The Field School

SELF-DISCOVERYSKILLS OF MINDGENEROSITY OF HEART

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POSTCARDS FROM THE SUMMER

Have we ever told you that Field teachers and staff are lifelong learners? It’s true—and several Field staff people spent all or part of their summer honing their craft and pursuing their interests.
 
Acting 9th Grade Head Kata Solow spent part of her summer working on her Masters of Education (M.Ed) in Independent School Leadership at Vanderbilt University. As she comes back to the Field classroom, she’s bringing her reflections on the importance of sustained, cumulative, and symbiotic community engagement. What that means, she explains, is thinking about “how we can get our students to think beyond themselves and Field and learn from and support nearby communities.” That sounds like a great souvenir to bring home to Field!
 
Another Field faculty member working on a master’s degree is Assistant 10th Grade Head Laura Gill. As part of the Bennington Low Residency MFA program, she goes to campus for 10 days twice a year to work on her focus on nonfiction writing. The program centers on reading 100 books and writing one. We’re guessing her Advanced Writing class helped sharpen her skills, too!
 
Meanwhile, Latin teacher Hugh McElroy went to Latin camp, where his group focused on helping edit an unpublished edition of Bede’s 8th century work, "Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum." He recounted one exciting discovery: “The whole group was struggling to settle on how to interpret some confusing Latin describing a Roman sarcophagus that some medieval monks were repurposing for the burial of an abbess. One of us [hint: it was Hugh!] found a picture of a similarly re-used sarcophagus from roughly the same period found about 100 kilometers away from the one we were reading about. It cleared up our confusion and drove home the benefit of studying primary sources and material remains together to reconstruct a fuller picture of the past than we could with one type of source alone.” Now there’s a lesson worth going to camp for!
 
Science teacher Bennett Pang spent three intense weeks kicking off a master’s in biology at Washington University in St. Louis. He’s excited to bring back the knowledge he gained and has already written implementation plans and restructured his curriculum for this year!
 
Meanwhile, back on campus, the facilities team has been reviewing their emergency preparedness protocols. Nancy, Field’s Director of Facilities, sent pictures of the staff doing a drill to assist a patient in need of the defibrillator, saying, “The team is prepared and ready to provide First Aid, CPR and AED! Great teamwork and Mrs. Dang was queen of the compressions!”
 
Giving our fantastic teachers and staff the opportunity to focus on their professional development is a central tenet of The Field School. Field staff who take classes, workshops, or earn degrees bring the knowledge and skills they’ve gained back to campus to share with their fellow staff members and with the students each day. We all benefit from a community full of lifelong learners of all ages!
 
It was an exciting summer with lots of learning and action—and a little bit of relaxing and fun, too! We can’t wait to see you all soon!
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Message from Dale re: Recent Events

To The Field School Community,

The tragic series of events last week that occurred in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas underscores the continuing and painful challenges our society faces when it comes to race and highlights the great importance of our schools to teach and engage students in dialogue about race, difference, and privilege. It feels important to me that our community be reminded of Field’s commitment to addressing these issues and to share our renewed commitment—in response to these recent events, but also because we are always seeking to improve our practice—to do even better this coming school year.

Some of you may not know that in 2010 Field’s Board, administrative leadership, faculty, and staff adopted a commitment to multicultural competence and recognized the conviction as deeply embedded and central to Field’s mission and core values. Our community has made significant and important steps towards multicultural competence in the years before and since the commitment was made public. Our latest edition of our annual magazine, Field Notes, rightly and proudly details the advances our community has made in this area over the last 10 years.

This past week, Field’s leadership team was on a retreat when the tragic news reports were becoming known to us. We decided to suspend our scheduled work and took time to process and discuss the events and to reflect on Field’s commitment to multicultural competence, to seeing every student as an individual, and to our mission of Self Discovery, Skills of Mind, and Generosity of Heart.

Coming out of our leadership retreat, it is our overall assessment that as leaders and as a community, we can still do better in addressing issues of race, difference, and privilege. And we can do better in supporting our students, faculty, and staff who belong to minority populations in a school that is predominantly white, heterosexual, and affluent. We reaffirm our conviction that as we do better on these issues, it serves all in our community and better prepares all students to live a life with greater positive impact on our world.

So in the aftermath of last week’s events, which we recognize are not isolated but representative of a painful part of our ongoing national history, we are moved to respond with heart, wisdom, and strength. We commit to work with the faculty, staff, and our board this fall to further improve and hasten our work towards multicultural competence, and we commit to better communicate about these issues to our students and to the broader Field community.

We are reminded that to be silent in the face of injustice is to be complicit. I feel it is important to share our voice, to share with you our grief and frustration, to remind you of Field’s values and commitments, and to ask for your support as we plan for a new school year and the opportunities that await to build an even stronger community.

May we all find healing, compassion, conviction, and peace in the summer weeks that remain.
 
Aude Sapere—Dare to Be Wise.

Sincerely,
 
 
Dale
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Hands-On Science, In and Out of the Classroom

One of Field's greatest strengths is our teachers' creativity and dedication to keeping their classes active and experiential, often in unexpected ways in traditionally theoretical subjects. Students design their own cities to learn about angles in geometry and make recipes together to practice the imperative in Spanish. Applied learning is a benchmark of the Field education, not an exception to the rule. This week, science classes featured all kinds of hands-on excitement!
 
On Monday, 6th graders were treated to an in-school science field trip with special guest Dr. Strouse, who guided them through dissections of pig hearts ("You can put your finger through the ventricle!," demonstrated one student) and had them put electrodes on to have an EKG taken. They got to keep a printout of their own heartbeat!
 
Meanwhile, at the Natural History Museum, Advanced Biology students went looking for skeletons as part of their exam on natural selection and genetics. Among other finds, each was tasked with identifying which vertebrate skeleton at the museum most resembled Tiktaalik, the "fishapod" who left the ocean to climb on land—and likely the ancestor of all modern land-dwelling vertebrates.  
 
Physics 1 students are embarking on an engineering unit. They're taking the lessons they learned from making catapults last week to build bridges out of popsicle sticks and put them to the test! Using a bridge measuring tool, they found out how strong their bridges were by applying—and increasing—pressure on the middle of the bridge. After they evaluate their bridges, they'll work to figure out how to make them even stronger!
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Be Yourself at The Field School

Self-Discovery.  It's the first word in our mission statement, and its pursuit is innate to everyday life at Field.  Students are encouraged to think and learn about themselves, and to grow as individuals over the course of their time here.  They can be studious, athletic, shy, boisterous, latino, focused, whimsical, black, white or anytihng else they want—so long as they are who they truly are.

Field is a place where you can be yourself.
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