Ad Summum Volume 1, Issue 4
Kew-Forest: The Confluence of Healthy Student, Faculty, and Parent Cultures The fall 2013 surveys of students, Faculty, parents, Board, and administration presented a fascinating profile of the health of the KewForest community -- while giving insight into why each chooses to be here. Focus Groups led by a professional third-party facilitator over a two-day period helped to confirm and flesh out the results of the surveys. Students in Grades 5 through 12 (with a 94% response rate) revealed (on an 8 point scale): • It is really obvious to me that my teachers want me to do well, in school and out of school (7.8) • My teachers have worked every day at helping me become a better, more virtuous person regardless of the subject they teach (7.5) • Our tests this grading period have covered exactly what my teachers said they would (7.5) • I have not seen or heard of bullying--of anyone being picked on in any way-- anywhere during this grading period (7.4) • Our teachers have enforced our rules (including the dress code) justly, fairly, consistently (7.3) • I have known exactly what to expect from my teachers, every day (7.2) • I’m so satisfied with my school, I’d certainly want to come here, if my family and I could choose again (7.0) The three lowest scoring student items (on an 8 point scale) were: • I have been very excited about what I’ve been studying this grading period (the course material itself, not the teaching of the material) (6.4)
• I have been completely satisfied with our rules (including the dress code) (6.4) • I have very much looked forward to coming to school this grading period (6.4) While the lowest scores are still relatively strong (and adolescent dissatisfaction with rules and a dress code is common), I believe they suggest important areas for introspection and discussion as both a Faculty and as a school. Satisfaction with instruction is high. Satisfaction with course content is relatively lower. What does that mean, and how can we address it? On a 5-point scale, the Parent Survey (with a 60% response rate) revealed that the top 6 things parents like most about Kew-Forest are: • School atmosphere (caring, positive, etc.) (4.7) • Diversity (4.5) • Head of School (4.5) • Sense of community, inclusiveness (4.4) • Delivery of Mission (4.4) • Size of School (4.4) The next “top five,” still earning a 4.1 or above, were: • Location / Distance from home (4.4) • School spirit (4.3) • Graduate placement record (4.3) • Reputation (4.2) • Curriculum continuity across grades/division (4.1) Not surprisingly, “Campus facilities and setting” came in at 3.9. The Board is working hard – and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars -- to address important building infrastructure issues that are the result
— Headmaster Mark Fish, Ed.M.
...[T]he results are hugely informative -- and the strength of those results is hugely affirming. of long-deferred maintenance, and once they have been resolved (many of them, we anticipate, by the end of the summer of 2014), the School will be able to aggressively address the many cosmetic issues that have become irksome, distracting, and a marketing and public relations liability. Our exterior face is not nearly as good as our interior product.
PA News: Being Role Models for our Children by Volunteering Our children are so privileged to be at The Kew-Forest School. We live a wonderful life in New York City, but there are also many needy people in our city. Kew-Forest has been making great strides to make sure that our students give back to the community, and we all believe that as parents we should be role models for our children. Youth Service Opportunities Project (www.YSOP.org), as you may know, has been one of the more successful community service
programs with which our children have been involved. As a result of Kew-Forest’s involvement, our students are helping homeless or underprivileged New Yorkers get through tough times. Thank you to those parents who have volunteered in the past. Our next YSOP trip is April 11 and 12. We need parents to help chaperon the trip and help us all give back to the community. Without enough chaperons, fewer kids will be able to experience YSOP this year.
Please help and volunteer! Beth Stubenbord, a parent of a sixth grader, has volunteered twice, and she does not even have a child eligible for the program. She raves about the experience and says, “It was a great chance to meet some of the incredible high school students at Kew-Forest and develop relationships with them, other parents, and Faculty at the school.” — Amy D’Amato, P ’18, ’19, ’21 Parent Association President
Continued from cover: Healthy Student, Faculty, and Parent Cultures As for the Faculty (79% response rate), over 90% of the respondents said: I and my colleagues: • find ways to make it obvious to all students that we want them to become better, more virtuous people • set reasonable, defensible standards for student behavior • are continually alert to the threat of bullying between and among our students • are able to present ourselves each day in ways that will be seen by our students as consistent and reliable • find our division and/or school administrators are highly supportive of our division’s and/or school’s students
• find that our division and/or school administrators are highly supportive of our division’s and/ or school’s parents Over 80% of the Faculty respondents said: I and my colleagues: • find ways to make it obvious to all students that we wish them success every day, both in an out of school • conduct ourselves in confrontations with students in ways that leave students’ dignity intact, regardless of the nature of the issue • individually and collectively demonstrate believably high levels of enthusiasm for teaching/ learning and for the content of our studies
• are glad to arrive at school and to see our students every day • create predictable tests; our students can rely on the test preparation we offer them • provide fair, reliable, understandable grade/reward structures for our students • enforce our rules, including the dress code, justly, fairly, consistently While we shall continue to digest, interpret, and process the results of the surveys in ways that will help us to go from good to great as we begin to implement our next Five-Year Strategic Plan, the results are hugely informative -- and the strength of those results is hugely affirming. — Mark Fish Headmaster
d Summum Newsletter Contributors: Mr. Mark Fish, Headmaster; Mrs. Amy D’Amato, Parent Association President; Mr. James David, Director of Institutional Advancement; Ms. Michele Hoyos, Advancement and Database Associate; Ms. Erica Lin, Alumni/ae and Social Media Coordinator; Ms. Hannah Lee, Group 113 The Kew-Forest School is incorporated not-for-profit in the State of New York and is tax-exempt under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code of the Internal Revenue Service. Gifts to the School are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. The Kew-Forest School does not discriminate because of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, or sexual orientation in the administration of its admissions, employment or educational programs or policies. The Kew-Forest School is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the New York State Association of Independent Schools, and the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation and is approved by the New York State Department of Education. K-F is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools and the Secondary School Admission Test Board.
