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 30, 2018

Family Fun on Ice

Saint David's families had a great time skating at Wollman Rink last night, and enjoyed some amazing food and camaraderie as well. The Family Skating Party is such a fun, community building evening brought to us each year courtesy of our fantastic Parents Association and parent body.

The evening raises funds for the many mission-focused initiatives that our PA committees embrace. Special thanks to this year's Co-Chairs Greg Baer, Jaime Neary, and Jeanine Salvatore, for all their planning, marketing, and organizing to ensure another magical Saint David's experience for our boys and their families.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Visit from Class of 2018 Boys

Yesterday, four alumni from the Class of 2018 visited with me and toured their newly expanded alma mater. Benno W., Jack K. and Grant P. are all at Westminster, and Will U. is at Pomfret.  When I asked them their initial impression of the school, they had one word: "Amazing!"

Expansion map in hand, and led by Mr. McLellan they took off to see all the highlights. Along the way, they met several of their teachers including Ms. Iannicelli, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Barbieri and Coach Roman.  The boys finished their tour in Hyman Hall where they met with Mr. Shapiro and Ms. Davis.

It was great to see the boys back at Saint David's--they were so happy to see the fruits of the sacrifices that they made as a class for the benefit of our current and future students. This school is and always will be their school too, and we hope they visit often. I look forward to seeing Benno, Jack, Grant, Will and more of our young alumni at next month's Young Alumni Chapel and Dinner.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Boys on the Cape

Seventh graders and their teachers are enjoying their week of interdisciplinary learning on Cape Cod. 

The week's agenda includes a marine biology harbor cruise, the Great Island hike, sketching from nature, cycling, sessions with scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and exploring the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Active learning outdoors, which involves exploration, discovery, and engagement aligns with how boys learn best. The experience augments what they learn in the classroom. It also strengthens the bonds between the boys and their classmates.

Building Connections Through MCC Partnership

The second year of our school's partnership with Manhattan Childrens Center, a school that provides treatment and education to children with autism and related disabilities, began last week. To prepare our second grade boys for their visits to MCC ,where they participate in a variety of activities with MCC students, educators from the school recently led a student orientation at Saint David's.

Our boys practiced communicating and interpreting images on a card, without using language. Afterward, they reflected on the challenges of communicating without words, as well as techniques that were useful for conveying their ideas.

The boys will make five visits to MCC this fall, and their MCC friends will visit Saint David's as well. This partnership helps our boys engage with children whose experience of the world differs from theirs, and helps to cultivate an appreciation for difference, as well as an understanding that despite differences, we are all essentially alike at our core.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Boys in Frost Valley


Our sixth graders spent last Thursday and Friday with their teachers at Frost Valley YMCA in Upstate New York.


In this beautiful natural setting the boys hiked to a 40-foot waterfall and explored nature. They participated in a variety of challenges designed to stretch them beyond their comfort zones, and to build trust and teamwork.


The Frost Valley trip comes at a time in their lives when boys, while still needing close adult supervision, are asserting their independence and their relationships with peers become increasingly important. It is a time when they must navigate the sometimes turbulent waters of adolescence.

The field trip, along with our emphasis on character throughout our program, helps our boys understand that in order to grow they need to go beyond what is comfortable, work collaboratively, make good decisions, and be supportive of each other.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

"Why Documents Matter" Workshop with GLI President James Basker

James Basker, President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, returned to Saint David's School yesterday to conduct a workshop for our sixth graders about the importance of original historical documents.

The workshop,"Why Documents Matter," explored the insights and valuable information that can be gleaned through close reading and analysis of documents in their original form. Among the documents analyzed during the session were Paul Revere's Boston Massacre engraving, drafts of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

Our boys will use what they learned yesterday during their year-long study of American history. They will also have the unique opportunity to closely examine documents from the GLI Collection in person, when they visit the GLI vault at the New-York Historical Society, where the Collection's 70,000-plus trove of primary source documents and artifacts is held.

Boys love to explore. They learn best when learning is active. This partnership enables both, as our boys become historians who uncover truths by examining "the thing itself."

Below is a clip about a version of the Declaration of Independence.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Exploring Machines and Robotics in Grade Five

Fifth graders have begun their interdisciplinary unit exploring machines and robotics through mechanics and coding. They will build, test, and revise simple and compound machines and robots using LEGO technic parts and the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robotics system.


Today, the boys worked in small groups to build a LEGO mechanical car that that could travel down a ramp for a desired distance. Taking advantage of the large spaces in our new science labs, they used the engineering design process to test, revise and retest their cars. LEGOs are perfect for this type of iterative work, as it is easy to modify a design.

This fifth grade was the first class to participate in The Nerdy Derby project when in third grade. The boys noted how what they learned then about variables like friction, mass, and aerodynamics is helping them in this current, more advanced challenge.