GAYNOR GAZETTE SUMMEr 2019
Stephen Gaynor School
THE GAYNOR GAZETTE IS PUBLISHED TWICE A YEAR BY: STEPHEN GAYNOR SCHOOL 148 WEST 90TH STREET, NEW YORK, NY 10024 T 212.787.7070 F 212.797.3312 WWW.STEPHENGAYNOR.ORG
Table of Contents SUMMER 2019
2018-2019 BOARD OF TRUSTEES BOARD OF TRUSTEES Grant Duers – Co-President Ericka Leslie Horan – Co-President Hamburg Tang – Vice President Jay Kramer – Treasurer Jillian Neubauer – Secretary Andrew Bast Kristine Baxter Hillary Blumberg Lorie Broser Patterson Chiweshe Carol Feinberg Dr. Mary Fitzpatrick *Dr. Scott Gaynor – Head of School Oscar Gil Vollmer *Adina Haller – President of Parents’ Association Benjamin Hamilton Henrietta Jones Steven Kobre Elizabeth Mily Keech Combe Shetty *Yvette Siegel-Herzog – Co-Founder and Director of Education Gordon Uehling *Ex officio member TRUSTEES EMERITUS Jo Ann Gaynor Gordon Gaynor GAYNOR ADVISORY COUNCIL Susan Wine Bender Chris Canavan Megan Hogan Seth Kramer '95 Traci Lester Darya Mastronardi Gail Ross, Ph.D. Josh Wiener Editor: Deanna Ferrante Executive Editor: Kathryn Greene Design: Adriana J. Moreno Photography: Kathryn Greene and Deanna Ferrante Cover Photo: Deanna Ferrante Printing: Western Commercial Printing
See more on Instagram @sgaynorschool
2 UPDATE 3 FIELD DAY
22 SPRING MUSICAL 24 SPRING CARNIVAL
26 INITIATIVES 27 PA UPDATE 28 ALUMNI REUNION 30 ALUMNI UPDATES 32 ALUMNI PROFILES 33 COLLEGE BOUND 34 GRADUATION 36 CLARE'S CORNER
6 WITH... 8 PAC CLOSE UP 9 SCHOOL EVENTS 5 QUESTIONS
10 CHALLENGE 12 IN MEMORIAM RACHEL'S
16 SKILLS FEATURE
If you are receiving duplicate copies of the Gaynor Gazette or would like additional copies, please contact the Advancement Office at 212.787.7070 x 1118
19 WITHOUT RULES FRACTIONS
Stay Connected with Gaynor! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram © 2019 Stephen Gaynor School, All Rights Reserved
40 SHOUT OUTS 41 THEN & NOW STUDENT
On the Cover: Students in the SMART Lab work together to create a Menger sponge — a mathematical object with infinite surface area but zero volume. These fractals are not quite 2-D and not quite 3-D.
GAYNOR ON GAYNOR
participate and be successful. Speech
common? At Gaynor, both instructional
Occupational Therapists also push in
approaches are embedded throughout
to support communications and motor
planning. This enables students to fully
understanding of the material, focus
experience the critical thinking and
on our students’ strengths, and make
collaborative aspects of the project-
learning fun. Gaynor is known for using
based experience, allowing them to
multisensory instruction throughout our
wear many different hats as they step
curriculum. Multisensory instruction is
into different roles.
an approach our teachers use to engage more than one sense at a time in order to access a child’s learning strengths. Project-based learning is best described as learning by doing. Project-based learning experiences can address real-world problems or simply expand on the current curriculum. It brings the 2D curriculum to the 3D by asking students to work collaboratively to investigate and develop practical solutions.
This past spring, our students engaged in a number of project-based initiatives. Students in Ms. Yang’s Orange Cluster math class became architects when they decided to tackle the design of our Early Childhood Garden. They identified a real-world problem and utilized their math skills and creativity to redesign the space. Using the Design Cycle process and the resources of the SMART Lab they broke up into two teams to identify the problem,
Skills-based instruction is woven into project-based
design possible solutions, create a prototype and finally
activities, and teachers will scaffold the material based
evaluate the end product. This iterative process is a key
on each child’s needs. Projects can include all elements of
element of teaching that trial and error is part of learning
our core curriculum including reading, writing, math, and
science. Our teachers still individualize all aspects of the instruction and implementation to ensure each child can
Green Cluster students became historians and fashion designers, studying Greek gods and goddesses and using project-based learning to bring these mythical characters to life on the fashion runway. The project culminated on the stage in our new Performing Arts Center where the joy of learning was evident in the high energy and enthusiasm. Read more about the project on page 13. It is exciting to see how project-based learning supports our individualized multisensory instruction and expands each child’s experience with our curriculum. These are real world skills that our students will use to be successful throughout their education careers and beyond.
DR. SCOTT GAYNOR Head of School
Spring Into Sports! SOFTBALL By James Melillo, Director of Athletics and Physical Education They say one of the best abilities is availability, and
Each and every player made great contributions to the
there was no better example than this year's softball
team, but there were a few standouts from the league
team. While there was a lot of rain in April and we had
championship that deserve some recognition. As the
a few teams cancel
away team, we were
on us early in the
given the chance to
bat first, and set the
were always ready and
time right away with
willing to play. Rain or
a triple from Blaise
shine, they continued
to go to work during
followed by a double
practices in the field
house or gymnasium
setting the table for
all season long. For our
efforts, the team was
given the opportunity
the entire game and
from Heschel for the
well behind the plate,
along with great plays
The players made the most of their opportunity and
from Jack Swiger and Charlie Keimweiss. PJ Duers,
seemed to put everything together, coming out on the
Eliza Bromberger, Kate Higgins and Ben Braunmiller
winning side of an 8-2 game.
continued to provide support as veterans of the team.
TRACK Gaynor’s Green Squad track team went to the championship races! Despite the ominous-looking sky the weather held out, giving runners good conditions to compete in. Some members from Gaynor’s White Squad track team came along to watch their classmates compete. Most of the races came down to the seconds, with Lilyblue PrinceRamus earning medals in the 400m race (silver) and the 200m race (bronze). Dylan Hinton finished with a bronze medal in the 800m race. Other members of the team got extremely close to medaling, coming in fourth and fifth places in some cases. “It was great to see all of the runners step in and fill spots when lineup changes had to be made,” said Coach Andrew Prasarn. “There was lots of sweat as the team pushed themselves physically and mentally. The team looked visibly better by the end of the year in all technical aspects such as handoffs, line drills, striding, and breathing. I think all the coaches agree that we are proud of them!” 2
HA A V DA F IN I Y! EL G D
20 19 Whatâ€™s green, white, and full of cheer? Gators participating in Field Day! The annual event on Randallâ€™s Island ended with the white team scoring 936 points and the green team scoring 801 points. No matter the points scored, everyone had a fun time.
By Jessica Ressler, Photography Specialist
There are so many types of photographers from fashion to wildlife to photojournalism and so much more! Some artists show up to their sets and others build them from the ground up. Many challenges can arise in any of these styles so as a photographer it is always important to remain creative and flexible. This year, the weather approaching Earth Day didnâ€™t cooperate so rather than despair, Yellow and Silver Clusters collaborated to build a beautiful floral studio backdrop indoors. By repurposing everyday materials such as markers and coffee filters, students learned that with a bit of creativity and great lighting magic can be made!
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH...
Five Questions With...