The Kew-Forest School
By the Numbers:
Families participating in the Ad Summum Fund Drive
Days in which we conducted the Ad Summum Fund Drive for current families
The Kew-Forest Lower School Students Take on the World As part of The Kew-Forest School’s International Week, the Lower School worked very hard to prepare for their World Day Celebration, as they gained valuable knowledge in the classroom about different countries. This year, each Lower School classroom has been studying individual countries including Brazil, The Dominican Republic, India, Italy, Japan, England, Russia, and Ghana. In the weeks leading up to the World Day Celebration, students have been conducting research on their chosen country, and as a Faculty, teachers have completed training in the Independent Investigation Method – a particular approach to research that K-F is applying to “International Study.” Students have also been hosting visitors (parents, relatives, and friends of students) in the classroom to speak on their cultural backgrounds, traditions, and experiences. Fifth Grade students, for example, spoke to a friend from Siberia over Skype in the classroom,
and Third Grade students hosted three visitors from Japan! Through these classroom experiences, students are given the opportunity to ask questions and expand their knowledge of different cultures, developing their communication and critical thinking skills. Every year, it is truly inspiring to see students in each class working closely together to study the culture and characteristics of a particular country in conjunction with
their World Day performances. Not only do the children learn a great deal about their chosen country, but they also collaborate throughout the process, learning from each other and sharing knowledge with enthusiasm and passion. From learning a challenging dance routine to reciting poems together, the Lower School students should be commended for combining their in-class lessons with creative performance skills.
Grace Tom: Learning Through Service
At The Kew-Forest School, Upper School students participate in community service activities that inspire positive action, develop leadership skills, and build self-esteem outside of the classroom.
New families contributed to the Ad Summum Drive
Senior Grace Tom has participated in community service activities since the 8th Grade, working with the Youth Service Opportunities Project (YSOP), New York Junior Tennis and Learning, and other K-F service initiatives. Through her work with YSOP, Grace gained invaluable insight into the lives and experiences of homeless people, visiting soup kitchens and staying overnight at a school to prepare meals for homeless guests. With NYJTL, Grace teaches underserved children how to play tennis, and at K-F, Grace works with school mentors to organize toy drives and food drives that involve the entire K-F community.
Raised in donations and pledges so far from families, Faculty, staff, administration, alumni/ae, and friends of The School
Grace believes her community service experiences not only contribute to her education and selfdevelopment in the present, but will also continue to have a lasting impact in her life. “At K-F, we learn to love helping the community. We have fun, and we learn about important resources. I think my service work helps me to have an open mind about the world, and it inspires me to continue serving the community after I graduate. I learnt to be grateful for having education, shelter over my head, clothes to wear, and food to eat. It’s only through the doing that you realize how helpful you can be toward other people.”
Thanks to the current families who made our Ad Summum Fund Drive a success
119-17 Union Turnpike Forest Hills, NY 11375
TO THE TAPA S
You’re Invited: “To the Tapas” Progressive Dinner
C B A
TO THE TAPA S
To kick off Gala Season we invite you to attend a progressive dinner
TO THE TAPAS!
March 1st, from 7-10p.m. - Price is $50 per person.
A the koffler home - 29 winter street - 7 p.m. B the d'amato home - 18 summer street - 8 p.m. C the rubin home - 239 greenway south - 9 p.m. rsvp to james david - jdavid @kewforest.org or www.kewforest.org/tothetapas - rsvp asap as space is limited.
C To kick off Gala Season we invite you to attend a progressive dinner