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Showing posts from April, 2014

Berkshire and Millbrook

This past Friday Mr. Imbelli and I traveled to Upstate New York and Massachusetts to visit alums at Berkshire and Millbrook.  Calder R., '10 is graduating Berkshire this year and heading off to Union College where he'll continue with hockey.

Calder's still in the goal impressing all those who watch him play. 

At Millbrook we caught up with Tau L., '13 and Zane A., '11 both thriving. Tau's into basketball and Lax, while Zane is busy narrowing his athletic focus to baseball.

Great visits all around.

Columbia Grammar and Prep

On Thursday, April 17 I had the wonderful opportunity to visit alums at Columbia Prep all the way over on the West Side.  Philip C., '10 is graduating this year and heading off to Bucknell, Ian M., '11, is a Junior, and Cameron D., Andrew H., Loomis Q., and Henry V are all Sophomores.  The boys are all working hard and doing well. 

We enjoyed a wide ranging conversation about Saint David's and Columbia.  It was great to catch up.  Cameron gave a quick tour of the school which included a stop at the photography studio to view some of his work.  Black and white is his medium--impressive!

Model UN Victory in Brooklyn Today

Dateline: Saturday, April 26th.  At St. Ann's in Brooklyn today, Saint David's Debate Team/Model UN competed in a multi-school competition, under the leadership of Mr. Shapiro.  
Saint David's boys took home the award for best delegation!  An awesome achievement given that it's our first ever competition. 
Saint David's also won some individual honors: Ryan K. won outstanding delegate (1st place) and Jack D. brought home a best delegate (2nd place) award.  
Mr. Shapiro reports that it was great to see the boys step up to the plate, especially after their original apprehension when they realized that the other delegations were a little more experienced.  
They handled each breaking crisis with cool-headed diplomacy (JFK, played by Ethan K., was even kidnapped!). They are currently enjoying their triumph at a delegate dance.  

The boys have already begun planning how they can become back-to-back champs next year.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Saint David's School

Tuesday evening, we were fortunate to welcome Michael R. Bloomberg, the 108th Mayor of the City of New York, world-renowned business leader, public health advocate, and dedicated philanthropist, as the featured speaker for our signature Alumni Parents Council Lectures event.  Taking the podium, the Mayor first encouraged the eighth graders present to always appreciate and be kind to others and to learn to work as part of a team. He then engaged in a lively conversation with the boys, who sat in a semi-circle around him at the front of a standing-room-only Hyman Hall.
Bearing in mind our school-wide theme this year of Critical Analysis, the boys had prepared several probing questions for Mayor Bloomberg that ranged from his thoughts about climate change (he stressed the need to address the effects that are measurable right now, such as pollution from coal-fired plants), to income inequality (he believes in equal opportunity, and providing access to a good education with challenging st…

The 6th Grade is in Washington, DC

Our sixth graders and several of their teachers are now in Washington, D.C.  During their three-day stay in our nation’s capital, they will visit the national monuments, Congress, the Library of Congress, The Supreme Court, the Smithsonian National Museum of Air and Space, and Frederick Douglass House. 

This is an important opportunity for our boys to see their government in action, and a culminating experience of their comprehensive study of the founding of the Republic and its system of government. 

The boys will engage in discussions and exchange ideas with lawmakers.  Their trip also involves extensive journaling of the various sites they visit and they will write poems based on their close observations and impressions.  These poems will be published this summer in our Upper School literary journal. 
Much of what the boys see will spark questions and debate, deepening their understanding and hopefully, inspiring them to always analyze and think critically about their government.

How Do You Drop an Egg Without Cracking It?

Saint David’s Upper and Lower School After School STEAM classes recently tested egg safety capsules.  Using materials such as cardboard, cotton, and straws, the boys designed and built different forms and types of padding and parachutes.

Their mission? To drop eggs from the fifth floor classrooms into our backyard without breaking the eggs.  For inspiration, the Upper School class had studied NASA's landing protocol for the Mars Rovers. This led them to hypothesize that a parachute would be an important element for success; an idea that was borne out through some initial testing.

The boys struggled with designing, building and comparing a variety of different prototype egg protection capsules, and they discussed and debated which they thought would pass the ultimate test and why.

In the Upper School, each team was given a strict “$100" budget for the purchase of supplies and materials. They had to decide, as a team, how to organize and allocate their budget.

This after schoo…

Smart Nutrition

(The following article by Head Coaches Craig Learn and Will Arias, appears in the winter 2014 issue of Saint David's Magazine)

Over the past decade, research across multiple disciplines has documented an ever-increasing trend of unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity in American youth. One of the most prominent effects of this trend is the high rate of obesity in our children and adolescents. According to recent large-scale studies, children are developing poor eating habits earlier in life, as early as 12 months of age, and 10 percent of young American children between the ages 2 and 5 can be categorized as obese (Nestlé Nutrition, 2011).

