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Showing posts from April, 2018

Morning Concert for the Lower School

Lower School boys were treated to a morning concert yesterday by Saint David's First Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, and Philharmonic Ensemble.

Directed by Mrs. Francis, our young musicians of the First Orchestra played "I Saw Three Ships" and an arrangement of Vivaldi's "Spring" Concerto. 

The Percussion Ensemble, under the direction of Mr. Francis, followed with "Spanish Dance No. 5" by Enrique Granados; the Philharmonic Ensemble, conducted by Mr. Hough, closed with "The Pink Panther" by Henry Mancini and "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg. 

The musicians also spoke to the audience about the works they were playing, and taught the boys in the audience a bit about each group and its instruments.

Music is integral to Saint David's program and our embrace of the classical ideal of balance in all things. Our boys are fortunate to be able to participate in a strong music program, and will be even more fortunate to…

In D.C.

Last week, our sixth graders were in Washington, D.C., the culminating experience in their year-long study of American history.

The three-day trip included a tour of the Capitol; a Supreme Court docent lecture; viewing the Gallery of the House Chamber; visits to Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the Museum of American History, and Mount Vernon; and an evening tour of the national monuments.

This signature sixth grade experience provides our boys the opportunity to observe institutions of our democracy in action, and deepens understanding of topics they have studied in both history and science. 

Study of DNA with the DNALC

Eighth graders began their study of DNA last week through our partnership with the Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center, the world's first science center devoted to genetics education.

DNA educators work with our teachers to lead this unit, which builds on the boys' introduction to DNA in the fifth grade. This spring they are carrying out original research using DNA barcoding and gel electrophoresis, following the lab protocol that molecular biologists employ to extract and analyze DNA. They also learn how to use the actual equipment that DNA researchers use.

This inquiry-based unit builds on our boys' curiosity about genetics and is part of a year-long study of the science of the human body. Our school's partnership with DNALC, now in its fifth year, provides them the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of the DNALC as well as their exceptional science teachers.

Steinway Hall Concert

This past Tuesday, Saint David's advanced piano students joined with several piano students from the Marymount School to perform in a piano recital at Steinway Hall. In this elegant setting, our boys showcased their talents on a nine-foot concert grand piano. The students played works by composers that included Pachelbel, Mozart, Bach, Einaudi, and John Legend, among others. The program also featured a world premiere written and performed by Julian S. '18.  The boys enjoyed listening to each other and their colleagues from Marymount, and the concert was a rousing success.

Congratulations to Saint David's and Marymount's accomplished pianists for providing a beautiful evening of music.


Fossil Friends

Twenty young paleontologists shared their vast knowledge about dinosaurs in a presentation this past Friday to a delighted audience of parents and teachers.

During the Omega Dinosaur Presentation the boys sang dinosaur related songs (one with special verses the boys wrote themselves) and shared research facts that they had discovered about the Tyrannosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and Brachiosaurus.  The boys delivered their lines with assurance and sang with zest.

Our Omega boys' study of dinosaurs is an interdisciplinary integration of art, music, and science. The boys read books featuring the prehistoric reptiles, learn about fossils when they visit the Dinosaur Hall at the American Museum of Natural History, create dinosaur-related art, and master songs about dinosaurs for their presentation.

Congratulations to all of our Omega dinosaur scientists on their fine performances, and to Mr. Moore, Ms. Clark, Mrs. Birnbaum and Mrs. Cawley.

Author Karina Yan Glaser Meets With Fifth Graders

Karina Yan Glaser, author of her highly acclaimed debut novel, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, met with our fifth graders this morning during their Language Arts classes for a writer's workshop.

Ms. Glaser engaged the boys in discussions about character development, in particular how to write authentic characters that defy stereotypes, are diverse, and multi-dimensional. The boys discussed how characters in some of their favorite books, such as the Harry Potter series, are well rounded,with hero and antihero characters not fitting stereotypes.  They also played games in which they had to identify a book based on descriptions of a character.

Ms. Glaser's visit was made possible by our Parents Association Author Series, which provides our boys the invaluable opportunity to interact with published authors.

Berkshire and Millbrook

Visited alums Jeremy '14, Austin '15, and John '17 at Berkshire in Sheffield, Massachusetts and Will '14, Mac '15 and Luke '17 at Millbrook in Millbrook New York this past Thursday.

The boys looked and sounded great.

Jeremy and Will are both graduating this year.  They are excited for their next steps.

