So for us to do that at scale is a true innovation in education. We need to continue to leverage the strength of our connected community, so that students feel safe to take risks to be the innovators for the future.
ANNEKE: Yes, in my short time here I can already feel a schoolwide questioning of traditional, lecture-based instruction, a model that delivers content to a group of students en masse, the way that parents might remember from their own classroom experiences. I sense the passion for student-centered learning and the move toward differentiated instruction, blended learning and personalized, passion-driven projects within classrooms.
We have many leaders across the faculty from Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade who are challenging themselves to develop their teaching practice and to focus on inspiration, from some of our most experienced and seasoned teachers to the exciting new teachers we get to bring into the fold every single year.
Every staff member, teacher or administrator I met with had a growth mindset. There was an openness to examining and thinking about how Viewpoint might do things differently, all in the service of student learning. It was exciting to come into an environment where innovation felt like a cultural norm.
The spirit of learning and growth is palpable and I am excited to be a part of it. MARK: I agree. These students are empowered to create and make and do, not just copy and listen and conform.
And the resources in each classroom to deliver this type of differentiated, small group instruction are top notch. In the Middle School, I am excited to be here for the laptop program that begins this fall. I had the opportunity to see some of the careful thinking, planning, and organization that went into this initiative and it has been really impressive.
In the Upper School, I had the opportunity to watch a rising junior, Weston Bell-Geddes highlighted on pages demonstrate his digital design and programming prowess in a virtual reality platform.
I entered his 3D design space and was able to walk around and see art by Magritte and Mondrian on the wall. And then I could physically interact with parts of the artwork that he had been reimagined as interactive games. Weston had designed this incredibly immersive experience in just a two month course that he had done within the Upper School.
Most importantly, he had made it his own. Viewpoint is a school that is doing amazing things with students and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it. Can you imagine when we have students, as we will, who have done their first coding in Kindergarten or First Grade?
ANNEKE: Yes, when you think about designing deep learning opportunities for students, leveraging their strengths and passions in the service of learning goals, the opportunities are endless. When you provide students with skill-building opportunities and meaty, open ended questions you provide authentic and meaningful learning opportunities that are irresistible. The capability of students is often greater than we realize and sometimes educators simply need to unleash that potential and provide guidance.
My jaw was on the floor when I saw what Weston did with virtual reality. It might not be programming, but it might be a device they designed, or a problem they helped solve. It might be a blog or a novel they wrote, or a video or piece of music they produced. Often that type of inspired learning happens in spite of school, but that is changing. It is an exciting time to be in education. There are so many new opportunities to design authentic learning experiences that provide space for students to develop skills and strengths that they can apply right now.
It is so easy to think of my students as being mine, and just seeing them in different learning environments was enough of a reminder that their day does not begin and end with my class. Their school day is taxing simply due to the schedule, and the task of keeping them stimulated but not fatigued, engaged and not overwhelmed, is a challenge I know I plan to keep at the forefront of my mind in the years to come. If the children are feeling a bit anxious about their loose teeth or just not feeling well, they go to see Nurse Sue.
Sue Gellerman has been at Viewpoint since , and with her sweet voice and gentle manner, she provides great comfort to children with any ailment, however minor. For those who say yes, but suspect it might be a parent and want to test the theory by keeping the loss a secret and seeing if the Tooth Fairy will come, the nurse always sends home a quick email to be sure that the Tooth Fairy is prepared for a new lost tooth. Members of the Facilities staff can be found on campus seven days per week, 24 hours per day, days per year.
Certainly, I understood why students who had worked so hard and done so well would want to go to schools like Harvard and Princeton, but many places seem to be prestigious simply because student fads and crazes have made them hard to get into.
Brazenly capitalizing on the whims and passions of teenagers seems a questionable practice for institutions dedicated, in part, to the well-being of young people. Here's how Rachel Toor describes her former job as an admissions officer at Duke in her new book, Admissions Confidential : I travel around the country whipping kids and their parents into a frenzy so that they will apply.
I tell them how great a school Duke is academically and how much fun they will have socially. Then, come April, we reject most of them. The university devotes a considerable amount of money and effort to recruiting BWRKs "bright, well-rounded kids" only because denying them boosts the school's selectivity rating.
