2021-2022 Education Guide

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PLUS! HELPFUL HINTS tips every student can use

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SCHOOL SPIRIT colorful picks make learning fun pg 26

2021-2022 EDUCATION GUIDE

A NEW BEGINNING FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE A CUSTOM PUBLICATION PRODUCED BY

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Your child can have it all. An extraordinary academic foundation. The confidence to make an impact. A happy childhood.

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2021-2022 EDUCATION GUIDE

2021-2022 E D U CAT I O N G U I D E PUBLISHED BY MOFFLY MEDIA Publisher & Editorial Advisor Hilary Hotchkiss

Simsbury, CT A vibrant, private, independent boarding and day school for girls in grades six through 12 plus postgraduate

Editor Elizabeth Hole Senior Art Director Garvin Burke Assistant Art Director Taylor Stroili Production Director Tim Carr Style Director Megan Gagnon Digital Marketing Manager Rachel MacDonald

President Jonathan Moffly Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Amill Editorial Director Cristin Marandino

Dream. Create. Lead.

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Founder & Editorial Advisor Donna Moffly For all inquiries regarding education marketing, contact Hilary Hotchkiss: Hilary.Hotchkiss@Moffly.com Digital version of 2021-2022 Education Guide: ilovefc.com/educationguide ilovefc.com • greenwichmag.com newcanaandarienmag.com • stamfordmag.com westportmag.com • fairfieldlivingmag.com

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A NEW BEGINNING

Contents features

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THE OLD AND NEW NORMAL

Changes to Carry Forward and Leave Behind by Rick Branson

GLOBAL VISION

Learning Across Time Zones by Walter Swanson

LEARNING COMES ALIVE

Teens Tackle Real-World Challenges by Chris Winters and Andrew Ruoss

COLLEGE CHOICE

Expanding Options for a Successful Search by Deena Maerowitz

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school spirit // BRIGHT IDEAS

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helpful hints // WORD TO THE WISE

Colorful picks make learning fun by Megan Gagnon Tips every student can use

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directory // SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT

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well said // MOVING FORWARD

School listings to start your search

Notable quotes from those in the know

INTELLECTUAL AGILITY

What the World Needs Now More Than Ever by Aaron Cooper

BREAKING BARRIERS

The All-Boys School Advantage by Graham Callaghan

MIDDLE SCHOOL FOCUS Educating for a Pivotal Phase by Jack Creeden

POWER OF CONNECTION

Nonprofit Prepares Students for Success by Diane Knetzger

COVER ART BY GARVIN BURKE; PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPH PROVIDED BY BRAND

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departments

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Admissi


Preparing boys for life in a changing world. An independent, college preparatory day school, providing character-based education for boys in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12.

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VISIT

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The Old and New Normal A NEW BEGINNING

CHANGES TO CARRY FORWARD AND LEAVE BEHIND by

RICK BRANSON

Executive Director / Connecticut Association of Independent Schools (CAIS)

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uch has been made of the very real human desire to “return to normal” in the postpandemic world. This is due in part to the incredible restraint we all showed throughout the pandemic as things we considered normal—a haircut, dinner out, church, synagogue—all stopped. Schools became essential players in community health, and this meant regularly communicating boundaries determined by public health officials and then enforcing them, often when these procedures were not immediately appreciated or in some cases faced fierce resistance. During spring 2021, with the

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optimism of vaccine efficacy and the ensuing rollout of vaccines to teachers and other adults, there was fear of another surge, a surge caused by the reopening of society too quickly and the abandonment of mitigation strategies too fast. In Connecticut we first saw an increase in cases from February into March and April. In April 2021, the White House coronavirus response team tried to address these things: the optimism stemming from the vaccine rollout, the need for continued restraint, and a longing for a return to normalcy. According to the CDC, coronavirus case numbers were rising, especially in the Northeast, and the CDC feared that

a premature reopening would lead to another surge. Meanwhile, we longed for a return to normal, even while we might have admitted that our memory of normal was a bit forgetful, perhaps too kind, and not necessarily trustworthy. We are humans; we wanted normal. At the same time, writers, thinkers and commentators asked us to be careful in rushing to a “return to normal.” They asked us to be honest: Was normal that great anyway? Was it great for everyone? A letter by Sophia Rosenbaum, editor at the Associated Press, addressed, “Dear Normal” put it this way: “The thing about normalcy is that it’s never universal. My normal is not yours. And because

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gain a strong academic foundation and acquire critical skills, habits of mind, and confidence.

GCDS is a joyful environment where curiosity and creativity are valued, \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/ \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ resilience is cultivated, and the health /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/ \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ and well-being of every student is essential. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

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A NEW BEGINNING of that, it perpetuates life’s inequities, many of which have been laid bare by the pandemic.” So, while battling a pandemic and our emotions, we were asked to consider what it meant to return to normal. It almost didn’t seem fair. Couldn’t we all just return to normal without having to ponder what that meant? Well, no. Of course not. I was reminded that when I was a head of an independent school, I would often meet with prospective families and if I had the chance to sit down with parents, I would ask this question: “Did school work for you?” What I meant by this was whether or not school—the routine, the classwork, the culture—worked for them. Did they get it? Did they figure it out and know how to navigate it? The answers ranged from an emphatic “Yes” to a thoughtful “Not so much.” This would often lead one, if not both parents, to describe their relationship with school, how it evolved, when it succeeded and when it did not. When I think of these myriad interactions with parents, there was some degree of similarity among their responses and some portion of these adults, as children, had a “normal” experience. That is, their experience was stereotypical and predictable, and they enjoyed the trappings of school: they went to class, did homework, played sports, appeared onstage, took trips and graduated. That seems relatively normal. Inevitably, for one or both parents, school worked. They got it. They mastered it. Yet just as inevitably, school did not work for others. But here is the thing: whether it worked for them or not, beyond the predictable, “normal” aspects of life as a student, almost every parent with whom I spoke experienced something they thought of as being

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uniquely abnormal… They recalled a dinosaur project in second grade, a history reenactment in 6th grade, a book in 9th grade, a capstone project prior to graduation. There was this one teacher . . . or there was this one project . . . or there was this one trip . . . or there was this coach, or theatre, art or choir director. In the string of examples that parent after parent provided, a pattern emerged: their perceptions of experiences that were abnormal or exceptional were in fact just the opposite. These incredible, unforgettable people, experiences and salient moments were actually entirely normal. So last spring, as we hoped the pandemic was winding down and

with classmates and teachers, or with a text or an idea, in a question posed or a hypothesis proven. I happen to be a proponent of questioning the return to normal. We are wise to consider—and consider deeply— that which we were doing and that which we should leave behind, as well as which modifications we should now adapt no matter the situation. We should consider where we found inequity; where we found a lack of justice; and also, and relatedly, where we found students who had previously struggled or been unserved or underserved, but now flourished in a different platform or landscape. This new normal is going to challenge us because we began living with it

“Couldn’t we all just return to normal without having to ponder what that meant? Well, no. Of course not.”

desperately wishing to return to normal, and at the same time being forewarned about the perils of returning to normal, I thought of what is both normal and remarkable in our independent schools: the interaction between teacher and student, an inspiring idea, motivating goal, a performance high. Normal is not in-classroom or in-person compared to hybrid or distance; what is normal is the really important stuff of school: the stuff that happens through interactions

during a pandemic, and we need to think about what happened and what those occurrences mean for students. And school. And schooling. I think schools are ready for that challenge because they lived it deeply. One example is looking at how much the press covered businesses closing offices (it made headlines) and sent employees to work remotely, and further, some portion of that office space would be repopulated, and some would not.