History of The Graham

As we are in the midst of a series of tours of our expansion into Graham House, I thought I would share some of the building's interesting history:

Built in 1891 by Thomas Graham, The Graham was the first residential apartment hotel built on the East Side. Considered at the time to be a massive building, its seven stories were made of Indiana limestone and Pompeian brick. It sat on the crest of Prospect Hill surrounded by trees and open farmland, some 30 blocks north of the last cluster of large buildings at the southern edge of Central Park. The hotel boasted views of the “Hudson Valley to the North with Washington Heights beyond.”(1)

Its location in the middle of nowhere, hard to imagine today, wasn’t its only problem.

“Georgian lintels and Romanesque details here and there” define the building’s architecture, said a critic at the time, “but it comes at the expense of real Romanesque details. Graham seemed to want to do everything, all at once, and he had none of the gift of gr…

Spring Tours of Graham House

Now that we are in the "sprint to the finish" phase of our school consolidation/expansion project, I have begun leading school-wide hard hat tours for all of our parents so they can see the amazing new spaces in which teaching and learning will soon take place.

Saint David's School this September will feature three new gymnasiums, a new lunchroom, performing arts center and music suite, new Upper and Lower School libraries, a STE(A)M suite with terrace, and homeroom suites with common areas--all consolidated on 89th Street. Specials are situated in the central core of the school, making them easily accessible by all grades. These spaces are increasingly taking form, and it has grown easy to visualize them in use.

As I take parents through these new rooms, they can envision how the additional space will allow our program to thrive: the increased collaborative learning opportunities, exciting STE(A)M interdisciplinary projects made possible, the ability to engage in s…

Cheered On for Kalina School Fundraisers

The first of our school's three walk-a-thons for Saint David's Kalina School in Tigray, Ethiopia, took place yesterday afternoon.

Cheered on by the pre-primary boys, faculty and staff, our seventh and eighth graders bounded from 12 East 89th Street and headed over to Central Park where they walked or ran the oval to raise money in continuing support of the school that Saint David's built in 2013 with our partner, Save the Children.

Today and tomorrow boys in Grades Four through Six will also participate in walk-a-thons during their sports periods.

The series of fundraisers is one of several projects our eighth grade boys spearhead under the guidance of their teacher Tom Ryan. The boys are excited to be contributing to the greater good through their sustained commitment to the Kalina community.

Saint David's Magazine Interview on Expansion

The following interview with me about our expansion project and its related campaign is featured in the current issue of Saint David's Magazine:

Q: What is the background to the school’s expansion project?
It all began with a planning cycle in 2006, when the school engaged an outside strategic consultant to help us organize our strategic thinking. Out of this process we identified three goals: the first was to attract and retain exceptional faculty. This, we believe, is the most important asset of a school—its intellectual, human capital; the second goal was to ensure we remain representative of a broad cross-section of New York City. We wanted to be much more representative of the socio and economic diversity of this great city, while maintaining true to our mission, educational philosophy, and classical underpinning; the third strategic goal was to evaluate whether the physical assets of the school were mission-focused and driven.

We decided to tackle these goals in that order.…

Preparing to Sketch and Write in D.C.

Sixth graders prepared for the monument sketching and related writing they will do while on their upcoming three-day study tour of Washington, D.C., with a recent activity in front of the American Museum of Natural History.

There, the boys sketched the Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt, and then brainstormed related poetic devices such as simile, metaphor, and personification that could be used in a poem about the statue.

When they return to class after the D.C. trip, they will use their brainstorming ideas and sketches of national monuments to create observational poetry for publication in our Upper School literary and art publication, OBELISK.

Observational drawing and related reflections are an emphasis of our program's aesthetic pillar.  Throughout their years at Saint David's our boys develop and hone these skills, cultivating an ability to express what they see and think through art and in writing.

Science: Space and Senses

Recently, fifth graders took advantage of our proximity to and partnership with the American Museum of Natural History to deepen and augment their learning in science.

The boys first sat in on the sixth graders' spectacular, research based Digital Universe space presentations, and left the Hayden Planetarium eager to "fly through space" next year.

They then explored the museum's "Our Senses" exhibit, to learn more about the human body and the brain, a topic connected to the boys' study of natural selection.

We are particularly fortunate to engage in partnerships with leading scientific institutions like AMNH and to be located in a city with such a wealth of opportunities for our boys to experience learning outside of the classroom.