HACKLEY H A C K L E Y R E V I E W W I N T E R 2 0 19 - 2 0
HACKLEY TEACHERS BUILDING THROUGH
Why Choose Hackley for Lower School? Our daughter is being challenged and is thriving in every way — academically, socially, emotionally, creatively, and more. She has a class full of friends she adores, and when I asked her who is the funniest person in her class, she answered full of giggles and smiles, “My teacher!” She loves both of her teachers, and so do we. We fondly referred to Hackley as our “dream school” when we were applying to schools…the dream has been realized and it’s wonderful. — a kin d e r g a rt en f a m i l y
On the cover: The Hackley Campus reimagined as an amusement park, the product of a year-long project by students in Lower School art teacher Rick Diaz's Brick Builders Club.
H A C K L E Y R E V I E W W I N T E R 2 0 19 -2 0
Contents 2 From the Head of School
4 Wonder: The Hub of Interdisciplinary Learning in the Lower School Hackley teachers discover the expansive potential of collaborative teaching. By Lisa Oberstein
12 Hiding the Vegetables: Role-playing, Games, and Simulations History teacher Jared Fishman takes learning beyond the textbook and into action. By Michael Canterino ’03
20 Making It Real: Bringing Learning to Life in the Middle School Feeding a curriculum that bubbles with opportunities for discovery and trying something new, Hackley Middle School teachers are excited to keep learning and to share that learning in the classroom. By Cyndy Jean Hackley challenges students to grow in character, scholarship and accomplishment, to offer unreserved effort, and to learn from the varying perspectives and backgrounds in our community and the world.
30 Alumni Day 2019 Over 350 alumni and friends returned to the Hilltop on a shining fall day. By Margie McNaughton Ford ’85
42 End Note Asking the Better Question
Suzy Akin Editor Chris Taggart Primary Photography Alphabetica Design
© Copyright 2019 Hackley School. All rights reserved.
By Andy King
from the head of school
Two years ago, Hackley’s faculty developed the Portrait of a Graduate, an aspirational vision for our students and an inspirational goal for the community as we created Redefining Excellence: Learning Beyond Boundaries, our strategic plan. While expressed in terms of habits of “character, scholarship, and accomplishment” for students, the school’s collective journey towards the Portrait is only possible through the “unreserved effort” of Hackley’s adult community, especially the faculty. Hackley has a well-earned reputation for teaching excellence, and the hallways are filled with the images and words of master teachers. The pictures of faculty who retired after twenty years or more service to the school can be found in Philip Savage (along with their staff colleagues), while a painting of Arthur Naething as Hamlet looks over the Goodhue Lounge. I am confident that many of Hackley’s current faculty will one day be discussed alongside legendary educators, such as Walter Schneller, the Szabos, Randy McNaughton, and the Mittons. As Hackley continues to develop programs that enrich our curriculum and deepen student learning experiences through Redefining Excellence, we are mindful that the elements required to sustain an outstanding school can only be accomplished through our faculty, the foundation of any good school. It is their daily work with students that lies at the heart of what happens on the Hilltop, and it with this guiding principle in mind that we focused one of the plan’s four core goals — Build for the Future — on the faculty. Like the creation of a physical space, the building of a world-class faculty requires advanced planning and a clear goal. When it comes to teachers, we want Hackley to be recognized within the educational community as a place where teachers are respected and supported to grow at all stages of their careers. The goals articulated within Build for the Future recognize that Hackley’s future success — and therefore that of our students — is linked to the strength, diversity, and
dynamism of the faculty. We want to ensure that faculty members continue to grow, and we will do so by providing the necessary professional learning resources required for them to explore new ideas, pedagogies, curricular areas, and learning experiences. It is through the continued growth of the faculty that the school creates a rich, supportive learning environment for students. In this edition of Hackley Review, you will read several stories that highlight the ways that outstanding faculty members — ones that are collaborative, are committed to professional learning, and are representative of the school’s values — can create moments of transformative student learning. Mike Canterino ’03, an Upper School English teacher, writes about the exciting work his colleague Jared Fishman, a history teacher with a passion for and expertise in role-playing games as a teaching tool, is doing both in and beyond the classroom. Empowered by the school’s commitment to explore new pedagogical approaches through Redefining Excellence, Mike and Jared are now collaborating on an elective course they have developed, and their work has earned them professional accolades within the educational gaming community. Another story by Director of the Lower School Lisa Oberstein — one of three stories by our division directors — highlights the learning opportunities created for Lower School students and colleagues through the collaborative efforts of librarian Anna McKay and technology teacher Mary Murray-Jones. In addition to encouraging faculty to pursue new approaches, it is critical that Hackley continues nourishing the drive teachers have to pursue their own professional learning goals. Whether collaborating with one another on campus, through coursework or participation in workshops, or by leading the professional development of other educators at conference, we continually strive to create such an environment. Cyndy Jean, Director of the Middle School,
Hackley has a well-earned reputation for teaching excellence, and the hallways are filled with the images and words of master teachers
describes the ways that Middle School teachers’ personal interests have fueled professional development and growth experiences beyond Hackley. And again, you will see that the continued learning by teachers translates into powerful experiences for our students. While knowledge and skill development are central to any worthy education, at Hackley we also value character and personal development. The collaboration, professional development and faculty growth noted previously not only support our academic goals, but the pursuit of deeply held values around character. This edition’s “End Note,” a piece by Andy King, Director of the Upper School, affirms this idea. In his essay, Mr. King describes helping students answer the question, “What kind of person do you want to be when you grow up?” The richness of this question drives to the heart of so many deeply held Hackley values around education and its purpose. I am delighted that this edition of Hackley Review focuses on the outstanding work of Hackley’s faculty, as they bring Redefining Excellence to life. These stories, as well as any number of other ones we could share, provide a glimpse into the ways in which today’s faculty are having an impact on students and are continuing to learn and grow as professionals. The collective effort, skill, creativity, and relentless pursuit of professional learning from our faculty ensures that Hackley delivers on our mission and will best serve our students. The faculty are both our present and our future.
Hackley Alumni Association, Inc.
John C. Canoni '86, President
Board of Trustees
Sy Sternberg, Vice President Harvinder S. Sandhu, MD Vice President
Christie Philbrick-Wheaton- Galvin ’00, President
John R. Torell IV '80, Treasurer
Sallyann Parker Nichols ’87, Vice President
Maria A. Docters, Secretary
Daniel E. Rifkin ’89, Treasurer
Sherry Blockinger ’87
Timothy L. Kubarych ’06, Secretary
Christopher P. Bogart Thomas A. Caputo ’65 H. Rodgin Cohen Dawn N. Fitzpatrick David I. Gluckman Eric B. Gyasi ’01 Jason J. Hogg ’89 Linda Holden-Bryant Kaveh Khosrowshahi ’85 Jeffrey A. Libert ’73 Michael H. Lowry Rachel Mears Hannah E. Saujet ’94 Jumaane W. Saunders ’96 Sarah J. Unger ’03 Maureen Wright
Leadership Team Michael C. Wirtz Head of School Philip J. Variano Associate Head of School for School Operations Steven D. Bileca Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs Peter McAndrew Director of Finance and Campus Planning Andrew M. King Director of the Upper School Cyndy Jean Director of the Middle School
Pamela Gallin Yablon, M.D.