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2021-2022 EDUCATION GUIDE

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“We can be reflective and take action in addressing what we should carry forward and leave behind.”

Well, that is certainly true for schools. We not only had to rethink space (and spacing), but employees also worked from home and from school and students worked from home and from school. What does that mean for normal? While COVID cases surged, we adopted mitigation strategies and we saw influenza cases plummet. The CDC reported that from September 2020 to January 2021, it had recorded 1,316 cases of the flu, whereas in the same span the previous year, there had been 130,000 cases—a 10,000% decrease from the year prior. Wow. Will our previous normal response to infectious diseases change? Well, we can hope so. We know we can mitigate the spread of infection and we can do it well. Wearing masks during flu season apparently works, as does staying

home when one is sick. A new normal? The CDC says that since 2010, 7,000 to 26,000 kids under five go to the hospital each year for flu. Preventing that seems like a good new normal. We will continue to discuss our yearning for normal, and what normal means. We can be reflective and take action in addressing what we should carry forward and leave behind. Further, we can, should we choose, look at school health in new ways, just as we know we should consider our own physical and mental health in new ways. And I think we can recognize that the trappings of school are not the normal we crave. Instead, it’s the real connections, real experiences and real collaboration that are aspirational and attainable. These are both the old and new normal.

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A NEW BEGINNING

Global Vision

LEARNING ACROSS TIME ZONES by

WALTER SWANSON

Dean of Faculty / Wilbraham & Monson Academy / Board of Directors, Global Education Benchmark Group

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s travel in 2020 was severely curtailed during the pandemic, schools needed to focus on students first. The global community at boarding schools is a key element of what makes this model of education so compelling—being able to live and learn with students from around the world. With many students prevented from getting to school by political and epidemiological barriers, ensuring their education would continue uninterrupted and maintaining the global nature of classrooms became a priority. Many wondered how this would impact students from around the world who come to New England to pursue an American education and the boarding schools that benefit from their perspectives. For schools that also incorporate international travel programs into the curriculum, the prospect of not

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being able to travel seemed daunting, but it became an opportunity to find new ways to stay globally engaged. In a small corner of Western Massachusetts, my own institution— Wilbraham & Monson Academy (WMA)—hosts students from upwards of 30 countries. This opportunity to live, learn and play alongside students from so many countries provides windows into the lives of others, and world news becomes more personal when it is your friends, classmates and teammates who are impacted. Not only does this diversity provide students with a window to current events, but it also provides a mirror where U.S. students and teachers can see how their country’s actions are viewed through the eyes of others. While the pandemic put an end to on-campus learning, WMA, like many other boarding schools, worked to realize its own steadfast commitment to

a geographically and culturally diverse learning community. Anticipating both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years would be disrupted, students were incorporated into live online classrooms, time zones were factored into scheduling, and extra support was added so students on the other side of the planet stayed connected to friends and teachers. The impact of the global pandemic was a powerful learning opportunity for students to see how interconnected all the countries represented at their schools are. Often this sense of connection and an understanding of the systems that span the globe comes as a result from travel with the school, as many schools have committed significant thought and resources to providing opportunities for travel so students can experience, firsthand, life in other places. The focus and objectives of school travel programs have shifted significantly

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2021-2022 EDUCATION GUIDE

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A NEW BEGINNING

during the past two decades, with travel becoming embedded in the curriculum. In recent years, schools have linked travel to humanities classes, language study, the development of science research skills and to building cohesion in teams, while using sports as a way to connect with peers around the world. Clare Sisisky, Executive Director for the Global Education Benchmark Group, states: “Across the 300 member schools in the Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG), a majority of independent schools in North America with a global outlook and partnerships have continued to prepare their students for a globalized world. Most notably, schools have leveraged their existing partnerships around the world to engage and collaborate to create meaningful global virtual learning experiences for

their students—often described as virtual exchange. In a February 2021 survey of GEBG member schools, 69% of schools are working on virtual exchange (with 161 schools reporting). Schools also shared that the main benefits of virtual exchange for students are the ability to engage with and hear about different perspectives on global issues, and that virtual exchange has led to increased student engagement during this challenging year for students everywhere.” Individual schools are making their mark as they move away from travel this year toward other international offerings. St. Mark’s School in Southborough, Massachusetts, created two-week virtual exchanges with two of their partner schools in India and Chile. These partnerships were a combination of synchronous and asynchronous

meetings, where students attended religious services, visited classes in local schools, and worked together on joint presentations. Additionally, students in their long-standing Global Diploma program began an in-depth study of two issues: fast fashion as it applies to school gear, and the merit and the impact of service trips abroad. Online summits further allowed students to engage with other students from around the world. These summits provided opportunities to dig deeper into issues of diplomacy, culture and economics. Traditional school exchange programs at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, also switched to a virtual format. Their travel programs have been extensive, according to Hotchkiss’ Director of International Programs, David Thompson, with “college-aged

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2021-2022 EDUCATION GUIDE

alumni reporting that their Hotchkiss travel experiences influenced not only their college choice, but also their classes, activities and friend groups.” Yet, in the year of COVID-19, Hotchkiss changed course to allow students a view into countries they had never traveled to before, including Algeria, Iraq and Yemen. Through a series of virtual conversations, conferences and exchanges, students connected with peers around the world and engaged in conversations about global issues, often guided by worldclass academics as well as foreign service professionals. As some schools built and adapted existing traditions and programming, Miss Porter’s, an all-girls boarding school in Farmington, Connecticut, saw the pandemic as an opportunity to accelerate plans they had for two to three years

down the road. They launched their ChangeMaker's Institute with girls from Japan, the U.K. and Egypt who participated in a 12-week fellowship. In 2021 they launched the second cohort of 21 Fellows, including girls from Miss Porter’s, Spain, Brazil, India and other U.S. public and independent schools. Miss Porter's Director of the Institute for Global Education Sophie Paris states: “We finally found an opportunity to create a means for high school girls globally to connect, learn and collaborate as they address pressing global issues that are relevant to their own lives. Our first Global Seminar Series was called Pandemic: A Call to Action with 120 girls from 14 countries and 16 guest speakers (speakers from infectious disease doctors in South Africa to doctors on the front line in NYC to high level

women leaders in the UN and UNICEF talking about the global response to the pandemic).” Participants shared in their exit surveys how the seminar helped them feel more connected with other girls globally. “I realized that we could meet these learning objectives in fact without international travel.” As we enter the second year of the pandemic, much of the world is still waiting for vaccines. Because the health and safety of students is so important, the rates of vaccination will feature in school decisions about travel. While we look forward to the chance to once more go outward and explore the world in person, for now we will focus on the connections with schools around the world, and the richness our geographically diverse student body brings to our small corners of New England.

NO GLASS CEILING HERE. Design an app. Observe the stars. Take the ball and run with it. You think there are limits? We beg to differ. Girls’ school grads are six times more likely to consider majoring in math, science, and technology than girls who attended coed schools. We inspire young women to be thoughtful global leaders.

