Politics, baseball, and the learning environment. Before I go too far, let me admit right up front that I have a bias. I have a deep love of baseball and all its agonizingly slow rhythms, its endless season that stretches 165 games from April to October, and the multiplicity of “feel good” stories about persistence and faith. Politics? A little less inspiring these days.
Tuesday evening, Proctor faculty and staff had the privilege of hearing Dr. Angela Currie from NESCA (Neuropsychology and Education Services for Children and Adolescents) speak about anxiety levels in teenagers today and the impact those increased levels of anxiousness have on the learning process.
Friday evening, the Proctor community had the opportunity to watch Chris Waddell’s documentary, “1 Revolution” during which he becomes the first paraplegic to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro almost entirely under his own power. As part of Proctor’s speaker series, Waddell’s documentary (trailer embedded below) was followed Saturday morning by a presentation called “Nametags”.
This week I had the privilege of spending from Sunday through Wednesday visiting Burke Mountain Academy as part of their NEASC accreditation process. These opportunities are to be both cherished and entered into with full awareness that sleep and family will be parked for a few days. And the upside? Stepping into another vibrant and focused learning community is some of the best professional development available.
Wired wrote this article earlier this week, “American Schools Are Training Kids for a World That Doesn’t Exist”. Proctor identifies itself as a college preparatory school, however, we believe deeply in preparing our students for far more than simply college.
The last three weeks of weather have given Sue Houston’s Climate Science class plenty to study. The first light frost of the season came three weeks ago, followed by an 85 degree sunshine filled day, and then thunderstorms and another hard frost. We returned from Family Weekend to a muggy downpour before highs yesterday only reached 44 degrees. Who would think you would start your woodstove and run your air conditioner in the same week. While some may find rural New England lacking excitement, all you need to do is follow the weather to stay entertained!
Proctor's Social Entrepreneurship class and Project Period approached Proctor alum Matt Nathanson '91 about playing a benefit concert last spring. Over the past three years Proctor has built relationships with Lemonade International, a microfinance organization in Guatemala, and Freedom in Creation, a Ugandan based nonprofit building fresh water wells and using art as therapy for a wartorn community. Nathanson eagerly agreed to play a benefit concert on Proctor's campus to support these organizations and did not disappoint Friday night!
I mentioned the book Flow over Parents’ Weekend, and subsequently have been thinking of the delineation between pleasure and enjoyment as outlined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. I was prompted to take up the topic after reading the latest blog post from Spain detailing the segment of the Santiago el Camino pilgrimage Proctor students recently walked over three days.
Each student begins his or her Proctor experience at a different stage of life. Some start as ninth graders, others do not arrive until the tail end of their high school career as juniors or seniors. On Wednesday, members of the Class of 2018 gathered as a class to complete an Independent School Gender Survey before hiking to the Proctor Cabin as a class; a tradition begun five years ago that has proven powerful.
Midterm grades have been published and Fall Family Weekend is upon us! It has been a whirlwind six weeks since Wilderness Orientation departed, and yet it feels as though this group of faculty, staff, and students has been together forever.
As ninth graders in Freshmen Seminar create self-portraits, they discusses their identity at Proctor. It is an identity that has certainly changed since each student first went on an Admission tour the year before. They have grown physically, emotionally, and socially. Their connection to Proctor is far deeper now than it was when first visiting. Four years from now when they graduate, after thousands of shared experiences, their connection will be still deeper.
Three weeks ago today the schooner Roseway blasted its canon as it pulled out of Gloucester Harbor. Over those three weeks, the 21 students aboard the 135 foot schooner have learned how to sail, stood watch in shifts around the clock, continued to take math, literature and marine science courses, and have navigated the ship into and out of multiple harbors, including Fishers Island and Manhattan (below), where they visited last week.
This is the sign: lumpy black bags (huge bags) slung across shoulders, sometimes a stick with new tape, always a smile. Alone, or in groups of two and three, they migrate to the low-slung building at the west end of campus. The Ted is open, the ice is down, and players find their way to free skates in the early evening hours.
There is a known predictability with the fall season. The nights are crisp, the days warm, the leaves shed their green hues for reds, yellows and oranges, and we watch in the morning as mist rises above the pond indicating that the air around us is cooler than the temperature of the water. All predictable changes.