To New Beginnings in 2023

By: Lori Strauss, Head of School

Head of School Lori Strauss shares her thoughts on the power of new beginnings and fresh starts as we head into the new year.

As people, we are fascinated by new beginnings. The opportunity to start again, set a personal or professional goal, change friend groups, make different decisions about how to spend our time and resources. The lure of the fresh start is strong. New Year’s resolutions have this deep desire at their core.  

As educators, we know the power of the do-over, the second iteration, another draft. The power of deep learning is that there isn’t one easy answer that you can memorize and regurgitate. Deep learning requires our students to brainstorm, create, interpret, analyze, and synthesize. If they can achieve mastery on the first attempt then the assignment or project wasn’t complex enough.  

It isn’t a game. As teachers, our goal is not to develop tests, writing prompts, or labs that are inherently unsolvable or accessible to only a few. Our desired outcomes are quite the opposite. We study the world identifying problems and issues confronting our communities, and engage students in the thinking necessary to build better solutions. There is enough complexity that we don’t have to simulate or pretend and our students see themselves as problem solvers with agency.

At our Winter Arts’ Showcase, one student invited me to view his work with him. The totality of his work was on display–every iteration. As we talked with his mother, the student described the vulnerability he felt in sharing the imperfections, the fits and starts, and “the really bad stuff.” The mother and I shared a look as he spoke, and I reminded him that the “bad stuff” was necessary. Wading through the “bad stuff” and having the courage to push past the frustration and start again is how most products, artistic or commercial, are developed. 

It is why assessment at Field is cumulative. It is the place you get to, not the starting or midpoint, that counts. That approach values academic and personal growth. 

As educators and students we are lucky to have two starts or beginnings each academic year– September and January. As parents we can encourage our children to embrace all the “starts” and value every iteration. Like our student artist, the process is necessary and often leads to a higher awareness of self and better results.  

Please join us in the New Year for the following in-person events:  

Rising 9th Grade Parent Coffee
January 12, 8:00am - 9:00am
Living Room 
All current 8th grade parents are invited to attend the Rising 9th Grade Parent Coffee in the Living Room. At this event, Upper School Director Page Stites and Middle School Director Gil Gallagher will share highlights about the Upper School experience and answer questions. Click here to register. 

Spring Parent Coffees
Parents are invited to attend the parent coffees where you’ll hear from Field faculty and administrators on various topics related to your child’s educational experience.
Middle School: Wednesday, March 8 from 8:00-9:00am
Upper School: Thursday, March 9 from 8:30-9:30am

Dare to Be Field
Saturday, April 29, 2023
This is our largest community celebration and fundraiser supporting financial aid for students. Opportunities to donate an auction item, purchase tickets, and become a sponsor will open later this month, in January. We hope you will join us as we celebrate Field at 50.