We’re Back!

With school in full swing, many of us are starting to think of those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer as a distant memory. I know that I fully enjoyed the extra time in the schedule to visit with family, travel to new places, and relax by the water. Looking at my growing Google calendar reminds me that I will not have much time for those luxuries anytime soon! I imagine that most of you are feeling the same way. For many of our teachers here in Lower School, summer came to an end much earlier than the calendar suggested. They met as new, or not so new, teams for several weeks to prepare for the year ahead. Innovative curriculum ideas were explored, lessons about Responsive Classroom were added to the schedule, and boxes of new supplies were arranged and distributed. Some teachers attended late summer workshops on using Google or applying new ideas in math. Those groups came back energized and inspired. Featured below is a picture of our grade three teachers reviewing new math curriculum from a summer workshop.


Now the boys are back. They arrived with smiles (a few tears with our youngest new students) and much anticipation for a great year. It is almost starting to feel as if we never left. Once the newest routines are established, school will be humming along at its regular, busy pace.



Parents may have heard a few new buzz words at our orientations and back to school nights. “Responsive Classroom” and “MakerLab” are some of the new additions to our collective vocabulary. Responsive Classroom is a well-researched program that, among other things, helps teachers promote positive community environments and strong relationships between students. We will use the core values of the Gilman Five, along with the strategies introduced in Responsive Classroom, to educate the boys to be, in the words of our Headmaster, “the best they can be” and “first-class citizens.” Look for more about how Responsive Classroom is changing the look of our morning and afternoon routines in a later blog post. See below for a link to the Responsive Classrooms website.

Responsive Classroom Website

MakerLab is a term Dr. Webster coined for our former computer lab. We are in the process of transforming the space to make it even more conducive to tech exploration. Boys will use the space, either before school, in clubs, or with their classroom teachers, to learn about coding, programming, and technology inspired design. Mr. James, our K-2 science teacher, will man the room several mornings to allow the boys time to play and explore. Pictured below are our Prep-One boys trying out the Code-a-pillar and Kibo robots in their MakerSpace class this week.


I hope everyone enjoys a beautiful weekend and rests up for our first official full week of the school year!


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 is “Morning Meeting”? Which “centers” activity do you enjoy the most? What did you make in MakerSpace this week?
  • If you are in Prep-One- How was your first experience in the outdoor classroom and woods area of campus? What are the rules to follow as you head out on your outdoor adventures?
  • If you are in First Grade- How do you like the new Lego Wall? What have you been building with your friends?
  • If you are in Second Grade- What are the goals that you set for this year? What did you put on your large puzzle piece in the hall?
  • If you are in Third Grade- What have you started learning about in Science class? How is the garden after the summer harvest?
  • If you are in Fourth Grade- What are your hopes and goals for the school year? What activities did you enjoy at Genessee Valley? 4C boys discovered an injured hawk during their science walk to the woods- what was that experience like for you?


Here is the young hawk. Thanks to Phoenix Wildlife Center for coming to rescue and care for the bird until it is able to be released into the wild. 


  • If you are in Fifth Grade- What are you looking forward to about Echo Hill?


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