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Showing posts from May, 2019

Pre-K Boys at Saint David's Experience the Journey of Food from Farm to Table

“From Seeds to Supper” is Pre-Kindergarten's yearlong study about where food comes from and the journey it takes from farm to table. Through dramatic play and hands-on activities, our boys learn and experience all aspects of this process.

This study is active and multi-faceted. After planting seeds in their own classroom garden, the boys carefully observe as the roots take hold and the sprouts shoot upward. They come to appreciate the time and care needed for fruits and vegetables to grow, while dramatic play offers the ideal conduit to highlight their understanding of the farm-to-table process. They "harvest" vegetables from their  “garden farm” and shuttle them to their classroom store where they are purchased for the Pre-K pizzeria. All of this also allows for vocabulary and social connections to shine.

The “From Seeds Supper” movie, see clip above, captures these moments in a medium that the boys delight in as they display all that they have learned.

Horizons at Saint David's Celebrates!

I would like to share this update from Meg Sheridan, Executive Director of Horizons at Saint David's, about Horizons' recent anniversary celebration:

Close to 200 people gathered to celebrate Horizons at Saint David’s at our third annual Cinco de Mayo event, held May 8th at the Museum of the City of New York. Current Saint David's parents, past Saint David's parents, and Horizons parents all came out to show their support. It was a great night for Horizons!

Two of our rising 7th graders shared their experiences at Horizons. Both joined Horizons right after kindergarten. The boys attend different schools and they see each other every summer at Horizons. Their fast friendship is a good illustration of our Horizons community. Horizons is a tight family of teachers, students and their families.

The evening raised important funds for Horizons. Bidders won a coveted Horizons cap. The bidding was so spirited we ran out of caps! Thank you one and all for your support of Horizo…

On the Run for Ethiopia School Project!

Saint David's seventh and eighth graders bounded out of 12 East 89th Street today to cheers and high-fives by our youngest, as they kicked off our series of Dollars for Ethiopian Scholars walkathons.

Each year, eighth graders spearhead a school-wide effort to provide educational resources to Ethiopian boys and girls. The initiative began in 2011 with the building of the Saint David's Kalina School in Tigray through Saint David's partnership with Save the Children.

This year, the boys are raising money for a new Saint David's addition to a school in Ala'sa. The project involves construction of a two-room block addition to the current school there, which, when completed, will serve 188 boys and girls in Grades Five and Six. Without the addition, the children would need to travel five miles by foot to get to the next nearest school.

Eighth graders, with Mr. Ryan guiding them, are in charge of organizing and running all of the fundraisers: the basketball and soc…

A Record Year for Saint David's Boys' Pennies for Puppies Project

Initiated in 2005 by parents Connie Hays (R.I.P.) and Sally Connolly, Saint David's fourth graders work each year on behalf of The Seeing Eye Foundation through the Pennies for Puppies project. The Seeing Eye's mission is to enhance the independence, dignity, and self-confidence of people who are blind, through the use of trained guide dogs.

This multifaceted project begins with a visit to The Seeing Eye Foundation's headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey, where the boys tour the facility, visit with people and their guide dogs, and learn about all that goes into the dogs' training.

They then collect donations and execute a bake sale in our lobby, for which they do all the work: the baking, advertising, pricing, and selling. This year's bake sale, held last week, raised a record $3,106.

In yesterday's special Assembly, fourth graders presented a check to Mr. Don MacGowan, Volunteer Coordinator for The Seeing Eye. Mr. MacGowan engaged the boys in a discussion…

Solar System Model and Rocket Launch in Pre-K STEAM Unit

Our Pre-K STEAM boys recently completed an exploration of the solar system through a hands-on, multi-faceted unit that integrates art and science and is a perfect example of the ways boys learn best.

The unit's purpose is to elicit the boys' knowledge about planets and the sun while dispelling common misconceptions, and to have the boys come to understand how humans are able to learn about objects that are so far away.

Once facts about the solar system were discussed and understood through teacher-led readings and viewing of NASA video footage and images, the boys put their new knowledge about the sun and planets to work, using tissue paper and decoupage to build a model of the sun in its three-dimensional fiery form. They later created a paper-mache solar system that featured details in colors and texture to match those of NASA images. As an example, the boys cut and hand colored chunks of "rocky and icy debris" to simulate the rings of Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Broadway Bound - Saint David's Boys and Marymount Girls

The musical, about dreams, was a dream come true for us at Saint David's: the first production done in collaboration with Marymount School on the stage of our new Otto-Bernstein Performing Arts Theatre.

Last night, Saint David's After School Broadway Bound class performed Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for the Saint David's and Marymount communities. The production was, well, Amazing, in all respects: the lighting, costumes, set design, staging, and, of course, the performances by the cast of talented Saint David's boys and Marymount girls who participated in our new Broadway Bound After School program this spring.

The shared experience not only resulted in a Tony-worthy show, but the opportunity for our boys to collaborate with girls from Marymount and to benefit from the personal growth the comes from working hard on a production, and stretching beyond one's comfort zone.

Kudos to the cast members and creative team for putting on a spectacular …

Boys Learn Strategies to Approach Exams with Confidence and Reduced Stress

This week and last, Upper School Learning Specialist Consultant David May led workshops for our seventh and eighth graders as they prepare for their upcoming comprehensive exams. In the first, Mr. May outlined three areas of the brain that students rely on when studying: the hippocampus for memory and learning; the prefrontal cortex for organization and time management; and the amygdala for emotion and stress. He offered insights into each of these brain regions, as well as strategies for how to best study, plan for, and cope with exams.

