns on the street
in hopes of them being discovered and brought to an orphanage. At the orphanage, I helped the nurses to bathe, clothe and feed the toddlers. But the most rewarding part was giving the children much-needed love and attention. I became extremely attached to them. It was so hard to say goodbye!” adam Neufeld ’09, a freshman at
Muhlenberg, is majoring in American studies with a minor in Spanish, while pursuing the premed track. He is also president of his freshman class and is very involved with local politics as well as with student political groups.
state of the school address WITH
andrew sklar ’07 is a junior at
Boston University, where he studies environment analysis and policy. This year, he has been actively involved in a lobbying campaign to pass a bill in Massachusetts that would require the state to convert to 100 percent clean energy within the next 10
steve Nelson, Head of school April 28, 2010, 7pm, 81st Street FOLLOWEd By
alumnae/i Networking Evening 8PM RSVP: Julie Otton ‘04, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE CALHOUN CHRONICLE
alumnae/i Pub Night NOVEMBER 24
On November 24, Calhoun grads headed out in droves to the third annual alumnae/i Pub Night at Prohibition Bar & Restaurant on the
upper West side. alums from 1978 to 2005 packed the venue, mingling with friends and former teachers. The Class of ’85, in particular, was out in full force to kick off its 25th reunion year. If this party was any indication, then the spring Reunion on June 4 should be a huge hit!
More photos at www.calhoun.org/alumphotos 3
1. (L-R) Julian Boxenbaum ’90, William Lash ’90, Kareem Cook ’90, Chris Martinez ’89 , dale allsopp ’91
2. (L-R) Melissa Kimmel saperstein ’85, Tanya Hotton ’85, Zoe Friedman ’85 3. (L-R) Eric Potoker ’85, david Mandelbaum ’85, daniel Rudick ’85, david Bear ’87, Jason Novick ’87, 4. (L-R) Roey Mizrahi ’03, ali Green ’03 5. (L-R) Mark Rentschler ’00, Paloma Woo ’01, Justin Bosch ’00, Peter Concannon ’01 6. (L-R) andrea Gabriel ’91 and her sister, Melissa Gabriel ’88
Alumnae/iReunions 2 3
Harvest Festival Reunion
Calhoun’s annual Harvest Festival Reunion, held on the day before Thanksgiving, welcomed recent grads with a delicious lunch prepared by Chef Bobo and his team while they visited with former teachers and classmates. Even some “old-timers” showed up for this longtime tradition! 1. (L-R) amanda Carruthers ’08, Lili Burns ’08 2. (L-R) Terry Horowitz ’09, Marcy Isaacson ’09 3. (L-R) adam Neufeld ’09, Brendan Radigan ’09
4. (Top L-R) John Roeder, dana Messinger ’97, sonia Bonsu ’95; (bottom L-R) Richard Lin ’02 and daughter, Zoe; Jason Fleetwood-Boldt ’97 5. Mark Freedman ‘08, Margie duffield and Luke alpert ‘09 6. (L-R) Loreily Escobar ’09, stephanie Nuñez ’09 7. (L-R) Emily Capkanis ’07, Bobby Rue ’85, Bari abrams ’09
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Save The Dates!
2010 Check www.calhoun.org for more upcoming events and the latest news.
March 2 Steve Nelson’s Annual Talk: “The Three Core Principles of Calhoun’s Progressive Approach to Education” 81st Street, 6pm-8pm March 5 Mardi Gras in March, Benefit 2010 Pier 60/Chelsea Piers, 6:30pm-11:30pm May 1 47th Annual Calhoun Carnival 81st Street, 11am-5pm May 13 Annual Calhoun Book Fair Barnes & Noble Lincoln Square, 9am-9pm June 3 & 4 Reunion 2010 Special welcome for reunion years ending in “0” and “5.”
Biannual magazine of The Calhoun School for alumnae/i, current and former parents, staff and friends.