Tag Archives: definitive preparation

A New Year, A Unique Path

An exciting year lies before us. In the Monaco household, this is especially so as we face transitions of significance for two of our boys.  T.C. ’16, of course, is off to college; we leave him in College Station at Texas A & M later this month. Meanwhile Robert ’20, begins his journey through the Upper School in just a few weeks.

As a parent, we face junctures like this in the lives of our children with a range of emotions: pride, disbelief, sadness, wonder and a dash of anxiety. For me, I would cite wonder as my prevailing state of mind. What life-shaping experiences will these two men have in the next four years? Which people will enter their lives and leave an indelible impact on the men they will become? Our life narratives are unique: how transformational will this next four year chapter be on T.C. and Robert’s life stories?

If a quarter century in the school business has taught me anything, though, accurately answering questions like these is nearly impossible. That’s the magic of it all: watching our kids forge their unique paths.

Still, whether your experience is – like Mollie and mine – crossing the threshold of a significant academic transition with your child or, as is our case with Sam ’23, readying to begin another year, we arrive at the first day of school with a sense of hope and wonder. We want our children to have every opportunity their God-given intelligence and hard-earned effort can afford them. We aspire for them to experience life unbounded, flush with limitless options and opportunities.

Such aspirations, while well-intended, can present problems. Our hopeful aspirations, if we are not careful, can become – in the minds of our children – a set of unending and seemingly unattainable expectations.

LoveThatBoy_quoteRon Fournier’s Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About A Parent’s Expectations, a touching memoir about his experience parenting a son with Asperger’s syndrome, captures this parental dilemma perfectly.

The source of our dilemma, most often, is that our expectations emerge not from a fair and true assessment of our child’s unique skills, interests and gifts, but rather from the backdrop of what society (read: the media; our friends; other “experts”) paints as “successful,” “exceptional” or “above average.”

EndOfAverage_quoteOne of the most compelling books I have read in a long time, Todd Rose’s The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness, seeks to disabuse us of our tendency to fixate on how we or our children compare to the group. In it, Rose details the emergence of the exciting and relatively new interdisciplinary “science of the individual,” which centers on one big idea: “individuality matters.” Ability, talent and intelligence, Rose argues, are “jagged” (not one-dimensional), manifest differently depending on the situation, and emerge on a pathway and timeline unique to the individual.

We are wise to consider the implications of Rose’s premise as we ponder our children’s futures. What we know about the “complex global society” referred to in our mission statement is that the pace of change is fast, its rate constant, and its orientation directed to personalization and customization. The world of work is just one example. According to Cathy Davidson with MacArthur Foundation Digital Media and Learning Competitions, 65 percent of today’s students will end up in jobs that have yet to be created: Big Data Doctor, Meme Agent and Microbial Balancer, to name just a few. Indeed, the possibilities in the emerging “gig economy” of today – where one fits his or her unique skills to needs in the marketplace for a short period of time – seem limitless.

Increasingly, we are coming to understand that the path to a life of meaning, fulfillment and success in this complex world is rapidly becoming less linear or formulaic. In recognition of this reality – and our belief that each of the approximately 1100 students soon to start the new school year are gifted by God distinctly and uniquely – we are deep in the process of our Reimagine School vision for Parish. The core principles guiding our Reimagine effort, which is on track for full implementation by fall 2019 but being beta-tested and planned for even today, reflect our awareness of individuality.

  • Honor student voice and choice in learning;
  • Meet students where they are and help them reach new levels of mastery as they are ready;
  • Help students develop enduring habits of mind which are transferable to a lifetime of learning and excelling;
  • Create learning conditions which engage students in authentic meaningful work.

As the new school year starts at Parish, my hope and expectation is that each of our students has a rich and full experience, one which propels them to a future of unbounded possibility.

Walking a Day in Our Students’ Shoes

When was the last time you spent a day with a 2nd grader? And by that, I don’t mean just a couple of hours with a niece or nephew, or even an afternoon in the same home with your own 2nd grade child. When was the last time you put aside your day’s to do list, your phone (for the most part!), and control of your day’s schedule to experience firsthand what a day as a 2nd grade student looks, sounds and feels like?

MehaWell, I recently had the opportunity – thanks to 2nd grade student Meha K. and her teacher, Shannon Longfield. On March 2, I began in chapel at 8:00 a.m. with Meha and her fellow Lower School peers at Hillcrest. I proceeded to spend the remainder of the day observing, participating and experiencing what life is like for a Parish 2nd grade student.

