Steve Jobs once said that innovation distinguishes the difference between a leader and a follower. One of the reasons I so gladly accepted the opportunity to be the head of school was the opportunity to work with the talented group of leaders already assembled here—teachers and administrators, alike—and continue the powerful thread of innovation that runs so deep here at Belmont Day.  

A constant in my conversations about the construction of The Barn has been the so-called innovation studio. This new space will serve as a catalyst for new curricular opportunities. It will also be an homage to the innovative work happening at BDS in the day-to-day—innovation is everywhere you look, and even in some places you might not be looking. Consider this year alone:

Our admissions team, faced with the need to customize our outreach to meet the needs of dual-working parent families, created comprehensive webinars that exploded with popularity and resulted in one of the highest admissions yields our school has seen in years. Our open house and revisit day events are heralded again and again by prospective families as engaging, distinct, and “unlike anything other schools are doing”.  

Our after school and enrichment teams have introduced the notion of the “test kitchen” into the after school program where, alongside our usual enrichment classes, we can explore the future curriculum through an iterative framework. A great example of this—Megan Recupero’s robotics classes can test new technology curriculum that may ultimately make its way into our pre-k to eighth grade program.

The fifth grade science program integrates real-life needs—prosthetic limbs for the disabled—with prototyping. In the past, students have worked with a variety of low-tech materials to prototype a prosthetic arm. This year, materials will include a servo trigger for the limb assembly that will enable the hand to make grasping motions.

In middle school athletics, the introduction of the badminton, fencing, and ultimate frisbee programs addressed spatial constraints while showcasing the innovative thinking of our faculty and coaches to meet the needs of students who wanted to explore something beyond the traditional winter or spring athletic options.

Even our professional development program is designed for innovation. This summer, faculty will have the opportunity to work collaboratively across disciplines and grades to imagine Belmont Day’s next great innovative curriculum as we look forward to The Barn and middle school enrollment growth. This opportunity is a natural extension of this year’s board-faculty dinner where faculty and trustees together imagined a future of innovative opportunities for our students—grade-level excursions, a test kitchen, outdoor explorations, and a global service initiative to name a few—each designed with an eye on the next great program for Belmont Day.

Innovation seems a fitting place to conclude this six-part series—riding on our school’s bright future and the shoulders of a faculty of life-long learners. Belmont Day is a school full of leading thinking and learners and Jobs’ quote brings me back to the distinction that innovation draws: in the world we are shaping, BDS is preparing leaders for tomorrow.  

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful break!

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