Leadership Blog

Inspire and Challenge

Post date May 17th, 2019
Last night, at our annual corporation meeting, the board of trustees rolled out the first mission statement in the school's history. The mission is the product of a robust and iterative process with community engagement at every turn. It is my honor and privilege to share it with you here. Inspire and challenge. At Belmont Day School, we foster intellectual curiosity, honor differences, and empower meaningful contribution with excellence, respect, honesty, responsibility, caring, and joy.read more

Thriving on Growth

Post date May 10th, 2019
Liz Gray , Middle School Head A few weeks ago at a parent coffee, a parent who had attended last year's coffees on middle school program design asked this question that has made me pause. "Last year, we talked about building the Barn and beginning enrollment growth and how those would affect the middle school program. What have been the greatest rewards and challenges that the middle school has faced since then?" I have been kicking this question around in my head daily. When I think back to May 2018, we were surveying students to gather their “burning questions” about what they could expect...read more

In Search of a Phoenix: Hope Rising from the Ashes of Notre-Dame

Post date May 3rd, 2019
I visited Notre-Dame Cathedral on Easter Sunday in 1998, nearly 31 years to the day of the devastating fire that ravaged its beautiful spire, wooden arches, and much of its roof. As you might expect, the Mass that day was said entirely in French. I remember three things with crystal clarity from that morning—I didn’t understand a word of French, it didn’t matter, and I may never have so spiritual an experience again. Notre-Dame Cathedral, considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, is much more than a religious site—it is a national emblem, fixed in French history,...read more

Best Fit

Post date April 26th, 2019
As we near the day of the fourth grade Greek Festival, I have been doing my homework on the Greek myths. One, in particular, always catches my interest: the story of Sisyphus, the king who is forced to push a boulder up a mountain only to watch it roll down the other side and have to begin again. Whenever I think of this myth, I am left to wonder what Sisyphus feels right at the tipping point? Is it relief for those few moments before the rock rolls down the other side? Frustration at the prospect of having to start over again? Is there any sense of accomplishment? After all, pushing a...read more

The Teacher Training Marathon

Post date April 12th, 2019
In a few days, Boston will welcome thousands of runners to participate and compete in the annual Boston Marathon. It’s hard for me to fathom the time, energy, and mental commitment it takes to train for those 26.2 miles much less what it feels like to run them and then recover. Even though most of our associate teachers aren’t participating in the marathon this year (one associate is, miraculously!) I can’t help but see some similarities to their one-year residency program at Belmont Day. As part of their training, associates need to juggle a full course load and attend weekday and weekend...read more

Paddle Up for a Re-Imagined Erskine Library

Post date April 5th, 2019
The essential and foundational partnership between home and school is expressed in myriad ways at Belmont Day. Every parent in the community contributes to the strength of this partnership—from cheering on their child on the playing fields or encouraging them through challenging homework, supporting teachers as grade parents, contributing time and resources, and serving in leadership roles on the parents’ association or board of trustees.* There are many expressions of the home-school partnership—few are as vibrant and joyful as the parents’ association auction. As you’ve heard, the Paddle Up...read more

Preparing the Kid for the Road

Post date March 29th, 2019
It is remarkable how quickly time flies. During Capstone week, the college admissions scandal broke, and a flood of responses from the institutions involved and op-eds poured in across the country. I bookmarked and set aside each one as I wrote last week’s Scoop message celebrating the many lessons of Capstone. Now that I have returned to those articles and opinions, it seems that every possible analysis and perspective about the scandal has been offered. One sentiment that resonates most for me as an educator and as a parent was expressed in a New York Times article about snowplow parenting...read more

What I Learned from Capstone 2019

Post date March 22nd, 2019
What follows is what I learned from each of our Capstone presenters, but before I get to that, allow me to say that Capstone feels quite different when you are the parent of an eighth grader. You have lived the journey right alongside them, and know just what a pinnacle the community is reaching together, and there is tremendous power in the knowledge that your child is contributing to that moment. There is power, too, in the acknowledgment between parents of the hard work and dedication it has taken to arrive at this moment. Come to think of it, the power of the Capstone moment lives in all...read more

Health and Wellness Team Inspires at NAIS

Post date March 15th, 2019
Last month, four members of Belmont Day’s health and wellness team traveled to Long Beach, California to present at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conference. They joined more than five thousand independent school educators and leaders engaged in creative, strategic, and collaborative dialogue on this year’s theme: Reimagining Independent Schools: Tearing Down Walls, Building Capacity, and Designing Our Future. Tina Fox, second grade teacher, Liz LaRocque, school nurse, Leesa Mercedes, school psychologist, and Kate Oznick, pre-kindergarten teacher, share their...read more

On Being a Capstone Mentor

Post date March 8th, 2019
We are on the eve of Capstone week. In two weeks, once we have learned something from our eighth grade students, I will share my thoughts on each presentation. This week, I offer a look behind the Capstone scenes to provide a different perspective on this crown jewel moment for our eighth graders. A myth about Capstone is that it is singularly an eighth grade experience. Part of the program’s magic lies in the relationships between students and their mentors. These mentors come from all walks of Belmont Day life—from lower school teachers, building and grounds crew, business office staff,...read more