Interestingly enough, I haven’t been alone. Over the last several weeks, 20 of my colleagues – representing each division – have shadowed a student in nearly every grade in our School. (See full list of shadows)

Why? It’s another purposeful step in crafting the Reimagine School vision upon which I reported in my March First Monday. These immersion experiences can teach us so much! Among the questions I carried with me into my day in 2nd grade were:

  • How does the energy of our students ebb and flow during the day?
  • How does our allocation of time (for example during instruction; for elective classes; or for breaks) contribute to or detract from student energy and engagement?
  • What types of learning activities seem to engage students most?
  • Do certain types of learning experiences promote the internal motivation and acquisition of skills to which we aspire better than others?
  • Does an engaging (read: interesting, “fun” or thought-provoking) classroom activity always correlate with meaningful learning?

2ndNotesMy day was awesome! Like my other colleagues who shadowed a student, I graphed student levels of engagement and took copious notes on my observations. I look forward to comparing our experiences.

What is indisputable is that how time gets used and allocated lies at the heart of reimagining the school experience.  For well over a century, a familiar time framework has dominated American schooling. I am sure you recognize some of its features:

  • A school year which begins in August or September and ends in May or June;
  • Students grouped by incremental, grade-based cohorts where they remain for the nine months of the school year and twelve years of pre-collegiate education, regardless of their capability;
  • “Graduation requirements” in high school and college based on seat time rather than content mastery;
  • Academic disciplines taught in allocated time blocks in isolation from one another.

Recently, Will Richardson, a leading voice of educational reform, penned a piece in the Washington Post, expressing his exasperation with our adherence to school time models borne of an era when what it meant to be educated differed fundamentally from what it means today. Influential American educators like Horace Mann and Edward Thorndike, later joined by the earliest proponents of “organizational management” like Frederick Taylor, linked the design of schools to the needs of late 19th and early 20th century American society. The factory-based industrial economy and increasingly diverse social milieu of our growing country valued systemization, standardization and efficiency.

JarcheToday’s “complex global society,” to which we refer in our mission statement, is anything but standardized and systematized. As business consultant Harold Jarche has noted, “just as few people do work that requires pure physical labor today, soon few of us will do routine, procedural and standardized knowledge work.” As Jarche’s chart (at right) depicts, we are on the cusp of a change in what the work experience of tomorrow will be like for the Parish students of today.

Thus we wonder: how might we reimagine our use of time at Parish so that we are even more effective producing “creative thinkers and bold leaders prepared to impact our complex global society?”

But here’s the catch: path dependence.

New York Times columnist David Brooks (who visited Parish last May) wrote a piece in 2011, Tools for Thinking, about attacking complex problems with holistic thinking. In it, he cited a linguist at Columbia University who warned of path dependence and identified it as “something that seems normal or inevitable today [that] began with a choice that made sense at a particular time in the past, but survived despite the eclipse of justification for that choice.”

While path dependence is terminology of economists and social scientists, it aptly frames the challenge of rethinking time in schools. We teachers are products of the very time system we seek to upend; it is all we know. It is our dependent path and, as such, any process designed to rethink it runs the risk of duplicating the very tendencies that have become entrenched.

Which brings me back to my day with Meha.

Our immersion experiences reflect our quest to break path dependence and design a truly reimagined time framework for Parish which begins with the user (in our case, the student) experience. We have teamed with the Director of the Deason Innovation Gym at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, Katie Krummick, and her colleague, Gray Garmon, to attack the question of our school schedule from a completely different angle. Katie and Gray are not K-12 educators or even schedule consultants. They are experts in human-centered design, a problem-solving process pioneered by organizations like IDEO.Org and places like the Institute of Design at Stanford.

Human-centered design aligns with Parish’s innovative disposition. It involves three general, though not always linear, phases:

  • Inspiration: understanding your challenge by empathizing with your user.
  • Ideation: making sense of what you have heard and seen from your users and generating numerous prototypes of possible solutions to test and refine.
  • Implementation: bringing your idea to life.

Our shadowing of students has been a vital part of our inspiration phase. In their letters later this month, Division Heads will share some of their perspectives on their shadowing experiences. My colleagues and I will be spending time with Katie and Gray in April and June to take stock of what we have learned and begin designing Parish’s reimagined schedule, a process that will occupy much of the next 24-36 months.

I can’t wait for Meha’s feedback on what we develop!