Although Toor seems disillusioned by the task of pumping up application rates, she also seems to believe that some measure of a school's worth can be found in the number of students it rejects.
Although the books devoted to "elite" and "top" and "highly selective" college admissions currently make up a vast literature, the very notion of a how-to manual devoted to the secrets of blasting one's way into the Ivy League is, in fact, a relatively recent phenomenon. The book The Ivy League Today, for example, was much more concerned with "Ivy mores and conduct" than with test scores and personal essays.
The first chapter, "The Couth and the Uncouth," approvingly described the Ivy Leaguer's "amused tolerance" of the nationwide craze for all things Ivy that had begun in the late fifties.
Ivy fashion "became an absolute uniform among the college students of the nation," Frederic Birmingham, the book's author, wrote. It was the culmination of a year-long investigation of admissions practices at Yale, and was first published, in shorter form, as an essay in The New Yorker it may in fact be the ur-text for the sort of book of which Admissions Confidential is the most recent.
Although the Yale depicted in the book seems to have given longer shrift to grades and scores than The Ivy League Today would have one believe, great care was taken not to admit a class composed entirely of "successful test-takers" and to use the dean of admissions's telling term "little twerps.
One boy's future at Yale was grievously jeopardized by his zealous father, who used a chance encounter with an admissions officer to brandish a scrapbook of his son's accomplishments. The admissions officer on whom the scrapbook was foisted sadly remarked, "The pitiful thing is that the boy is a great kid. The whole incident, which will do him no good, will have to be brought out at the committee meeting.
The parental strategy here gives a slight insight into the boy's home life and background. Two decades later the world had changed.
By the s being able to wear a pair of khakis with a certain casual elegance no longer greased the skids in an Ivy League admissions office, because suddenly numberless ruffians with all manner of more substantial accomplishments were gumming up the works. By the s admissions guidebooks no longer took the form of sociological surveys; they had become utterly prescriptive in nature. The subtitle of the first chapter of How to Get Into an Ivy League School was "A Gate Crasher's Guide to the Ivy League," and the chapter described an admissions scene in which eagerness and grinding preparation were the very stuff of which an Ivy League admission was made.
This was the beginning of the era in which Ivy League applicants needed almost ludicrously impressive bona fides if they were to be alive in the water. Even a girl who was "streamlined Ivy, prepped from the cradle," needed not only a high school visit to Israel to give her the stuff of a winning essay but a visit that happened to occur some kids are just born lucky "during the invasion of Lebanon.
Nothing makes today's Ivy League admissions officer sit up and take notice more than a flak jacket and flying shrapnel—that is, as long as it's accompanied by a 5 on the AP physics exam and a combined SAT score of or better.
For the most part, the current books on the subject of elite-college admissions share a numbing sameness, although I did find The Princeton Review's College Admissions remarkable for its rather caustic counsel: "Misspellings in your application can make you look like a moron," it advises, and "You probably should not attach a photograph to your application if you are very overweight.
They explain that if kids are to have any chance at a top college, they must pursue the most rigorous curriculum available to them, both within and without the walls of their secondary schools.
That's true. It is also true that such a curriculum is going to crush a lot of kids. A regimen of brutal academic hazing may be appropriate in some disciplines, for medical students or Ph. A subcategory of this genre of books is composed of in-depth narrative accounts of the experiences of individual students applying to Ivy League colleges, their every emotional nuance dwelled on in luxuriant detail.
It's a kind of admissions porn, which, like all pornography produced for a niche market, can seem simultaneously comical and befuddling to those outside the niche. Bill Paul's Getting In even the title is suggestive describes the experiences of five Princeton applicants. Paul recounts his interviews with these teenagers in a style appropriate to, say, a Sue Grafton novel "Lucy spoke with the hard, nasal accent of southern New Jersey as she held aloft a solitary French fry and pointed it at me" , adding to the impression that these kids are not merely applying to college but are in fact involved in a drama of almost life-and-death consequence.
