Learning about neurodiversity

Hello Friends, Friday night, a group of parents gathered in the Growing Room for TNSM’s Chat Series which was hosted by the Diversity and Community Engagement Committee. Over good food, a little wine, and great company, we engaged in meaningful conversations about how to embrace, celebrate, and support neurodiversity within our community.   Through facilitated discussions, TED talks, and computer simulations, we took a deep dive into what neurodiversity means. One salient observation was that judging a fish by how well it rides a bike is a great example for the  inherent flaws within some standardized measures of student success. …

A Golden Year Approaches

Hello Friends,   You may or may not know that next school year (20/21) will be TNSM’s 50th birthday.  Our golden year .  It is a remarkable honor for me to be a part of TNSM’s journey as a parent of two children, a former teacher in the (9-12) program, and as the Head of School. I am grateful to be here during a moment that allows us to celebrate our past while dreaming about our future.  I have been talking with alumni parents, students, former board chairs and Heads of School. Each of them shared how The New School has impacted …

Courage

Hello Friends, What a fantastic week!  I have been thinking a lot about courage.  The Cincinnati Montessori Society is hosting its annual conference in March and the theme is “Courage, Heart, and Brains.”  I will be presenting a workshop titled:  Inspiring Lives; Montessori meets Shakespeare.  One aspect of the workshop  focuses on the amazing courage demonstrated by Maria Montessori throughout her life. She was an iconoclast, challenging the male dominated institutions of her time to follow her dreams and passions.  Even by the age of 13 she was rattling the old-world views of what being a woman should look like and …

I see trees of green, red roses too…

Hello Friends, Gratitude is a lens through which to see the world.  As our elementary families settled down into the Growing Room this morning and every window was filled with blue skies and a child’s artistic expression of gratitude, I felt my lens shift.  Then, little voices began to sing,   I see trees of green, red roses too I see them bloom for me and you And I think to myself what a wonderful world.   Each grade stood up and reminded us of life’s simple delights.  One student shared how his cat taught him to be brave. Another …

“I contain multitudes.”

Hello Friends, This week brought snow and ice and snow pants and little gloves and hats and boots and scarves and…well, the feel of winter.  I love the way the weather moves, not just outside us in the trees and clouds, but inside of us as well.  Snow, the cold wind, and the early sunset move something within ourselves.  The seasons remind us that we are not “contained between our hats and our boots,” but are influenced by wind, light, and the visual differences that the changing weather brings.  A bare tree feels different than a lush one.  A field …

A Beautiful Thing

Hello Friends,   I am currently at the ISACS (Independent Schools of Associated Central States) convention in Louisville, Kentucky.  A couple of thousand educators have congregated to discuss what the future holds for education.  It is a thrilling dialogue for many reasons, however, it is particularly gratifying due to the fact that whenever I hear what needs to be done, it sounds a lot like Montessori!   There are a lot of conversations around how to promote student buy-in with curriculum development  (self-directed learning), how to foster peer-to-peer mentoring (multi-aged classrooms), how to leverage the connection between the hand and …

It’s complicated!

Hello Friends,   Last week I had the privilege to visit Washington, D.C. with our 6th graders.  It is a fantastic city to introduce our students to the importance of compromise and cautious judgments.  Everywhere there is a reminder that human nature is a fickle thing, but we are stumbling toward our better selves. Our students could not walk through the city without wrestling with how discouraging and inspiring our country is.  We would come across an assembly of free speech whose message we might vehemently disagree with while also being deeply grateful that they are allowed to do it. …

Grateful for our Professional Development Day

Hello Friends, TNSM’s mission states, “We welcome and honor cultural, ethnic, religious and economic diversity, and we are committed to teaching peace, conflict resolution and global awareness. Parental involvement is important in all aspects of the school’s operations; thus, we work to cultivate a genuine sense of extended family and community.” Priya Dhingra Klocek worked with our staff during our most recent Professional Development Day to help us understand our own unconscious bias.  Priya has more than 20 years of experience working in the areas of talent management, leadership development, change management and diversity and inclusion. Her corporate experience includes …

The power of story

Hello Friends, Last week we took our (9-12) students to Camp Ernst to have fun, take risks, and set some goals for the year. During one of the activities, students were asked to write down and illustrate where they would like to be in 9 months. Students shared their goals, challenges, and hopes for the school year. One student was struggling as he was writing down and illustrating his thoughts. His illustration wasn’t turning out the way he wanted.  To you and me, it looked pretty darn good, but to him it wasn’t perfect. And because it wasn’t perfect, he …

“The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” Faulkner

What a truly awesome week! Our new Food and Sustainability teacher, Beth Canarie, met with the first inaugural group in our beautiful Montessori kitchen. The students shucked sweet corn and peeled pears donated from local farmer and TNSM grandparent, Merrill Fuller. AND, as a reminder that new ideas can sometimes come from forgotten old ideas, we stumbled upon an old photo of the same table top being used in the kitchen with students from nearly 40 years ago! From farm to table to classrooms we are committed to connecting our students to the earth and her beautiful gifts. Lastly,  alumni …