Intuitively, I feel my students’ experiences, reflections, and actions influence who they are and what they do. However, the more I learn about neuroscience, the more research released on brain plasticity and metacognition, the more I realize these intuitions that have guided my work over the past twenty years as a Learning Specialist, and Proctor’s work over the past seventy, are based in scientific fact. Adolescent brain development is a biological process, but it is also a dynamic process that is enhanced through experiences. In other words, what teenagers learn, practice, and think develops neural pathways, which fundamentally restructures their brains over time.
Little by little the days are getting longer. This week’s sun and warmer temperatures have buoyed our spirits and put a noticeable bounce in everyone’s step. Overnight rain and ice reminded us how closely tied our emotional state can be to the barometric pressure. As we look toward the final three and a half weeks of the Winter Term, we lean into the scaffolding of support that surrounds each of us at Proctor.
During these last days of 2018, we reflect on those moments that defined our year. Some challenging, others joyful, all beautiful in their own way. Enjoy these clips from the past year as you look at the year past for motivation to make the year ahead the best yet. Happy New Year to all in our Proctor Family. Here's to a great 2019!
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.
Dominique Jordan Turner explores poverty as a superpower in her TedX Talk recorded earlier this summer (see video below). Her insights into the skills and strengths obtained by young people growing up in poverty not only prove valuable to us as educators of a diverse student body, but her underlying message applies to all of our students. We all share an understanding that young people need to experience an intersection of belief in their lives in order for learning to take place; belief in themselves, others believing in them, and belief in something bigger than themselves.
Each July, Blackbaud K-12 hosts a user conference in Boston that draws educators from around the country together to discuss technology, learning, and the tools we use to help our students unlock their worlds around them. Last year’s keynote speaker, Julie Lythcott-Hames, inspired THIS BLOG POST on how we need to help our parents raise adults, rather than children. Today’s keynote by Dr. Natalie Nixon of Figure 8 Design Thinking sparked an inspired conversation on the future of learning in our society.
The tiny, quaint town of Andover grows by more than five times its normal population of 2,200 people during its annual 4th of July celebration. For the past 75 years, Andover has served as a gathering place for residents of the entire region as the town green and Proctor’s campus are flooded with flea-market booths, games, food vendors, a parade, and fireworks. It is small town Americana at its finest as we celebrate America’s independence and our individual freedoms granted in the U.S. Constitution.
For students with learning style differences, transitioning from Proctor to college requires a thorough understanding of the three R’s: Rights, Responsibility, and Reasonable Accommodations. Up until this juncture in a student's education, Learning Skills and/or parents have been the core support system. Here is some advice for our students who thrive on support systems on how to navigate the transition to college.