The teenagers described in such books have transferred the most profound and elemental of adolescent emotions—romantic attraction—onto the most unromantic of pursuits: college selection. Getting Into Yale is, according to its jacket copy, "the tale of Josh Berezin, who after only one visit, became obsessed with entering the hallowed halls and tree-lined yards of Yale.
Well, he loved the Gothic architecture, and he had a good meal "the best calzone ever" at a restaurant five minutes from campus, and an admissions person told him that Yale students like to argue vehemently and then go out and play Frisbee.
Were these arguments perhaps about whether or not to play Frisbee? Although its rather misleading subtitle—"How One Student Wrote THIS Book and Got Into the School of His Dreams"—suggests that Berezin's admission was the result of a stunt, in fact he had the goods, carrying a healthy number of APs four in his junior year , scoring notably well on his boards all but one of his scores were in the s , and participating on the varsity football and wrestling teams.
We are delighted to honor our esteemed colleagues and look forward to doing this again next year. The Levy Chairholder may be a teacher of any discipline or grade level, with a preference for the teacher whose pedagogy transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries.
The Levy Chair honors The Rev. William Turner Levy, Viewpoint teacher and Provost from to See article page 98 for more on Dr.
Upper School English Teacher Dr. Moreover, regardless of her knowledge, she is forever interested in ideas and learning. Her generosity and collegiality reminds me of Dr. Levy, who often collected newspaper articles on history and politics and passed them along to me. Enlivening his lessons with fascinating details and humanizing stories about historical characters, Rob presents history as a tale of cause and effect driven by choices made by real people contending with complex personal, social, economic, philosophical, and spiritual motivations.
Her students' projects typically combine many disciplines in creative ways, and she demonstrates a willingness to collaborate consistently with her fellow teachers in Primary and Lower School. She exudes boundless enthusiasm!
That includes my own favorite teachers from college. She is inspiring, brilliant, creative, dedicated, and effective in every way. The children love her, colleagues respect her, and I am personally left speechless by her humility and endless quest to be the best teacher possible.
In my opinion, she achieves that every day in our classroom. She even went on to marry a teacher. She attended California Lutheran University and never looked back! She spent her first eight years at Viewpoint teaching Third Grade. She is currently loving the opportunity to work with Fourth Graders on their writing skills as she embarks on her eleventh year at Viewpoint School.
When I contacted one of the co-chairs a few years back to help with the typhoon victims in the Philippines, the Committee and the community responded.
I have been an active member of PPDI ever since. I continue to serve with PPDI to help foster an inclusive and vibrant community for all of our children.
Yet, as a singlemother of two children, one of whom is an African-American young man here at Viewpoint, I also feel a responsibility to actively engage in his environment, and to stay present on his journey. It is a place all can come to, and leave enlightened. As a PPDI member, I feel obligated to help promote learning and understanding of all cultures in our community for the benefit of us all. Today, I am involved because we have come so far as a school and community, yet have a long way to go.
I believe awareness is curative! Coming to our monthly meetings has made me a more tolerant and aware individual in school and at large.
Parents are the ultimate role models. Every word, movement, and action has an effect. These messages, whether implicit or explicit, are the foundation with which the next generation will make all their decisions.
Our kids may roll their eyes at us, but our messaging around equity, voice, and collaboration is what will mold and evolve how they move through the future. This organization recognizes, celebrates, and supports the cultural diversity of Viewpoint School, and strives to develop an understanding and appreciation of different cultures.
The man who preceded both of them never went to college. So, being able to have your own opinion or look for the evidence that could disprove your own opinion, gives you a better understanding. Yet, as a singlemother of two children, one of whom is an African-American young man here at Viewpoint, I also feel a responsibility to actively engage in his environment, and to stay present on his journey. But the demands of the coursework itself are what really command attention.
I love Viewpoint, but it would make Viewpoint even more of a safe space for me. Viewpoint is a school that is doing amazing things with students and I feel very fortunate to be a part of it. And PPDI will continue to enjoy serving our student body and community with monthly lunchtime cultural delicacies to celebrate our multicultural environment. These messages, whether implicit or explicit, are the foundation with which the next generation will make all their decisions. MARK: We have an opportunity, as we think about students and what they need for the future, to think broadly about the skills that students will need to be successful in a time of rapid change.