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Lise's Lens: August 31, 2023

Hello — and welcome to the first installment of Lise’s Lens of the 2023-24 school year! Lise’s Lens is my weekly blog, which is released every Thursday afternoon with the community newsletter. Take a look to find out what I’ve been reading, thinking about, and watching/listening to.

To start, here are a few quick facts about me:
  • This is my fifth year at CSW
  • I was born and raised in Haiti and still maintain a residence there, though the very difficult times the country is facing have prevented me from going back for a few years now.
  • I have two grown children, a son and a daughter. 
  • Prior to moving to Weston for my headship at CSW, I lived and worked in the Baltimore area for 23 years, and Pittsburgh, PA, for 5 years
  • I love to garden, cook, read, admire and appreciate fabric and art in general…
  • I spent this summer welcoming students from Taiwan on campus and to the Boston area, admiring all the facilities work happening, being with family in Canada and France and also being inspired by incredible sustainability work being done on Governor’s Island in NYC…
  • My favorite thing about CSW is the people! Colleagues and students, trustees, parents and getting to know more and more alumni every year! This is a vibrant, interesting, curious and innovative caring community! And I get to teach!

  • As we head into the new school year, I have been thinking a lot about the concept of belonging. In the past year or so, institutions everywhere have been adding this critical value to their lexicon, making it a priority to foster a sense of belonging amongst employees, students, and the like. But I think it is important that we pause to understand what we mean when we use this word. What does it mean for a student to feel like they belong, and how can we as educators and caregivers cultivate this feeling? This Time magazine essay by Geoffrey Cohen, Professor of Psychology and the James G. March Professor of Organizational Studies in Education and Business at Stanford University, does an excellent job in articulating what it means to belong. His three core messages of belonging are: you are seen, you have potential, and you are not alone.
  • I am thinking about how lucky I am to work in education, where each year feels like the opportunity for a fresh start. I love how, each September, I am able to meet new people, set new goals, and establish new routines, and I hope that our students feel the same way. I am so pleased and proud about where we are as a school community and I am so, so excited for the year ahead. 

  • I am watching our peer mentors, dorm leaders, team captains, and AIA group heads become strong, confident, and caring leaders before my very eyes. This is one of my favorite parts about working at a school. I love watching our students grow and transform as they move from one stage of life to the next. And one of the best parts is that no two students embrace the role of leader in quite the same way. Some are quiet and patient; others are charismatic and assertive — but all are empathetic, conscientious, and kind. I am so proud of them all, and can’t wait to watch as one day, our new students step up to become leaders themselves. It’s a beautiful cycle. 
I love this photo of our student leaders getting ready to welcome new students for orientation earlier this week!


The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.