Brian Russ Brian Russ has been a Middle School Technology Specialist at Gaynor for seven years. His road to teaching, however, started in South Dakota when he accepted a two-year assignment out of college to teach at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Oglala Lakota County. In 2005, he moved to New York City—Brooklyn to be specific— where he and his wife are raising their children Bernadette, 5, and Simon, 2. We sat down with Brian for the latest installment in our “Five Questions With…” series and found out what he’s passionate about.
What are up to when you’re not at You are originally from the Philadelphia area, what was your journey to New
I’ve played guitar since I was about
15 or 16 and I’ve been in bands since
I grew up in South Jersey and then when I was about 6 or 7 I moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and lived in the greater Philadelphia area until I was 18. I went to college in Philadelphia at St. Joseph’s University, majoring in Management Information Systems. I was looking for a way to volunteer and give back when I graduated which led me to a volunteer middle school computer teacher position through AmeriCorps on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation in South Dakota. After two years living on the reservation, I moved to NYC in 2005. I was accepted to the New York City Teaching Fellows which led me to a teaching degree from Brooklyn College and I worked at PS 189 in Brooklyn for five years. Now, I’m in my seventh year at Gaynor.
then. As a musician, I mostly play different variations of rock and roll. But once I even played in a 12-piece soul band. Right now it’s the first lull in my life where I don’t play out as much as I used to. When I moved to New York I played in a few bands and spent a couple of years traveling and touring. Music is really the thing that I love the most. I’ve also shifted into recording bands. In my free time, I’ll record friends or people who catch word that I have the ability and equipment to do that. Lately, I’ve been getting more into mixing.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH...
What is your favorite kind of music? My dad exposed me to jazz as a youngster and I have always had a deep appreciation for that type of music. Growing up in the 90s I was a child of the grunge age and fell in love with a lot of the rock bands associated with that generation. From there I started exploring the roots of rock, rhythm, and soul and got into groups from the 50s and 60s. Now I pretty much love all genres of music from abstract noise, to hip hop, to opera. I’ve mostly always played some subgenre of rock and roll because you only need three chords to do that! But I guess truthfully my favorite genre of music is Motown. Ever since I was a little kid those songs always put me in a good mood. There is something very real, organic, and magical about their sound to me.
What keeps you coming back to
What is one of your favorite
work every day?
The thing that I like about the
I love when students bring in
field of technology is that it’s
items that might be broken and
then we spend some time trying
I’m always trying to stay fresh
to reverse engineer them back to a place where
and learn new things that I can share with the
they will work. One time a student brought in a
students. So I enjoy having the ability to teach
broken set of headphones. We took all the pieces
newer curriculums or types of technologies,
apart separately, laid them out and figured out that
expanding kids’ minds to how technology can
the speaker cones could still drive audio through
make differences in everything from sustainable
them. So using the 3D printer we re-engineered a
energy to transportation to architecture to design
new set of headphones out of the parts from the
to engineering. Technology is shaping all of those
old set and they actually worked. We were amazed
fields, and I like to introduce kids to that. I think
by the process and learned a lot about electronics
the fun for me (in addition to teaching) is also that
just by doing this.
there’s constantly new things to learn.
BRIAN’S TECH PICKS TinyBop, an app maker based out of Brooklyn. They combine artistically alluring graphics with playful, creative problem-solving games and tasks, making learning a fun, explorative adventure. Swift Playgrounds, an Apple-designed app where students can learn coding. AutoDesk creates a lot of great engineering and design-type products.
PAC CLOSE UP
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE CONTROL BOOTH More than just a place where graduates take the stage or the spring musical is performed, the Performing Arts Center is a multi-use space for learning and events. When visualizing the Performing Arts Center, it was important to include a state-of-the-art control room. While the control center facilitates high quality productions, it is also a place for students to learn about lighting and sound. For students who want to participate in dramatic productions but are not interested in acting, they can still play an important role behind the scenes. With equipment on par with Broadway theaters, the control room has both form and function, as much for learning and teaching as it is for producing.
30 LED Theatrical Lights
120-Channel Lighting Console
A Sound Craft Mixer
17 Wireless Microphones
2 Main PA Speakers, 10-inch Ceiling Speakers
An OLED Epson Projector
A Fully Integrated AV System
An HD Camera for Recording
A Video Streaming PC 8
House Lighting Controlled by Multiple Screens
A Clear Com Theater Communication System
SCHOOL EVENTS BLUE C LUSTER D.
AIR F K O O B
ERT GREEN CLUSTER CONC
RELATIVES AND SPECIAL FRIENDS DAY
ALD N O D C M RONALD Y DRIVE PANTR
Inspiring Kindness A
speaker from the non-profit organization
February to spread a message about the importance of kindness in three special assemblies for students and parents. in
Inspired by kindness and the idea of paying it forward, Rachel’s Challenge channels positivity from tragedy. Rachel’s Challenge is named for Rachel Joy Scott, a student who lost her life in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Known by her peers for her remarkable kindness, Rachel made a point in her daily life to make everyone feel included, whether they were new to school or socially isolated. Even one-time interactions she had with her classmates are remembered fondly by those she had them with to this day. In Rachel’s final essay for school titled, “My Ethics, My Code of Life,” she wrote, “I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.” Her message and her mission lives on to this day through the words she left behind in journals and school papers. The cornerstone of Rachel’s Challenge is how kindness creates chain reactions as well as the importance of not judging people on first impressions because you never know what they’re going through. The five steps of Rachel’s Challenge are:
Use kind words and do kind things
Accept and include others
Choose positive influences
Keep a journal
10 GAYNOR GAZETTE
▲ At the assembly on the last day of school, students displayed their kindness chain.
In the presentation for the Lower School, students were challenged by the speaker to create “chains of kindness.” For every act that happens or is seen, a paper chain will be created, and linked to others. The goal is to make the chain as long as possible, a feat that can only be accomplished through steady commitment. In the Middle School presentation, another tool was introduced, “positive gossip.” The concept of positive gossip promotes telling others compliments that happen behind their back. A historic example of the positive effects this can have is in the once-adversarial relationship between the second and third presidents of the United States, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Thanks to their mutual friend, Benjamin Reach, Jefferson and Adams eventually became best friends. Reach made a habit of telling the other compliments they had given without the other knowing, which led to a positive outcome. By having speakers from Rachel’s Challenge visit schools across
the organization aims to create a ripple effect in schools to reduce bullying and acts of violence. One of Rachel Joy Scott’s most poignant drawings is a tracing of the outlines of her hands. Inside the sketch she wrote, “These hands belong to Rachel Joy Scott and will someday touch millions of people’s hearts.” Twenty-five million people to date have heard the Rachel’s Challenge presentation. Safe to say, she has made a difference. Learn more about Rachel’s Challenge by visiting www.rachelschallenge.com. SUMMER 2019
Lilli Friedman Former Director of Admissions for Stephen Gaynor School Lilli Friedman passed away on May 4 at the age of 94. While her title was Director of Admissions, Ms. Friedman was so much more. According to Head of School Dr. Scott Gaynor, “Lilli effortlessly managed the admissions, registrar’s and general office responsibilities with warmth and energy — embodying the school’s spirit and always wearing a smile.” The Stephen Gaynor School community of the present was shaped in large part by a few key individuals who were instrumental during the early days of the school. Co-Founders Dr. Mimi Michael and Yvette Siegel-Herzog obviously impacted the school’s philosophy and founding principals. One individual worked behind the scenes to influence generations of students. Lilli Friedman served on Gaynor’s staff from 1969 to 2012 — a remarkable 43 years of service. Upon her retirement, Ms. Friedman said, “I feel that [Gaynor] is part of the family. I enjoyed every minute that I spent here.” We will miss Lilli, but carry with us the wonderful memories of the friendships that she made and the countless families that she helped.
