Welcome to the Headmaster's Blog where you'll find updates, thoughts, and events regarding Saint David's School, the education of boys, and other items of interest. This is by no means meant to be a complete account of all that happens at Saint David's. Please refer to the school's website for more complete details -- it's more a Headmaster's musings.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Roma, 15 Marzo, 2012

The flight from Florence to Rome and the transfer connection were both smooth, on time, and hassle free. All are safe on our JFK bound Alitalia flight. Departure for New York is on-time.

Arrivederci Roma!

Aeroporto di Firenze



The group has arrived safely at the airport. It's early morning. Final Festivities last night proved to be nothing less then spirited and funny. A mock political debate written, directed, and performed by the boys brought the house down with several incredibly witty lines delivered with the timing and flair of a late night comedian.

Beautiful day to travel today. We have been fortunate.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pazzi Chapel

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Inside the Pazzi Chapel, as the monks have done for centuries, the boys chant and, after concluding, receive applause from other visitors inside the chapel. I've captured the experience as best I can; but it is nothing in comparison to the feelings experienced.

Ponte S. Trinita



We cross back over the Arno for Piazza della Signoria, S. Croce and the Pazzi Chapel.

Sketching



Because the chapel is so small, half the boys go in to intimately view the frescos while the other half sketches. Here, you see a sketch in progress--of the south wall of the cloister of S. Maria del Carmine. It is so quiet. There is not a sound, but the scratch of pencils on paper. We are the only group here this early in the morning.

Masaccio



The boys have made their way across the Arno to see the Brancacci Chapel at S. Maria del Carmine. Inside they will view the transitional, early Renaissance frescos by Masolino, Masaccio, and Filippino Lippi, with Masaccio being our principal focus, especially "TheTribute Money."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bargello



After spending the morning at the Accademia sketching Michelangelo's "David" we are now waiting for entry to the Bargello to specifically view Donatello's "David" and Verrocchio's "David."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sports, 12 Marzo, 2012

The pass may have been incomplete, but their day isn't. The boys are now enjoying a late afternoon of sports by the River Arno. As with all our days to date, it is beautiful one--a balmy 70.

As the Tuscan Sun begins to set on our 6th day, it does so to the frenetic sounds of football plays being called, soccer balls being passed, and that incredibly fulfilling sound of a baseball popping perfectly into a mitt.

Florence! Does it get any better than this?

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Luca della Robbia



The boys enjoy the joys of childhood depicted by della Robbia in his cantoria completed in the late 1430s--a detail above.
The boys are contrasting della Robbia's with Donatello's--both cantorie were designed for S. Maria del Fiore and della Robbia's includes an inscription of Psalm 150.

Piazza Della Repubblica

Ignazio, our Florentine guide, introduces the boys to Firenze, officially. Under us is the old forum and Via Roma--the road directly to Rome--all roads, after all, lead to Rome, right?  This is just a taste of what Ignazio is sharing with the boys.  They are hanging on every work.  Ignazio's charm makes it easy.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Top Giotto's Tower ...

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... It's sunset and the boys have just finished their climb. Here's an interview from the top.

Pranzo a Porcospina



Nothing quite like a three course lunch across from the Medici Chapel. In keeping with our porcupine theme, the boys start, as always in Italy, with a delicious pasta. In this case sporting a spicy theme.

The Chairs of S. Marco



In the Cloister ...



... of San Marco, the boys are sketching . It was an early start this morning, for the hike across Florence. The Tuscan Sun is high and bright already. It is an absolutely beautiful Sunday. The boys have visited the cell of Savonarola and viewed the frescos of Fra Angelico and Ghirlandaio. The Renaissance--it's all right here at S. Marco--the Medici, money, religion, excess, the vanities, violence, counter-cultural movements and quickly changing politics.

Several Italian women, intrigued and impressed by their journal sketching and note taking, just asked for photos with the boys.

Next it's onto mass at S. Marco and lunch.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Firenze, Marzo 10, 2012

We arrived safely in Firenze late this afternoon, first stopping at Piazzale Michelangelo and soaking in a spectacular view of the city of Florence.  Form there we left the bus and walked down the hill, along the Arno and then across it via Ponte Vecchio.  Below are photos of some of today's sights, including a few from Assisi and Florence.  The boys are in their rooms now and lights are out.  So ends a great day 5.

The Gate to Assisi


Morning Chapel in Assisi

Upper Basilica San Francesco

Florence and Santa Maria del Fiore from Piazzale Michelangelo



The Arno and the bell tower of the Plazzo Vecchio


Some of the boys with the owner of Enoteca


The atmosphere ...



... inside San Pietro is one of rustic Umbrian. The boys settle into gastronomic delights.

Pranzo a San Pietro


At the top of Assisi we lunch after visiting the tomb of the saint. It's a windy, cool, but gorgeous day.

