Another fresh coating of snow covered campus last night as we reach the midway point in this quick three week stretch between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. Student Leaders Cope Makechnie ‘17 and Nick Ho ‘17 sent out a campus wide Secret Santa list last night, wreaths are hung around campus, and a general excitement about the upcoming holiday season prevails on campus. As students work through projects, readings, and begin to delve into the Winter Term, we are reminded of our unique role as adults living and working in a boarding school community.
The notion of project based learning was the catalyst for Proctor’s revitalization in the early 1970's when newly appointed Head of School David Fowler, Assistant Head of School Chris Norris, and many others drove the school in a new and exciting direction. For the past forty years, Proctor has led the educational world in experimenting with student-centered, project-based learning, and has developed rich school culture that intuitively embraces the core principals of student-centered learning. We understand, however, that we must never become complacent with our teaching practices, and must continue to identify new and exciting ways to bring real world problem solving into the daily life of of our students. In order to do this, we must spend intentional time BEING students.
San Juan, Puerto Rico… November 19th… The end of Ocean Classroom Voyage 2016… As these students leave Roseway and fly back to their families, there is a range of emotions. There is incredible happiness in reconnecting with their parents, siblings and friends. There is also an element of sadness in leaving the ship that has been their home for the past nine weeks. There is a feeling of accomplishment; an inner knowledge that each one of them has done something special.
Proctor welcomed Dr. Derrick Gay to campus Tuesday to help us explore the double-edged sword of diversity at independent schools. Through interactive conversations, faculty investigated the challenges around diversity efforts at Proctor, including how we understand our own identities, the power of the words we use on a regular basis within the cultural context of our varied student experiences, and how to develop tangible strategies to better integrate diversity efforts into our educational mission.
Each year, the Proctor community welcomes new faculty and staff to campus over the summer months. Wednesday evening, Head of School Mike Henriques and his wife, Betsy Paine, hosted a wonderful dinner for new faculty and staff at their home on campus. The energy among the new adults in the community this summer has been palpable and everyone is visibly excited for our first students to arrive on campus next week.
Ask any of Proctor’s Social Science teachers about Thomas Hobbes and John Locke and they will eagerly offer an explanation of social contracts and the rationale for forming communities around agreed upon rules and structures in order to preserve life and liberty. Whenever we join a community (nation, state, town, school, church, service club, or otherwise), we voluntarily sacrifice some of our individual freedoms because we believe the benefits gained from living in community outweigh the cost of forgone individual rights. Each of us makes this same decision when we join the Proctor community.
Proctor's mission statement serves as a guide in our quest to educate a diverse body of students for the 21st century. While mission statements do not vary much between schools, the manner in which a school goes about achieving its mission varies dramatically. Over the past five years, our faculty has collaborated to develop an outcome statement (The Profile of a Proctor Graduate) and a curriculum guide (Proctor’s Characteristics of Good Teaching) to further inform our educational model. These declarative statements serve as our mission in action, and provide a constant reminder of who we are and who we desire to be as we shape the collective experiences of our students in the classroom, in our advisories, on the athletic field, in the art studio, and in the dormitory.