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.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Learning From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday and today we held special Chapels in honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At each one, a Saint David's boy delivered the full text of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech to fellow classmates, who were riveted by the words.

America's motto, In pluribus unum (Out of Many, One) rings particularly relevant these days and Dr. King's words resonate now more than ever, as so many people in society struggle with the effects of inequality, fear, and prejudice. Dr. King's wise, compelling words inspire us to reflect on our own potential blind spots in embracing justice and equality for all peoples.

Below, is a clip of Mr. Will Best leading the boys at the conclusion of Chapel in Dr. King's favorite hymn.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Saint David's School Boys Study DNA in Partnership with the DNALC

Fifth graders participated in the first session of their study of DNA, which is conducted through our school's partnership with the Cold Spring Harbor DNA Learning Center. Over the next six weeks, the boys will delve into the structure and function of DNA and learn how random mutation and natural selection lead to species' evolution.

Co-taught by their teachers and DNALC educators, the unit includes sessions in our new STEAM labs as well as a full day's visit to the Cold Spring Harbor facility where the boys will interact with geneticists and learn about the latest strides in DNA research.

Today, the boys practiced extracting DNA from wheat germ, using the tools and techniques that actual DNA scientists use. They did a great job and were able to take their samples home. Next week they will choose their own variable to test its impact on the experiment.

Our school's partnership with DNALC provides one of the signature experiences of a Saint David's education, offering world-class, curriculum-driven learning experiences conducted both in and out of the classroom.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Ultima Thule

Imagine being 11 or 12 years old at the controls in the Hayden Planetarium and taking your spacecraft on a flight to the far reaches of the Universe, maybe even as far as Ultima Thule, in search of answers to cosmic mysteries.

Our sixth graders are doing just that through our partnership with the American Museum of Natural History. Charged with researching a topic in astronomy and then scripting and narrating a show that explores their selection, our space navigators are utilizing the proprietary UniView software that AMNH astrophysicists use, which captures real-time astronomical data.

To prepare for their shows, the boys recently visited AMNH's new exhibit, Unseen Oceans, where in addition to learning more about ocean life, they focused on the art of scientific storytelling.

Analyzing the exhibit, the boys discovered the ways in which its creators employed facts and visuals to tell an arresting story about how scientists are exploring remote parts of the ocean. The boys will be inspired by and apply this knowledge as they research their topics and storyboard their upcoming shows, which will take place in the planetarium in March. 

In this signature interdisciplinary unit that blends astronomy, technology, writing, and narration, our boys have the rare benefit of being able to work with with astronomers and astrophysicists, as they utilize the equipment and spaces of the AMNH in a unique scholarly endeavor. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Follow-Up Workshop with Dr. Derrick Gay

Today's professional development day for Faculty and Staff featured a follow-up workshop with Dr. Derrick Gay, internationally recognized consultant on issues of global citizenship, diversity, and inclusion. The school is in our third year of its partnership with Dr. Gay, as we seek to cultivate cultural competency and build an ever increasing inclusive school community.

The session we had with Dr. Gay in the fall focused on the problematic nature of stereotyping. Today's dealt with microaggressions, on gaining awareness of the blind spots that perpetuate stereotypical thinking, and result in words and behaviors that have the potential for negative impact.

As a school community, we are all responsible for establishing an environment that builds bridges and respects and understands difference in its myriad manifestations. These are values very much in sync with Saint David's mission; to be good men and women requires an ability to see from perspectives other than our own. It is also of utmost importance in the interconnected world in which we live.