Early in his career former Proctor Academy Head of School Lyle Farrell (1952-1971) worked alongside Dr. Samuel T. Orton to pioneer the psychometrics and pedagogy of reading disabilities. Farrell would take what he learned from Orton and establish the nation's leading tutorial support system for college-bound, dyslexic students in the early 1950s at Proctor. Through intentional programming aimed at helping young dyslexic boys, the predecessor to Proctor’s Learning Skills program changed countless young people’s lives.
Advisory Dinners are some of the best evenings of the semester, though scheduling them is not easy. Last Wednesday night my advisees came over for a meal, but we had to balance a JV Girls Soccer game at 4:00 pm, Open Gym at 6:15 pm for a basketball player, extra-help for a math student, and the time I needed to clean up my house, bake a lasagna and frost a birthday cake. I try to do a dinner for each advisee’s birthdays, letting them choose the meal and the kind of cake they desire, a tradition left over from my childhood. (My brother always chose fish-sticks, my sister never failed to opt for spaghetti.)
Walking down Ward Lane late yesterday afternoon, the cold wind ripping down from Ragged with the clouds scattering bits of rain and snow, I approached the baseball field. Green tarps, water pooling on them, had been pulled over the mound and home plate, the red dirt of the base paths had been raked smooth by Garry George, the dugout benches had long been carted away to other fields. The single ball I found, a leftover seed from the past season, won’t spin out of a hand until next spring. I took it all in and thought about the Nor’easter predicted for this weekend that could bring snow to the mountains and bury the field. Proctor’s baseball season barely ripples through the community consciousness, but thankfully the game is still being played on the national stage.
I was met by pigtail braids bouncing up and down as my daughter sprinted to the door asking me through her gap toothed, kindergarten smile to guess what she learned at school today. Before I could formulate a witty response, she blurted out, “Fair is not the same as equal!” I’ve always known this to be true, but how often do we fully appreciate our privilege relative to those around us? How often do we really wrestle with the difference between fairness and equality as it applies to our own lives? Living and working at a private boarding school in a quintessential New England town, I would submit it is not often enough.
After a long day of traveling from Segovia to Madrid, then hopping on a train for three hours, we got to the Sagrada Familia, a Basilica in Barcelona. This massive building has been under construction for 131 years. This Basilica is predicted to be finished around 2026. The architect was named Gaudí; his main goal was to make up for people's sins and connect them closer to God.
We tend to look up, eyes drawn to the skyline, the geometry of rooflines, the arc of hills against the horizon, the splash of stars across the night sky. The beauty, the majesty, it’s up ahead. We coach our players to keep their head up, to work to see the whole of the playing field, to anticipate. Maybe in golf or baseball you keep your head down, but that’s only temporary. Your eyes immediately rise after you hit the ball: how far will it travel? Sand trap or fairway? Base hit or triple? Maybe this proclivity to always look up is instinctual, an ingrained alertness to see what’s coming, to prepare and protect.
Proctor’s Ocean Classroom program has arrived in Norfolk, Virginia after waiting out the remnants of Hurricane Michael on Fishers Island in the Long Island Sound. As the group continues their journey down the eastern seaboard, students gain more and more responsibility running the daily operations aboard Roseway. Read the past week’s Ship’s Logs and check out photos and video from Ocean Classroom 2018 below!
On any given day, we ask our students to manage a remarkable amount of independence. They are expected to monitor sleep hygiene, get to class on time, choose to engage with or lead clubs, eat a balanced diet, complete homework assignments, attend extra help, not to mention prepare for competition and performances each afternoon. The life of a boarding school student is complex, which is why Proctor has launched a performance initiative that seeks to identify ways to support our students’ optimal performance in the classroom, on the athletic field, and in their daily lives.
With November 6 quickly approaching, the word ‘midterms’ sparks an immediate reaction: an opportunity to change course. Operating on a trimester system, Proctor has officially passed the midpoint in the Fall Term, and with that achievement, numeric and effort grades have been assigned in each course. Last weekend’s parent/teacher conferences afforded a valuable check-in on each student, and today’s release of mid-term grades should reinforce the larger dialogue around each student’s growth.