Lisa Oberstein Director of the Lower School
Christopher T. McColl Director of Admissions
Herbert A. Allen ’58 Daniel A. Celentano
Teresa S. Weber Director of Advancement
John T. Cooney, Jr. ’76 Marvin H. Davidson Jack M. Ferraro H’63 Berkeley D. Johnson, Jr. ’49 Keith R. Kroeger ’54 Philip C. Scott ’60 Advisory Trustees John J. Beni ’51 David Berry ’96, MD, PhD Roger G. Brooks
Michael C. Wirtz P ’29, ’31 head of school
Harold Burson Robert R. Grusky ’75 Michael G. Kimelman ’56 Timothy D. Matlack ’70 Jonathan P. Nelson ’64 Diane D. Rapp Conrad A. Roberts ’68 Lawrence D. Stewart ’68 Sue Wagner
Hackley School adheres to a long-standing policy of admitting students of any race, color, religion, gender identity, and national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender identity, or national or ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship or athletic and other schooladministered programs.
F E AT U R E
By Lisa Oberstein director of the lower school
Wonder: The Hub of Interdisciplinary Learning in the Lower School With less than half a year’s tenure on the Hilltop and in my role as Hackley’s new Director of Lower School, I get to experience so many “firsts,” and so many discoveries, that I feel a special kinship with the Class of 2032, our kindergarteners who began their own Hackley journey in September. Meeting so many wonderful people and experiencing the invitation to “Enter here to be and find a friend” myself, I am reminded every day that the root of “wonderful” is “wonder.”
Left: Lower School librarian Anna McKay, working with students in the Lower School technology lab.
Our Lower School students are certainly full of wonder, and they wonder, actively, about the world around them in ways that challenge the traditional bounds of the classroom. Their limitless curiosity is exciting — and one of my own sources of wonder in my early days at Hackley has been the discovery that the Lower School library and technology classrooms have forged a partnership dedicated to feeding this wonder. I always loved the library, growing up. I was that kid who couldn’t wait to take out a new book, share it with my family at home, and rush to return it so I could bring home another. A good school librarian feeds this passion for reading and discovery, and Hackley’s Lower School librarian, Anna McKay, brings a sparkling, magical engagement to her work with our students, exuding excitement for books that equals that of the most voracious young reader. The Lower School library is a large, sunny, and beautiful space, and you can barely help yourself from reaching out to pick up a book. Anna can’t wait to help students find their next book! Asked recently for advice on books to recommend for a particular young reader, she lit up, expounded on the student’s positive, helpful attitude and love of reading, looked up the child’s recent book choices, and came back with a list of eight additional books she thought the child would enjoy. This student, like every Lower School student, is known, personally, by Anna, who looks out for each of them as developing readers. Right next door is the Lower School technology lab, where Mary Murray-Jones runs a rich, skills-based K-4 program. Now in her 27th year at Hackley, Mary has been teaching STEM to Lower School students since before “STEM” was even an acronym. She has long believed in teaching technology as an integral part of the Lower School program, making it relevant to everything students are doing in their other classes. It would seem only natural, then, that she would find ways to connect her curriculum with that of the library next door, and yet, the two programs remained surprisingly separate. Making Time for Partnership Mary and Anna explain that each Lower School class meets for “Library” one period a week, and also meets for “Technology” one period each week. Beginning in Kindergarten
and building year by year, the Library class teaches students how to find books and how to use the online catalog. Students learn research skills that support their classroom projects. They learn how to cite sources. And, of course, they learn to understand the library as a personal resource as they develop as readers who read for pleasure. In Technology class, students begin in Kindergarten learning keyboard skills and, over the course of their Lower School experience, build confidence and increasingly complex programming skills. Students literally need to walk through the library to get to the Technology classroom, and yet there was no programmatic intersection between the learning happening in the two spaces. And then, this changed. Mary and Anna attended a New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) session in May 2015 entitled “Librarians and Technology Integrators: a Collaborative Workshop.” The workshop description pitched it as a “day long ‘couples retreat’” dedicated to team building activities “focused on strengthening the connections between technology and library,’ creating opportunities for them to “brainstorm collaborative projects that highlight the natural partnerships between the two areas.” Mary and Anna immediately saw the opportunities this partnership presented, and set out to resolve a fundamental obstacle: the schedule. Student time in the library and in the technology lab was not coordinated in a way that could support collaborative efforts. “Mary might be teaching first graders in a certain period,” Anna observes, “while I’d be right next door teaching third graders.” The potential synergies were immediately apparent, and where there is a will, there must be a way. The two teachers began working with the Lower School administration and the Registrar’s office (which designs student schedules) to see if their teaching periods with particular classes could be joined to create a single, longer period. On the surface, this may seem a simple proposition. But think about it: every class in each grade level needs to be scheduled into not only their “homeroom” classes, but all their “specials” — music, physical education, art, library, technology...not to mention recess and lunch! Moving library and technology classes would require the moving of
Right: Fourth grade student presenting her book review to classmates.
F E AT U R E
Lower School Technology teacher Mary Murray-Jones guides students in creating their tech presentations.
WE HAVE LEARNED FROM EACH OTHERâ€™S DIFFERENT STYLES. IT STRETCHES YOU TO GET OUT OF YOUR SILO AND WORK WITH SOMEONE DIFFERENT. Anna McKay, Lower School Librarian
F E AT U R E
This page and opposite: Hackley students learn to create their multmedia reports, to present them with confidence, and to be attentive and respectful audience members.