The Basilica di San Francesco



Assisi


After chapel at the gate to the Medieval city, overlooking the countryside of Umbria, we begin the climb up Via Frate Elia to the Basilica.

The Drive Begins ...





... We are en route. Arrivederci Roma!

Arrivederci Roma




It's early Saturday morning. With breakfast behind us, we are now loading the bus for a 7:30 am departure for Assisi. Another beautiful Roman day.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Inside the Basilica ...



... a beam of light just for us.

Vaticano


Can you get a more beautiful afternoon! Here you see the boys in Saint Peter's Square, it's 3:30 pm, listening to descriptions and details of Bernini's incredible embracing arms of the piazza.

Marzo 9


After visiting Saint Peter in Chains this morning, we are all sitting down on a glorious day to pranzo at L'isola della Pizza on Via degli Scipioni by il Vaticano. It's been a busy morning. Now, it's a little relaxing before we visit St. Peter's Square for sketching and then tour the Basilica. Spirits are high.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

You're in for a Special Treat, 2nd Grade Parents

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I'm at JFK now preparing to depart for Roma to join the 8th grade, and I can't get this morning's Second Grade performance of Huzzah, Huzzah out of my mind. I won't be able to make next week's performance, but I did make rehearsal just before departing the school. It was phenomenal. The boys are so excited. Above is just a little tease of what's to come. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Class of 2012 Arrives in Rome

After departing a little late from JFK last night, the 8th grade arrived safely in Rome at 2:18 AM our time this morning--this I know for sure, the phone is loud at that time of the morning! They hit the ground running, immediately visiting sites in the eternal city on schedule.  Most slept on the plane over, arriving refreshed.

 The Pantheon was a highlight of the day for many, as were the watercolors that intrigued them in Piazza Navona--I think some parents may be seeing those watercolors in a week or two, wrapped beautifully.  All have enjoyed their first dinner together at their hotel and are now preparing for bed--their first night in Italy.

The Girls from Spence

Saint David's 3rd Grade boys played host to 3rd Grade girls from Spence this morning in Hyman Hall.  After singing for each other and then with each other they enjoyed getting to know each other over cookies and juice.  The girls performed a very 60s inspired revival with some Peter, Paul and Mary, while the boys presented numbers that complemented their study of NYC Immigration--a little "New York, New York" by Leonard Bernstein, Irving Berlin's "Couple of Swells," originally sung by Judy Garland and Fred Astaire, some West Side Story, and of course The Beatles' "Let it Be" to close it out.

Together Spence and Saint David's then sang "Getting to Know You" from Rogers and Hammerstein's fifth musical "The King and I."  What fun!

Following is a small clip I filmed on location--it's the boys' final number.

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Building Strong Communities

Exciting news!  Saint David's is starting a Community Building Club for boys in grades 1-4.  This club is for students who are interested in helping strengthen the Saint David’s community and its neighborhood.  Boys in this club will complete projects together that will improve our school community and build relationships among themselves, their teachers, and other members of our community.

The club will meet every Tuesday morning at 7:45 am from April 3 – June 5.  If you think your son would benefit from participating in a community-building club like ours and would like your son to join, please contact Amanda Rathbun, or your son's homeroom teacher.  If you are not sure if your son would be able to make every morning, please sign up anyway!

In addition to our newly formed Parents Association Committee on Community which focuses on building community among our families, this effort focuses on the boys and provides opportunities for our teachers and the boys to build and strengthen their immediate community.  By rigorously pursuing the strengthening of the bonds that bind community, we not only fulfill this year's school-wide goal, we make our already strong community stronger. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

From the Ancients and the Medieval to the Revolution and Immigration, We Cover it All at SDS

It was a busy week or two at Saint David's.  In addition to the 8th grade boys preparing for their departure for Rome this Monday, the 3rd grade's Ellis Island mock immigration experience, and the 2nd Grade's Wax Museum, we enjoyed performances by the 6th grade in "For Though They May Be Parted," an original script and score by our own 20th Century Kaleidoscope team of teachers; 7 Theta's production of Everyman, the Medieval morality play that uses allegorical drama to make its point, and Silk Road, the 4th Grade's mock Silk Road journey throughout the ancient world.

On our Silk Road, the Headmaster's office was Rome.  Above and at bottom are two pictures we snapped of some traders from Arabia peddling their silk in exchange for Rome's glass and jewels.





At right, you'll find a few of the virtues, vices, objects and activities that are personified in Everyman.  Once the messenger of death visited everyman, it was his friends and kindred who first abandoned him.  They were soon followed by Goods (worldly possessions) , Beauty, Strength, Discretion, Five Wits and Knowledge.  It was only Good Deeds that stayed with Everyman through it all.

All of these events are examples of the many culminating experiences that follow weeks and months of study by the boys.  Each is a physical, hands-on manifestation of the boys' learning --their study, knowledge and meaning-making.  They are also examples of the incredible, innovative and creative curriculum work by our teachers, that has come from our Curriculum Initiative.