Today, he offered additional strategies, discussing the details of each subject area, and how various organizational strategies and study techniques are best suited for particular academic subjects, as well as specific strategies aimed at managing emotions often associated with exams.

The boys actively participated in the discussions, eager to employ what they learned. They will now practice these strategies so that they can approach exam days confi…

Author Aili McConnon Shares Story of Legendary Cyclist and Humanitarian Gino Bartali

Aili McConnon, co-author of Road to Valor, transfixed our seventh and eighth graders on Friday when she shared the story of her book's subject, Italian cyclist Gino Bartali.

Bartali, a 1938 and 1948 Tour de France winner, secretly helped the Italian Resistance during World War II by transporting forged identity documents in the frame of his bicycle and hiding Jews in an apartment he was able to afford with his winnings from cycling races.

Ms. McConnon, who is also the aunt to third grader Lachlan, explained how she and her brother, Andres, were able to trace Bartali's history, despite having few details to go on. There had been little published about the athlete, and many of those who had known him well were deceased.

This presentation resonated deeply with the boys in attendance. Our seventh graders give Chapel talks in the spring about exceptional people, like Bartali, who act as Agents for the Good in the world. Eighth graders, back from their Italian Study Tour, could app…

Saint David's Participates in Diversity and Inclusion Conference at Dalton

Saint David's is committed to fostering an inclusive environment that respects and honors difference. Toward that end, a group of Saint David's community members recently participated in the 9th Annual Dalton Conference: From Diversity to Community.

The daylong program educates and trains school leadership to broaden and improve inclusion within the diverse communities of New York City's independent schools. This year's conference addressed the topic of implicit bias.

Each attending school sent a "pod" of participants from various constituent groups to the conference. Saint David's pod included Todd Cosenza and Don MacKinnon (Trustees), Allison Vella and Kim Davidson (Admissions), Romuel P. and Michael A. (Students), Lindsay Buhr and Evan Morse (Faculty), Pedro Morales and Jessica Pagan (Administration) and Kumar Kadiyala, Miguel Sanchez '97, and Will O'Boyle '94 (Parents and Alumni).

Following an inspiring and engaging talk by keynote speake…

Saint David's Receives Carnegie Hill Neighbors 2019 Enrichment Award

Last week, architect and Saint David's alumnus Sam White '60 and I had the honor of accepting the Carnegie Hill Neighbors 2019 Enrichment Award from CHN President Lo van der Valk at the CHN Spring Benefit. The award recognizes Saint David's thoughtful design and our collaboration with the Carnegie Hill community during the school's recent expansion and consolidation into Graham House.

We were commended for preserving the historical character of the restored facade of Graham House and for responding to and addressing community feedback throughout the many phases of a design/construction project that spanned several years. 

Saint David's strives always to be a good neighbor and receiving this award is much appreciated.

Today, our Graham House front door leads boys and teachers to an experience that has remained true to Saint David's form, but with exciting new possibilities. A glimpse into how our new facility is transforming teaching and learning at Saint Dav…

How Far Can It Fly?

Our first graders are exploring measurement and data with paper gliders. In this math investigation, the boys fold and fly simple paper gliders, construct Unifix cube trains to measure the distances that their gliders fly, and create tally charts that show the flight data collected by the entire class.

The boys then redesign their gliders or make new ones with the goal of improving the distances the gliders fly. They will collect and analyze a second round of data to determine whether their modifications made a difference.

Math investigations in the Lower School are a hallmark of our program. They tap into our boys' intellectual curiosity by enabling them to use active problem solving strategies to deepen understanding of concepts they have studied.

In Common Sense Media Teen Panel, Eighth Graders Advise Younger Boys on Media Use

Saint David's is committed to facilitating our boys' development into good digital citizens who engage in appropriate, safe, and healthy online behavior.  In this effort, the school partners with Common Sense Media. On Tuesday, Tali Horowitz and current parent Samira Sine of CSM facilitated a Teen Advisory Panel featuring our eighth graders Jack, Colin, and Will. Members of the Common Sense Teen Council, these boys have collaborated this year with CSM on a variety of topics related to navigating the digital landscape.

At Tuesday's panel discussion, the older boys answered questions that our fifth and sixth graders had generated in their Sophrosyne health and wellness class units on digital citizenship. The purpose of the panel was for our eighth graders, as leaders, to help the younger Saint David's boys know how to use technology wisely and responsibly.

Questions posed included what the older boys enjoy most about social media and You Tube, how they determine what…

Saint David's Boys Win Prizes in CIVITAS Art Competition

Seventh graders Kaz and Teddy have won the second and third prizes in the CIVITAS Seventh Grade Art Competition. The contest was held in conjunction with the CIVITAS benefit Tuesday evening honoring the Frick Collection and its director, Ian Wardropper, for their commitment to preservation and community engagement. The boys won for their drawings of the Frick Collection facade.

Congratulations to Teddy and Kaz on their remarkable achievement, and to Ishaan, Caleb and Liam, who also submitted well-rendered drawings for the competition. Special recognition also to Art Chair Jenna Boccella and her team of art teachers who so expertly elicit the artist within our boys through a deliberate focus on observational drawing.

CIVITAS is a not-for-profit zoning and urban planning organization concerned with quality of life issues on the Upper East Side and East Harlem.