an art class, which might bump a P.E. class, and so on, and so on, all with the awareness of the need to keep student schedules balanced and regular for student well-being. The entire Lower School faculty came together in support of the goal, however, helping to work through schedule challenges and find solutions so that beginning in September 2015, all Hackley fourth graders could meet for two back-to-back periods each week for a combined Library and Technology workshop. Inspiring Collaboration Only the fourth graders? Yes, and it turns out, that’s just perfect. The structure has allowed Mary and Anna to design the K-4 curriculum in such a way that it builds most effectively toward the collaborative fourth grade course by devoting time in each of the separate areas to skill building. Collectively, they understand their shared goals and can manage the program together even as they lead separate lessons. Even more exciting, though, is the way in which this spirit of collaboration saturates the Lower School culture, inspiring more and more partnerships between teachers in other subject areas and the library and technology resources. Our first graders, for example, develop research projects in which they learn about animals native to Hackley’s campus and its immediate vicinity. The collaboration beings, actually, with the work of Hackley Upper School students who, in their environmental science work, identify native spe-
cies. Each first grader then works to research one species, using the library to support collaborative work that unites both their science and literacy curricula. In their homeroom classrooms, students learn to understand “What is a fact?” During their library research time, they learn which resources best substantiate facts vs. fiction and opinion. Then, the students develop non-fiction narratives based on their research, which they type during their technology workshops. Finally, in an added layer of collaborative partnership, Hackley fourth graders read aloud the narratives the first graders have written, and their recorded words are linked to QR codes placed on signs around Hackley’s forest so all visitors can share in the learning. Building Skills The skills and mini-collaborations in which the students engage build year by year, and by fourth grade, the two disciplines are firmly united, and the two teachers are a team. In one of their collaborative endeavors, for example, Anna guides students to write reviews of books they had read, coaching them to share the information that would engage potential readers. What kind of a “hook” will they use to get the reader interested? How might they tell enough of the story bring the reader in, without spoiling the ending? Then, Mary teaches students to create Google slide shows to present their reviews in a way that gets beyond mere summary of the text. Mary says, “Putting these two threads together, the students are able to take the same piece of writing into different media, and they come to understand that you
need to change the way you present material depending on the medium. They learn to evaluate the balance of images and text, and to develop a visual way of understanding that ‘shows’ as much as it ‘tells.’” These book reviews, by the way, become part of the Hackley Lower School catalog, creating a permanent and growing exchange of ideas from student to student across the years. It’s especially exciting when a student finds a review written by an older sibling or friend! Presenting Mastery At the end of the fourth grade year, the collaboration culminates in the creation of an iMovie based on a topic drawn from the students’ science studies of biodiversity. Lower School Science teacher Regina DiStefano assigns an article that outlines some impact — either additive or subtracting — on the ecosystem. Anna then guides them through analysis of the article, and Mary and Anna then support them through the creation of their videos, which opens the door to other lessons. What constitutes copyright infringement? How do you find copyright-free graphics? How do we properly cite sources at the end of our video? And because there are two teachers in the room, they can each devote that much more personal attention to each student throughout the process. In their videos, Anna says, “They can choose to be a journalist — on screen in a newsroom. They can be a scientist. Or they can be tour guides, taking viewers through the terrain while they explain the environmental challenges.” Most
of the students decide to be journalists. “They like reporting the news.” Anna says. “They even dress up in jacket and tie like a news anchor.” This project, then, opens the door to yet another collaboration as students make use of Hackley’s MakerSpace to construct the “microphones” and other props they will use on screen. “Maker” learning has, through their partnership, also come to infuse the library itself, as Mary has created a mini-MakerSpace in an alcove where students are able to expand their learning with handson problem solving and discovery. While Mary and Anna each still lead independent fourth grade projects during the course of the year — Mary will do a unit on coding, for example, while Anna leads students in biography research — the extra benefit of the partnership has been their discovery of how much they love working together. “We have learned from each other’s different styles, “Anna says. “It stretches you to get out of your silo and work with someone different.” They each laugh out loud, acknowledging points of difference that have become a source of inspiration, not stress. Mary says, “I learn from her every day.” Wonder, it seems, isn’t just for the kids. These two teachers have forged an interdisciplinary partnership that expands and enhances both their programs, while opening doors for greater learning opportunities throughout the Lower School. That’s what I’d call “wonderful”!
F E AT U R E
Michael Canterino '03 upper school english teacher
Hiding the Vegetables: Role-playing, Games, and Simulations While this academic school year offers Hackley’s first course explicitly designed around role-play gaming as the central mechanism for understanding, analyzing, and creating content, games and simulations have been a tradition in Hackley classrooms for years. Go back in time to the 1990s, and walk into the basement of Symmes Hall—you’ll find Mr. Fitz’s seventh-grade class debating the merits and flaws of one- and two-house legislatures as members of the Constitutional Convention. Climb two flights of stairs, and you’ll hear students planning a roadtrip across the U.S.—accounting for gas, food, lodging, and entertainment—in Mr. Gutheil’s sixth-grade math class. Right: Middle School students develop their game strategies on a Saturday morning.
The Hackley Game Club is a monthly meeting place for students interested in gaming. They play miniatures games primarily with Jared Fishman, as well as role-playing games run by Emma Olsen.
Walk through Hackley hallways today, and you’ll find roleplaying, games, and simulations in all academic departments, across all divisions, during class, after school, and on the weekends in the chapel. Over these last few years in particular, Hackley’s gaming tradition has taken a more active role in the classroom and the community, with the Hackley Game Club, a gaming iGrant developing classroom practices, and this upcoming spring, Hackley will host its third annual NYSAIS conference on role-playing, games, and simulations for teachers and administrators at surrounding independent schools. Ask students and alumni to recall their gaming experiences at Hackley, and you’ll be regaled with stories about zombie invasions and World War I dogfights during after-school programs, creating and breeding curly-horned caterpillars in seventh-grade genetics labs, political backchanneling and multilateral peace treaties being struck over lunch in the dining hall—as well as the day the Black Death came to the sixth grade’s village during history class. “The Black Death is a good one, as morbid of a topic as it is,” sixth- and ninthgrade history teacher Jared Fishman recalls. “It’s definitely the simulation kids come back remembering.”
The Black Death Simulation is designed as a way to get student to take a leadership role in the classroom. They complete research on 14th century France and based on the information, design a town complete with maps, pictures, and written description. Then, they must protect their town from plague using everything they learned during class. The game involves dice, critical-thinking, and role-playing.
In Spring 2019, Jared Fishman led a historical miniatures gaming workshop for fellow educators.
This year marks Mr. Fishman’s twelfth year at Hackley, running games and simulations in his history classes as well as coordinating and running programs for the Hackley Game Club and After School Knowledge program (ASK). He recalled how the Black Death simulation was already a staple of the sixth-grade curriculum: “My mentor teacher, Mr. Fitz, already had experience doing this Black Death simulation... and it was great because the kind of academic work the students were doing in their reading and for homework had a direct impact on their decision-making in the simulation.” A key to this decision-making—and roleplay gaming itself— stems from character creation: constructing a narrative point-of-view through which a student can view the material. “One thing that Jared and I have done is create scenarios that are grounded in a historical event,” Mr. Fitz says. “But from there, it’s the kids who have to come up with what their character’s response is—and that’s fun because you get the kids to react to the historical ‘stuff.’” Role-playing characters can safeguard students who are trying out ideas or actions for the first time, encouraging risk-taking and accepting the potential for failure. In terms of the value games and simulations bring into classrooms, the co-author of Hackley’s gaming iGrant, Peter Sawkins, cites the growing and well-supported research that game play of all different kinds can help enhance traditional educational pedagogy. “The process of learning from experience can improve memory, problem-solving, logic, and pattern recognition,” Mr. Sawkins says. “And one of the very important elements of experiential learning—and specifically the incorporation of games into teaching methodology—is that it can be applied across different subjects, ages, and grade ranges.” Middle-School science teacher and Hackley Game Club faculty member Emma Olsen sees a whole other level of engagement from her students: “I get different kids. They have a personal stake in the lesson, and I think that’s really the value of gaming in science because it’s so easy to be totally removed from what you’re learning [...] because the material can be abstract or microscopic things you can’t perceive. So for kids who struggle to visualize what an imbalance of carbon in the atmosphere might look like, our climate cycle game is a very real way to experience it.”