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A NEW BEGINNING

Learning Comes Alive

TEENS TACKLE REAL-WORLD CHALLENGES by CHRIS WINTERS / Head of the Upper School / Greenwich Country Day School ANDREW RUOSS / Upper School Academic Dean / Greenwich Country Day School

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here was an extra tinge of excitement in Caroline’s face as she and her classmates gathered in the school’s library. With students seated around tables configured to resemble a corporate board room, the teacher reminded the class and the numerous invited guests of the day’s agenda: a simulation of a Nike Corporation board meeting in which the board considers competing proposals from two rival consulting groups. At issue is the need to

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“At its core, PBL (Project Based Learning) is about how students access knowledge and skills and how they apply them to solve complex problems.”

overhaul the company’s approach to labor practices and to reconsider its global supply chain. As chair of the Nike board, Caroline called the meeting to order, set the ground rules for presentations, and directed other board members to present their analysis of the challenges for Nike. The consulting firms then pitched what they hoped would be a winning strategy and, in doing so, earn their company a lucrative multi-year contract with Nike. The students in this scenario were ninth graders, taking an introductory

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economics course. They were engaged in a culminating project on supply chains and the dynamics of global economic networks. Having been presented with their challenge, over the previous five weeks, the teams had worked with the teacher to identify and learn about the key concepts, knowledge and skills they needed to present a solution. This included: 1) the functions of supply and demand; 2) the opportunities and restrictions of global supply chains; 3) the ways in which legal systems and public relations marketing impact branding; and 4) how organizations approach systemic change. In their eagerness to present the winning proposal, some had taken the case far deeper, exploring additional topics such as the geopolitics of Southeast Asia, and the economics of cargo shipping and tariff structures. The Nike board simulation offers a teaching and learning approach increasingly recognized through research as having a positive impact on student motivation, engagement and outcomes. Commonly referred to as Project Based Learning (PBL), this pedagogy aims for students to study the same or similar content and skills in a way that is designed to have them more actively engaged and develop a deeper, longerlasting understanding of the content. At its core, PBL is about how students access knowledge and skills and how they apply them to solve complex problems. Research supports that when students actively build knowledge, in contrast to passively receiving it, they deepen their learning. As the Nike simulation reflects, it can also lead students to find greater joy in their schooling. In fact, after the simulation, Caroline and her classmates delayed going to lunch in order to continue their raging debate about the

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best solution for Nike. While a PBL approach varies from teacher to teacher and overlaps with other pedagogies, there are common characteristics to effective implementation.

1

PBL requires careful articulation of the major learning outcomes— both knowledge and skills—sought in a unit. A school implementing a high level of PBL will carefully map out the desired outcomes so that students’ learning aligns with state and national standards, ensures a progression in skills development from one grade to another, and, where applicable, allows for learning across traditionally defined subjects. In PBL, teachers begin planning with the outcomes in mind and design projects that will allow students to develop knowledge and skills and demonstrate them in authentic ways. Because desired outcomes often span multiple subjects, it is common for a PBL school to establish collaborative teacher teams that look for ways to blend disciplines and help students see connections among their various studies. The Nike project, for example, aligned with the writing and research outcomes of the 9th grade humanities program, while also preparing students for subsequent study in economics and modelling a process for the interdisciplinary research required in 11th and 12th grade courses.

2

Teachers facilitate student learning rather than control or dictate its every move. In the Nike case, after setting the conditions for learning, identifying and instructing on the core body of knowledge, the teacher stepped back

and allowed students to grapple with the work. This is a critical area of contrast to a more traditional approach—one in which teachers often lead students to predetermined outcomes by breaking concepts into small pieces and instructing students through direct explanation or carefully guided questioning. In PBL, while the desired outcomes are clear, the path to reaching them and the scope of what students will learn is not prescribed. This approach allows students to explore deeply into areas that they deem necessary for solving the complex questions posed to them.

3

The project-based approach cultivates student agency and inquiry. In this era of ubiquitous access to content, what is most needed for student growth is the strengthening of skills articulated in most schools’ version of The Portrait of a Learner. For example, students may be asked to: Think critically and creatively across subject matter; Pose and pursue meaningful questions; Work collaboratively in order to problemsolve and produce high quality work; Communicate with empathy, purpose and clarity; Explore interests, build purpose and persist through setbacks; Engage independently and with curiosity in learning; Provide and effectively integrate feedback; and, Use social, technological and cultural literacies to serve in diverse and global contexts. Students develop these skills by working on them and with them. In Project Based Learning, students cultivate strategies for taking responsibility for their own learning and pursuing knowledge at a deeper level—and they do so with increasing independence. This should be the primary goal for any secondary education.

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4

PBL strengthens a teacher’s ability to personalize learning. While being held accountable to the core knowledge and skills of a unit, students have greater voice and choice in the direction their project will take and how they will demonstrate what they have learned. When presented with a project, the PBL teacher helps students to research, plan, seek feedback and reflect on how they accomplished a task. Included in their reflection is how they worked with others—if a collaborative project—and how they will adjust their approach based on what they learned.

5

PBL connects learning to the adult world and relevant contexts. As with the Nike simulation, when

16

academic concepts have application in real world problems, students are far more likely to find them relevant and meaningful. Students often reach out, by choice or as a built-in part of the project, to adults with direct knowledge and expertise in an area. One of the parents of the students in the Nike project informed the school that her son was so excited about the simulation that he was begging his parents for insight at the dinner table.

which they take initiative not only to solve problems presented to them, but to conceive of problems that no one else sees. When students build their learning through projects, they report feeling great accomplishment and satisfaction—they have applied challenging concepts to real world problems and often demonstrated the results to authentic audiences. The result is a shift toward wanting to learn more and to develop greater expertise.

6

7

PBL fosters intrinsic and purposeful engagement. Far too often in high schools, students work at a compliant level: they do what their teachers ask of them and not much more. While there is merit to compliance, there is a ceiling in the 21st-Century economy to that mindset. We should be preparing our youth for careers in

PBL promotes healthy growth and development. As students move from nightly, shortterm assignments to longer project-based work, they strengthen organizational and time management skills. Often, this is a learning process for which many students need guidance from teachers on how best to engage with long-term work. It’s also a

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satisfying experience. As Caroline and her classmates will attest, the Nike simulation is likely to be an experience they will long remember. It was certainly one they were eager to speak about at home. The Nike simulation presented in this article is one of thousands of examples of teachers designing creative projects as a means of furthering student learning. The PBL approach seeks to make learning deeper, meaningful and more joyful by shifting from the teacher as the sole transmitter of knowledge and skills to active student engagement—with a deeper understanding of their own learning styles, opportunities to explore their areas of interest, choice in the way they demonstrate knowledge and skills attained, and insight into why and how the content and concepts are relevant.

“Research supports that when students actively build knowledge, in contrast to passively receiving it, they deepen their learning.”

Caroline, who excelled in a traditional classroom for years, needed a couple of months to appreciate the added value of the project-based approach employed in her high school. Now, with a deeper understanding of the concepts of

corporate labor practices and supply chains and the relevance to current events, she is eager to apply for summer internships with Nike and help them resolve their challenges.