Gaynorizing ProjectBased Learning By Michelle Fox, Director of Intermediate Division
Over the past few years, we have proudly coined the term “Gaynorize” which essentially means converging best practices with student-centric scaffolds that encapsulate the Gaynor approach. Project-based learning is a studentcentric pedagogy that encompasses an interactive approach for students through purposeful exploration and construction. Brain research indicates that our learners—particularly Middle School students—require frequent opportunities to process what they learn. Using a project-based, hands-on approach invites our children to authentically engage in their own learning, question the world around them, and transfer their knowledge to the bigger picture in a highly personalized and meaningful way. Earlier this year, Green Cluster students were tasked with designing apparel for a specific Greek god or goddess, told to focus specifically on his or her impact on Ancient Greek Civilization and culture. At Gaynor, educators implement inquiry- and project-based curricula, that are inclusive, prescribed, flexible, and scaffolded as needed. The Ancient Greek Fashion Show was, in many ways, a perfect example of the project-based learning experiences we strive to provide our students; a critical opportunity for creativity and hands-on learning, that helps brings content to life. By providing different opportunities for engagement, we were able to “Gaynorize” the fashion show experience for the children, assigning them a role that played into their respective strengths and interests. The Ancient Greek Fashion Show—both the process and production—not only highlighted the importance of projectbased learning, but acted as catalyst for co-curricular, integrated projectbased opportunities.
Turn the page to see photos from the show!
An Olympian Feat Months of research, thought, and preparation came to fruition on March 14 with the first-ever Ancient Greek God and Goddess Fashion Show presented by students in the Green Cluster to an audience of admiring parents. A testament to cross-curricular inspiration, the show incorporated art, design, drama, technology, writing, and of course, history and social studies. The new Performing Arts Center provided a worthy venue to showcase all of the students’ hard work. Director of Intermediate Division Michelle Fox said, “The conception of the show was inspired by the Green Cluster social studies unit of Ancient Greece and Greek Mythology, converging the knowledge of content with the worlds of art, technology, and theatre. Beginning in September, the students worked to research, design and create their costumes and we were thrilled to finally see their creative visions come to life!” According to a student narrator, “Greek Mythology is thousands of years old, and we still to this day study the ancient tales. We learn all about the wild escapades of the powerful inhabitants of Mount Olympus… We have imagined what the Gods and Goddesses might have looked like, and what they might have worn.” The show was billed as an Ancient Greek Fashion Show “with a contemporary twist.” The “twist” was revealed as each god and goddess walked the runway twice–sometimes with a modern, creative take on their role, sometimes highlighting different aspects of their personality. Each vignette brought the mythical characters to life, and demonstrated how each costume embodied the personality and history of each god or goddess. Green Cluster students were involved in all aspects of the presentation, from the onstage actors and actresses portraying gods and goddesses and narrators, to behind-the-scenes roles in lighting, stage crew, and even marketing and public relations. Art Teacher Ruth Rachlin acted as the artistic director, Green Cluster Teachers Zoe Carril and Brendan Stackhouse were the creative directors, and Technology Teacher Brian Russ brought his expertise as the technical director. Ms. Fox is already excited for subsequent projects, “We are truly inspired to continue to create crosscurricular learning opportunities, and we are already planning for the future. This is quintessential projectbased learning, and includes universal backwards design. The students’ learning began in the classroom and then translated to the art room and theater. We cannot wait to do more!” This massive team effort resulted in a truly historic event at Stephen Gaynor School.
SUMMER LANGUAGE SKILLS FEATURE
SUMMER FUN (WAYS TO LEARN) SUMMER BREAK SHOULDN’T MEAN A BREAK FROM LEARNING, TOO.
By Emily Jupiter Waldman M,S., CCC-SLP ADHD-CCSP Speech-Language Pathologist (Elementary & Middle School) Aleksandra Berns M.S., CCC-SLP TSSLD Speech-Language Pathologist (Early Childhood & Elementary School)
fter spending about 180 days learning in school, a long, carefree break is well deserved! However, regression over summer break is more common than you think. Summer regression is a child’s loss of learned academic knowledge
that has been acquired throughout the school year. It is important for our students to maintain the skills they worked so hard throughout the year to achieve, and finding a happy medium between relaxing and avoiding regression. Family game night and appealing interactive activities can have a great impact on your child’s language development. By playing some engaging language games, your child will not only be motivated to practice learned language concepts while incorporating social pragmatic language, but also feel like he/she is actually having fun while doing work over the summer. These helpful ideas not only help promote language development but build and strengthen language at the early childhood, elementary and middle school levels. We’ve put together some language-enriched activities that you and your child can easily play over summer break.
EARLY CHILDHOOD/LOWER ELEMENTARY GAME / ACTIVITY CHARADES
HOW TO PLAY
WHY IT WORKS?
Place cards face down. Players take turns
This is a great vocabulary building game
drawing a card from the pile and acting it
that helps kids learn teamwork, develop their
out. The goal of the game is to recognize how
imagination and practice turn taking skills.
others’ facial expressions and body language can change in a particular way to help identify what is being acted. Visual pictures can easily be replaced with words when playing with older kids. I-SPY
One player chooses a target within the room
This is a wonderful game that helps develop
(e.g., “I spy with my little eye something that
is red, hard, and is in this room”). The player
on the opposing side then has to ask simple
enhances question formation while using the
questions to guess what it is the first player
spies (e.g., “Is it an apple?)
SUMMER LANGUAGE SKILLS FEATURE GAME / ACTIVITY
HOW TO PLAY
WHY IT WORKS?
Players have to make connections to a
This is an excellent game to help build up kids’
new word in response to a given word
vocabulary (antonyms, synonyms, multiple
(e.g., summer - pool - ocean - blue whale -
meaning words), brainstorm categories and
endangered species, etc.)
make connections to words. This game also helps with word retrieval and memory.
Guess who your opponent has and you win!
The classic game of Guess Who continues
In order to play, the child must be able to
to be a hit among all kids. This wonderful
generate a meaningful question as well as
describing game not only targets listening
process a given question before making a
comprehension skills but logical and deductive
decision to put down a piece.
reasoning (understanding negations). It also targets following directions, turn-taking, ability to generate questions and make inferences.
Shuffle the cards and place the owls on start.
This is a cooperative game so all the players
must work together trying to reach the same
following directions. It also targets executive
goal. Kids are encouraged to talk about their
function skills, shared decision-making and
card aloud and as a team determine and plan
problem solving skills.
the best way to move the owls in the nest before the sun comes up.
Players take turns placing a card into the
Headbandz is great in organizing categories,
clip of the opponent’s headband. Figure
describing, word association and use of
out which picture is on your head by asking
adjectives. It also targets words retrieval,
questions (e.g., “Am I an animal? Do I have
wings? Can I be eaten?” etc.)