MY 7TH GRADER FOUND THE STRATEGY CLUB TO BE A FANTASTIC ALTERNATIVE TO PLAYING VIDEO GAMES ON THE WEEKEND. AS A PARENT, THERE IS THE ADDED BONUS THAT FACE-TO-FACE INTERACTIONS TAKE PLACE, AND HISTORY IS BROUGHT TO LIFE. Sally Kesh P ’25, ’27
Opposite page: Students play a miniatures game based on the Baron’s War of 1215-1217, hosted by John Spiess of HMGS (Historical Miniatures Gaming Society). The games is a grid-based system designed with students in mind.
Collaborative Storytelling and Role-play Gaming is a class designed to analyze elements of history and literature through role-playing games (RPGs). Through analysis and Dungeons & Dragons gameplay, students will understand how to craft their own worlds, characters, and stories, as well as how to build game systems and run their own game sessions.
To promote curricular and pedagogical innovation across divisions and subject areas, Hackley has created iGrants (short for Innovation Grants) to direct institutional support to faculty members as they develop curricula and integrate new pedagogies in targeted areas. And in May of 2018, Hackley green-lit the iGrant “Identification and Implementation of Game Play into Course Curriculum to Enhance Skills Development and Retention.” Its primary objective was to research and create tools, methods, and best practices in the use of game play/gaming that faculty can incorporate into their teaching to bring curriculum to life, to build essential age-appropriate skills, and to improve content retention.
These sorts of experiences can be transformative for students, not only when it comes to learning new material, but when it comes to understanding the real-world impacts and conversations about that material. When reflecting on the previously-mentioned seventh-grade genetics lab in which students create and breed fictional caterpillar “Villagers,” Mrs. Olsen says that the simulation is “a stepping stone to talking about a more difficult topic. But now that they’ve experienced what [genetic selection] looks like, they have more context. They always think CRISPR gene editing is really cool, but they don’t understand why people are so hesitant to introduce genetic technology—but when you can point out to them that they were just doing selective breeding with their caterpillars, and then ask them what would they think about doing it with people, they’re horrified by that—so now you can have a more in-depth discussion about genetic selection.” These kinds of activities foster student investment that pushes beyond scores, grades, and college resumes. When former class president George Wangensteen ’16 came to Class Day in 2018 to present the Oscar Kimelman Award to history teacher Vladimir Klimenko he spoke about the healthy dose of competition between classmates during their games of Diplomacy. When discussing the effect a game like Diplomacy has on a student, a course, and on an entire grade, Mr. Klimenko said, “The interpersonal dynamics are fascinating. Also, there is the element of geographical limitations and opportunities in historical games. Kids are compelled to learn the mapboard. If realistic, this helps them think about real-world dilemmas stemming from physical and political geography.”
Ultimately, what it comes down to, according to Mr. Fishman is “getting them to engage in the material and get them invested in what they are doing. He says, “I try to get them to really care. I try to get them so upset or ramped up in the content that they are excited to come to class that day. It’s almost like hiding the vegetables in the meal. I try to make these games really content-heavy so that the students don’t even realize the kind of work that they’re doing because they’re having so much fun doing it.” The academic advantages to role-playing, games, and simulations in the classroom cannot be overstated—however, at times, the social benefits equal, if not exceed, these academic advantages. Sophomore Catherine Lapey, who has been gaming since middle school, believes that regardless of the game she and her peers played during their ASK sessions, there is a camaraderie and collaboration built into tabletop and role-playing games that forges meaningful, long-lasting relationships. “Gaming helped me to create new friendships and build bonds with people that I likely would not otherwise have,” she said. “It taught me that I do not need to do everything with the same group of people.” FJ Hogg ’19 shares a similar experience: “Gaming has definitely helped me socially. There are a lot of classmates that I may never have talked to without gaming.” Hackley affords its teachers abundant professional development funding, iGrants, and classroom autonomy when presenting material to students. That, combined with the network of relationships Mr. Fishman and the Hackley Game Club have cultivated with Hudson Scholars and the NYSAIS teaching conference, has helped the Hilltop emerge as a center for classroom gaming in the tri-state area.
Left: Michael Canterino '03, left, leads Upper School students in a collaborative world-building exercise.
F E AT U R E
By Cyndy Jean director of the middle school
Making it Real: Bringing Learning to Life in the Middle School When I first accepted my new role as the Director of the Middle School, many colleagues and mentors offered me great insight and advice into the new career path I had chosen. Although I felt a tug at my heart knowing I was preparing to step out of the classroom and away from consistent, direct interaction with students, I was heartened by the first early interactions I had with the Middle School faculty. I feel now what I felt in only a few short months working with the teachers: a thrill when witnessing the excitement of the faculty so engaged in their own learning
Right: Middle School science teacher Melissa Boviero helping a student with her Scratch digital story.
At Hackley, teachers are learners; and because they are thoughtful educators, their own learning experiences immediately trigger the many questions related to how they can bring the content to life for their students. They ask: “How will my students approach this topic?” “If I were a student in the class, what questions would I be asking?” “How can this formula/equation/rule/chapter be as exciting for my students as it is for me?” These questions guide our teachers to frame their lesson plans in a way that will bring learning to life in the classroom and often motivate our faculty to lead the learning beyond boundaries. Increasingly, we see extraordinary learning opportunities arise from our teachers’ individual passions and discoveries. Such teachers don’t stop thinking at the boundaries of their academic disciplines. Melissa Boviero was Hackley’s first Regeneron Fellow, and she brings her own learning back to her students daily. Melissa represents that special breed of teacher to whom Middle School students flock with electricity — she simply gets Middle Schoolers. In large part due to her talents and gifts as an educator, her impeccable sense of humor, and most important, her interest in, and devotion to, pedagogical practices that address the needs of middle schoolers — capturing their energy, curiosity, and creativity as often as possible. Melissa is deeply interested in eliciting more student smallgroup interaction when designing her lessons. Though she was no stranger to designing unique assessments (asking students to create music videos to explain classroom expectations around lab safety, for example), the Regeneron Fellowship provided greater access to resources and likeminded colleagues curious about related learning experiences for their students. Having served as a dean for four years and as a Diversity Coordinator previous to that, Melissa was committed to and fully aware of the importance of drawing out student voice. In fact, in many of the Middle School’s Dean Team deliberations, Melissa pushed the team’s thinking around programming to center the work on the student experience. It is rare to meet a Hackley Middle Schooler who doesn’t appreciate the choice Melissa offers to her students when designing lessons. Rarer still are the lessons where students sit behind a desk taking notes as the teacher presents a lecture. Perhaps it’s Melissa’s unique approach to teaching in the classroom or her own interests in actively
engaging with the world as a scientist — either way, it’s evident that Middle Schoolers thrive when learning in her care. One of the most exciting partnerships that has evolved over the last two years is an effort led by History teacher Steve Fitzpatrick and Science teacher Emma Olsen which is focused on expanding Hackley’s relationship with the Tamagawa School in Japan. It turns out Emma, along with her work in science, also studied Japanese for many years. Steve, who also lived in Japan and has led two Casten Trips to Japan, further developed his interest in Asian studies through his work with the seventh grade history course which prominently features a study of Japan. This area of shared passion then found a natural point of connection with the annual visit from students and faculty from Tamagawa. Steve and Emma have developed a well-rounded Hackley experience for the Tamagawa visitors who come to Hackley, including exploration of Hackley’s forest and discussions on American history and culture, and this year are expanding this effort further to lead 19 Hackley Middle School students on a Casten Trip to Japan for 12 days in June 2020. Steve and Emma are also designing a series of mini-courses for the trip participants — in language studies, history, cultural connections with their homestay hosts in Tokyo — assuring a strong educational platform that will make the trip all the more enriching. Simply put, two faculty members took an area of personal interest and have built it into a life changing experience for Middle School students. In the English department, members of the eighth grade team (Trevor Ogden, Jessica DiFalco, and Brad Walters) have been working to build out real-life experiences with the literature they teach. It begins with careful selections of texts that can support this level of engagement. For example, all eighth graders read To Kill a Mockingbird, and then travel to NYC to see the production on Broadway. We have also invited visiting authors to the classroom. And recently, the team launched a focus on Memoirs, a personal narrative writing project that students will carry on with them into Upper School. Health Education Department Chair Renée Pabst is working with the health teachers to create cross-divisional experi-
Top Right: Students working with the Scratch program to showcase their discoveries. Bottom Right: Hackley Middle School students compete at a recent LEGO Robotics tournament.