Experts have projected that this may lead to an alarming longer-term reality: that we might be the first to witness a generation of youth that is less healthy and has shorter life expectancies than their parents. Considering this concern and the fact that it is significantly easier to teach and establish good eating habits when childre…

Alumnus Presents his Prize Winning DNA Barcoding Project

This week, alum Eric C. ’12, a sophomore at Trinity School, visited our fifth grade boys to speak about his participation in the Urban Barcode Project, an annual science competition for NYC high school students, run by the DNALC at Cold Spring Harbor.

Eric and his partner, the youngest team, won second prize in the competition, an amazing achievement.  The top 100 teams are invited to compete after submitting a comprehensive proposal to the Competition Committee.

Eric explained to the fifth grade that he and his partner studied Bird’s Nest soup, an Asian delicacy. The soup, which is believed to have medicinal value, comes from Swiftlets, birds found in deep, dark caves in China that create their nests from woven and dried saliva.

Extracting the nests from the caves is an expensive, risky endeavor, and the soup is quite costly. “Since the soup is so expensive, we wanted to know if the big brands selling it used real Bird’s Nest or if they were frauds,” explained Eric. He and his partn…

Critical Analysis in Science

(The following article by Lower School Science Teacher Brian Donnelly, appears in the winter 2014 issue of Saint David's Magazine.)

When I first heard the term Critical Analysis spoken by the Headmaster at the faculty’s opening meeting, I immediately tried to think about how it could be applied within the science lab. I realized then that the phrase could hold multiple definitions, each one as important as the others. My first thought was how I, a professional educator, could use critical analysis to improve the curriculum and so better meet the needs of my students. The second was how the students themselves could use critical analysis within the classroom to learn from their own actions and improve upon them—a valuable life skill.

I was pleased to realize that I had utilized the concept of critical analysis when updating the science curriculum as part of the school-wide Curriculum Initiative. Having taught each grade of the Lower School for several years, I am extremely famili…

Alums at Georgetown and GWU

Saint David’s alumni at Georgetown and George Washington University got together for a small regional reunion on Friday.

The event was hosted by Bobby ’07 and Pierre ’07, who barbecued hamburgers and bratwursts for the whole group. The day was picture perfect, and featured lots of laughing and reminiscing. I’m told that our alums especially enjoyed Alumni Development Associate and former teacher Tom McLellan’s hand picked photos from the boys’ adventures in fifth grade. All had a wonderful time.

We’ve been increasing our regional reunions, and the D.C. event follows last year’s in L.A. We look forward to more opportunities in the future to gather our alumni together.

Evaluation of Method in Math

(The following article by Upper School Math Coordinator Nick Reeb appears in the winter 2014 issue of Saint David's Magazine.)

It is no surprise to learn that in order to attain mathematical fluency, we must develop our calculation and reasoning abilities. We practice our calculation skills in an effort to organize the world of numbers that exists all around us, and we build our reasoning ability so that we are better prepared to solve the variety of problems that we may confront. 
Though these skills are vital, there is a third and often overlooked element to mathematical fluency: the ability to use critical analysis to evaluate a method or argument. It is more difficult to teach and learn this, in no small part because as a skill it is less explicit by nature.

There are two ways that we approach this year’s school-wide theme of critical analysis in math classes at Saint David’s. In the Sixth Grade, boys learn about proportion and scale by crafting a model of a street collection m…


I had the pleasure of visiting alums Austen '10 and Justin '13 yesterday at Collegiate. Both boys are doing great. Austen will be attending Cornell in the fall and was off to his baseball game right after our meeting. Justin has settled into high school with the ease of a hand in a fully seasoned mitt. 
It was fun catching up. 

Delighted by Dinosaurs

Our Omega boys are immersed in an interdisciplinary study of dinosaurs: an adventure that combines music, social studies, science, math and art. They have been reading books about dinosaurs and recording research. In science they are learning about the periods in which they lived, their diversity, and characteristics. Soon the boys will go on a field trip to the American Museum of Natural History where they will act as paleontologists in a hands-on digging exhibit; they also plan to visit the Bronx Zoo’s dinosaur safari.  Next month, they will perform the Dinosaur Show for their parents—a musical showcase of what they have learned. In preparation for their show, they are currently creating a Dinosaur Mural in art, featuring their own dinosaur creations against a habitat background. 

Work on a mural such as this encourages cooperative problem-solving. The boys say that it is “so exciting” to create the mural, and this is evident in their singular focus on their painting and animated e…

Technology Integrated

(The following are excerpts from Technology Integrated: Critical Analysis Through Coding and 3D Design by Saint David's faculty members Nora Sundar and Toni Andrews, which appears in the winter 2014 issue of Saint David's Magazine.)

First Grade Engineers Build with Motors and Sensors

In the fall, first graders built and programmed interactive sculptures with Lego WeDo kits. Along with the traditional Lego building blocks and beloved mini-figures, these kits include gears, cams, wheels, axles, motors, and sensors. Boys began by building a simple propeller and learning how to connect Lego parts to laptops with wires. They used the graphical, block-based coding interface to create a program to control the motor. Within twenty minutes boys’ mouse clicks resulted in twirling, kinetic sculptures!

In subsequent lessons, boys were invited to consider their own bodies as an analogy to help understand the process by which sensors capture a variety of data, send this input to a processor …