Leadership Blog

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

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

Happy Mother’s Day

Post date May 11th, 2018
“Sooner or later, we all quote our mothers.” - Sir Bernard Williams It is impossible for me to separate my childhood upbringing from my earliest days of education. The reliance on the relationship between school and home was and will forever be critical in the successful academic and emotional development and growth of children. Perhaps that is why Belmont Day—a school founded by parents, and in particular, a group of dedicated mothers—aligns so well with my own belief about the importance of that relationship. There has, perhaps, been no greater teacher to me than my own mother. I honor the...read more

An Eye on the Future

Post date May 4th, 2018
Perhaps there is no better day to consider our school’s future than Star Wars Day. Here I reflect on the great work that has happened to prepare for next year. We have dedicated this year to articulating the value and opportunities of a restructured sixth to eighth grade middle school program. As sixth grade becomes the starting year for middle school we are adjusting the ‘arc within the arc’ by designing an intentional middle school experience that is consistent and aligned with the overall pre-k to eighth grade journey at BDS. We are quite deliberately getting bigger to get a bit smaller...read more

Different Strands…

Post date April 27th, 2018
A year ago at this time, the leadership of Braiding Different Strands—both parent and faculty co-chairs alike—reflected on a year of noticeable movement. We had enjoyed the usual series of come-one-come-all evenings that invite the community to reflect on the ways that diversity enriches our daily experiences. We had introduced race-based affinity groups for parents of students of color and a ‘Witnessing Whiteness’ group for white adults in our community to explore the ways that their race informs their experiences and those of their children, in school and out. The work was meaningful,...read more

The Leadership Journey

Post date April 6th, 2018
As we did following the December National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) People of Color Conference, we offer here a glance into the experiences of five administrators and one teacher who attended the NAIS Annual Conference last month. More than 4300 educators and school leaders descended upon Atlanta for the three-day conference framed by the theme The Leadership Journey: Guides, Pathways, and Possibilities. Belmont Day was represented by programmatic leaders Deborah Brissenden, Diane Foster, Liz Gray, Heather Woodcock, and Brendan Largay, along with math specialist Kathy...read more

The Anatomy of a Snow Day Call

Post date March 30th, 2018
As I embarked on the job of head of school at Belmont Day, many other heads at schools around the country offered congratulations and words of wisdom. There were two common themes to those well wishes: 1) You will love this job and 2) Except when it snows. As a New Englander born-and-raised, the snow day has always been a part of my educational reality. As a student, of course, it was a delight—the magic of the snow converted into an extra day of play, friendship, and snow fort construction. Years later, as a teacher, a snow day call was either a welcome opportunity to catch up on grading,...read more

Another Year, Another ‘Capstorm’

Post date March 23rd, 2018
It is hard to believe, but for the second year in a row Capstone presentations were interrupted by a March nor’easter and once again the students kept their composure and delivered a staggeringly impressive collection of presentations. As their predecessors have—alumni who returned in droves to see this year’s iteration—our eighth graders' demonstrated remarkable curiosity, wonder, passion, insight, dedication, and excellence. For almost a full calendar year, they committed to the study of a singular focus and thrived in the process of learning every step of the way. This year, I watched...read more

A Pi in the Face

Post date March 16th, 2018
A year ago, a former colleague of mine put a challenge to his students: whoever could recite the most digits of pi (π) would be rewarded with the opportunity to throw an actual pie in his face. I loved it! What a great way to inspire an appreciation for the playfulness of mathematics. Sometime later I found myself in a conversation with (then) fourth grader, Rosie Schrag. A lover of mathematics herself, Rosie prides herself on her knowledge of the digits that follow the decimal point in pi. For those who haven’t brushed up on their geometry lately, pi is the number that expresses the ratio...read more

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