The object of the game is to get the most
This is a fantastic game that builds vocabulary,
“green cards.” The judge deals 7 “red cards”
enhances understanding of synonyms and
to each player and then flips over a green
antonyms, as well as parts of speech. Apples
card. Players must throw down a card from
to Apples is a great way to have kids use
their pile that best describes the green
card. Plays can justify their reasoning and
response while making connections to a
the judge decides who won the green card
for that round. The game continues as each player gets a turn being the judge. PICKLES TO
Each player is given 4-5 picture cards, either
This is an awesome group game that targets
side up. Using full sentences, players try to get
rid of all of their cards by figuring out what
vocabulary, and strengthens verbal reasoning
their cards and the card that is being played
skills while formulating grammatically and
have in common. Make a logical connection
syntactically correct sentences.
(shape, category, color, size, texture, etc.) and you win! SUMMER 2019
SUMMER LANGUAGE SKILLS FEATURE
UPPER ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE SCHOOL GAME / ACTIVITY HOW TO PLAY
WHY IT WORKS?
Each player gets a notepad and pencil, which
This game is a great way to help kids with
are included in the game set. A player chooses
executive functioning and organizational
a “category card.”
Each participant writes
skills. It also targets word retrieval strategies.
down the category on the side of the notepad
For kids who have a word “on the tip of
vertically. The object of the game is to write
their tongue,” Scattergories Categories will
down one item that starts with each letter on
certainly exercise their brains!
Get your teammates to say 'Brain Freeze'
Taboo is a game that involves teamwork,
without saying Ice Cream, Headache, Eating,
Cold or Fast! When playing the game, the
easiest clues are forbidden. Players race
generating clues, describing, perspective
against the timer as they try to give creative
taking, and inferencing skills, are just a few!
and carefully-worded clues to get team players to guess words fast. But don't mention unmentionables, or your team loses the point.
This game can be purchased as an App from
Would You Rather? targets verbal reasoning
the App Store. Players are in a quandary as
they take turns making difficult, and sometimes
contrasting, and predicting skills are all
incorporated into this simple game. These
Cause and effect, comparing and
skills are crucial for all academic subjects, particularly in preparation for tests that involve verbal reasoning skills such as the ISEE, the ACT, or the SAT.
MAKE A SCRAPBOOK
Make a scrapbook or photo album of favorite
motivating for kids because they get to look
Paste in ticket stubs,
wristbands, menus, and selfies! forget to include a caption!
back over their favorite summer memories. Documenting
happen can help kids capture and remember the smallest details. Make captions that capture the funny, scary, and even mundane experiences of summer!
FRACTIONS WITHOUT RULES!
FRACTIONS WITHOUT RULES! USING RESEARCH TO DRIVE INSTRUCTION By Jeanne Lott, Math Department Chair
Based on the three-pronged Singapore Math approach which includes concrete (hands-on),
abstract (symbolism). No area of elementary mathematics is as mathematically rich, cognitively complicated, and difficult to teach as fractions, ratios, and proportionality.
This student has moved beyond the basic fundamentals and is now able to add the fifths and continue to compose and decompose fractional numbers until arriving at a final solution. He has not been taught any traditional rules or algorithms; yet is able to solve a multi-step problem based on his conceptual knowledge.
Fractions are notoriously known to be little more than memorizing computational procedures and algorithms. Yet, an understanding of the interconnected concepts of multiplication, division, fractions, ratios, proportions, and linear functions is central to success in algebra. At Gaynor, the way students learn about fractions has been transformed from an experience of memorization of rules (the way most of us adults learned) to one filled with concrete manipulative materials showing unit fractions, pictorial representations of equal parts, and significant math discourse to connect whole numbers and fractional parts. Understanding fractions as numbers that are used for naming quantities is critical before abstract representation is introduced. Dr. Yeap Ban Har reminds us that one of the fundamental ideas in mathematics is that only like terms can be combined. By simplifying that language for our young students and referring to the terms as nouns, students are able to understand that like nouns can be combined. When fractional parts are explained as one fifth, for example, using words rather than abstract symbols, students easily combine all the fifths because each fifth represents the same size piece, or like nouns, or like terms. Two fifths and two more fifths simply make four fifths. Our goal is to foster an understanding of underlying concepts as we continue to connect the marvelous world of mathematics for each of our students. Source: John P. Smith III (2002, p. 3) ERIC Number: ED474726. Record Type: RIE The Development of Students' Knowledge of Fractions and Ratios. Publication Date: 2002 SUMMER 2019
WRITING SKILLS FEATURE
Fostering a Love of Writing and Building Foundational Skills By Jane Moskowitz, Head Teacher, Silver Cluster
r itten expression has emerged as one of the most vital skills required for academic, career, and social success. Through writing, we make critical first impressions, whether a cover letter for employment or an essay for admission into college; the quality of one’s writing can shape the trajectory of a person’s life. According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the “ability to use written language to
communicate with others—and the corresponding need for effective writing instruction and assessment—is more relevant than ever.” However, the very skills that are essential for success are the same skills that are, arguably, the most difficult to master. Learning to write is challenging for all students but is particularly difficult for students with language-based learning differences, due to the robust and varied language requirements that writing entails. At Gaynor, we implement the Judith Hochman Approach, which distills writing down to its component parts, focusing first on the sentence level, and building on those fundamental skills in a sequential and explicit way, as learners are thoughtfully led towards paragraph and composition writing. Students have found great success using the Hochman Approach, which has helped clarify and organize a process that is opaque and fraught with nuances. However, a question remains with which I have been grappling across the past few years. How do we teach students basic writing skills while simultaneously providing opportunities to write creatively and make their voices heard? How can we give students a sense of agency in their work and continue to explicitly teach them fundamental writing skills? Ralph Fletcher—a renowned American writer and literacy educator—contends, “The writing in a classroom can only be as good as the literature that supports and surrounds and buoys it up.” With this in mind, I have made a conscious effort this year to expose my students to engaging and diverse literature that has great potential to inform their own work. By reading these books aloud and inviting students to study the writing, I have seen a remarkable shift in my classroom: what has emerged is an authentic community of writers who have grown to enjoy the writing process and are eager to share their work. Through the use of mentor texts, students have become inspired and invigorated, and have been able to transfer effective writing techniques into their own compositions. Most recently, we honed in on human rights—a common thread this year throughout social studies and current events—and students were given the opportunity to develop their own stories in which the protagonist navigates a social justice-related issue. Prior to beginning their writing, students were exposed to a series of human rights-related mentor texts, including Henry’s Freedom Box, The Journey, Let the Children March, and I am Jazz. As I read these stories—which grapple with issues related to slavery, civil rights, immigration, and people who are transgender—aloud we identified compelling word choices, text structures, and figurative speech. Studying the literature in this way facilitated a process whereby students were encouraged to think like writers.
