Ann's 2013 Summer Letter to Parents
July 26, 2013
As I write, our heat wave in North central Pennsylvania has been supplanted by a cold front; it is good, I think, for all of us to remember that though we control many aspects of our modern, busy lives, we cannot control the natural world! Our family summer has been full of adventure, and we have been awed by both the natural and civilized landscapes; Seth, Atticus and I enjoyed the splendor of Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in June; in early July, the whole family spent a magical week in Italy, and now we are spread among Cleveland, Eagles Mere, and NYC planning for fall, reading, working. I feel glad to have time to think about school and to reflect about the coming year.
As always, summer has been busy at Lyman Circle and Butler. Those in residence at 1 Lyman Circle have coped with all the complications of a major construction project in the renovation of the third floor; included in this project are new fire doors on the first and second floor. While this is a change in our “look,” it is, of course, also an important safety upgrade for all members of the community. We are grateful to our architect, Baird Dixon, for preserving the elegance we cherish at Laurel. A new handicap accessible entrance will soon be available on the Primary Circle, an important consideration for a school that prizes inclusion as we do. Once the Development Office moves to its new location on the third floor, Karen Galloway and Angela Fasick will turn the current office space in the North Wing into a temporary Design Lab. We are excited about how this space and approach to pedagogy will play out for all the girls.
We are busy with plans for the third CRG Symposium scheduled for October—check the CRG portion of the website for more information, and mark your calendars for Thursday, October 24 when our researchers from Boston College and Boston University will present the results of 21st Century Athenas: Cultivating Resilience and Achievement during an evening for parents. Please let us know if you have friends or colleagues you would like us to invite to the Symposium. Over the summer, Lisa Damour, Consulting Psychologist and Director of the Center for Research on Girls (CRG), published her second piece in the NYT blog, Motherlode. If you haven’t seen it, here is a link: LaurelSchool.org/Motherlode2 Lisa and I were delighted that Independent School Magazine published our article, Strengths Versus Stressors. LaurelSchool.org/NAISstrength
The North Star Collaborative has had a remarkable 5th Summer Academy. Academic courses taught collaboratively by Laurel faculty, alumnae and current students have been supplemented by community-based programs such as “Anatomy Camp” with the CWRU School of Medicine and high ropes challenges on the Project Adventure Course at the Butler Campus. The Northstars are about to take to Lake Erie on the Sea Dragon through a partnership with Pangaea Explorations and The Alliance for The Great Lakes!
Bustling summer camps for children of all ages have enlivened both campuses. Last week, we hosted the archery component of the National Senior Games at Butler, showcasing our fabulous facilities!
Admission activity continues through the summer; as always, current families and the word of mouth you offer to prospective families is our most effective way of recruiting. On August 15, we will host “Popsicles on the Playground” for Pre-Primary and Primary children; if you would like a family to be invited to this event, let us know through LaurelSchool.org/Referrals and we will send an invitation. It may be that you know a family who is looking for next year, or they may like what they see and have the opportunity to enroll, depending on space available, for the coming year. We will host Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead: An InKNOWvation Festival @ Laurel School on Sunday, September 22 from 1:00– 4:00 p.m. Designed for PreK–Grade 6, it is an opportunity for all to imagine, explore, create and tinker! We hope you will spread the word about this fun, new event.
In late-breaking news, Laurel will welcome two exchange students from the High School Affiliated to Xi'an Jiaotong University in Xi'an, China. Mengxi Wu and Yuzhi Guo will be joining our two ASSIST students, to provide our school community with terrific global presence. We are grateful to the families who have offered to host three of our exchange students, but we continue to seek a host family for Yuzhi. If your family is interested in hosting Yuzhi's for the coming school year, please contact Trey Wilson, Dean of Learning Beyond the Classroom, at tWilson@LaurelSchool.org or (216) 455-3019. Yuzhi's host family will receive a $600 per month stipend for the duration of the school year.
A book that has accompanied me on my travels is Dan Coyle’s The Talent Code. I commend it to you as an inspiring read by a Laurel dad. Given our focus on cultivating resilience at Laurel, I was struck by his cogent articulation of what makes talent. Over and over again, he communicates the message that mistakes are a significant and important part of learning. It is difficult to watch our children struggle, but I am glad of the reminder that the bumps along the path are, in fact, essential to the mastery of any task. We support our children best by not leaping immediately in to save them when they hit a rough patch, but by supporting them in their own efforts to triumph and by respecting their competence as they move forward. I feel glad that at Laurel, school and parents are in partnership on behalf of children.
In a few weeks we will welcome several outstanding new members of the faculty and staff to our school community. Please visit this link to learn more about those who will join us: LaurelSchool.org/NewFaculty
Before long our student athletes will be back at practice. I encourage you to enjoy these remaining weeks of summer—warmth, garden produce, time, visits with old friends and relatives, vacation. Enjoy your family. I look forward to seeing you all in August.
P.S. Just a gentle reminder that the deadline for updates to important forms was last week. If you have not yet gotten to these forms, please put it at the top of your To Do list!