Seventh graders guide first graders through a lesson on "MyPlate," illustrating healthy nutrition practices.
ences, challenging seventh graders to teach what they’ve learned to younger students. Completing the nutrition unit, the students taught the first grade about “MyPlate,” the current nutrition guide published by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Using the service learning model, our students become teachers, which brings the learning to life. I am proud to say that so many Middle School faculty members pursue similar paths; they find ways to further their understanding of both content and pedagogical practices by spending their limited free and personal time on professional development opportunities. Faculty collaborate over the summer months on projects focused on bringing more service learning to the classroom or to expand on their knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusivity work. Adrianne Pierce, current Middle School Diversity Coordinator, received a coveted spot in JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity Institute), a NYSAIS program drawing educators from schools throughout New York for a comprehensive and rigorous program “enabling participants to build the capacity to lead change” within their schools. Others, whether veteran teachers, like Anthony Maisonet, or teachers, like Damon Hall, who are brand new to the Hackley community, spend significant portions of their summer designing and (re)learning the curriculum while attending conferences
such as the CSEE Teaching Religions Conference, Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking, or the Experienced Teachers Institute. There are also the faculty who draw in students and learn alongside of them while sharing mutual interests such as the development and growth of our debate program with Steve Fitzpatrick, Jared Fishman’s Gaming Club (see related story, page 12), Trevor Ogden’s Anglers Club or Tuo Liu’s Geo Club. The learning becomes boundless and sometimes there is no set blueprint. Instead, the work takes on a life of its own, surprising even the teachers as to how the program takes shape and gives new meaning and identity to working with middle schoolers. Dan Lipin, fifth and sixth grade science teacher, has devoted his career to bringing activities and lessons around the STEM sciences to many of his classes. His interest in these programs began several years ago when he began to take note of the positive effects of student collaboration and the power of engaging students in more hands-on activities. As the Community Council Coordinator for the Middle School, and camp leader at Camp Dudley in the summers, Dan was an expert in designing complex and intricate activities for large and small group interaction. It’s just what he does. Perhaps Dan is so well-suited to teaching Middle School students because he sees student learning opportunities through the lens of discovery, adventure, and yes, some-
INCREASINGLY, WE SEE EXTRAORDINARY LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES ARISE FROM OUR TEACHERS’ INDIVIDUAL PASSIONS AND DISCOVERIES. SUCH TEACHERS DON’T STOP THINKING AT THE BOUNDARIES OF THEIR ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES.
times, fun. Applying backwards design, he understands how to move from the ultimate goal of the lesson to create the interactions among his students that will get them to make the most out of their classroom experience while not losing sight of the intended goal. He immersed his students in experimental design by challenging them to make an optimal bubble solution using a variety of ingredients. They determined the quantities of each ingredient in each test solution, which exposed them to the challenges of experimentation with multiple variables. The bubble project culminated with the creation of giant bubbles on Akin Common using homemade bubble wands. In addition, he understands the critical role technology can play in students’ learning. One of the first to integrate Google classroom into his science classes, and one of the early adopters of Flipped Classroom and Chromebooks, Dan understood what it meant to manage a class with these devices and modified the lessons to get the most out of the technological tools. Dan has also evolved a thriving extracurricular LEGO Robotics initiative. In November 2019, Hackley hosted four other local schools for a LEGO Robotics tournament at Hackley’s Performing Arts Center. Sixty-nine students competed with 41 robots, where each robot had to try and push or flip their opponent out of the battle zone. Hackley’s team of 14 students performed well in the tournament. Sure, LEGO feels a lot like “play,” yet building and piloting a successful robot requires engineering skills. When Dan Lipin learned that he would be the next fifth grade science teacher, he decided to apply for the Regeneron Fellowship, which would afford him the opportunity to investigate a variety of tools and pedagogical approaches to support more STEM related lessons in the classroom. The Regeneron Fellowship was also instrumental in providing Dan with even more resources and tricks for integrating technology in the classroom. His learnings from the program permitted Dan to return to Hackley to lead a professional development workshop with all Middle School faculty members last spring. Dan designed a session whereby faculty could better understand how to maximize their use of the new Chromebooks in the classroom — a program that was just recently launched across the Middle School — while
also leaving room to solicit feedback and direction from faculty about proper classroom management of these new devices. A forward-thinking educator, Dan is creative in the classroom and thoughtful about what it means to create a learning experience for his middle schoolers. His commitment to this work, coupled with his interest and pursuit for greater learning, has helped him to remain flexible as an educator and to continue to draw out of his students an excitement for learning. How do I know what learning looks like in the Middle School? Or perhaps better said, how do I know that students are learning? It begins with the relationships. I first look for the conversations. I want to see that students are engaged in asking questions of one another and of their teachers. I want to see them zooming down the hallway because they have made a discovery or a new connection in the text. I note how often a student is willing to trace back their artwork or rethink their finger positioning or their choice on the stage given the teacher’s feedback. I want to see students advocate for what they need in order to better understand the material. When our faculty adopt the mindset of the learner, as many of them do, then they can better understand how to enter into these conversations and develop constructive relationships with their students. Then the magic happens. Faculty ask deeper questions, and they aren’t afraid to adopt a new approach to their teaching. Students begin to see themselves reflected in their teachers and are empowered to succeed. The learning becomes kinetic, dynamic, and real. The products take on a new shape and a life of their own. Teaching and learning develop a symbiotic loop, and that’s when you know deep learning has to come to life in our Middle School.
