Latest Upper School Posts

April 25, 2016

Mega Memo: The Purple Edition

A Look Back:

Hover crafts. Skis.  Skateboards.  Upcycling.  Healthy foods. Bioplastics.  Women’s rights.  The range of Celebr8 projects that students created demonstrated the diverse thinking, beliefs, and identities of our student community.  We provided our students an opportunity to take a passion and connect it to the greater good.  Some reached beyond expectations--others were still a work in progress.  Hearing students reflect on their choices, fight through failures, learn to flex and innovate in the face of obstacles, and beam with pride at the outcomes of the work.  Just another day at SF Day!

Dolphin Claps:

Thank you to Ms. Landis and Mr. Herrick for facilitating dynamic Celebr8 presentations!  Thank you to Mr. De Leon, Mr. Roberts, Mr. Brill et al for helping with technology, lighting, stage, etc.  Thank you to the 8th grade advisors and teachers for helping with panels, wayward students, and ensuring that their team felt supported and cared for.  Dolphin claps to Ms. Brody for coordinating a great high school panel for our current 7th grade students and families.  Thanks to all of you who continue to hold our students to high expectations as we navigate the final few weeks of school.  

What’s trending…and what I am wondering about…

Prince!  My 5th grade teacher used parts of his music (age-appropriate) to help navigate us through new vocabulary and the importance of delving into your creativity and craft (cultural relevancy).  At home, we weren’t allowed to play his “naughty” music, but at school--everyone was fascinated by him.  He was different.  He was quirky.  He was private.  He was a mirror for those who felt unique/odd/weird.  He was a window for those who needed to see a... » read more

March 21, 2016

Taking Care of Ourselves and Each Other

“The world doesn’t care what you know. What the world cares about is what you do with what you know.”

-Tony Wagner

 

A Look Back:

Two words: C4C!  Our amazing Brian Herrick led our dynamic students, parents and faculty through the talents of SFDS!  Starting as an opportunity to build on kindness, compassion, and giving after the 9/11 events-Concert 4 Community has become a showcase of how love, collaboration, music, and passion can bring us all together for the greater good of giving to our local community.  Let’s continue to take care of one another and celebrate our SFDS gifts!

    

Our amazing 8th grade MC’s!    “Um, Dr. Bissell-I’m busy working!” 

Two of our 5th graders-1st time performers at C4C...and the 6th grade squad...veterans...

  

 

A look ahead for March 21-25
 

I’ve been having a great time sitting in on classrooms and taking notes on the various ways we teach, nurture, and warmly demand academic vigor and curiosity of our students.  Highlights so far have included:  academic praise (giving students... » read more

March 14, 2016

The Power of Perseverance

The week leading up to high school admission letters, there was laughter...and tears...joy and frustration. Despite the wave of adult emotions (smile)...our students persevered.

Eighth grader letting us know that she gives the “thumbs up” to our amazing staff!

 

Seventh grade science investigating center of mass...new word “fulcrum”

 

Did democracy die in Athens?

 

A Look Ahead for March 14-18

I will continue to do classroom observations and reflection conferences with teachers. These have been illuminating and a great way to hear and learn more about our common teaching philosophies and pedagogical practices. So far, highlights have included uses of UDL, student thinking about privilege and cultural competency, and focus on deeper academic language.

Dolphin Claps

Thank you to Mr. Tognetti and the eighth grade team for providing our students with a fun, relaxing trip to St. Dorothy’s Rest.

Thank you to... » read more

March 04, 2016

Classroom Visits and New Learning

Last week I observed more great learning, leading, and community support happening at SFDS.  I’m continuing to visit classrooms and providing lengthier observations and feedback to my wonderful faculty.  I am always inspired by the teaching, the receptivity to feedback, and the little ways our teachers are fortifying our students (and selves) to continue to engage in the cycle of inquiry and learning.  We are a community of creativity, inquiry, and inspiration.

 

Here are some highlights from my most recent classroom visits:

5th graders highlighting their country presentations using various methods to show their learning (evidence of UDL)--8th graders giving compliments and questions...and teachers relishing how great they turned out.

“Now, tell Dr. Bissell about Turkey.”

6th grade science investigating geology and exploring the characteristics of rocks and minerals.

... » read more

February 26, 2016

A Week of Collaboration, Risk-taking, Reflection, and Engagement

We began the week with a collaborative and engaging faculty meeting led by the People of Color Conference ('POCC') working group. Our wonderful SFDS faculty participated in difficult dialogue and thinking around diversity and race...It was inspiring to see people developing trust and to hear colleagues reflecting on practicing more ‘racial hygiene’ (see Jay Smooth’s TED talk:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbdxeFcQtaU) so that we can provide the tools our students need to be successful in the 21st century:

... » read more

February 20, 2016

My First Grandparents and Special Friends' Day

Over the past two weeks we have had many opportunities to engage with our parents and extended community.  We began with an upper school tech coffee led by Christopher Sokolov, our director of technology and 21st century learning:

Parents and a few grandparents asked a broad range of questions about the use of technology at SFDS and appropriate ways to support their children in navigating social media.  We reminded parents that it is appropriate to ask their children simple questions like:

What assignments are you using your iPad for?  Can you show me?

Where do you track assignments, due dates, and get info from your teachers?

What apps are you using at school to help you with homework and classwork?

We also reminded parents that having a designated, visible space for students to do homework in and use tech at is appropriate, so that they can see and hear what their children are doing.  And like phones and television, parents should have a cut-off time for computers/iPads so that students can relax and get ready for the next day.  

https://www.commonsensemedia.org

... » read more

February 07, 2016

Getting Some Pep in Our Step!

"The best thing parents can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning."
- Carol Dweck


... » read more

February 03, 2016

New Year, New Blog

Welcome to the Upper School Update, a forum for the SFDS upper school administration, faculty, and program leaders to share the latest news on our young scholars. 

NEW VIDEO!  Click here to watch a brief video introduction from our Upper School Head, Dr. Bissell.

 

Upper School Week in Review

As I walked through classrooms this week, I continued to see evidence of faculty helping guide students through intellectual thinking, practice, and questioning.  Here are just a few snapshots of the awesome instruction and learning happening at SFDS:

7th graders discussing and demonstrating velocity...

... » read more

More recent posts

March 21, 2016

Taking Care of Ourselves and Each Other

“The world doesn’t care what you know. What the world cares about is what you do with what you know.” -Tony Wagner   A Look Back: Two words: C4C!  Our amazing Brian Herrick led our dynamic students, parents and faculty through the talents of SFDS!  Starting as an opportunity to build... » read more
March 14, 2016

The Power of Perseverance

The week leading up to high school admission letters, there was laughter...and tears...joy and frustration. Despite the wave of adult emotions (smile)...our students persevered. Eighth grader letting us know that she gives the “thumbs up” to our amazing staff!   Seventh grade science... » read more
March 04, 2016

Classroom Visits and New Learning

Last week I observed more great learning, leading, and community support happening at SFDS.  I’m continuing to visit classrooms and providing lengthier observations and feedback to my wonderful faculty.  I am always inspired by the teaching, the receptivity to feedback, and the little... » read more
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