The Proctor Mathematics Department has begun a transition from a textbook-based curriculum to one that is centered around rich tasks that all students can access (low floor, high ceiling). We believe that everyone can learn mathematics, and feel that transitioning from textbooks will help us further our vision of equitable learning.
This week at Proctor marks the period of settling. Just as the leaves in their autumnal colors change and fall, so, too, does our affective model of education begin to shift, unfold, and deepen as a storyline in a novel does. Every school where I have worked has a rhythm all its own.
As educators, we engage daily in the unending balancing act of providing our students a sense of freedom and a sense of connection. While the pendulum of independence swings back and forth within a culture depending on the prevailing norms of the time, what we know at Proctor is that the adolescent brain biologically craves independence, and yet is only able to pursue that independence when surrounded by a nurturing community.
As we begin the third week of classes, we remind ourselves that it is often that which we experience outside of the traditional classroom that has the greatest impact. This is what we seek to do at Proctor. To get proximate to our learning. To feel it with all five of our senses, and then to take that learning with us into our lives beyond the official end of the class block.
Each Proctor student graduates with a transcript filled with numbers and letters, a snapshot of their Proctor experience. While useful in some ways, this quick reference guide originally developed to standardize our assessment of a student’s “intelligence” for college admissions counselors insufficiently captures the entirety of a student’s growth journey through their high school years.
The turn of the calendar to July signifies for educators that powerful moment when we can finally take a deep breath. End of year meetings, letters to advisors, and many details are wrapped up, we have had a few weeks to unwind from the stress of the school year, and can start to begin to process the beautiful chaos in which we swam for the past ten months.
The final days of the Spring Term consistently showcase the best of Proctor in action: creativity, art, music, pursuit of individual passions, and an appreciation for the work of others. Wednesday afternoon brought the entire community together one last time for Proctor’s Art Department Express Fest, Senior Project presentations, and AP Language Moth talks. It was a jam-packed day reminding us of just how fun it is to see our students’ learning in action.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” A refrain we hear over and over again in the business world, and one that always resonates with us at Proctor. Independent schools can develop strategic plans, hire consultants to help formulate branding strategies, and spend countless hours whiteboarding the future direction of the organization, but when a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship lives deep within the school, effective strategy will evolve organically and continue to drive the school forward.