Our End-of-Year faculty and staff meetings follow fast on the heels of graduation: two days of group work, reports, setting up new agendas and closing up older ones. Our “chalkboard” exercise on how we assess our work on cultural competency was revealing as we learned what others had done, their challenges and their hopes for next year. Our accolades about students who are developing with impressive strides during their time here was equaled by my colleagues’ testimonials that prove we all come to work each day for the right reasons: to nurture the development of our students and to work in a community of mindful adults.
Commencement exercises on Friday, June 9 celebrated the class of 2017, a diverse class composed of 86 students from the US, China, Vietnam, Mexico, England, Russia and Germany. In keeping with tradition, the class of 2017 created a meaningful ceremony that engaged the entire community. Faculty and student speakers, faculty and staff name readers, and conferrers of diplomas were selected by the class, as were the musical accompaniment and performances.
Our last-last- last assembly was this past Monday, a grand finale run quite ably by our stellar 2016-2017 assembly coordinators: Justin Dormitzer ‘17, Chad Smith ‘17, Marissa Leeman ‘18 and Lila Blaustein ’19. They called this our last-last- last assembly because faculty and staff who will be leaving CSW after this school year were invited to come up and say a few words, then soon-to- be-graduating seniors were welcome to follow suit and, of course, it was the last-ever assembly for the Class of 2017.
In 1963, Alorie Parkhill arrived at The Cambridge School at the tender age of 21, a young teacher who worked diligently each evening to stay one step ahead of her students. Over the next 44 years, as English and theater teacher, dorm parent, academic dean, and assistant head of school, Alorie worked just as diligently to inspire countless high school students and educators, helping them shape their lives and careers.
We held our modly Town Meeting this past Tuesday, continuing our discussion of the latest version of a warrant that was first discussed and worked on by Advisory Board (A-Board) way back in January 2016. This warrant concerned discussion assemblies, a topic we have really been wrestling with for well over two years.
Twenty-four CSW students received commendations from the Massachusetts Regional Scholastic Art & Writing awards, co-sponsored annually by the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (SMFA) and the Boston Globe. The Scholastic Art & Writing awards date back to 1923 and have grown to become the longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens in the U.S. Noteworthy past winners include Andy Warhol, Sylvia Plath, Truman Capote, Stephen King and many others.
A total of 14 Gold Key awards, 11 Silver Key awards and 18 Honorable Mentions were presented to CSW students.
It hardly feels that way today (I write this on Monday; it is raining here in Weston and it’s a chilly 54 degrees). Last week was another story, with record-high temperatures burning up New England in a four-day heat wave and we all had to work hard to stay on task!
In 2007, as the culmination of her Capstone Project, alumna Carra Beth Cheslin ‘07 created a lovely mural that she installed outside the head’s office in the entrance hallway of the Kluchman Building entitled, “Semillas”—Spanish for seeds. The key located next to the mural explained that the hand, in lavender, represented unique transformation; the shoots of color (blue, green, turquoise, pink, yellow, orange) represented stability, renewal, growth, celebration, courage and creativity; the white ribbon was hope and reflection; and the background, which was a sunset, was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, “Sower with Setting Sun.”
“You can never go back.” Or so the saying goes. This old saw touches on a common worry that many of us have — if we go back to a place or moment from our past, we might come to the determination that we not have made enough of ourselves in the intervening years and might, therefore, feel a sense of disappointment or even regret in who we have become.
This is the time of the year when I usually find myself trying to slow down a bit, to take things in and to be mindful that we are getting ready to enter the last Mod of the year, the last CSW Mod ever for our wonderful seniors. “Walk, not run” seems an apt phrase. When we walk, it seems that we can think more freely and also be more appreciative of the beauty of nature or the pretty city streets.
This week I am working while on the road, so time for my Pocket Change preparation has been scant. But, sometimes, briefer can be better, so this week I'm trying my hand at delivering my Pocket Change via a haiku. I'm hoping you can you guess what recent major event here on campus I'm referring to when I write:
in knowing your rights an inherent dignity freedom justice peace
OK, perhaps this is too brief for a Pocket Change entry, so indulge me while I write a bit more.
The Progressive Education Lab (PEL), founded by four school partners (CSW, Putney, Unquowa and Calhoun) back in 2011, is a wonderful fellowship program that brings novice teachers into the profession. PEL’s mission is to make the fellows “agents of change.” For me, one of the great professional delights I’ve experienced during my time here at CSW has been helping to establish the PEL program and to ensure its ongoing growth to serve young progressive educators beginning their careers.
An unexpected outcome of the recent visit by Ivory Coast artist Aboudia was the proclamation he made 48 hours into his time with us: “CSW, c'est mon école!” And a truly wonderful outcome it was, pleasing to us all and to NYC gallerist Ethan Cohen '79 who made the introduction between Aboudia and CSW.
Each year as we teeter on the edge of spring here in New England, I find myself considering the richness of the CSW landscape and all that is going on at this very key time of year in the life of a school.
This week, during our admissions revisit days, we welcome many visitors to campus as they determine what school they will be calling “home” next year. Testimonials and information will be offered by our parent panelists and our student ambassadors. The classrooms and corridors will buzz with questions, comments and comparisons.
Over spring break, I spent a few days in Washington, D.C. and had time to visit a number of museums. One of the stops on my list was a return visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, a beautiful, stately building that houses some amazing exhibits. On this visit, Sarah Bernhardt’s Après la tempete (After the storm), took me by surprise —I did not know this important actress was also an accomplished sculptor.
While I enjoyed all the museums I visited, the museum at the top of my list for this trip was the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Securing tickets was a little challenging—it required waking up at 6 a.m. two days in a row to try to order them online—but on the second morning I was successful!
In her beautiful collection of essays, Upstream, Mary Oliver has crafted an exquisite piece entitled, "Staying Alive." It's about foxes, writing and reading and, yes, staying alive. She writes: “You must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.”
This Mod has provided me with a really interesting added bonus: partnering with Satinder Parmar '17 in his Capstone project about leadership. When Satinder initially approached me, he proposed shadowing me and learning a bit about what I do as head of school.
Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of African Americans in U.S. history. The event grew out of “Negro History Week,” the brainchild of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. Other countries around the world, including Canada and the United Kingdom, also devote a month to celebrating black history.
Each December, at our annual Evening of the Arts, a large and bustling crowd packs into the Moir Atrium in the Garthwaite Center for Science and Art and is wowed by the design ingenuity, creativity and social-political statements made by our student designers and their models during the Wearable Art Fashion Show.
In addition to the beauty of a snowy winter weekend compliments of a visit from Mother Nature here in Boston, CSW also enjoyed visits from alumni/ae, parents and friends of the school at several welcoming events held at The Fit this past week.
The Cambridge School of Weston is a coed day and boarding private school, located near Boston, for students in grades 9-12 and PG. We offer an innovative and rigorous academic program that fosters critical thought, hands-on experiential learning and deep academic inquiry. Students choose from more than 300 courses through our unique Mod System; no two student schedules are alike.