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For twenty-four years, I practiced the Headmaster’s profession. Like navigation, basketball, fly-fishing, playing the piano and identifying wild species, only practice truly educates. To understand what the music demands - and your potential and limitation to achieve it - you must move your own fingers on the keys. After I’d been on the job for nearly two decades, a sympathetic parent said, “I...
  By Jay Stroud
I was recently at a discussion at my local public library when I recalled an interaction at my daughter Kaia’s former school.  She was 4 years old when she brought home a self-portrait project that was done during class.  The art media utilized was recycled folders, yarn for hair, and crayons for color.   The presentation of the project yielded the same quizzical look and...
  By Michael Buensuceso, MSW
Pressure is mounting on our independent schools, particularly those in northern New England. Demographic changes and slow economic development are making it increasingly difficult to enroll mission-appropriate students. Our schools are working to authentically convey a “value proposition” message. In addition to enrollment challenges, our need to secure resources to support students and...
  By Mike Schafer, Head of School, Kimball Union Academy
Like dress code, faculty meeting discussion about cell phone policy is at best a tired, if not avoided, topic. Old news. At the same time, the science of what we really know about cognitive function and screen time is in its infancy. I remain an optimist on most generational topics including the impact of cell phones – once again the kids will probably be ok! However, research continues to...
  By Ed Cooper, Head of School, Wolfeboro Camp School
“Be the change you want to see in the world” -Mahatma Ghandi As summer slips through our fingers and cool nights signal the start of school, educators start to anticipate the return of the students that attend our independent schools. While the check list runs the gamut from program updates, faculty team building, and swapping out new shower curtains, the most important job is to set an...
  By Laura Gauld
I finally understand what the adage above truly means, and it only took me 25 years of school to get there! I just completed my first year of headship, and it was a wild and wonderful experience. In July of 2016, after 24 years spent working in a variety of roles at the secondary level of three different independent schools, I assumed the role of Head of School at a K-8 coeducational day...
  By Fanning Hearon
August, 1995.  I approached the start of the school year with more than my usual degree of excitement and anxiety.  I stood in my mother’s sewing room on the second floor of my childhood home in Paris, Maine, gripping the phone as I dialed the number for Phillips Exeter Academy.  In two short weeks, I was due to return for my senior year.  I was a student in good standing, a...
  By Alex Myers
"Some organizations are thick, and some are thin. Some leave a mark on you, and some you pass through with scarcely a memory. … A thick institution becomes part of a person’s identity and engages the whole person: head, hands, heart and soul."  So observed New York Times columnist David Brooks, reminiscing about a summer camp he attended as a boy.  I would argue, both collectively...
  By Rene Menard
The thirteen years of school between kindergarten and senior year should prepare a student well for college. And yet, in the United States, only 37% of high school graduates are prepared to take college-level courses. Fewer than that, only a quarter, are prepared to take college-level mathematics. First-year college students are now required to take seminar courses in expository writing, critical...
  By Geoff Wagg
When my son Gunnar was a little over three years-old, having recently watched his dad put in the garden, he came inside one spring weekend and asked for a shovel:  “Just a little one for my hand,” he said. “Because I really wanna dig a hole.”  A quick set of questions established that he wanted to dig this hole in the exact center of our newly-green back yard, “just to see.”  Of...
  By Erin Mayo

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