Purposeful Innovation: Wondering, Questioning, and Creating Never Cease

senioritisWe have all been afflicted with it: Senioritis. 

Do you remember the sensations?

  • A debilitating loss of interest and urgency (mostly toward school).
  • Sheer revulsion at the very thought of school
  • A deep desire for liberation (especially from school, but parents sometimes make the cut too!)

Senioritis, notorious among high school and college seniors for generations, now even has its own hashtag: #senioritis. It’s amazing what you can find if you look hard enough. Already, with the calendar’s turn to 2016, present members of senior classes everywhere have a forum for sharing their plight with the world. Note: While the following statements may reflect the present mindset of some members of Parish’s class of 2016, these quotes are NOT from our precious graduates-to-be!:

  • Jan. 13, 2016: “figuring out the lowest grade you can get for the semester to still pass the class…” #senioritis
  • Jan. 14, 2016: “Giving up one class at a time” #senioritis
  • Jan. 14, 2016: “I’m surviving each week of school by thinking about the next weekend” #senioritis

As an educator, I’ve been fascinated – and candidly a bit hurt – by this phenomenon. After all, who wants to feel like the same students you’ve aspired to influence positively want nothing more than to be done with you? For many years, now, I’ve wondered if one day we educators might drive a stake through the heart of senioritis. But how?

Well, wonder leads to questions and questions lead to exciting new possibilities. Over this last decade, through our expansion and in the creation of our unique signature programs, Parish has used wonder and questioning to fuel our purposeful commitment to innovation.

So, wondering about senioritis, for example, begot questions such as these:

  • How might we make the last part of senior year one of the most exciting and meaningful periods of growth for students during their time at Parish?
  • How might the final weeks on campus energize students for their next life phase?

Over the last several years, a talented committee of Upper School faculty members pondered questions like these. Together, with input from colleagues and students, they have created Parish’s newest signature program, one which will launch this April with the class of 2016:

ParishBridgeRather than count down the days until graduation, seniors at Parish will now engage in five weeks of rich, personalized and meaningful experiences which prepare them not only for college but for the “complex global society” in which they will lead and serve.

Parishbridgeprogram

Working around their AP schedule, students will create their own five-week Academic Coursework experience. Guided by a faculty mentor, students will develop an independent research project personalized to their area of interest. In the class of 2016, for example, approved projects include:

  • Analysis of 2015 stock market/prediction report for 2016
  • Case review on Texas family law/alimony
  • Effects of medicated/natural childbirth
  • Physics of golf swings
  • 1920’s writers of the Lost Generation

We recognize the pivotal role networking, internships and career-exploration will play in our students’ lives beyond Parish. ParishBridge will afford our seniors valuable exposure to these experiences. For their Professional Experience students will choose a career, service or creative domain of interest and have a 15-50 hour exposure over five weeks. Students will maintain a blog throughout the experience and share their insights with peers in May. Already, students have identified exciting opportunities such as:

  • Intern at ESPN NYC
  • Robot Entertainment (video game programming)
  • India to help open an orphanage
  • The Integer Group marketing agency
  • Bickle and Brewer law firm

Given that Lifelong Learning will be instrumental to their future success, and realizing that blended and online coursework will be a ubiquitous learning tool both personally and professionally, Parish seniors will take an online course of their choosing at some time before or during their senior year. Reflecting their personal interests, students in the class of 2016 have identified a rich array of courses including:

  • Brookhaven Online Jogging
  • Ashworth College medical assistant
  • AP Chemistry review (with Parish’s Mr. Abronowitz)
  • Texas Tech ISD Economics (HS credit)
  • EdX Basic Mandarin
  • Coursera Buddhism and Modern Psychology

Finally, there are Life Ready experiences we aspire for our graduates to have but have been unable to fit into our core or advisory programs. Therefore, we’ve designed it into ParishBridge. Seniors will return to campus during the five week ParishBridge program to participate in a series of seminars taught by experts in the field:

  • Financial Literacy
  • Leaving a Healthy Digital Footprint
  • Acing the Interview / Job Etiquette
  • Emotional Wellness and Resiliency
  • Alcohol, Drugs and Making Good Choices

Needless to say, we are eager for this latest example of Parish’s purposeful innovation to launch. We believe it will not only serve our seniors well, but will offer us lessons as our thinking continues for the broader vision for reimagining of our programs – Reimagine School.

Wish us luck. Our long awaited battle with senioritis is at hand!

