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This issue of “Checking In” reports on our commitment to helping bring about change — ­ Big Change — in education. All change, big and small, starts within. Our Meadow Room preschool students represent themselves, paying careful attention to their features and personalities.

Checking In A Quarterly Communication

Summer 2015


LEADING BEYOND OUR GATES

Big Change Begins at Home by IRENE CARNEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

W

e have begun, over the last year, to refer to Sabot as A Small School for Big Change. This phrase captures the fact that, as our school has matured over the last 10 years, we have become increasingly recognized as a change agent.

We are leading not an incremental change, but a revolution in education. We lead by demonstrating new approaches to teaching and learning and by inspiring other educators to revisit their assumptions about children and about the very nature of school.

The group most influenced by the changes we are helping to bring about is, of course, our own students. Those changes all reflect a fundamental belief — that children are powerful thinkers and theorists whose ideas, viewpoints, and understanding contribute substantially to one another’s learning. Our teachers have adapted their teaching practice to reflect this belief and, as a result, Sabot students have a high degree of motivation, engagement, agency, persistence, and satisfaction with work and learning that incorporates, and is shaped by, their contributions. We are a Small School for Big Change. Like charity, Big Change begins at home.

The Child in the City: A Forum on Richmond’s Youngest Citizens

was held on Thursday, April 16th at Albert Hill Middle School. More than 200 people attended the forum, including children, parents, teachers, principals, social workers, healthcare workers, librarians, four Richmond school board members, and participants in the Sabot Institute.

Community members signed in at the forum and filled out a card: “I am here because. . .” Responses included: … the students of our city have voices that need to be heard … I believe in the rights of our youngest citizens and am inspired to be part of the change for Richmond … children matter … I’m fortunate … I want grown-ups to learn to listen to children … I was a child … I have a son entering kindergarten next year … Richmond’s children are in trouble… I believe change is possible.


LEADING AT SABOT

Virginia Junior Academy of Science by DAN DAGLISH, SCIENCE SPECIALIST

E

very year Sabot 7th and 8th graders spend a significant part of their year in science researching and testing a question that interests them. Students can investigate anything that interests them as long as they are able to create a testable hypothesis and design and conduct an experiment to test that hypothesis. Once research is complete, students write a paper to be submitted to the Virginia Junior Academy of Science and reviewed by experts in the field. Students whose papers are accepted are invited to present the findings at the VJAS annual symposium in front of a panel of judges Animal & Human Sciences:

• The Effect of Eating and Drinking on Levels of Arachis Hypogaea Protein in Human Saliva

• The Effect of Endotoxin in Water on the Reaction of Limulus Ameobocyte Lysate • The Effect of Didox on Mast Cells’ Cytokine Excretion

• The Effect of Barometric Pressure on Headaches Chemical Science:

• The Effect of the Different Types of Fabric on Burning Time

and peers and teachers from participating schools. This year, we submitted 27 papers and all were accepted. Our 7th and 8th graders traveled to JMU to present their papers on May 21st. We are proud to announce that of the 27 students who presented 16 received an award. In total, 337 middle school papers were presented from 14 different middle schools. Out of 15 possible 1st place awards, Sabot students received 5! Sabot students won awards in 6 of the 7 overall categories. Below are the research papers that were presented: • The Effect of Essential Oils on Memory and Concentration • The Effect of Gender on Risk Aversion Physical Science:

• The Effect of Sunshields on the Absorption of UVB Light • The Effect of Potato Cannon Barrel Length on Distance Traveled by the Projectile

• The Effect of External Magnetic Field Strength on the Electrical Output of a Generator

• Testing the Resistance of Electrolyte Solution

• The Effect of Glaze Firing Cones on Ceramic Strength

• The Effect of Chlorine Levels in Water on Health of Hair Ecology & Earth Science:

• The Effect of Different Rope Materials on Torsion Tension

• The Effect of Heating on Vitamin C

• The Effect of Oyster Species on Suspended Sediment

• The Effect of the Amount of Oil in Modeling Clay on Melting Time

• The Ability of Textile Materials to Retain Sweat

• The Effect of Hydrocarbons on the Growth of Pleurotus Ostreatus Mycelium

Plant Sciences & Microbiology:

Human Behavior:

Engineering & Mathematics

• The Effect of the C:N Ratio of Organic Materials on the Interior Temperature of Compost • The Effect of Vision and Hearing Restrictions on Balance • The Effect of USDA “My Plate” Guidelines on Adolescent Meal Choice

• The Effect of Label Color Schemes on Taste Appeal

• The Effect of Fungicide on the Fertility of Compost • The Effect of Metal Ion Toxicity on Microbial Community Development in Stratified Microcosms

• The Effect of Team and Player Characteristics on the Outcome of a Soccer Match • Which Computer Component Has the Most Impact on Performance?

