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.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

FDR's Four Freedoms

I had the great honor to be present at the dedication and official opening of Four Freedoms Park this past Wednesday, October 17, 2012.  It was a beautiful fall day.  Clear blue sky, calm. Roosevelt would have been proud.  Looking south from the tip of Roosevelt Island where the memorial is located, across the East River to the left one sees the United Nations, to the right the old Brooklyn Navy Yards.  Both these institutions were heavily influenced by the thoughts and actions of the 32nd President.  And directly south, as the mayor mentioned in his remarks, one sees Liberty and the sea.

Designed by Louis I. Kahn thirty-nine years ago, the simple, clean lines of the monument--its trees, steps, and massive granite blocks--the symmetry of the central lawn, his startling use of perspective, the bold bust of Roosevelt and the floating words of his Four Freedoms speech all combine to express a powerful and moving message.

I was the fortunate guest of the family of Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel who was the driving force behind the monument's completion.  I'd strongly recommend a visit.  It will prove a moving and memorable experience.





Monday, October 22, 2012

St. George's and Blair

Loomis '12 and Henry '12 stopped by my office today to say hello.  In addition to the Surf Club, Loomis is active in JV Soccer at St. George's, playing with what he describes as an "exceptionally talented" team.  He's particularly enjoying the amount of time he has during the day to study, read and complete school work.

Henry too, is enjoying soccer, this time at Blair, and mentioned that he could have joined the Young Republican Club and received a beautiful fleece pullover; but decided the line was just too long.  Henry is most surprised by the amount of friends that one can make in such a short period of time.


Both boys seem to be enjoying freshman year.  It was fun to see them.


An Exeter Drop By ...

After enjoying Parent Weekend at Exeter, Jaime '12 spent his extra Monday off visiting old friends at Saint David's.  He dropped by my office to chat this morning.  Jaime is enjoying crew, although the 5 AM rise isn't always easy, and he absolutely loves his study of Homeric Democracy and the ancient world.  I wish I was taking that class!

Working hard, Jaime is clearly settling in nicely to life at Exeter.  It was great to see him.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Now You See It



Cathy Davidson's Now You See It: How Technology and Brain Science Will Transform Schools and Business for the 21st Century, (Viking, 2011), out of Duke University, explores concepts of "attention blindness" and "collective learning" and their relationships to effective leadership to emphasize "rigor" vs. "vigor."

Davidson demonstrates in multiple ways that we are attention blind. She makes a somewhat novel argument that, contrary to popular thought, modern technology isn't compromising our attention any more than it is an inherent part of human existence and has been throughout history.  She challenges the reader to instead consider modern technology an opportunity to redefine the realities of our modern world to better reflect what we value and aspire to.

No one's cognitive capacity can encompass everything, Davidson argues, so "attention blindness" is basically unavoidable; instead she argues we now need to be more conscious about what it is we choose to attend to.  It's now all at our fingertips, literally, but what of all of it is important, valuable, worthwhile?

Davidson also touches upon "multi-tasking" and debunks the idea of mono-tasking.  She re-frames multi-tasking as being about distribution rather than distraction.  Human minds have always craved activity and stimulation and with current technology where everything links with everything and the ability to see and process these links is unlike any other time in history, our schools and workplaces must adapt to a new reality and seize the moment.


Davidson identifies "These key factors for educational success -- rigor, relevance, and relationships" and states they "-- have been dubbed the new 3 R's..."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 4 Cape Cod, MA


Day 4 for the 7th grade included a trip from their camp to Provincetown, MA by bus and a bike riding exploration of the seashore reserve.  Sports occupied their time after a late lunch.  Tonight the boys and their teachers will enjoy a clambake.



Above is the Audubon Center Salt Marsh and Great Island from yesterday, and scenes from the Marinelife Cruise on Wellfleet Harbour.

The 6th Grade Arrive in Dutchess County

After the trip to Camp Ramapo this morning located in the mountains of Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, New York and on the shores of scenic Lake Sepasco, the 6th grade boys were welcomed by the Ramapo staff and introduced to the "Challenge and Choice" philosophy.

The trip up was quick and incident free.  The boys are in good spirits and excited.

Here the boys regard the treeline before beginning a series of team-building games and activities.



The afternoon included high and low rope courses.

Later in the day, the boys and their teachers hiked up the mountain to Ramapo's fabled plane crash site. Exciting stuff.

Audubon, Wellfleet


The 7th Grade enjoyed their 3rd day on the Cape at the Audubon, Wellfleet in the morning and sports in the afternoon.  The boys ate s'mores and listened to ghost stories by the fire before retiring for the evening.  All are well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 2 on the Cape


On the Cape today, 7th Grade boys enjoyed the beautiful Massachusetts sunshine and the crisp, cool fall air.  Crabbing and exploring the bay was a highlight of the day.  For Jeremy it was finding the point--literally he can!

The boys and their teachers are all well.  The weather could not be better.  Clam Bake was huge.

A Saint David's classroom transcends the walls of a traditional education.  The week the boys spend on the Cape in the 2nd month of their 7th Grade year with each other and their teachers not only embeds them in the real experiences that bring what they are studying to life, but also builds the bonds of strong community.

The time they spend together binds them closer to each other, their studies and their teachers.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cape Cod, MA ...

... greets the Saint David's 7th Grade boys with warm temperatures and a blustery fall seashore day. 

After an on-time departure from 5th Avenue this morning, the bus pulled into the campground around 3 this afternoon.  After the long ride, the boys ran, played and explored the site before settling down to dinner and the evening's activities.

The boys will be on the Cape through the remainder of this week, exploring the seashore, whale watching, sketching, journaling, participating in Audubon talks, bike tours, sports, campfires, ghost stories and s'mores, and even doing a little square dancing with the girls from Chapin. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Loyola Stop By ...

Loyola alums Jack, Johnny, and Peter, all Class of '12 stopped by Saint David's today.  We had a fun chat catching up on all they are doing. Jack and Johnny have started an a cappella group and a Facebook help page for new students to Loyola, and Peter and Johnny are working for a local politician's election campaign.  They are loving their early months in high school.

Pictured below are the three in my office today.  Great stuff! So good to see them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Red Prepare ...

... for their 2nd league game, 5th game of the season, against Collegiate. See interview.

video


White Prepare ...

... for the 4th game of the season against Collegiate on the first sunny day in some time. White is 2 and 1 for the season going into this game.

The outcome is not easily predictable. It promises to be a tough match.