Leadership Blog

When 1000 Words Can Make a Great Photograph

Post date October 19th, 2018
I spent the weekend and the first part of this week at the Elementary School Heads Association retreat with 50-plus heads of school from across the country. We heard from great speakers and shared the experiences that have helped to shape the start of the year. We were also reminded, again and again, of the importance of the work happening in our schools to guide our students in navigating the powerful social forces that they face in an increasingly complex world. The theme of the conference was “Lead with a Story,” and much of our time was spent examining our role as the author or audience...read more

Effective Failure

Post date October 12th, 2018
Last week, we held an event for parents that included a tour of the Barn. The night was a great one—full of discovery both literal and figurative—that pulled back the veil on the excellence of the program that awaits our students. Early in the tour, as we arrived at the innovation studio, I spoke about my hopes for the learning that will happen in that space. I hope it will be messy. And I hope, quite sincerely, that it will be a place where students will fail, early and often. A quick glance at the 40 or so folks gathered around, and I saw a pause hanging heavily across their faces at the...read more

Cross Graded Partnerships

Post date October 5th, 2018
Happy October everyone. I had actually written something else for this week, and then I had a conversation this morning that inspired what follows—a look at the power of our cross-graded partnerships on the morning that they launched for the year. “I need to tell you,” a parent stopped me this morning, “my kids could barely sleep last night.” These students, an eighth grader and a fourth grader, had been “counting down the days all week” for the assignment of cross-graded partners. The eighth grade student was excited to become the elder partner to a pre-ker—so excited, in fact, that he...read more

Cultural Competency and a Call for Skill-based Instruction

Post date September 28th, 2018
With each passing day, I am convinced more and more that we are living through one of the great revolutions of thought in world history. Never has information been more easily accessible in real time to more people. Technology has been the great accelerant, to be sure, taking any idea and extrapolating its impact (for good or ill) exponentially. So, too, has technology been the great equalizer, making information more available to more people globally and providing educational opportunities across lines of socio-economics in ways that our world has never known before. This is why, I believe,...read more

Nights of Wonder

Post date September 21st, 2018
It is impossible to be everywhere at once. Take it from me. I’ve tried. This sentiment feels particularly acute during Back-to-School Night when parents of multiple children in one division have to divide and conquer, or when a single parent has to divide the night. It’s true, also, for parents with children in both the lower school and middle school divisions who have two events to attend. I’m telling you. It’s impossible to be everywhere at once. So, it wasn’t particularly surprising when a happy middle school parent offhandedly commented on her way out the door last evening, “Tonight was...read more

Back to School

Post date September 14th, 2018
Happy Friday, everyone! Blue Handprint Studios is enjoying a successful opening week as many folks decided to listen to our audio offering. You can find this week’s audio here . Back to School Nights are critical points of contact between home and school—the chance to open the school to parents for an intimate look at our program, our curriculum, and our teaching. This year’s events will have an especially important connotation for me as I have the opportunity to share the work I will be doing as I step back into the classroom as a teacher after a brief hiatus to settle in as head of school...read more

Bring Summer into the Classroom

Post date September 6th, 2018
No time to read the message from the head of school? No worries, because this year, we will be including an audio recording to let you listen instead! Click here to hear the first recording from Blue Handprint Studios (aka, Brendan’s office). Welcome back. Day 3 (today) is just about the time when the structure we have longed for as parents over the second half of August starts to take hold and the impact on students, teachers, and parents alike is one of relative exhaustion. We stare at our computer screen or our steering wheel, and we wonder—sometimes aloud—where did summer go? It’s as...read more

Where Did Things Land?

Post date June 1st, 2018
It is hard to believe that June is here. Another school year has passed, another extraordinary year of growth for our students in every facet of their development—as scholars, artists, performers, athletes, friends, and capable young people who have come a considerable distance since those hazy September days. And they are not alone. As everyone knows, the school has been looking very closely at its own growth opportunities as we welcome a larger group of students into the sixth grade program and shift the end of lower school to fifth grade and the start of middle school to sixth. These...read more

Summer Innovation Collaborative Stipends

Post date May 25th, 2018
With two weeks remaining in the school year, teachers are planning for summer reading, evaluating how to ensure success for each student as they ‘move up’ from their current grade to the next one, and assessing their curriculum for what worked well, what didn’t, and why. All of our teachers are already planning for next fall. Many of them have lined up phenomenal professional development work at conferences on technology, innovation, diversity, art, and math, along with literacy coursework through Lesley University and much more. In addition to all of that, the second summer of the Innovation...read more
Brendan Largay, Head of School

The Annual Corporation Meeting Address

Post date May 18th, 2018
In the blur of May, it is a more significant challenge than one might expect to remember where we were in September for the start of this school year. Allow me to offer this rather concrete reminder. On August 31, the last Thursday night of summer, the Town of Belmont voted to allow BDS to move forward with construction of the Barn. It would be close to two months later when we would receive the permit to begin construction. In so many ways, to watch the scaffold of the Barn be built in the intervening months has felt like a fitting metaphor for all that we have achieved this year. Much more...read more