School With a Purpose

My effort to engage our community in reflection about meaning and purpose shifted to the students this month with my September 4th chapel homily at Midway.  I used Ephesians 2:10 as my scriptural inspiration:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I also wove Inside Out, Pixar’s summer blockbuster, through my message.  What follows is an extended excerpt from my message.

“I saw a fantastic movie this summer; a Pixar picture called Inside Out.  Anybody see it?

If you didn’t, it’s the story of Riley, a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old Minnesota girl.  Her world turns upside-down when she and her parents move to San Francisco. Riley’s emotions are co-stars in this movie. We get to see inside Riley as Joy, Fear, Disgust, Anger, and Sadness try to guide her through this difficult, life-changing event.

Inside Out offers so many themes I’d love to explore with you, but I’ve settled on a couple observations for today specific to this scene and connected to the start of the school year.

The first observation is the simplest:  your school year will be filled with the emotions which starred in the movie – and likely some others. 

InsideOut_01

You will experience joy in growing friendships and new successes;

You will confront fear as you meet challenges – perhaps from being a new student here or trying out for a team or a play for the first time;

You will be disgusted – perhaps by something a classmate does, or your own performance in a game or concert, or by the food in the Commons; 

You will be angry – at a teacher for a grade or a constructive criticism he or she makes, perhaps, or a friend for a poorly timed comment;

And, yes, you will be sad.  We are a community built on relationships.  Relationships are complicated and don’t always go as we would hope.  Our feelings will be hurt. We may feel lonely or left out.  Other times, we will fall short of goals and our best intentions and as a result will feel blue.

If you remember from the movie, Joy draws a circle around sadness trying to limit her impact on Riley that first day of school.  As it turns out, (no spoiler alert necessary!), sadness plays a most important role in helping Riley confront the challenge of moving to San Francisco.   InsideOut_02

For you this school year, the question is not whether you will feel a range of emotions, but how you will manage them.

Must all your days be filled with joy for you to consider them good days?  If so, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. 

Can you channel anger at yourself or others positively to reach a better outcome, or does anger linger with you and make achieving a positive resolution impossible? 

Do you allow your sadness to set you back for days, or can you find the fortitude we talk about in our ParishLEADS  framework to make tomorrow a better day?

Manage the emotions that you experience this year rather than trying to avoid them or limit their impact.  Recognize that each emotion has a purpose and a role to play as you become your best self.

Purpose: This theme from movie represents my second and final thought as the year begins.

In the film, each emotion had a job to do. Each emotion had a purpose.

What is your purpose?

In our reading today, Paul teaches the Ephesians, some of the earliest Christians, that they are God’s handiwork and that God has prepared work for them to do as Christians, living into His teachings and modeling them for others.  He suggests, even, that the work each person was born to do has been prepared for them in advance.

handiwork

This raises and interesting question for you to ponder. You are God’s handiwork.  What do you think he will call you to do one day?  How might you impact the world for better one day?  What gifts, abilities, and talents do you have that could do some good in this world?

These are big questions.  Certainly too big for today and perhaps too big for this year.  But we can start here at least.

What is the purpose of you attending school?  Why are you here at Parish and what do you plan to do on purpose to make this year a meaningful one for you?

If I asked you to choose what your purpose is in coming to school from the following multiple choice options, I wonder what the answer would be:

A. Get good grades to make my parents happy

B. Get good grades so I get into the college of my choice and then the job of my dreams!

C. I have no purpose in being here; my parents will not let me stay home and play video games all day

D. To be with friends

E. To play sports/be on stage/sing and dance…

HaveToWhile you might choose from several of these options, and all of them have some legitimacy, I fear sometimes that this might be the likely response:

 Just like Joy drew a circle around sadness to try and limit her impact, I think this answer draws too close a circle around you and separates you from a higher purpose for your work at Parish.

If you see school as just something to survive; if they only “good parts” of school are the subjects you like, or recess, or PE; if school’s purpose is simply about checking assignments completed and grades received, I’d ask you to reflect more deeply. 

In fact, I will commit much of my homily time this year talking about your purpose and our purpose as a school.

In so doing, I would propose one more answer for my multiple choice question:

ImpactWorld

When you think of your time at Parish as having this larger purpose, you erase the circle and open yourself to a whole new set of possibilities:

ImpactWorldNC

We will pick up here when I am with you next.