* Blue denotes award winning papers


OUTREACH

Instituting Big Change Photographs by BRIGET GANSKE

Text by MART Y GRAVETT, DIRECTOR OF EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND OUTREACH

T

he 2nd biennial Sabot Institute brought together almost 150 educators from as far away as Santa Monica, California and Toronto, Canada for three days this April. They gathered as part of a growing cadre of academics and practitioners interested in exploring the work of schools, like Sabot, inspired by the municipal schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy. In addition, over 200 attended the concomitant evening community forum The Child in the City. Loris Malaguzzi, the founding philosopher of the Reggio schools wrote, “It has also always been important to us that our living system of schooling expands toward the world of the families, with their right to know and to participate. It then expands toward the city, with its own life, its own patterns of development, its own institutions…”

Just as the schools in Reggio Emilia must respond and adjust to their own contexts while always trying to stay the course, Sabot teachers’ work emerges from their own developing milieu. Electing to explore this principle gave title to our Institute — Time and Place: The Evolving Context of Reggio-Informed Teaching in Preschool and Lower School. Our faculty and our guests were led by keynote speakers Lella Gandini, EdD, the U.S. liaison to these Italian schools, and Ben Mardell, PhD, professor of Graduate Education, Lesley University. The series of photos that follow will give readers a glimpse into this Time, this Place.

When & Where. Time & Place.

These gift bags — meant to evoke a sense of Time and Place for participants — are filled with loose parts collected by the

Sabot community from the campus. En-

joined to manipulate these parts creatively (to explore or represent with them) or

provocatively (as a sundial or compass) in

their own community, the visitors were then encouraged to share images of the experience.


Teachers explore a few of the “ 100 Languages” of representation.

Participants’ collaborative construction — created with cardboard materials during the afternoon of Studio Experiences — await sharing and reflection by the Institute

crowd assembled in Founders Hall. One visitor reveled in the learning that “using one medium in the classroom can unlock a child’s creative potential.”

Sabot’s provocative Light Studio provides a novel milieu for new learning.

Earnest reflection among educators on their collaborative constructions characterized conversations that took place in the Light Studio and other studios across the campus in an afternoon of exploring Reggio-inspired Studio Experiences. One participant later wrote it gave her “A chance to think more deeply about what I am doing.”


Educators explore music, song, and dance.

Three of the “100 Languages” fundamental in a Reggio-inspired school are explored

as an avenue for expressing the role of teacher in relationship to children. The group’s production later delights both themselves and the assembled Institute participants.

For this participant, documentation makes the children’s learning visible.

When our keynote speaker, Lella Gandini, looked at a map and clay representation of

the Kindergarten’s understanding of Our Richmond, she quietly exclaimed, “it is a victory of expression!”


The gardens and forest offer another intriguing context for exploring new ideas.

Venturesome educators partook in the delights and nuanced culture of the Sabot ex-

perience by joining a Sabot parent on a tour in the forest and our outdoor classroom.

A fly on the wall in our Kindergarten classroom.

Visiting educators were thrilled and grateful for an opportunity to observe Sabot classrooms in action. An educator later writes, “you could hear and feel all of the teachers responding to the children’s words.”


SABOT AT STONY POINT 3400 Stony Point Road Richmond, VA 23235

Did You Know?

You can help Sabot by including us in things you already do, like buying groceries! Martins, Kroger, Target, Amazon, and Sneed’s Nursery all donate portions of proceeds to our school. Visit sabotatstonypoint.org/ forms to get directions on linking all of your rewards accounts.

Did You Know?

Campus is very busy during breaks — summer camps and lots and lots of projects! This summer’s work will include raising the garden terrace and drain installation, new bleachers, garden storage, Squirrel River upgrades, and more! We look forward to showing off progress in the fall.

Did You Know?

This year’s 8th grade students were accepted to the following high schools: Appomattox Regional Governor’s School Collegiate School Douglas S. Freeman Center for Leadership Episcopal High School (Alexandria, VA) Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School Open High School St. Catherine’s School St. Christopher’s School St. Gertrude High School Thomas Jefferson High School, IB Trinity Episcopal School

Support Sabot at Stony Point

We are grateful for the generous support of our extended community. Here are ways you can continue to make a difference. • Annual & Capital Gifts • Gifts of Stocks/Securities • In-Kind Donations

• Planned Giving • Program-Specific Grants • Volunteer Support

For information about how you can make a lasting impact for Sabot at Stony Point, please email Erin O’Regan, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at eoregan@sabotatstonypoint.org or call 804-272-1341.

Did You Know?

The Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives (VAFRE) presents the Rising Star Award annually to a VAFRE member “who exhibits excellent potential, and who has demonstrated remarkable talents at an early stage in their fundraising career.” Nominations for the award are submitted by VAFRE members, and the winner is chosen from a competitive field of finalists. We are proud that Erin O’Regan, Sabot’s Director of Development and Alumni Relations, is the 2015 VAFRE Rising Star! At the Award’s Luncheon, Erin said, “The most important thing I carry with me is simple. People are kind. They care and they want to help. I get to see that desire to help every day in my work. I get to help people make a difference. That is a lot to be grateful for and an honorable way to devote my time.”

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Summer 2015 Newsletter  
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