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A NEW BEGINNING

College Choice EXPANDING OPTIONS FOR A SUCCESSFUL SEARCH

by

DEENA MAEROWITZ

T

he college search process is a microcosm for how the pandemic has dramatically changed both the concrete logistics of life and our broader perspective. Reduced travel and access to campuses, for example, prompted schools to develop an impressive array of digital offerings to inform prospective candidates. Educational disruptions and limited availability for standardized tests spurred most colleges to declare such tests as optional for the 2021 admission season— and while this policy is not permanent, many schools have already extended it at least for the upcoming year. If you are amidst a college search this year, however,

18

/ Principal, College and Graduate School Advising / The Bertram Group

perhaps the most important lesson of this moment relates to the foundational criteria on which the college search is based. The United States has nearly 3,000 four-year colleges, and yet a disproportionate amount of attention focuses on a tiny fraction of these institutions. This situation was particularly clear when the waiving of standardized testing requirements resulted in an explosion of 2021 applications at a select number of higherprofile schools. Even without test scores as a qualifying criterion, admission to these schools remains competitive. A high GPA and dynamic roster of extracurricular experiences may well

suggest that a student would succeed at an Ivy League or other highly selective school. Nonetheless, there are far more interested applicants than these schools can accommodate. In addition, admission relates to many factors beyond students’ control. Thus, the increase in applications also corresponded to more students lamenting college denials. Learning to rebound from disappointment is a critical life skill. The challenge comes when students—or family members—place so much emphasis on acceptance to only a few schools and devalue other excellent options where a student was accepted. Transitioning to college is an inherently emotional process because it overlaps with many coming-of-age milestones.

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How families approach this moment reflects their values and synthesizes key threads of a young adult’s past and present with aspirations for their future. Students who believe they are a good fit for a high-profile college should not shy away from applying. At the same time, they should identify a list of schools with a wide range of selectivity where they can envision themselves finding success. This past year has demonstrated how vital it is for students to have sincere interest in each school on their list. Fortunately, research shows that a student’s success in college and beyond is not directly correlated to a school’s selectivity, size or whether it is public or private. In 2014, Gallup-Purdue University polled 30,000 college

graduates and found that workplace engagement and overall well-being were more directly correlated to six types of college experiences: Did they meet professors who made learning exciting? Did their professors care about them as people? Did they find mentors who encouraged them to pursue goals? Did they work on a project that took a semester or more to complete? Did they have an internship that allowed them to apply what they were learning in the classroom? Were they active in

extracurricular activities and organizations? In summary, what is most important about a college choice is how students engage with their campus community. This is why honing in on the fit between a college and a student is so important. The particulars of an educational environment will determine whether students feel inspired, empowered and capable. A healthy sense of perspective can help every student find unique opportunities that resonate for them. Their goal in researching colleges is not to identify one “perfect” school, but rather to identify multiple schools where they can envision possibilities. They will have the most options to consider if their list includes a range of selectivity.

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Intellectual Agility WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW MORE THAN EVER by

"W

AARON COOPER

hen are we ever going to use this?” As a math teacher, I have heard that question asked by students more times than I can count. There will be many practical applications, I often begin to explain, such as personal finance, data analysis and (perhaps seemingly unrelated to prealgebra) the ability to build a sales case or construct a legal argument. Then I quickly add, “Or you might not use it, but that does not mean learning it is not valuable.” Even if students do not directly use a specific concept later in life, they will commonly use the habits and skills they gained

22

/ Head of School / New Canaan Country School

through learning it, and that is what makes it worth practicing. I often quote algebra teacher Dean Sherman, who refers to math as “mental weight lifting.” As he says, people lift weights not to prepare in case a barbell suddenly flies out of the sky toward them, but for the deeper benefits of better health, stronger muscles or success in athletics. At its core, the same is true of math. Learning math improves logical thinking, enhances one’s ability to see patterns, and aids in seeking and synthesizing data. These are essential skills that can be applied to a wide range of activities, both personal and professional, throughout life. These tenets are not limited to math; they appear in

every facet of a student’s school life, and collectively they represent incredible opportunities for the learner. COVID has pressure-tested our systems and acted as both an accelerant and a magnifying glass on so many aspects of education. The past 18 months have brought into sharp relief what is working—in fact, what is essential—as well as what urgently needs our attention to evolve to meet the times. It has also revealed which skills and dispositions we need to equip our students with for the inevitable cycles of disruption they will face throughout their lifetimes. Put simply, what I believe our students need most now and what they will need in the future is intellectual agility.

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A NEW BEGINNING

Intellectual agility refers to the ability to shift one’s thinking to a changing landscape and nimbly apply one’s skills in novel and meaningful ways to capture opportunity. Just as the agile athlete is able to get the ball up the field more readily than even the simply fast or strong one, the agile intellect can recognize and overcome obstacles more readily than the specialist. Intellectual agility requires openness, observation, curiosity, creativity, empathy, humility, resilience, selfconfidence, and no small amount of skill. The agile athlete can get around a defender by cutting left or right, by changing speeds, by passing or faking; they have ample tools at their disposal. Similarly, the agile intellect encountering a challenge or novel circumstance can dive more deeply into a subject, connect with a colleague to expand the breadth of the work, or draw on a related experience; there are also many possible paths to success. Essentially, they are able to enter a room, observe and quickly determine the best way they can add value and make an impact. How does one learn to do that? The same way the agile athlete does: through practice from a young age. Intellectual agility is most easily and influentially learned as a child partly because children’s minds are so absorbent and flexible, and partly because they are unhindered by the self-doubt that often accompanies older ages. They are not afraid to test out a wild idea. The best way to cultivate this in our children is to provide foundational skills and space to devise solutions. This is why it is so important we teach children how to think through a problem, how to persist and persevere, rather than to simply give them answers. It is why trial and error, risk-taking and failure need to be part of education. Children should be encouraged to see connections between

24

seemingly unrelated domains. Steve Jobs famously took calligraphy classes in college, the lessons from which he extrapolated into the design elements that gave rise to Apple’s dominance of the personal computing world. Art can help solve the problems of economics. An engineering approach might bring structure to a creative endeavor. The possibilities are endless, and it is often children who see that best. They simply need to be encouraged and invited, regularly and repeatedly. Imagine entering the workforce at a time like March 2020, when the world was upended and many businesses

“Coming out of the pandemic, with all the lessons to be gleaned, it is critical that our children have not only learned resilience but that they understand how to respond to change.”

were forced to pivot or perish. What skills separate the thriving employee from the one merely trying to survive? Content knowledge certainly helps, as do interpersonal skills such as collaboration and communication along with integrity and a strong work ethic. But just like the playmaker who surveys the field before determining how best to progress is the most influential player even if not the top goal scorer, it is the ability to adapt and see opportunity quickly and creatively that really stands out. Such intellectual agility combines a deep base of knowledge and skills with the flexibility to apply them in creative and unique ways. How do we best prepare a child for such a future? By presenting them with problems and encouraging their voice in solutions. By helping them experience the learning at the intersection of disciplines. By presenting perspectives they have not heard and helping them learn from them. The child who has been given the time to practice, a broad set of intellectual tools, and the encouragement to think bigger will have the agile mind necessary to dive in and begin to ask the right questions to solve the right problems. They will understand there is often not one right answer and several possible solutions. Most importantly, they will be focused on the larger potential positive impact of their contributions. Coming out of the pandemic, with all the lessons to be gleaned, it is critical that our children have not only learned resilience but that they understand how to respond to change. Unforeseen and challenging situations will continue to present themselves, and navigating those situations effectively will require nimbleness and imagination—core dispositions of intellectual agility, and exactly what the world needs now more than ever.