For now, remember. Indeed, you are here for a purpose beyond surviving until May when summer begins.  You are God’s handiwork.  He has made you – uniquely and particularly – for a reason. He will call you to impact this world in some way.  You are at Parish to begin discovering just how you will change the world, so do commit to doing school with a purpose.”

Doing Things on Purpose

May 22, 2016. Yes, it is odd to cite this distant date in a back to school post, but experience tells us a school year goes quickly. Graduation day for the class of 2016 will be here before we know it.

No one graduating class or ceremony is more special than another, but this May’s does mark an important benchmark in the life of Parish Episcopal School. For on that day at the Morton Meyerson Symphony Center our 10th graduating class will receive its diplomas. These 90 seniors will join a corps of 751 young people already sent forth from this place since 2007 to discover their purpose, make meaning of their lives, and in so doing impact the world for good.

Considering this milestone, and the fact that among those 90 graduates will be my oldest son, I’ve reflected often this summer on the concepts of purpose and meaning.

MansSearchForMeaning_FrankelI reread perhaps the most compelling author on the topic, Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankel. Frankel’s memoir, Man’s Search For Meaning, provides an inside story of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps. But as a psychiatrist, Frankel’s experience shaped his thinking on living purposefully. He wrote that “nothing in the world would more effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is a meaning to one’s life.” In fact, Frankel posited, our primary drive in life is not the pursuit of pleasure but the discovery and pursuit of what brings us meaning. He believed we derive meaning from three sources: work (doing something significant); love (caring for another); and courage during difficult times.

SpiritualChild_LMillerIn her book The Spiritual Child, Dr. Lisa Miller’s fascinating research affirms that humans are naturally endowed with a spiritual capacity. In a riveting chapter, Miller details how “the tumultuous period of adolescence is when values and priorities are forged, meaning and purpose are discovered, and an inner compass is honed.” Conscious cultivation at school and at home helps children develop a personal spirituality which “becomes a cornerstone for lifelong personal growth, success, satisfaction and happiness,” not to mention “empathy, forgiveness and resilience.”

PurposefulGraduate_Clydesdale“Sadly,” wrote Tim Clydesdale in The Purposeful Graduate, “disengagement if not disillusionment” pervade today’s colleges and universities, whose essence has been distilled to a “four to six year hazing they call ‘meeting degree requirements.’” Clydesdale offers an amazing analysis of the impact of the Lilly Endowment Inc.’s 88 campus, 8 year and 225 million dollar initiative which invited institutions to develop conversations about questions of meaning and purpose. These schools sought to systematically change the mindset from that of “college as an instrumental means to a practical end” to one yielding measureable results including “greater intellectual engagement” and “post-college trajectories that set graduates on journeys of significance and impact.”

As a new school year begins, it is appropriate for all of us to be thinking about purpose.

Students will hear much on this topic from me during my monthly homilies. What do they seek to discover about themselves this year? What gifts are they finding they possess? What tasks – be they in study, or work, or service – bring them the greatest joy? If together we can help our students ask more of these types of questions to offset those focused on the next test, the latest grade or the imminent deadline, we will do much to stimulate their thinking about the larger purpose of our lives.

Parents, you can capitalize on the year’s beginning to consider what purposeful parenting means to you.

As T.C.’s final year living with us begins, I recognize that Mollie and I have completed much of the “heavy lifting” of his parenting. We’ve done our best to instill and model values; we have sought to raise a young man with a sense of agency; and we stand ready to offer counsel as he makes important decisions in his adult life. Our greatest hope for him remains that he discovers what God has called him to be and to do, and that he experiences deep fulfillment when he finds it.

Finally, as a School we will continue to be a place that operates with purpose. Over 150 parents attended last fall’s “Reimagine School” meetings and were asked what makes Parish unique. We asked students and faculty the same question. As you can see from the responses, there is much unanimity on the traits and characteristics we value in Parish.

Wordcloud_Community

Utilizing this feedback, and building on the bold narrative borne of our expansion and positioning as the Metroplex’s most progressive independent school, the Board of Trustees crafted and approved a new statement of purpose last April:

“Inspired by our values of Wisdom, Honor and Service, our inclusive Episcopal community guides young people to become creative learners and bold leaders prepared to impact our complex global society.”

In my blog posts this year, I look forward to sharing insights on how we live out this statement each day.

At the Class of 2015’s graduation ceremony in May I asked this question: “Do we realize the incredible opportunity which has been afforded to us to be in relationship with Parish over the last decade?”