Right: Hackley's thriving debate culture begins in Middle School and carries right through Upper School.
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Hackley’s Partnership with Regeneron Two Hackley teachers, Melissa Boviero and Dan Lipin, have completed the Regeneron STEM Teaching Fellowship. The competitive 16 month Fellowship, created by the STEM Leadership Center in collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Teachers College of Columbia University, and U.S. Satellite Laboratory, seeks to train secondary science teachers in STEM teaching methods, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and professional research practices. Fellows complete their classes remotely during the academic year through Columbia Teachers College, made possible with sponsorship by Regeneron, and receive a certification in STEM Leadership from Columbia. They then spend the summer doing hands on learning and research at Regeneron under the guidance of a researcher in one of their departments. Melissa Boviero notes, “It’s a significant amount of work, but it was completely worthwhile! Through the classes I took from Columbia and NASA Endeavor, I sharpened my pedagogical skills and enriched my lessons. For instance, I took a class on different ways to use technology in the classroom, and it helped me to add flipped lessons, WeVideo, and Scratch digital stories to enrich projects that I had previously done. I took a class on enriching lessons with data and math, which I added to my earthquake engineering lessons, and which helped elevate the learning the students took from that unit.”
Melissa agrees that the time at Regeneron was memorable and significant. “The other fellows and I were treated as one of the researchers, and I learned laboratory skills I had never learned before. I was also involved with reviewing the data of an experimental treatment, and I appreciated learning just how complex the process is in developing treatments and going from design to trial.” Hackley has many reasons to appreciate Regeneron, which is located not far from campus. The company has hosted numerous Hackley students for their Senior Projects and has hired Hackley students and young alumni as summer interns. Leaders at Regeneron — including Roy Vagelos (Hackley grandparent), Bill Roberts (Class of ’75 and parent of alumnae), and George Yancopoulos (parent of alumni) — have served as Szabo Lecturers, and Bill and George have supported Hackley’s Networking Initiative with numerous informational interviews. Most recently, George Yancopoulos facilitated a daylong educational visit for the Hackley science IRP (Independent Research Project) students, which helped expand their understanding of the opportunities and impact inherent to scientific research.
Dan Lipin found his summer work at Regeneron to be tremendously inspiring, as scientists there taught him how to use computer programming to analyze genetic data to better understand the biology of liver proteins, and to understand the science behind using omics to help find targets for treatment of disease. He reports, “The experience rekindled my love for biotech after being away from it following the completion of my PhD. Brainstorming ideas for solving genomics puzzles was fun!”
Right: Hackley students in the Independent Research Project course at Regeneron, Fall 2019.
THE EXPERIENCE REKINDLED MY LOVE FOR BIOTECH AFTER BEING AWAY FROM IT FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF MY PHD. BRAINSTORMING IDEAS FOR SOLVING GENOMICS PUZZLES WAS FUN! Dan Lipin, Middle School Science Teacher
By Margie McNaughton Ford ’85
october 19, 2019
Alumni Day 2019 Every year alumni remind us how special it is to return to the Hilltop. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed since their last visit. To many of them, it is like coming home — returning to a place filled with memories of friendships, inspiring teachers, and educational discoveries.On October 19, over 350 alumni and family members returned home on a shining fall day to attend Alumni Day 2019. They explored the campus, talked with current students, and watched their children run through familiar hallways. They reconnected with fellow hornets and favorite teachers and coaches, celebrated milestone reunions, and made new memories. The memories and the Hilltop moments that helped shape our lives are what is so special about this Hackley tradition. So many moments defined the day — here are a few highlights.
Right: Nordia Edwards '99 and her children pose with the Hornet.
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Honoring Julie Lillis During the Annual Meeting of the Alumni Association, former faculty member Julie Lillis was inducted as an Honorary Alumna, the highest honor the Alumni Association can bestow on a faculty member. Hackley Trustee Jumaane Saunders ’96 introduced Julie as the newest inductee, saying “Congratulations, Ms. Lillis. Your determined, beautiful spirit echoes across the Hilltop community and all the places Hackley alumni have gone. This award is well deserved and earned.” Former trustee and parent of alumni Diane Rapp presented Julie with a plaque recognizing her dedication to her students and Hackley.
Remembering Phil Havens '49 and Doris Jackson This past year, Hackley lost two iconic teachers to whom we paid tribute during the annual Memorial Service. Former Trustee Berkeley Johnson ’49 described his classmate Phil Havens, alumnus, former faculty, and Trustee, as “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, reverent, dependable, and indispensable.” The two met at Hackley in the fall of 1945, attended Yale together, and were lifelong friends. HAA Board Member Ali Sirota Kelman ’01 paid tribute to former faculty member Doris Jackson. “Doris Jackson was so much more than a teacher to so many of us. We may not have spoken to her, visited her, thanked her nearly enough — but that does not negate the fact that she was greatly appreciated and made an indelible mark on so many of her students’ lives.” After Head of School Michael C. Wirtz read the names of those members of the Hackley community who had passed away the previous year, the service closed with the traditional tolling of the chapel bells.
Bob Turner ’39 Celebrates His 80th Reunion One of our most senior alums, former Trustee Bob Turner ’39, returned to campus to commemorate his 80th Reunion – yes, 80th. Bob (the half-brother of Harry Bates ’46, Charlie Bates ’49, and David Bates-Kaplan ’51), an energetic man with a deep love of Hackley, was happy to be back on the Hilltop and recounted stories of his time here. He toured the campus with school president Taylor Robin ’20 and was impressed by all the additions. Asked by Taylor to describe the biggest change since his time at Hackley, Bob replied, “It’s co-ed, that’s the first big change. Secondly, it’s mainly day students. And three, it’s much bigger. It was a very compact stone structure on top of a hill with a chapel and Mrs. Hackley’s house. It was a self-supporting, little educational microcosm all by itself and you might say with maybe 110 students who were mostly boarders.” Asked if Hackley shaped his character, he replied, “Hackley and WW II formed my character, no question. Hackley helped me academically because I understood the value of learning.”
Chapel Talks, Writing Workshop, Boarding Open House, and More Alumni had the opportunity on Alumni Day to experience what it’s like to be a Hackley student. Each year, members of the faculty present Chapel Talks to seniors, offering thoughts on a theme the speaker finds personally moving. This year alumni were treated to talks by Middle School Director Cyndy Jean (“Living in the Middle”), math teacher Jon Gruenberg (“Two Leonards”), and drama teacher Willie Teacher (“Discovering Ourselves Through Drama”). As always, it was a packed room for Anne Siviglia’s creative writing workshop. AP Bio teacher Tessa Johnson led her annual nature hike on the Buessow trails and demonstrations were held in the Hackery, our MakerSpace. The boarding open house, hosted by the Director of Boarding/history teacher Erica Jablon, gave alums a glimpse into our boarding program and allowed former boarders to see how the program has evolved over the years.
Right: Bob Turner ’39 shows school president Taylor Robin ’20 his yearbook.