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Breaking Barriers THE ALL-BOYS SCHOOL ADVANTAGE by

GRAHAM CALLAGHAN

T

he world is worried about our kids. In a year of remote learning, physical distancing and canceled events, experts are saying the lasting impacts on today’s youth might not be realized for years to come. So, in a world full of unknowns, what answers are there? As educators strive to do their best to meet the needs of today’s students, we turn to our colleagues for help, guidance and advice. In doing so, I recently came across an article by Laura McKenna, a writer for Edutopia, a trusted source shining a spotlight on what works in education. In her article “Are We Facing a Mental Health Crisis for Boys?” I was relieved to see the solutions McKenna suggests are solutions already in place at many all-boys schools. To begin, McKenna writes, “Boys can benefit from a school culture that destigmatizes mental health issues, creates opportunities to connect with

28

/ Dean of Studies / Avon Old Farms School

other boys, confronts ingrained masculine stereotypes, and provides support from adults who understand their needs.” As someone who works at an all-boys boarding school, these practices are very familiar. All-boys schools create an environment in which being emotional and communicating those emotions is not only okay—it’s encouraged by students and faculty alike. McKenna cites a Washington, D.C. school counselor who says, “Many boys have trouble talking about emotions and feelings because social norms have encouraged them to conform to a masculine ideal that emphasizes values like stoicism, toughness, and competitiveness.” Exploring the same topic, McKenna writes, “Sometimes, even when boys have the emotional language and recognize the flaws in societal norms, they still conceal their emotions in order to fit in.” At coeducational high schools, stigmatized

labels can be prevalent as a result of being made commonplace by popular culture spanning many generations. We have all heard them: Theater Kid. Geek. Jock. Artsy. However, the barriers separating these labels are torn down in an allboys setting by empowering each boy to find his own voice through his everyday school experience. In this atmosphere, the more labels a student amasses, the better. Renaissance Men are celebrated. Many all-boys schools create comfortable spaces where the students are free to discover their hidden talents in otherwise denigrated areas of high school life. Faculty and experienced students encourage younger boys to take several leaps of faith and try new things, because one never knows when a new passion might be discovered. The allboys supportive, low stakes/high reward environment makes it more comfortable for boys to stretch themselves in pursuit

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of discovering their true character. And so, when the football quarterback takes to the stage on opening night of the fall play in an all-boys school, time after time a roar from his teammates in the crowd will overtake the theater. In McKenna’s article, she references Andrew Reiner’s book, Better Boys, Better Men: The New Masculinity That Creates Greater Courage and Emotional Resiliency, saying that “even with opportunities to connect, sometimes it can be hard for boys to be emotionally vulnerable, especially with other boys.” In his book, Reiner writes: “If and when they open up about their problems, they might do it with female friends instead, not male friends, to avoid appearing weak.” Once more, in an all-boys setting there's a built-in system of care to encourage the connection between male peers. When teammates show up on opening night of the school play, we call it "The Brotherhood'' at Avon—but other schools have their own monikers. This camaraderie among the student body is another important aspect. The emphasis on a shared experience that extends to all students and alumni as a core value helps create a culture that is affectionate, spirited and supportive. Most people see this first in athletics, where the fans encourage their teams with energy and passion. Teachers also see it in the classrooms and in dormitories where students genuinely celebrate each other’s successes, where they freely offer to help a classmate who is feeling challenged, and where they help each other navigate the journey of adolescence. It is critical to effectively educate boys on what it means to be a man, and how to interpret “manhood” in our world today. We stress that a man is not someone who is tough and shows no emotions. Instead, we believe manhood is constructed around empathy: one’s ability

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to understand and share feelings with another human being. We show boys that it is okay to cry, it is okay to be frustrated, it is okay to ask for assistance. When they do, there’s staff on-hand who know how to work with adolescent boys. “Having an experienced psychologist or counselor available to students is extremely important given all the unknowns in today’s world. Students with pre-existing difficulties seem to be having a harder time and many students are developing new difficulties given the uneasiness of current times,” comments Dan Martin, Ph.D., ABPP. It works best if the psychologist is well known to the faculty and student body and trusted to be helpful, which the single-sex environment promotes. By educating students about what it means to “be a man,” we provide them with an empathetic foundation upon which they can construct a promising future for themselves and others in the world. While some of this work goes on with special programming during the evening and weekends that discusses mental health, masculinity, and drug and alcohol abuse among other things, in a private all-boys school, there are

“Every aspect of an all-boys program is engineered to guide and challenge students to find their niche and passion in life.”

also choices teachers can make inside the classroom to carry these motifs forward. In the curriculum, that can mean catering to boys’ interests, often choosing literature with women in leading or heroic roles or reading stories that present different models of masculinity. By creating an empathetic culture both in and out of the classroom, all-boys programs can help young men learn to listen and speak openly. In this culture built on connection, boys also naturally relate better to one another in the classroom and build stronger bonds. The backbone of what makes this so successful is another cornerstone of the all-boys school: relational learning. One way to encourage genuine connections between students and teachers is a multidimensional approach to the faculty role: when your teacher is also your coach, your dorm parent, and the person you share a meal with, lines of trust are established. This triple-threat model makes meaningful interaction more regular and healthier. The model allows for the education of the “whole student.” As relational learners, boys appreciate how teachers collaborate in their successes and value our total immersion in and commitment to the community. To effectively lead boys, teachers assure their students that they care and are devoted to their individual success. If we send that message to students, they are capable of incredible achievement. As a result, as much as we challenge boys inside the classroom, we support them in equal measure with compassion, empathy and constructive feedback for personal growth in an all-boys community and beyond. At an all-boys school, educators celebrate the differences in students and recognize that they have a wide range of interests, abilities and sensibilities. The teachers are proficient in noticing and responding to the differences

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they observe. To be effective, they must not only be aware of the specific circumstances of each day, but also understand how individual students learn and grow. Only when a student feels known and valued can he completely commit to the content of the class, activity or group. Teachers of an all-boys classroom can choose curriculum design and methods of instruction to maximize impactful learning. In instruction, it means seeking out opportunities for hands-on learning; it means using humor; it means finding ways to incorporate movement, color and sound into a lesson, and it means finding ways to harness and take advantage of boys’ natural energy and curiosity. An active atmosphere also allows a boy the space to work through his emotions as he struggles with them. All-

boys schools embrace active learning to engage more than just the mind inside the classroom. Mobile, invigorating and energetic lessons are the key to creating a vibrant learning environment for boys. Generally speaking, boys are competitive. All-boys schools utilize that ambitious spirit during the academic day and tailor their teaching styles accordingly. In class, students are tasked with working together—perhaps as a class or in small groupings on a variety of projects spanning the academic disciplines. Throughout this process, the boys learn how to work with different people and which roles they can best adopt when working in group settings. This enables them to find their voices within small groups and during in-class presentations. Whether its participating in class

or auditioning for a musical, trying something new is never an easy feat— especially for a teenage boy. However, in an all-boys school, it takes just one simple moment of willingness for a young man to step outside his comfort zone and reap the benefits. Every aspect of an all-boys program is engineered to guide and challenge students to find their niche and passion in life. Boys are free to discover their true identity through the exploration of school life without reservation. They learn to think beyond themselves and take the empathy mindset out into the world at large. Alumni confirm that this approach to education has proved to be essential in their path to manhood: they are not only lifelong learners, but also leading citizens in their communities and solid men.