Claude Monet understood the reality that the world never stops moving as he captured moments in time with a slight blur, the movement within the moment we too often miss. Possessing the same root, the difference between a moment and momentum lies in our own desire to isolate a single period of time rather than appreciate all that is happening around that specific moment.
Proctor Academy's Ocean Classroom program enters their third week (of nine) at sea as they arrived in New Bedford, MA earlier this week. Be sure to follow their adventures with daily Ship's Log entries at the World Ocean School's website, as well as in the student journal entries in the blog post below. Enjoy!
Every year at Proctor is wholly new, yet remarkably familiar. The faces of students change over time, both as they mature and as the natural turnover of the student body every four years introduces new, eager minds ready to embark on their Proctor experience. While Proctor is not a school steeped in tradition, there are some rituals that occur each year at the same time, including the annual ninth grade hike to the Proctor Cabin.
Fall Family Weekend 2018 kicks off with the 28th Annual Proctor Invitational Golf Tournament at Lake Sunapee Country Club Thursday morning, followed by an open house at Mike and Betsy’s home on Thursday evening. On Friday, parents are invited to attend two classes followed by all-school assembly, athletic practices, tours of the construction project at the Farrell Field House, and Parent/Teacher conferences before a few Friday afternoon games. Saturday morning Parent/Teacher conferences and athletic contests round out the weekend. Parents, click below for a complete schedule for Fall Family Weekend and read on for advice on how we believe you can get the most out of the weekend ahead.
Much of the country enjoys a federal holiday on the second Monday of October each fall. Operating independently of a regular federal holiday schedule, Proctor does not observe Columbus Day. Instead, we have chosen to acknowledge the ‘discovery’ of America by European explorers by recognizing and bringing awareness to the culture and beliefs of the indigenous peoples of this great land. Sunday’s indigenous peoples celebration at the Proctor tipi reminds us of the importance of continuously bringing different perspectives into the Proctor community.
To be different, to feel different, is one of the most uncomfortable feelings we experience. We have all had that moment where we gave the wrong answer, wore the wrong outfit, had the wrong haircut, or publicly failed in front of someone else. That sinking, punch to the gut feeling of being noticed because we are different doesn’t go away easily, however, for most it fades over time. Those moments of being highlighted for our differences are fleeting, interspersed with a normalcy of fitting in alongside our friends. Unfortunately, society does a terrific job defining ‘normal’ for us, and it is up to us to constantly recenter ourselves around what we share with others, rather than our differences.
I visited six freshman seminar classes in Shirley Hall this week, enjoying the chance to get a read on who will help us build and sustain the Proctor community over the next four years. The intent of this one term program is to help ground these incoming students, answer questions for them, and help them center down for the next four years.
The Camino de Santiago is a trail that starts in France and ends on the Atlantic coast of Galicia. People have never ceased to walk the trail since the discovery of St. James's remains in 812 AD. Historically the path is walked as a pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint James, but now people walk the trail for any number of reasons.
Proctor Academy's Ocean Classroom program, aboard the schooner Roseway, continues to navigate their way through the frigid waters of the North Atlantic toward Gloucester, MA. Check out the past week's ship's log as written by our student crew. More photos coming to Flickr soon!
As an introduction to Proctor’s Summer Reading program in the spring, English Department Chair Shauna Turnbull P’19, ‘22 shared the following, “Why do we read? There are as many answers to this question as there are readers. But one thing is certain: when we read, we connect ourselves invisibly, and for a brief time, to a world beyond our own doorstep.” It is on this philosophy Proctor has continued to evolve its Summer Reading program by integrating conversations and assessment into English classes each fall.
Working and living at a boarding school is an incredible gift, but at times becomes insular in nature as our entire existence occurs within the Proctor bubble. Sure, we watch the news and stay in touch with others through social media and texting, but periodically stepping outside this bubble with intentionality allows us to gain valuable perspective on how we are living our lives with a macro-mindset.