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Alumni Day Athletics As always, Hackley athletic events offer an opportunity for friends to connect while cheering on Hackley’s teams. On Friday afternoon, the Girls’ Varsity Tennis Team defeated Trinity 4-1, continuing their undefeated streak. That evening, alumni joined Hackley fans at the annual Dave Allison Memorial Soccer Game. The Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team shut out Trinity 2-0. Before the game, former HGVS player Taraneh Khosrowshahi van der Kaiij ’04 addressed the crowd, noting that, “Coach A was the consummate teacher, an incredible mentor, and a man that didn't just champion girl’s sports but a man that made a group of teenage girls believe that whether it was a soccer match, an exam, or a new job, they were the future, and that nothing could stop us. Thank you Coach A. I miss you greatly.” On Alumni Day prior to the football game, former players Alex Campbell ’99 and Ted Quinn ’99 gave a pep talk to the Varsity Football team. The boys played hard against Hopkins but, in the end, lost 32-27. However, our other varsity teams were victorious. Boys’ Varsity Soccer beat Trinity 2-1 in overtime and the Varsity Field Hockey team shut out Horace Mann 6-0. The Girls’ Field Hockey Team also received a pep talk from former player and JV assistant coach Erica Wolf ’99.
50+ Club Festivities During the afternoon, members of the 50+ Club attended the iPhone Workshop hosted by Hackley students and then made their way to Gage House, the Head of School’s residence, for a reception. Later, they crossed the Quad to
the Lindsay Room for the 50+ Club Dinner. Tom Karger ’63, Chair of the 50+ Club, welcomed members and their guests and reminded them that “One thing that makes the 50+ Club special is that we don’t have to wait five years to come back. Once we’re in this distinguished club, we can return annually, make new friends, and rekindle old friendships.” He went on to recognize Toby Dunn ’58, who stepped down last year after chairing the club for many years. “Thank you, Toby — I definitely have big shoes to fill.” Tom inducted members of the Class of 1969 into the 50+ Club and honored Bob Turner ’39 for his dedication to Hackley.
Reunion Dinner under the Tent on Akin Common This year, we celebrated classes ending in 4 and 9. All reunion committees did an amazing job bringing their classmates back to the Hilltop and planning their reunion celebrations. Starting a new tradition, we hosted all the reunion dinners under a big tent on Akin Common. It was quite a party and you could hear the music and laughter echoing across the campus. The Class of 1979 had the largest turnout with 50 attendees. Kathy Resner Clobridge ’79 commented, "Our 40th resembled a joyful family reunion.” She added, “Now, despite our differences — political, financial, philosophical — we have a shared precious story, and seem to genuinely love and enjoy one another. Aren't we lucky?”
Margie McNaughton Ford, a member of the Hackley Class of 1985, is Director of Alumni Engagement and the parent of a Hackley senior.
NOW, DESPITE OUR DIFFERENCES — POLITICAL, FINANCIAL, PHILOSOPHICAL — WE HAVE A SHARED PRECIOUS STORY, AND SEEM TO GENUINELY LOVE AND ENJOY ONE ANOTHER. AREN'T WE LUCKY?” Kathy Resner Clobridge ’79
THE VERY BEST PART OF ALUMNI DAY IS ALWAYS RECONNECTING WITH OLD FRIENDS LIKE NO TIME HAS PASSED AT ALL. Missy Duban â€™84
Right: Members of the Class of 1984 enjoyed being back on the Hilltop together, just like old times. Pictured here from left to right: Donna Giglio, Scott Moss, Sarah Young Imbert, Pam Stewart Burke, Ann Young Albanese, Haleh Tavakol, Ann Press, Missy Duban, and Margaret Scarcella.
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Clockwise from top left: Christian DiPietrantonio ’09, Walker 3 7 Berning ’09, and Sam Fetner ’09 catch up with former faculty member John Van Leer ’65 at the Head of School Reception. Quarterback Conor McMahon ’20 dives for a first down. Community 5K Run on the Dave Allison trails. Members of the Class of 2014 returned to the Hilltop to celebrate their 5th reunion! Front row left to right: Catie Orlando, Gabby Troya, Rodrigo Mejias, Stef Frolo, Laurel Cassidy, Gaby Mezzacappa, Spencer Sohmer, and Gabe Pinkus. Back Row from left to right: Lauren Santo, Zach Morant, Ian Mook, Austin Disher, Ben Spar, and Kevin Dronzek. Xan Jarecki ’14, Andy King, Director of the Upper School, and Zan Variano ’09, HAA Board Director. We welcomed Doris Jackson’s family to the Hilltop to honor her memory during the Memorial Service. Pictured here from left to right: Ali Sirota Kelman ’01, Mathew Jackson, Sheila Jackson, Melville Jackson, Mark Jackson, and faculty member, Anne Siviglia. Bobby Robinowitz ’79, Chris Shyer ’79, the Hornet, David Marshall ’79, Stu Warsaw ’79, Tom Sturzenegger ’79, Jeffrey Engel ’79, and Bill Spitalnick ’79 reunite at the football game. Galen May ’16, Emma Bhayani ’15, and Charlotte May ’13 at the Student Art Show.
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Clockwise from top left: Avery Ching ’94 and his family enjoyed cookie decorating in the teaching kitchen at the Walter C. Johnson Center for Health and Wellness. Michelle Annunziata Hambright ’94, HAA Board Director, and Julianne Annunziata Peters ’04 at the football game. Eric Berry, Lauren Lanza, Erica Wolf, Jennie Nolon Blanchard, Matt Wolf, Robert Accordino, and Robert’s husband Jordan Mittman from the Class of 1999 caught up during the Reunion Dinner.
www.HackleyConnect.org HackleyConnect.org is our one-stop shop for posting jobs, news, photos, event updates, and for networking with fellow alums in your field or region. Current Parents and Parents of Alumni are encouraged to join and provide professional guidance to young alumni. Join today at www.hackleyconnect.org. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Left: Members of the Class of 1994 celebrated their 25th reunion at the Reunion Dinner. Back row from left 39 to right: Sara Arlin, Jasonâ€™s friend Jaimee Carpenter, Jason Barschi, Emma Uematsu, Joti Malhotra. Front row from left to right: Steve Trusa, Jesse Ferraro, Morgan Simonson, and Guillermo Brown. Below: Members of the Class of 1969 returned for their 50th Reunion and spent time exploring the Hackley Archives, touring campus, and reminiscing with old friends.