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At Whitby, there is no ceiling on learning. Each student is challenged and supported to achieve their personal best, helping them to define success on their own terms. Come see for yourself. School Open Houses & Personal Visits whitbyschool.org/thinkwhitby2021

Co-ed Independent School Whitby Montessori Children’s House | 18 mos – Kindergarten International Baccalaureate | Grades 1 – 8

Open Minds. Big Ideas. Infinite Possibilities.

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969 Lake Avenue, Greenwich CT 203.302.3900 | whitbyschool.org

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A NEW BEGINNING

Middle School Focus

EDUCATING FOR A PIVOTAL PHASE by

W

JACK CREEDEN

e all have happily acknowledged the delightful changes that occur in early childhood. Verbal fluency, much welcomed self-sufficiency, mobility and the earliest stages of self-control are recorded and shared across multiple platforms with family and friends. There are important developmental milestones and critical foundations established in nursery and elementary schools that set the stage for future intellectual and social-emotional health. At the high school level, our culture

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/ Head of School / Whitby School

celebrates college acceptances, Friday Night Lights and Advanced Placement classes, all of which serve as bragging rights for schools. Our society believes we can measure academic ability through standardized tests in every discipline. We leave social emotional development to the Soft or Second Curriculum, which rarely receives the attention it deserves. There are ways to help students assess their psychological well-being and support further growth and development, but discussions about teaching and learning in those areas are quite limited. And I do not know of any college admission office that has asked

about levels of positive social-emotional development in applicants that can be compared to a standardized scale. But perhaps that is a good thing!

Social, Emotional and Physical Growth

If one examines the developmental stages for young people, incredibly important phases occur during the preadolescent years. And yet we have unfortunately embraced a curricular model that envisions middle school as simply the time required to prepare for high school. Some educators, who do not acknowledge the developmental needs of middle

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school students, described what they do as “high school lite.” But to people who understand human development, we know that middle school cannot be simply a mini high school. The best middle schools develop a specific mission statement that focuses not just on the intellectual, but also on the social, emotional and physical growth that is on fire during the middle school years. A specific middle school mission statement should be followed by an organizational structure that does not simply mirror the high school. Instead of the strict and traditional disciplinary departments found in most upper schools, more interdisciplinary groupings of faculty and courses would best match the ways of thinking and learning in a preadolescent. Middle school students see the world as a collection of new and interesting experiences and want to learn about how it all fits together. For schools, the creation of a safe space where students can learn without fear of bullying or peer reprisals is essential to supporting the developmental needs and the well-being of preadolescents. That safe space requires a spirit of cooperation rather than competition among students to support healthy self-esteem and reduced levels of anxiety, which seem to be rising among students at all ages.

The Middle School Student

The developmental psychologist Erik Erikson believed that preadolescence was a period of identity formation. We see this in the behaviors of students as they explore different personas. What was once a happy and highly engaged 6th grader suddenly turns into a temperamental and unpredictable 7th grader. Ever mindful of how they are perceived by others, the middle schooler watches closely to see how friends,

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parents and teachers react to their different behaviors. A middle school student’s brain is developing rapidly and changing quickly. Research has demonstrated that the mood swings of early adolescents, including the impulsive, irritable and highly variable behavior are directly linked to the hormonal, neurological and physical changes the student is experiencing. Feelings of belonging, attachment and peer support are the highest priority as the middle school student detaches from parents and childhood experiences. The highest need for preadolescents, driven by those hormonal changes, is to create a social network outside of the family for friendship.

peer group, and a schedule that is easily managed. Schools need to be intentional about creating operational policies and structures based on understanding developmental needs.

Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum There is no denying the importance of acquiring sound literacy and numeracy skills while in middle school. Students want to be good at something. It helps to build their self-confidence as they go about engaged in the task of discovering who they are. As they construct their identities, a middle school curriculum that encourages students to explore and discuss issues that matter to them is essential. The

“To people who understand human development, we know that middle school cannot be simply a mini high school.”

I have a good friend whose three daughters were all enrolled in different grades in middle school at the same time. He described coming down for breakfast like “eating with strangers.” He never knew who was speaking to whom and why? For preadolescents searching for a sense of competency and belonging, everything about the middle school structure is a challenge. Making the transition is not just about having a locker and changing classes. Students are accustomed to the protective lower school environment with one or two teachers, a self-contained

independence and autonomy that are part of this identity formation is best supported by a school’s academic program that gives students the freedom to investigate topics of personal and global interest. Race, gender, sexuality, climate change, culture, language, politics and spirituality, to name just a few, are topics middle schoolers eagerly want to learn about and discuss. Exposure to and student research on those topics are directly supportive of developmental needs at this stage. A typical middle school curriculum, designed by an upper school

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A NEW BEGINNING

faculty, who are influenced by the College Board and Advanced Placement syllabi, will not place a high value on teaching and learning rooted in early adolescent developmental psychology. Schools should understand that middle schoolers learn best when:

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disciplines to create a holistic solution to a complicated problem.

Role of The Faculty

As in all great schools, middle school faculty play an essential role in creating an optimum learning environment for students. Middle school faculty must not only have deep knowledge of their academic disciplines, but they also must understand the truly unique developmental needs of pre-adolescents. Schools should have high expectations for student achievement while supporting preadolescent discovery, exploration and possible failure as middle school students follow their curiosity and newly found passions. In middle school, students will have their first experience with an advisor, a faculty or staff member who is responsible

We seek to enable our students to develop their full academic, moral, creative and physical potential while fostering loving-kindness. We promote inphysical individual We Weseek seek totoenable enable our ourrespect students studentsand totodevelop develop their theirfull fullacademic, academic, moral, moral,excellence creative creativeand and physical academic achievement in the context of our motto: potential potentialwhile whilefostering fosteringrespect respectand andloving-kindness. loving-kindness. We Wepromote promoteexcellence excellenceininindividual individual

Easton Country Day School

Easton CountryDay DaySchool School Easton Country

• Learning is active and challenging • The learning community is small • The climate is safe for all students, which requires that antibullying, conflict resolution, character development, alcohol and drug education programs and more are part of the curriculum • Classroom topics are meaningful and can be related to real life • Faculty provide positive and honest feedback to support continuous improvement • Exposure to positive role models

outside other families and teachers occurs regularly • Creative expression in writing and multiple art forms are part of the schedule • Evaluations are meaningful and all students are accountable for the quality of their work • Health and wellness programs are offered to help students make sense of the world around them Many educators believe that STEM or STEAM programs are a perfect match for the intellectual and developmental stages of middle schools. Both approaches are highly interdisciplinary, requiring students to make connections. Unlike the high school curriculum that is sharply siloed by departments, STEM and STEAM classes challenge students to gather and integrate data from disparate

academic academicachievement achievementininthe thecontext contextofofour ourmotto: motto:

We cultivate mutual respect and

We Wecultivate cultivate mutual respect respect and and kindness, as wellmutual as civic responsibility, in a kindness, kindness, as aswell well as ascivic civicresponsibility, responsibility, inaa multicultural environment where weincan multicultural multicultural environment where wherewe wecan can encourageenvironment the development of encourage encourage the the development development of of accomplished, caring, and responsible accomplished, accomplished, caring, caring,and andresponsible responsible human beings. human humanbeings. beings. Our high school offerings go from tutoring Our Ourhigh highschool schoolofferings offeringsgo gofrom fromtutoring tutoring to college credit courses in a small and totocollege collegecredit creditcourses coursesininaasmall smalland and friendly environment where everyone friendly friendly environment environment where where everyone everyone knows your name. knows knows your your name. name.