20 GAYNOR GAZETTE
NEEDS AN UPDATE
After studying our mentor texts, students were given the chance to develop their own stories, and here is where they were able to use their explicit Hochman-based writing strategies again. Planning is one of the most critical steps in the writing process and different tools work for different students. For some, Hochman’s Quick Outline is remarkably effective, providing a simple technique for strategizing and organizing thoughts and ideas. There are students for whom drawing first is more accessible and others who prefer starting to write and getting ideas down on paper. During the planning phase, I made the Quick Outline available for students who preferred it and provided other planning options for students who opted for a different tool. As students worked on their narratives, I observed something profound: they were incorporating learned Hochman skills, while simultaneously including elements of the mentor texts. And, what’s more, students were enjoying the opportunity to write and author their own narratives. They all had a story to tell and they were eager to share their stories with their peers. Students developed accounts that were personally meaningful to them and, with the right supports in place—e.g., explicit writing instruction paired with exposure to rich literature—they were able to experience what it is like to be given authentic choice as a writer. The explicit writing approach is a critical part of the learning experience and we have seen, first-hand, the success to which it can lead. However, what I have found is that we can teach writing explicitly with purposeful inclusion of mentor texts; there is myriad literature that exposes students to effective and interesting writing, which can bolster their work and bring more meaning to the writing process. The key is to avoid prescribing only one approach; providing opportunities for only creative writing, for instance, will not help foster the foundational skills that students must learn. What we can do though, is embed explicit instruction and exposure to good writing into our curriculum, and provide meaningful opportunities for students to experience authentic choice, which ultimately fosters a love for writing and builds the skills students need. SUMMER 2019
PRACTICALLY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY Mary Poppins likes to say that she is “practically perfect in every way,” but the members of the cast and crew of Mary Poppins Jr. lived up to that description and more during their performances on May 9 and May 10. This was the inaugural performance of the spring musical in the new Performing Arts Center, and the cast and crew took full advantage of their new, state-of-the-art location. The play was directed by Meredith Akins, Abby Shuppy, and Brendan Stackhouse. Ms. Akins and Mr. Stackhouse choreographed the production numbers, Ms. Shuppy acted as music director, and Andrea Patti was the stage manager. Ms. Patti said, “I am so proud of the amazing cast and crew of Mary Poppins Jr. I couldn't dream of a better way to celebrate the opening of the Performing Arts Center here at Gaynor!” In addition to rehearsing in a new space, the directors also worked with a record number of students, with a total of 50 students in the cast and crew, several dozen more than had been in the 2018 musical. Mr. Stackhouse said, "The students persevered through the challenges of our beautiful new theatre space to create a truly memorable musical this year. I'm so proud of all of the hard work of our cast and crew!" In order to accommodate a wealth of theatrical talent, the directors decided to split the lead roles of Mary Poppins (Darmia Elliott/Zia Uehling), Bert (Avery Meer/Ross Tuchman), Mr. Banks (Andrew Ferrante/Jake Sklar) and Mrs. Banks (Eliza Bromberger/Aly Ferdinand). Each of the leads performed in one of the two evening performances. Ms. Akins said, “I am so proud to see how supportive cast members were of each other during the performances. They completely understood what it meant to be an ensemble!” Ms. Shuppy seconded that thought, expressing her thanks “to the cast and crew for their hard work during the entire process. They proved that anything can happen if you let it!” 22 GAYNOR GAZETTE
CAST LIST: Olivia Beal – Jane Eliza Bromberger – Mrs. Banks Ava Cantarella – von Hussler Coco Crangi-Zerkle – Miss Smythe Zach Eisenman – Michael Darmia Elliott – Mary Poppins Aly Ferdinand – Mrs. Banks/Bird Lady Andrew Ferrante – Mr. Banks Ella Gomez – Katy Nanna Oscar Killmer – Messenger Ava Kimmel – Miss Andrew Hazel Koch – Sweep #1 Pearl Koch – Sweep #2 Phoebe Langan – Neleus Taro Lasky – Sweep #4 Jonah Lichtman – Northbrook Avery Meer – Bert Izzy Pines – Mrs. Brill Marlon Rapoport – Policeman Victoria Ross – Sweep #3 Olivia Schofield – Mrs. Corry Ronan Sennott – Chairman Max Silverman – Robertson Ay Jake Sklar – Mr. Banks Ross Tuchman – Bert Zia Uehling – Mary Poppins
ENSEMBLE Leah Bacall, Biulu Betancourt-Poor, Oliver Chessler, Matthew Fisher, Chandra Kyrwood, Alexa Lasky, Brooke Lawrence, Ara Lopez, Kai Marksohn, Scarlett Neubauer, Samantha Norman, Natalie Ringler, Katherine Scheman, Lea Sophia Soegaard, Leo Sperber, Madeline York
CREW Madeline Clark, Keira Davy, Lucia Dammert Duenas, Frances Jarvela, Aaron Kuper, Jason Maggio, Isaac Miliband, Lilyblue Prince-Ramus, Alec Schwartz, Charlotte Thompson, Skyelar Weiss, Lea Wilson
SUMMER 2019 23
g n i C r p a S r n r i o val n y a G BRIGHTENS A RAINY DAY
The weather outside may have been dreary, but the mood inside Stephen Gaynor School on May 5 was sunny and inviting for the schoolâ€™s second-ever Spring Carnival. The atmosphere was set before anyone entered the doors with an entertainer on stilts dancing through the raindrops and welcoming everyone to the carnival. Hundreds of Gaynor students, siblings, parents, friends, and faculty and staff enjoyed the afternoon together. The event took place throughout the North and South Buildings, from mini golf in the gymnasium, to carnival games in the North Building cafeteria, to inflatable slides in the Field House, and even a full-sized car(pool karaoke) in the South Building lobby. The younger participants were drawn to face painting and the photopia ball pit, while the more discerning pre-teens and teens lined up to experience the latest in virtual reality offerings and try their hands at the LED arcade in the Performing Arts Center. Attendees purchased raffle tickets to win prizes like Head of School for a day, class ice cream party, front row seats for the Winter Concert, a Brooklyn Nets VIP experience, and a selection of LancĂ´me products. Congratulations to the lucky winners! Held every other year, the Spring Carnival has proven to be a great way to bring the entire Gaynor community together for a day of fun.
24 GAYNOR GAZETTE
SUMMER 2019 25
Diversity Initiatives TALKING ABOUT RACE WITH OUR KIDS
Continuing their ongoing diversity and inclusion work, the Parents’ Association Diversity & Inclusion Committee invited Alexis McGill Johnson from the Perception Institute to speak to parents. The Perception Institute created the racial-bias curriculum used by Starbucks during its nationwide store shutdown on May 29, 2018 for a day of training. The talk at Gaynor on January 31, “Belonging for All: Talking About Race with our Kids,” was summarized thusly: “As parents, we strive to prepare our children for their future. Yet, research suggests that identity differences, such as race and ethnicity, can present challenges for us and our children, even when we hold strong egalitarian values.” Using research from the mind sciences, the talk used interactive games to illustrate several concepts as they relate to bias and perception. Johnson presented parents with different real-life scenarios and asked them how they would handle the situations, encouraging opinions and feedback. She then illustrated how we have subconscious bias, starting with the fairness paradox. “We believe ourselves to be fair but outcomes do not always support this.” Johnson then asked to the audience to reflect on their own lives. “We think we are diverse but are we really?” A slide prompted viewers to ask themselves questions including “What race are most of my friends? My children’s friends? People who come to my home?” Many were surprised when the majority of their answers were of their own race. Johnson also pointed out that rejecting explicit bias does not mean we are fair. Johnson had audience members take a Stroop Test, an interference test that asks subjects to name the color of the text, rather than the word. Many audience members answered correctly at first but as
the test was sped up made more errors. “We go back to the automatic processes that we have learned,” Johnson said. The test showed that our brains make assumptions within
fractions of a second, even when we try to take our time to sort information properly. Johnson also asked that the audience reject colorblindness as a concept. Although it is touted as an aspirational and harmless ideal, when it comes
to racial justice it is even more harmful. “It’s something for people to hold on to, but it’s not possible,” she said.
Party in the Park Party in the Park hosted by the Parents’ Association Diversity & Inclusion Committee successfully took place at Dinosaur Playground, May 19. Kids and parents alike had fun at the annual event which was coordinated by incoming PA president, Megan Hogan.
