Springing Forward with New Ideas

During Wednesday’s faculty meeting, Dr. Webster held a “debriefing” on our recent NAIS (National Association of Independent Schools) conference in Baltimore. Teachers were invited to share some of the new thoughts and ideas that the conference generated for them. The conversation was animated with discussion of meaningful workshops, new insight about assessment, and creative techniques for the classroom. The conference’s theme was about how independent schools live out their Mission. Some of the sessions I attended talked about ways we could keep an eye on content but focus more on those important “mission” goals that relate to character. This is sometimes called “soft skills” and schools presented ideas on how they assess or measure these skills with their students. One group talked about building “habits of mind”, for example building reflection time into daily practice. Two key note speakers were particularly inspiring. Sir Ken Robinson has been speaking about change in schools and the need to focus on the “culture of the school” rather than data and numbers. He speaks with passion and conviction, and if you haven’t heard him it is well worth the listen. I have included a link to his most popular TED talk below. On a slightly different note, Brene Brown, spoke with equal passion about the individual and how courage relates to vulnerability. We left thinking not only of ourselves, but of the boys we teach and ways to encourage vulnerability by building trust and hope. I have included a link to her TED talk below. Enjoy!

Sir Ken Robinson TED talk

Brene Brown TED talk

This week Dr. Webster talked about the value of the month for March, which is perseverance. The boys shared their understanding of the word and their answers would have made a researcher like Brene Brown proud. They talked at length about the need to make mistakes and learn through struggle. Clearly, lessons learned both at home and at school. Hopefully, over this coming spring break you will have some occasions to talk to your son about what skills and character traits make us successful and happy. Enjoy your time with such amazing young individuals. We will miss them next week and look forward to returning to spring-like weather and a busy final trimester of activities.


I hope that my communication with you each week encourages “talking points” to inspire conversation with your son or sons. Here are some “talking points” based on recent school events.



  • If you are in Kindergarten- What was the highlight from Dr. Suess week? What ribbon did your door win in the door-decorating contest sponsored by the Student Council?


  • If you are in Prep-One- What does a sloth look like and why does it hang upside down? What colors did you paint your toucan bird?
  • If you are in First Grade- Who did you cheer for in the faculty/5th grade basketball game?
  • If you are in Second Grade- Did you enjoy “Holiday Ball” in PE this week?
  • If you are in Third Grade- How is your musher doing in the great Iditarod race?
  • If you are in Fourth Grade- How did your presentation for the African American Leadership Project go this week?
  • If you are in Fifth Grade- What did you enjoy about the faculty/5th grade basketball game? Is it fair that students get 3 points per basket and teachers get 2 points per basket? How did your group handle the bridge building project in science? Did you prepare for your science test as well as you thought?

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