"Responsibility, "Responsibility,Integrity, Integrity, "Responsibility, Integrity, Community Community---Praxis." Praxis." Community Praxis."

Easton Country Day School Easton Easton Country Country Day Day School School 660 Morehouse Road 660 660 Morehouse Morehouse Road Road Easton, Easton, CT CT 06612 06612 Easton, CT 06612 (203) (203) 268-5530 268-5530 (203) 268-5530

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for a group of students and meets with them regularly. The advisor is central to the emotional support system students need throughout middle school. They lead group and individual discussions about academics, school issues, personal and social life. It is not uncommon for faculty advisors to also play a role educating parents about this stage of development for their children. The administrative leadership and advisors at middle schools should remind parents that: • Developmental changes vary widely across individual students • Popularity is important and friendships are essential • Family is still valued, but not the singular focus it once was • Working together, parents and faculty

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can help students develop positive attitudes toward learning • Dances, curiosity about the opposite sex and more will emerge When advising parents, some psychologists compare middle school to a roller coaster ride. Sometimes it is slow and steady while climbing to new heights. Other times, the descent is fast, scary and full of turns. As parents, we should not get on the ride with our students, but rather wait on the loading platform, to which the riders will return after the highs and lows of the ride. Our job as parents is not to experience the twists and turns of the ride we call middle school, but rather to remain steady, keep the perspective of one on a flat platform, and help our children find ways to recover from the ride.

Don’t Be Afraid: Middle School Years Are Unpredictable

Educators must make sure that how they teach and what they teach align with the developmental needs of middle school students. Schools cannot let middle school be “the waiting room” for high school where the best leadership, engaging academic work and personal progress occur. There are marvelous intellectual, social and personal growth opportunities to celebrate in the middle school years. By understanding the developmental changes students are experiencing in this period of their lives, schools can create the kind of teaching and learning environment that will maximize those experiences for all students.

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A NEW BEGINNING

Power of Connection STAMFORD NONPROFIT PREPARES STUDENTS FOR SUCCESS by

DIANE KNETZGER

T

he difference between rich and poor is not merely money. It is often found in the connections that wealth can provide. Started in 2009 by Clif McFeely, a former mentor in the Stamford Big Brother program, Future 5 is an after-school, youth development membership organization built on a sense of community and belonging. Once a student becomes a member, they are taught about the “Power of Connection.” In short, Future 5 connects students to the resources they need to succeed— coaches, community, colleges careers, and

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/ Director of Development & External Relations / Future 5

most importantly, character. The vast majority of Future 5 students come from under-resourced families, and they are the first generation in their family to attend college. While many were born in the United States, others come from Haiti, Bangladesh, Puerto Rico, Russia and a host of other countries. There’s an important common thread throughout: Future 5 students are motivated about the future and the need to make positive change. Future 5 membership is open to students from all four Stamford high schools. The organization is largely

known to students by word of mouth and begins with a six-week “Here to There” workshop, in which students, staff and volunteer coaches help soon-to-be members discern their aspirations and develop strategies to navigate or eliminate barriers along the way. The students then develop their individual “Game Plan”— a written document that helps connect long-term goals to immediate action steps and becomes a working guideline as they travel from “Here to There.” Visitors who drop in to see the program will find students working in the Future 5 computer lab, meeting with

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a tutor, joining peers in a community service project, grabbing an afternoon snack with friends, or just catching up with a staff member. If a member needs “fans” to watch a basketball game, driving lessons, a teacher for piano lessons or a sympathetic ear, that too becomes part of the Future 5 membership experience. In spite of limited in-person contact during the pandemic, Future 5 continued to actively engage 273 students during the 2019-2020 school year. This included 173 high school students, 70 college students and 30 alumni. For the sixth consecutive year, all Future 5 high school seniors graduated, and 95% of those with plans for college went as planned in the fall. This matriculation was significantly above the national average of low-income

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students who planned to go to college in the fall of 2020 but were unable to make it. Additionally, 95% of Future 5 members in college were able to return to college as planned in fall 2020. Leslina Dangler is one of many students who benefitted from staying connected through Future 5’s “College Success” program after high school graduation. Recognizing her interest in science, math and “fixing things,” McFeely suggested a career as a dental hygienist. He connected her to Stamford dentist, Dr. Peter J. Rathman, who needed a dental assistant he was willing to train. Leslina was hired! She graduated from Norwalk Community College, and to complete her degree in dental hygiene, transferred to the University of

Bridgeport (UB). A merit scholarship at UB helped, but it was the scholarship opportunities that McFeely and Future 5 Director of College Success Beth Williams helped identify that made her dream come true. In addition to a close relationship with Norwalk Community College and University of Connecticut, Future 5 has partnerships with other area colleges, including: Iona, Manhattanville, Fairfield University, Sacred Heart and University of St. Joseph. Future 5 students have attended colleges nationwide, including: Howard University, Southern Connecticut, Denison, Princeton, RIT, Boston College, Elon, the University of Pennsylvania, Roger Williams, Syracuse and the University of New Haven.

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A NEW BEGINNING

helpful hints

Guiding students and families as they navigate the changing educational landscape

Word to the Wise “Everyone has experienced some level of disruption during the pandemic. As you launch your school search, reflect on how you've grown this past year. Use that increased self-awareness to clarify what qualities you seek to enrich your school experience.” Camille M. Bertram, Certified Educational Planner Founder and President, The Bertram Group

Your partners in educational excellence since 1994

Read our spring series of articles about current trends

“We always emphasize to our students that character counts and

• Find a boarding school for this fall • Shifting roles of standardized tests in college applications • Honing your boarding school list • Upskilling your job search • Therapeutic educational options • An online mindset mastery course for ages 17–28

advise them to think like an ACADEMIC: Action • Citizen • Aware • Doer • Engagement • Mindset • Initiative • Collaborator. By this we mean: take action by being a good citizen who is both socially and self-aware; be a doer through engagement; demonstrate a forward-thinking mindset by taking risks; look for leadership initiatives, and always strive to be a strong collaborator.” Verona Keating and Jacquie Quigley, Founding Partners Keating Quigley Educational Advisors

8 Wright Street, Suite 107 • Westport, Connecticut 06880 • 203.255.2577 info@thebertramgroup.com • www.thebertramgroup.com

“More than ever, student applicants need to take ownership in developing direct relationships with schools, with an admission contact, a coach, or a faculty member in a special interest area. This allows for a deeper understanding of a student’s interest and why they feel a specific school is a good fit. Ultimately this can help differentiate an applicant.” Alyson Henning Walker, Family Education Advisor Henning & Partners

“It is important to think about ways to distinguish yourself from another student who may have a similar academic, athletic or artistic profile. Think about how you wish to show genuine interest in a school. Give thought to what makes you stand out and how you would contribute positively to a new school community.” Muffy Fox, Director of Day and Boarding School Placement Winslow Education Group

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directory

School Spotlight AVON OLD FARMS SCHOOL Avon, CT avonoldfarms.com BERKSHIRE SCHOOL Sheffield, MA berkshireschool.org

St Joseph High School Be Who You Are. Become Who You Are Meant to Be.