26 GAYNOR GAZETTE
L E T T E R F R O M PA P R E S I D E N T Dear Gaynor Parents, Faculty and Administration, From the day I brought my son, Max, in for his interview seven years ago, I knew that Gaynor was a special place. Still, I never could have imagined how magical it would become; not just to my sons Max and Joey, but to our entire family. It has been both an honor and privilege to lead the Parentsâ€™ Association and be able to give back to our school for all they have done for our families. This is one special parent body! Thank you for giving me the pleasure of representing you, my fellow parents and colleagues, for the last two years. Your feedback and participation have been mind-blowing. The programming for the last two years has been exceptional, and I hope you all got as much out of it as I have. Teamwork is what makes an organization a success. I want to thank the PA leadership team from the past two years for all their hard work and dedication: Carrie Boova, Megan Hogan, Karen Kennedy, Alyssa Klein, Conni Langan, Traci Lester, Johanna Lindsay, Jo Christine Miles, Nina Norwood, Aly Organek, Marcy Sakhai, Sara Tompkins, and Janine Zeccardi. I would also like to thank the countless volunteers who so generously devoted their time to help make our programs a success. Thanks also to past PA President Susan Wine Bender for being such a fine example as a mentor and role model. Of course, the partnership with the Advancement Office has been remarkable. Stephanie Shah, you have been a magnificent collaborator and advocate as the Advancement Team's PA liaison. Please join me in wishing Megan Hogan the best of luck as she begins her term this summer as the new PA President. Megan, whose son Jackson is in the Pink Cluster, has been a crucial part of the leadership team for the past two years. She has served as chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, where she has secured poignant and motivating speakers to present lectures to our parent body. Her dedication is always palpable and performed with a smile. I have no doubt that she will lead the PA to greater heights. Of course, we the parent body, have endless admiration and gratitude to Yvette Siegel-Herzog and Dr. Scott Gaynor for always showing their support and dedication. This school would not be as magical for our children and families if it were not for your extraordinary passion, devotion and love. Thank you for all you do. Have a wonderful summer and I look forward to seeing you all again in the fall,
Adina Haller Adina Haller
Gaynor Parentsâ€™ Association President (2017-2019)
SUMMER 2019 27
ALUMNI REUNION For an event to honor both the past and the present, there was no more fitting place than the new Performing Arts Center. Hosted by the Gaynor Alumni Network on June 11, the Alumni Reunion Honoring Gaynor’s Distinguished Faculty & Staff reconnected alumni with one another, their teachers, and showed them how much Gaynor has grown— all while recognizing those who have been part of the journey for five, ten, twenty, and even more than fifty years. To begin the program, Gaynor faculty and staff who have dedicated five or more years to Gaynor were recognized, followed by those with ten or more years of service. The round of decade-plus honorees included Math Specialist Rachel Arbesfeld, Speech and Language Chair Jennifer Cohen, Physical Education Specialist Patrick Fitzgerald, and Director of Athletics James Melillo. Assistant Head of School Jill Thompson continued the recognition of faculty and staff, presenting Educational Evaluation Associate for Admissions Kate Adlin with a gift for fifteen years of service, followed by Reading Specialist Ellen Simon, for achieving the milestone of twenty-five years of service. After
alumni were called up by class decade to reunite for group photos. Gators from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s were all in attendance. 28 GAYNOR GAZETTE
"This event was such a special opportunity for alumni to see how the school has transformed, catch up with their old friends, and share their accomplishments with their former teachers,” said Stephanie Shah, Director of Alumni Relations & Parents’ Association Liaison. “The common theme of the night was that no matter how long you have been a part of the community, Gaynor holds a special place in everyone's heart.”
2019 Honorees for 5 or More Years of Service 25 YEARS Ellen Simon
15 YEARS Kate Adlin
10 YEARS Rachel Arbesfeld Jennifer Cohen Patrick Fitzgerald James Melillo
5 YEARS Adalake Barnwell
Clare Cosentino Beth Davidoff Dionne De Lancy Jaclyn Dobish Jennifer Eisenberg Kristi Evans Cristina Fabricant Kelsey Farrell Rebecca Felt Michelle Fox Jacquelyn Glazer
Sarah Neufeld Emily Ngau Jensen Paterson David Perrin Lindsey Rappaport Brian Russ Sophia Saad Michelle Schwarzbaum Abby Shuppy Suzy Slawsky
Jill Zaretsky SUMMER 2019 29
Alumni Updates SPRING 2019
KATE ZUKERMAN ’03 Kate was at Gaynor from 2000 to 2003 and then went to York Prep for a few years after which she finished at the Hewitt School in 2008. She spent her early years at Horace Mann. Kate graduated from Tulane University in 2012 and has had a successful career in radio and digital sales at Entercom (formerly CBS Radio). Kate was married in November 2017 and she and her husband live in New York City together.
RACHEL FALACK PARDO ’94 Rachel came back to Gaynor to visit Ms. Siegel and take a tour of the
NATALIE REICHMAN ’07 Since graduating from Gaynor,
expanded facilities. She graduated
Natalie went to Oyster Bay
Gaynor in 1994 before continuing on
High School and received a
to high school at Berkeley Carroll and
BFA degree in Sculpture from
attending Barnard for college. She is
the University of the Arts
raising her four children (ages 2 to
in Philadelphia. Since then,
11) in Brooklyn and is on the Board
she has gotten into technical
of Education at her children's school.
theater and is currently the
During her time at Gaynor, she
Assistant Props Master in the
petitioned for the basketball team to
New School’s performing arts
allow females and became a member
department. In summer 2019,
of the first coed team. She says that
she will be moving back to
her time at Gaynor changed her life
Philadelphia to work for the
and gave her the confidence to work
Walnut Street Theatre.
hard and succeed. 30 GAYNOR GAZETTE
GRANT SVARRE ’11 Grant graduated from Landmark College in December and is now working for a construction company. On the side, he has several hobbies including photography and he is also taking classes to get a certificate in personal training.
MIRELLA BENADRETTE ’14
SETH KRAMER ’95
Mirella graduated from the Dwight
Gaynor alumnus and member
School and went on to attend The
of the Gaynor Advisory Council
George Washington University,
Seth Kramer married Amanda
where she is double majoring in
Konstam on February 16, 2019
Entrepreneurship and Real Estate
at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn,
Development. On the side she has
New York. Amanda works with
been working on her clothing line
Bloomberg Philanthropies, serving
that will soon come out with its first
as the chief of staff at Everytown
capsule collection. She also has an
for Gun Safety. She graduated from
internship at Endeavor Corp, which
Columbia College with a bachelor's
helps to promote socio-economic
in Art History and received a
development in underdeveloped
master’s of public administration in
public policy from Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.
