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.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

First Game Win in Price Family Gym

The bleachers were packed with fans of all ages for Red's season opener in our new Price Family Gymnasium.

What a game! Both teams provided an exciting experience for spectators; it was neck and neck until the third period when Saint David's took a commanding lead and held it, winning the game 56-42. The crowd roared! Congratulations to this great team of players and to Coaches Morales and Williams.

To win a season opener is always exciting; even more so to win it in our beautiful new gymnasium right on 89th Street that is providing an exceptional space for our boys to play sports, and for our community to gather.

Sixth Grade Digital Universe Flight Study Begins

Last week, sixth graders began what will prove to be an out of this world experience--the Digital Universe Flight Study unit, conducted through our unique partnership with the American Museum of Natural History.

At the museum, the boys have access to research-grade tools including UniView, which interfaces with the Digital Universe Atlas, as well as the deep discipline expertise of the museum educators and astrophysicists. The interdisciplinary unit entails several field study sessions at the museum as well as English and Science classes back on our school's campus.

Our boys will work in pairs to research, storyboard, and create a show in which they "fly" through space as they answer an astronomy research question of their choice. They will present and narrate their shows live in the dome of the Hayden Planetarium in March.

Through this unit, our boys benefit from the expertise of astronomers as well as their exceptional Saint David's teachers, gathering a deeper understanding of the Universe while honing their narration and presentation skills.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Singing Their Hearts Out for Grandparents and Special Friends

What better way to welcome the holidays than with a concert featuring our youngest boys singing the Christmas Season's classics for their Grandparents and Special Friends!

This past Friday morning, our Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Omega boys performed for the first time in the school's new Otto-Bernstein Performing Arts Theatre. The program featured all-time-favorites like Jingle Bells, I Saw Three Ships, and Frosty the Snowman, and the Spanish Christmas Carol Mi Burrito Sabanero, as well as several audience sing-a-longs. Their hard practice with Music Chair Jeffrey Moore these past few weeks paid off in their confident, enthusiastic performance; and they sounded terrific in the new theatre.

After the performance, grandparents visited our new Lower School Library and the boys' classrooms to participate in special activities.

Grandparents are treasured members of our community who play an important role in the boys' lives; and our boys clearly delight in the warmth of their company.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

"Lord of the Flies" Survival Game

Seventh graders are immersed in an "island survival" adventure related to their study of William Golding's 1954 classic Lord of the Flies. The novel tells the story of a group of school-age boys marooned on an uninhabited island, where they struggle to survive without a government or rules.

In this creative, unique activity that spans 10 class sessions, our boys are assigned to belong to one of two "tribes." Using knowledge gained from history classes in the fall, they first determine what type of government system to adopt.

During the simulations, they strategize methods to overcome obstacles and acquire resources such as wood, food, shelter, and water. The simulation requires the boys to negotiate, debate, and reflect critically on their decisions as they face challenges to their survival.

In journals, they regularly write about their thinking, their decisions and consequences. Writing skills are further developed and honed. In addition to analyzing the themes, conflicts, and characters in the novel, they analyze their own actions, bringing a component of personal reflection and introspection to the activity. In a recent class, the boys' writing assignment was to identify which character in the novel they felt they were most like and why, based upon their own behavior in their tribe.

This new learning experience is an example of the in-depth, active learning that crosses disciplines at Saint David's, allowing our boys to dig deep and grapple with important life issues.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Thomas Harvey '13 and The Dartmouth Sings at Saint David's

This morning we were treated to to a special assembly featuring members of The Dartmouth Sings, Dartmouth College's premier pop and alternative a cappella group. Thomas Harvey '13, a sophomore at Dartmouth, is a member, and he was thrilled to invite the group to sing for his alma mater.

Always active in music and theater, Tom raved about the school's expanded space, in particular the Otto-Bernstein Performing Arts Theatre. It was so good to have Tom back at Saint David's and The Dartmouth Sings were terrific!  A great start to the day!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Building "Fun City"

Our Pre-K boys and their teachers are putting our new STEAM suite to good use. The boys recently completed an integrated art and science project to design and build a city from a variety of materials.

The boys selected features that "Fun City" would include, such as ramps, bridges, parks, trees, and vehicles, and got to work planning, designing, and creating all of the features and painting/decorating them.

On the floor or at the art table, the boys were 100 percent engaged in the tasks at hand, loving every minute and expressing delight when a feature worked as planned ("Did you see that car go across the bridge?") and going back to the design phase when something didn't quite work as well.

Our STEAM Suite is enabling exciting new opportunities for integration across the art, science, and math disciplines in all grades. No limits!

Continuing Our Commitment to Students in Ethiopia

Saint David's Kalina School
Since our 60th Anniversary year in 2011, Saint David's Eighth Grade boys have led several school-wide fundraising projects to build the Saint David's Kalina School in Ethiopia. Each year, the boys worked hard organizing, running, and participating in several activities--walk-a-thons, ice cream sales, pay to play soccer games, and quiz shows.

Classroom in Kalina School
Last year, the Class of 2018 closed out work on Saint David's Kalina School--it is now a completely operational pre-primary through Grade Eight school, and funds we raised are now supporting work on a new school under construction in Ala'sa, through our partnership with Save the Children.

Addition to school in Ala'sa, Ethiopia, under construction
The Class of 2019 will focus their fundraising efforts on the new Saint David's addition to the Ala'sa School. Our 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.

We are excited to continue our commitment to primary school education in Ethiopia. As a school that has just significantly expanded our facilities to meet the needs of our boys, we are committed to helping others meet their educational needs. It is intrinsic to our mission and values; to be "good" by doing "good."