THE BERTRAM GROUP Westport, CT thebertramgroup.com BRUNSWICK SCHOOL Greenwich, CT brunswickschool.org CHESHIRE ACADEMY Cheshire, CT cheshireacademy.org THE CHILDREN’S SCHOOL Stamford, CT childrensschool.org EASTON COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL Easton, CT eastoncountryday.org THE ETHEL WALKER SCHOOL Simsbury, CT ethelwalker.org FAIRFIELD COLLEGE PREPARATORY SCHOOL Fairfield, CT fairfieldprep.org FAIRFIELD COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL Fairfield, CT fairfieldcountryday.org THE FORMAN SCHOOL Litchfield, CT formanschool.org FREDERICK GUNN SCHOOL Washinton, CT frederickgunn.org GREENS FARMS ACADEMY Greens Farms, CT gfacademy.org GREENWICH ACADEMY Greenwich, CT greenwichacademy.org GREENWICH COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL Greenwich, CT gcds.net IONA PREPARATORY SCHOOL New Rochelle, NY ionaprep.org KIMBALL UNION ACADEMY Meriden, NH kua.org KING SCHOOL Stamford, CT kingschoolct.org THE LONG RIDGE SCHOOL Stamford, CT longridgeschool.org THE MASTERS SCHOOL Dobbs Ferry, NY mastersny.org THE MEAD SCHOOL Stamford, CT meadschool.org MILLBROOK SCHOOL Millbrook, NY millbrook.org NEW CANAAN COUNTRY SCHOOL New Canaan, CT countryschool.net RUMSEY HALL Washington, CT rumseyhall.org RYE COUNTRY DAY SCHOOL Rye, NY ryecountryday.org SACRED HEART GREENWICH Greenwich, CT cshgreenwich.org SCHOOL OF THE HOLY CHILD Rye, NY holychildrye.org ST. LUKE’S SCHOOL New Canaan, CT stlukesct.org ST. JOSEPH HIGH SCHOOL Trumbull, CT sjcadets.org THE UNQUOWA SCHOOL Fairfield, CT unquowa.org VILLA MARIA SCHOOL Stamford, CT villamariaedu.org WESTMINSTER SCHOOL Simsbury, CT westminster-school.org

St Joseph High School is the premier coed Catholic college preparatory school in Southern Connecticut. Located on a 56-acre campus, our 800 students (from 30+ towns) personalize their high school experience with more than 25 AP and early college courses, 50 clubs, and 46 sports teams.

Discover St Joes!

At St Joes, you’ll find a safe community where everyone is celebrated and everyone belongs. Contact us today to explore virtual admissions opportunities, schedule a shadow day, or begin your application. www.sjcadets.org/admissions

WHITBY SCHOOL Greenwich, CT whitbyschool.org WILBRAHAM & MONSON ACADEMY Wilbraham, MA wma.us WINSTON PREPARATORY SCHOOL Norwalk, CT winstonprep.edu WOOSTER SCHOOL Danbury, CT woosterschool.org

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St Joseph High School 2320 Huntington Turnpike, Trumbull, CT sjcadets.org | admissions@sjcadets.org

@sjcadets

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A NEW BEGINNING

well said

Moving Forward to a Bright Future Ingenuity has forced so much powerful learning on our campuses this year. From four-year-olds to fourteen-year-olds, kids and their teachers have found work-arounds to joyful learning that will definitely be part of the new Sharon Lauer, Head of School, The Unquowa School normal in the fall.

Like the commencements we celebrate each year, one way of thinking or doing things is always ending, while another is just beginning. I am excited to watch the next generation of leaders, molded by the pandemic, showcase greater intellectual agility and socioemotional empathy. Brother Thomas R. Leto, Ed.D. , President, Iona Preparatory School

THINK BOLDLY, FEARLESSLY; NEVER FEAR WHERE UNFETTERED THOUGHT WILL LEAD YOU.

Frederick Gunn Founder The Frederick Gunn School

This time has taught us the importance of caring for each individual student, and the value of creativity and collaboration. Teachers, students and families have realized how important community life is in the development of young people to become that positive change in our world. Timothy G. Dee Principal, Fairfield Prep

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Many educators use the seminarstyle Harkness teaching methodology to enhance social emotional connections. The Harkness method guides us as we construct the knowledge, further enriching the learning experience and serving the mission of our school. Sam Savage Associate Head of School and Dean of Faculty The Masters School

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AND NOW, A WORD FROM OUR MOMS…

Above & Beyond

“St. Luke’s has true kindness and warmth within its culture. It is not just the school your child attends, it is a community for your entire family. Watching our kids grow while developing such strong relationships with their groups of friends and with their teachers has been the best part of our experience at St. Luke’s.” Liz DeFilippo, Bedford, NY “St. Luke’s motto, Enter to Learn. Go Forth to Serve, spoke to us. This school goes beyond excellent academics to develop students with a strong and true moral compass. Both my older children were embraced at St. Luke’s with open arms. Soon our youngest will start as a fifth grader. We are beyond thrilled all three children will be able to share in this incredible opportunity.” Talli Connell, Fairfield, CT “St. Luke’s has the perfect blend of strong academics and a sense of community service. As a physician, it is extremely important to me for my children to understand that they are part of a community. It is their responsibility to do what they can to make this world better for themselves and for those around them. St. Luke’s instills the importance of giving back to your community.” Darlene Negbenebor, Stamford, CT “The community is special. The size of the school lends itself to a great amount of personalized attention for the kids. Teachers truly get to know kids and help them build confidence. They discuss real-world issues and help students form their own beliefs. In short, the school is preparing them to make a difference in the world…so much more than academic success.” Christy Hahn, New Canaan, CT These St. Luke’s Moms and more are in the Local Moms Network “Meet a Mom” feature.

Speak with a St. Luke’s parent: www.stlukesct.org/meet St. Luke’s is a secular, college-preparatory day school for grades 5-12. 2021 Top Ten Best Private College Prep High School in CT - Niche.com 203.801.4833 | admissions@stlukesct.org | www.stlukesct.org 377 North Wilton Road, New Canaan, CT 06840

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IS YOUR SON IONA PREPARED? INVEST. INSPIRE. IGNITE.

An Iona Preparatory education is one of the best investments you can make for your son’s success. + Graduating classes have earned more than $130 million in academic, merit-based college scholarships over the last five years.

+ Iona Preparatory all but pays for itself as graduates earn an average of $60,000 in scholarships.

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For more information, please write to Admissions@IonaPrep.org or visit IonaPrep.org Iona Preparatory Upper School 255 Wilmot Road New Rochelle, NY 10804 (914) 600-6154

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Iona Preparatory Lower School 173 Stratton Road New Rochelle, NY 10804 (914) 633-7744

   @IonaPrep  in/IonaPrep  IonaPreparatory

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