LIZA ROLANDER ’15
Seth is a vice president at Goldman
Liza is a senior at Churchill
Sachs, where he specializes in real estate. He graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. He serves on the board of directors of the New York-based non-profit, INCLUDEnyc.
who stopped by Gaynor to share the great news that she will be attending Drew University in the fall. She will be on the softball team there and plans to study education and Spanish. SUMMER 2019
ALUMNI PROFILES MASSIMO AGOSTINELLI ’99 Massimo left the halls of Gaynor in 1999, but he remembers his time at the school with great fondness. He recalls the joy of playing basketball and dodgeball in the gymnasium of the old townhouse. Most importantly he remembers the kindness of the teachers, their one-on-one attentiveness, and patience with him as a student in allowing his creativity to flow. He always found a passion in creating art in a variety of mediums, and growing up with his mother as a sculptor and father as an art collector he was naturally drawn to the field. After Gaynor, he moved to Europe and he eventually studied Art at Webster University. He apprenticed as a printmaker and type setter and he has found incredible success in his paintings which combine these mediums. His works have been featured at Dallas Contemporary, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, The Tsinandali Museum and the Tamayo Museum as well as galleries all over the world ranging from South Africa to New York and Japan. He lives in Switzerland with his wife and two young children who are ages 2 and 6 months. He says that he is incredibly grateful to find his passion and turn it into a professional career. You can check out his work here: www.t1m.com
TYLER TANG ’18 Tyler Tang is a freshman at Eagle Hill. In winter 2018, he tried out for the wrestling team, a sport he had never done before but wanted to try. Tyler worked hard to learn the sport and was committed, attending every workout and giving full efforts at practices. Tyler had matches against many seasoned upperclassman, but despite the difficult opponents, he didn’t give up and kept at it. At the final tournament of the season, Tyler was determined to break through and not only won by point accumulation—he pinned his opponent! Tyler was awarded the Athlete of the Week Award for his hard work and determination and wore the medal around school all day. Later, in front of the entire school at a formal assembly, it was announced that Tyler was chosen for the Coach’s Award Trophy. This award reflects his commitment, diligence, courage and effort to be a great teammate. When accepting the award, Tyler received a standing ovation from his peers. Tyler attributes his success on the playing field and in the classroom in large part to the self confidence and academic and socio-emotional tool kit he built while at Gaynor, which helped unlock his potential. His earnest diligence and desire to do the best he can, even in difficult areas, is also a reflection of his personality. 32 GAYNOR GAZETTE
HEREâ€™S WHERE OUR RECENT HIGH SCHOOL GRADS ARE HEADED
SUMMER 2019 33
CLASS OF 2019
The Class of 2019 enjoyed a two-day celebration of their time at Gaynor beginning with a Graduate/New Alumni Breakfast on June 13, followed with a formal graduation ceremony on June 14. Veteran faculty member Chris Meyer welcomed the graduates, their family and friends, and Gaynor faculty and staff members to the breakfast with a heartfelt message to the students who will be leaving Gaynor and joining the Alumni Network. He urged the graduating students to keep in touch, and to “make sure you advocate for yourselves, use the strategies you’ve been taught here, and always, always strive to be the best person you can be.” Student speaker Ava Kimmel spoke of her time at Gaynor and how she views her dyslexia as “a gift that makes me special.” She continued, “All of us are talented in our own way… I know that I will never forget Gaynor or what it taught me.” Steven Binder ’74 welcomed the students to the Alumni Network with his thoughts of what it has been like to be a “Gaynor kid” forty years after graduation, with a life and career filled with success. He spoke directly to the students when he said, “What all of you have in common, that I share with you, is that you care a lot, and you are extremely motivated to do well.” Later that same morning, graduating students Charlie Keimweiss and Aly Ferdinand shared advice from their Gaynor experiences with the entire school at the closing assembly. The honoring of the graduating class culminated in the graduation ceremony itself on the morning of June 14, held for the first time in the new Performing Arts Center. Board of Trustees Co-President Grant Duers, father to graduate PJ and Red Cluster student Anna, welcomed the graduates, family, friends, and faculty members to the ceremony. “I think that each of our graduates has developed a superpower during their time at Gaynor. It’s the power to recognize and embrace the unique challenges that each of our students face. I call this superpower ‘grit.’ Grit to me, stands for ‘Gaynor Realized I’m Talented.’” 34 GAYNOR GAZETTE
GRADUATION Dr. Scott Gaynor introduced student speakers Ronan Sennott and Emily Zaretsky, both of whom had inspiring words for their fellow students and the audience. Rehana Uehling, parent of graduating student Zia and Green Cluster student Zen, described how Gaynor impacted their entire family. “[Coming to Gaynor] was the beginning of a rebirth for all of us. We
2019 AWARD WINNERS PRESIDENT’S EDUCATION AWARD Lucia Dammert Duenas
learned how to have faith in Gaynor and Zia. Needless to say, Gaynor has helped prepare Zia for the next chapter in her life… To the graduating class, may your time at Gaynor remind you that your abilities and your place in this world is valid and valuable.” Alumni speaker Murphy Bright ’01, a Captain in the U.S. Marine Forces Reserve, told the graduates, “Every day in life I use the skills that I learned
COMPTROLLER COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD Sophia Farrell Zia Uehling
from Gaynor to accomplish my goals. One valuable lesson I learned … was that in order to become an effective leader in life one has to first learn to be a team player. As a Marine Corps infantry officer, I was able to adapt that skill into effectively leading my men into combat, not only recognizing the individual strengths of my men but utilizing their experiences... We all have something to bring to the game.”
HELEN ROSENTHAL CITY COUNCIL AWARD PJ Duers
As he invited the graduates to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, Dr. Gaynor remembered the Blue Cluster’s trip to Washington, DC. After reading a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Gaynor told the graduates, “While at Gaynor you have demonstrated the ability to be an advocate for others. You have also demonstrated that you can be an
GORDON GAYNOR AWARD Alexander DeHaas Ronan Sennott
advocate for yourself. You faced these challenges head on, and you have proven that through perseverance and a growth mindset you can find success. Congratulations!” In addition to those watching in the Performing Arts Center, the graduation ceremony was live-streamed for the first time ever to over 160 viewers from around the United States, the UK, Israel, and Canada.
CLASS REPRESENTATIVES Lucia Dammert Duenas PJ Duers Jason Maggio
Clare’s Corner By Clare Cosentino, PhD, Lauren Levenson, PhD, Shayna Nash, PsyD
In 2017, Gaynor selected the social-emotional program, RULER to be integrated into the curriculum. According to the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, “RULER is an evidence-based approach for integrating social and emotional learning into schools. RULER teaches the skills of emotional intelligence— those associated with recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion.”
“BETWEEN STIMULUS AND RESPONSE THERE
THE META-MOMENT: RULER FOR FAMILIES
IS A SPACE. IN THAT SPACE LIES OUR POWER TO CHOOSE OUR RESPONSE. IN OUR RESPONSE LIES OUR GROWTH AND FREEDOM.” -VIKTOR E. FRANKL
icture this: You wake up on Saturday morning, head to the kitchen, and spy your child's lunchbox sitting by the front door, still sealed from the day before. She forgot to empty out her lunchbox again?! You can smell the banana peel from five feet away. How many times do you have to tell her to empty her lunchbox when she gets home? You feel yourself start to get angry. What do you do next?
Emotions can either help or hinder relationships, and we all have moments that get the best of us. Here we’ll be taking a closer look at one of RULER’s four primary Anchor Tools of Emotional Intelligence, the Meta-Moment. Used correctly, the Meta-Moment can help students, parents, and educators handle strong emotions so that they make better decisions for themselves and their community. The Meta-Moment is a brief step back from the situation when we pause and think before acting. We ask ourselves, “How would my ‘best self’ react in this situation? What strategy can I use so that my actions reflect my best self?” Over time and with practice, you can learn to replace ineffective responses with productive and empowering responses to challenging situations. This in turn causes better choices, healthier relationships, and greater well-being. The following guidelines are for parents to use to apply the Meta-Moment to themselves, parent-child interactions, and to manage difficult emotions that come up in the course of a day.