Together, we have helped to shape something – creating a sensational new entity called Parish Episcopal School from the foundation of an equally wonderful learning place called Parish Day. Growing this school remains a constant source of challenge and joy. While many school communities, businesses, non-profits and churches have chosen to stand pat admiring their accomplishments, Parish has dared to imagine, to dream big and to be among the first to do or try.

This is what makes Parish unique and special. This is what brings great meaning and purpose to our work.

Demonstrating Definitive Preparation

When MIT made this announcement in the summer of 2013, it certainly garnered attention.  The notion that a top tier university would welcome applicants to submit a digital “maker” portfolio in addition to their standard application broke the mold.  Formerly, only art institutes asked prospective students to share demonstrations of their training and competency.

Will Parish seniors be in an advantageous position one day as they share an artifact from their MyPanther e.portfolio as part of their college application? It is too early to tell. When I met with the Deans of Enrollment at some of the country’s top universities in the fall of 2013 (See Mr. M’s Excellent College Adventure), most told me that they did not foresee their application process absorbing the additional volume created by digital submissions. Still, who knows? A decade ago many admissions officials would not have accurately predicted the significant implications online applications have had on college admissions.

I can suggest with greater certainty that the MyPanther e.portfolio offers a rich testimonial to the powerful habits of mind our students master as they journey through Parish. This effort will recalibrate how our community defines what success looks like in student learning. Evaluating what students produce, not just what they achieve in letter grades or standardized test scores, will lead to a more substantive and nuanced discussion of success and preparation.

Here is a glimpse of some major features of MyPanther:

Digital Identity

ParishProfileAboutMeMyPanther promotes student ownership of their digital identity. In addition to housing a student’s work samples, the e.portfolio will eventually enable her to catalog the on and off campus activities that define who she is becoming.

A Variety of Artifact Demonstrating Ongoing Mastery of the Practices

MyPanther chronicles a student’s evolving mastery of the ParishProfile Practices. Our teachers have designed incredible learning experiences which affords a student choice in how he demonstrates what he knows and what he can do. Focusing on learning endeavors that go beyond paper and pencil tests promotes student engagement.

Example – 2nd grade Insect Project: On this 2nd grade artifact page, the teacher articulates how the learning endeavor (designing an imaginary insect including its characteristics and habitat) aligns with the Practices. The Practices in bold represent the ones most emphasized in the learning experience and the assignment challenged our young learner to prototype a design before completing a final product:

ParishProfile_InsectProject

Example – 7th grade Cell Project: As students grow older, not only do they experience variety in the ways they can demonstrate their knowledge and skills (uploading writing samples, pictures, videos, slideshows, etc.), they also have more choice in which work samples they select to upload into their MyPanther. In the video below, a 7th grade girl demonstrates her understanding of cell structure using a “real-world” object (in this case a decorated donut) and its ingredients to create an analogy. In addition to her comprehension of the science concepts (see also the written reflection as it relates to the Practices), the student also honed her writing and technology skills in this task as she created the project video:

Increased Student Ownership and Reflection on Learning

MyPanther also promotes student reflection. When students take time to consider the purpose of an assignment, what skills it developed and what they learned from doing it, we combat the “memorize, regurgitate, repeat” cycle which has too often characterized the school experience.

ParishProfile_ShortStoryExample – 9th grade First-Person Short Story: This ninth grade student has uploaded a piece of first-person fiction writing which, in part, has taught her that when developing a product for public consideration one needs to “edit, edit and edit!”  Read the completed short story (or artifact).

It should be noted that this artifact demonstrates that the MyPanther will have traditional work samples, such as this piece of writing, in addition to digital representations of more hands-on projects.

For parents, MyPanther offers an opportunity to engage. While primary management of MyPanther rests with your child, you can take advantage of the e.portfolio to understand in vivid terms the powerful learning your child experiences as they journey through Parish.

If I don’t see you on campus before Spring Break, I hope to see you soon after.

Reimagining School: Parish at 50

At Parish, we embrace our identity as a school which looks to the future boldly.  We are presently deep in thinking about how the school experience might be reimagined to prepare modern learners ready for the complex, interconnected, and ever changing world they will lead. The perspectives of our parents have contributed to our thinking.  This past November, over 140 parents attended three interactive meetings called “Reimagine School – Parish at 50.”  Together, we discussed what we value about Parish and wish to persevere as well as what we dream about when we think about Parish in 2022, when it turns 50.  As we returned from the holiday break this week, I shared with our community a summation of the feedback shared at this stimulating sessions.