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Save the Date for Alumni Day 2020 Saturday, October 3 We’ll celebrate special reunions for classes ending in 5 and 0. If you’d like to serve on your reunion committee, contact Margie McNaughton Ford ’85 at email@example.com
Clockwise from top left: Honorary Alumnus Julie Lillis with friends and family outside King Chapel after her induction. From left to right: former Trustee Diane Rapp, Carolyn King ’12, former faculty members Julie Lillis and Dick Lillis, Kristie King ’10, and Cecilio Rosario ’94. Jason Hirsch ’89, Russell Bartels ’89, Kamati Pinkston ’89, and Stephanie Bartels ’89 enjoying the day. Rob Peck ’65 with his wife Paula at the 50+ Club Reception. Katy Ritz, Associate Director of Advancement, Margie McNaughton Ford ’85, Director of Alumni Engagement, future hornet Reagan Galvin, and HAA President Christie Philbrick-Wheaton-Galvin ’00 with Mrs. Hackley. Former HGVS player Taraneh Khosrowshahi van der Kaiij '04 paid tribute to Coach A at the Dave Allison Memorial Soccer Game before the team took the field. During the nature hike, AP Bio teacher Tessa Johnson showed alumni hikers how to use QR codes on the species ID plates to learn more about the woodland plants in the Hackley forest.
end note 42
By Andy King, Director of the Upper School
Asking the Better Question Adapted from the opening Upper School Assembly, September 2019 “What do you want to be when you grow up?” When was the first time you remember being asked this question? I think my grandfather was the first to ask me when I was in elementary school. I don’t remember what I said but I can assure you that I did not say that I would “grow up” to be a high school principal. I believe in the importance of being forward-looking and encouraging you to do the same. Based on what we have learned about your developing teenage brains, this is not always easy for you. Still, I imagine that many of you have thought about what you hope to do later in life and you may even have some sense of a career path. And I also hope that all of you are open to changing your minds. Your generation, more than generations preceding yours, is much more likely to change jobs, careers, and directions many times across your lives, which is one reason why the question “What do you want to be when you grow up” is not the right question for you. When I was growing up in the 1980s, the U.S. Army ran a very memorable ad campaign to encourage people to enlist using the slogan “Be all you can be,” an exhortation that is better than “What do you want to be when you grow up.” I appreciate the focus on effort and aspiration, without asking you to name a specific career path before you have even finished high school. However, is the pressure of being “all you can be” a bit much for someone your age? If you could quantify aspiration and you only reach 80%, does that mean that your life is somehow lacking in substance and meaning? In this light, this otherwise noble, well-intentioned aspiration presents it own challenges. What if, instead of asking “What do you want to be when you grow up” or urging you to “be all you can be,” we ask “What kind of person do you want to be when you grow up?”
Several years ago, I heard Adam Grant, management/psychology professor and author of Give and Take, speak at a national conference for school teachers and administrators. I have been carrying his work around in my head ever since and it provided inspiration for me as I thought about what I wanted to say today. In his work, Grant poses the question: “Are you a Giver, a Taker, or a Matcher?” To help us understand these three categories, he imagines three different reactions to the simple question “Can you do me a favor?” • When asked for a favor, the “Taker” thinks, “What’s in it for me?” • The “Matcher” thinks, “Will this person pay me back for my assistance?” • The “Giver,” however, says, “Sure. How can I help?” After analyzing a range of studies and interviewing people working in a host of professions, Grant argues that Givers are the most accomplished of the three in that they enjoy the most professional and personal satisfaction. To help characterize “a Giver,” Grant posited a question: “What’s the difference between ‘Will you help?’ and ‘Will you be a helper?’” In Grant’s estimation and hopefully yours, the latter sounds more noble than the former. “Will you help?” sounds like a one-time thing, but being a “helper” is an identity, a character trait that speaks to a pattern of generosity, kindness, and an awareness of others. So, as you think about your actions and the kind of person you want to be, think about the patterns of your positive actions over time, not just the instance of a kind word or a good deed. The patterns of constructive words and deeds form your public character. By “public character,” I mean what you bring to school and your life each day, how you interact with people in person or digitally. In fact, the strength of our community depends not just on what you think but on what you do.
View more Hackley Perspectives at: medium.com/hackley-perspectives
Hackley first graders try out the many things they might be when they grow up in the annual Flat Stanley performance.
As we go forward into the new school year, I urge you to consider, “What kind of person do you want to be, now and later?” I hope you will decide to be more than generous; BE A GIVER. Be more than helpful; BE A HELPER. Do more than advocate; BE AN ADVOCATE. Do more than identify problems; BE A PROBLEM-SOLVER. Do more than study; BE A SCHOLAR. And remembering the words that we all know well, “Enter here to be and find a friend,” be more than friendly; BE A FRIEND. Consider Hackley’s Mission Statement, which “challenges students to grow in character, scholarship, and accomplishment, to offer unreserved effort, and to learn from the varying backgrounds and perspectives in our community and the world.” Embrace character, scholarship, and accomplishment as character traits for life.
My favorite aspiration from Hackley’s Portrait of a Graduate, which grows out of that mission statement, challenges students to think about accomplishment in somewhat unconventional terms. The original question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” would seem to define accomplishment as career success. If, as our Portrait of a Graduate aspires, Hackley graduates can understand accomplishment as “creat(ing) a sense of purpose, orienting talent, service, and actions to transcend individual success,” then it would seem that the right question about your future must be loftier. So perhaps the better question is “what kind of person do you want to be, now and later?” And your goal for this year and the time you have left in the Upper School should be working to answer that question as you mold your words and deeds in constructive, community-minded ways.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
Over the course of her 26 year Hackley career, art teacher Peggi Buessow created wonderful drawings of the Hackley campus, many of which graced the annual Hackley holiday card. The images capture Hackleyâ€™s historic quad with timeless elegance, connecting across generations. In 2009, she donated the collection of original drawings to Hackley. Retired from Hackley since 1998, Peggi Buessow lives in Washington State. The Buessows remain a vital part of Hackley life, by way of the Buessow Trails, named for her husband, science teacher Carl Buessow, the Science Department office, named for Peggi and Carl, and in the Peggi and Carl Buessow Financial Aid fund, which each year provides need-based financial aid to young science students.
The Copper Beech Society Richard Unger ’83: Planning Ahead for Hackley
I have long been and remain deeply devoted to Hackley School and the education it provides. Its faculty and curriculum formed the basis of my education and foundation for life. From Hackley I went to Yale University and served our country as a Captain in the United States Army before assuming responsible positions in the private sector. The education I brought to my work originated with Hackley’s curriculum; the discipline I brought to my work originated with the care and guidance of Hackley’s dedicated faculty. That is why my estate plans include establishing a chair in American history at Hackley, with the hope that it ensures future generations of Hackley students the same opportunities I received at our wonderful school. Richard Unger ’83
For more information, or to talk about the possibility of including Hackley in your estate plans, please contact John Gannon, Director of Development & Alumni Affairs, at 914-366-2654 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Registration opens February 1st From art to computer science to sports to nature adventures to rockets to rock climbing to performing arts — your children are sure to find something special on the Hilltop next summer. Hackley programs are taught by professional educators, almost all of whom are Hackley faculty. Hackley Summer Programs are structured for maximum flexibility, quality, ease and, of course, lots and lots of fun. Programs are open to all and begin Monday June 8, 2020.
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Hackley School challenges students to grow in character, scholarship and accomplishment, to offer unreserved effort, and to learn from the v...
Published on Jan 16, 2020
Hackley School challenges students to grow in character, scholarship and accomplishment, to offer unreserved effort, and to learn from the v...