36 GAYNOR GAZETTE
STEP 1: SOMETHING HAPPENS
STEP 2: SENSE
Something real or imagined triggers an emotional
You sense the shifts in:
How you are thinking (“They are judging me.”)
How your body feels on the inside (Racing heart, tension)
Your facial expressions, posture, and voice (Furrowed eyebrows, clenched fist)
Perception of unfairness, injustice
Heart races, body heats up and tightens
Feeling of uncertainty or anticipated
Heart races, body shakes,
harm, obsessive thinking
Furrowed brows, pressed lips, clenched fists Eyes pulled back, flight response
Think about: As many triggers as you can think of that might happen during a typical day in your family. When you feel any of those triggers or emotions, that is your cue to take a Meta-Moment.
STEP 3: STOP
STEP 4: SEE YOUR BEST SELF
Breathing and pausing help you to avoid responding in
Imagine your ‘best self.’ What qualities do you possess
an unhelpful manner.
when you are at your best?
Basic ‘stop’ exercises:
Take a few deep breaths
Who you want to be
Say a simple mantra (e.g., in/out, deep/slow, calm/
How you want others to see you (your reputation)
The ideal outcome
Remember: Your ‘best self’ is different in different roles!
STEP 5: STRATEGIZE
STEP 6: SUCCEED!
You choose and then use a strategy—either a thought or an action—to regulate the emotion effectively. • Breathing • Mindfulness/Relaxation • Reframing (see definition below) • Positive self-talk (see definition below) • Visualization • Distraction • Physical space/distance
You act in a way that reflects your best self.
Reframing: How else can I choose to think about this? • Remind yourself of your child’s point of view • How else can I think about this? • Put a positive spin on how you see the situation
What can you think?
What can you do?
Positive self-talk: Tell yourself something helpful • In response to sibling conflict: “My children are learning how to get along. Those are valuable lessons.” • “Forgot to unpack her lunchbox again, looks like she needs help with morning routines." • “This is small in the scheme of things.”
There are two types of Meta-Moments, responsive (taken in real time, or after a trigger) and proactive (taking one before an emotional response occurs.) No matter which kind you use, set an intention. •
What can you do differently the next time you are triggered?
...to be your best self? ...to encourage children in your family to be their best selves?
SUMMER 2019 37
Self-care isn’t Selfish Ms. Rubin and Ms. Goldman’s class learned that “self-care isn’t selfish.” Throughout the school year, students explored different focusing/energizing movements, and breathing practice to
Welcome to Goatham
determine which worked best for them.
Silver Cluster science students have been
mindfulness techniques including guided imagery, calming/
Students also created their own self-care strategy cards as a reminder to prioritize the practice. They each came up with different ideas including limiting technology use, listening to music, drawing or taking a walk. One day, the class created a Self-Care Spa for the end of a busy week. The students drank lemon water, did vinyasa yoga, learned about essential oils, and tried calming facemasks. Finally room 511 presented self-care strategies to younger classes as well as teachers, specialists, and administrators. Director of Intermediate Division Ms. Fox said, “I wish I learned all of these strategies when I was your age; they will help you forever and ever!”
Augmented Reality Orange Cluster students stepped into the role of animal rescuers, writing what they would adopt before designing a “dream habitat” including the three basics of food, water, and shelter. The drawings were interesting enough on their own but students took learning from the second dimension to the third dimension by adding augmented reality. Using an iPad app to scan their habitat drawing, a video of the student describing their animal and habitat played automatically. 38 GAYNOR GAZETTE
NOAA’s National Ocean Service, “an invasive species is an organism that causes ecological or economic harm in a new environment where it is not native.” One such example is Japanese knotweed, which was introduced to New York City, and can be found in 39 of the 50 United States. The NYC Parks department actually dispatched goats to Riverside in a summer project called “Goatham.” The goats will munch on various vegetation including Japanese knotweed. Ms. Smith and Ms. Moskowitz’s students visited the goats!
Chickens, Butterflies, and a Duckling, oh my!
The Hudson, Willow, and Lexington rooms welcomed spring by all hatching different species. In the Lexington Room, Ms. Paresi’s class hatched a duckling. While meeting Henry (as they named him) was a highlight, it was also the culmination of a science lesson. Students first learned background information about ducks and the conditions needed for a duckling to hatch including turning of eggs, temperature, and humidity. They also learned about their lifecycle and anatomy. “It has been so wonderful for the students to be part of this process, watching an embryo grow into a duckling in such a meaningful and experiential way,” said Ms. Paresi.
Paper Airplane Circus All four Green North classrooms created and participated in a paper airplane circus. Classes competed for points at six different stations including the Knock Down challenge, ring shot, landing pad, boomerang challenge, the longest distance and time, and a beauty contest for best-looking
In the Willow Room, students tended to butterflies,
airplane. Each class was responsible for the success of their
which finally came out of their chrysalides. After
own stations, both running them smoothly and in recording
letting them emerge, students made and recorded
scores. Gabe Soriano threw an airplane a whopping 52 feet!
observations about the butterflies’ anatomy and coloring before walking to the Westside Community Garden to release them. Some immediately flew away while others stayed on flowers, but the class made sure to wave goodbye! And in the Hudson Room, five chickens hatched. They were given a heater they could stay warm under and students were able to observe them, note their characteristics, and even vote on what their names should be. Whether butterflies, chickens, or a duckling, all students had fun experiencing the process and seeing what came of the hatching of the chrysalides and eggs! SUMMER 2019 39
STUDENT SHOUT OUTS
Orange Cluster student Emily Oram tried out for the light travel squad of the NYC Cyclones, the youth hockey program at Chelsea Piers. Despite never having played ice hockey before, she made the team. Andrew Ferrante in the Blue Cluster recently earned the Scouting BSA rank of Life Scout, the final rank advancement before Eagle Scout. Andrew is active in Troop 52 in Cranbury, NJ, where he is a den Mark Silverman, an Orange Cluster student, was
chief for Cub Scouts, goes on backpacking
awarded the Manhattan Makos 2019 Outstanding 8 &
Under Swimmer of the Year. He also holds a team record
service projects in his community. He is a
in 100-yard freestyle for his age group, and is in the
Brotherhood member of the Order of the
Metropolitan Area top 25 for the short course season
Arrow, the National Honor Society of the
for 8 & under in the 25-yard and 100-yard freestyle.
accepted to the 2019-20 Winter Term at the School of American Ballet. Kiera worked very hard this year in the prep class, which met two times a week to secure an invitation to be invited to join the Girls level class in the fall.
40 GAYNOR GAZETTE
This spring, Blue Cluster student
Charlie Keimweiss came in first
place in the Championship section
of the All Souls Top Level Chess
came in 14th place at the NY State
Scholastic Chess Championships.
THEN & NOW
Then & Now
Once a riding academy, now an academic community. Inspired by the @dearphotograph series on Instagram, the past meets the present at 175 West 89th Street.
NON-PROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE
STEPHEN GAYNOR SCHOOL
148 WEST 90TH STREET NEW YORK, NY 10024
PERMIT NO. 751 SIOUX FALLS, SD
Gaynor has truly changed our daughter and our family. She now has confidence and a love of learning and continues to blossom as a student. We are grateful every day for the wonderful team at Gaynor and all that the school continues to provide. —Gaynor Parent
The incredible and transformative education provided at Gaynor would not be possible without your generous support of the Annual Fund.
Please help support our stellar faculty and specialists by making your gift today. www.stephengaynor.org/donate