Thursday, June 4, 2009

Progressive Education: Why It's Hard to Beat, Why S-K's got it.

One of the topics that came up at the recruitment/marketing meeting last night was how to define "progressive education". For those of you interested in learning more about the meaning of the term and how it is the basis for the curriculum and culture of our community at S-K, there is a great article by Alfie Kohn that talks about the value and values of progressive education from the magazine Independent School.

Progressive Education: Why It’s Hard to Beat, But Also Hard to Find

There is another good entry about progressive education on wikipedia (although obviously the editors feel like it came from another source). I particularly like the bullets that describe the qualities of progressive can really see how this takes root and becomes manifest in our classrooms.

When I've tried to describe the magic of S-K in the past, I usually wander around in words until I finally say "you really have to see it in action to believe it!" I hope that these articles help others as much as they have helped me to be able to make the culture of the school concrete and real for others.

If you have any other great articles on progressive ed, brigh/creative/gifted children and learning, please pass them on. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Money Without Thinking About It, Recruitment and Adieu

Hi Families,

It's incredible to me that the end of the year is upon us. The whole school came to the lunchroom today for a demonstration on Tunisian cooking (hand-rolled couscous in olive oil, gorgeous sauce made with olives, preserved lemons and harissa facilitated by Ari Weinzweig (Zingerman's) and Majid and Onsa Mahjoub) and as I looked out across all of the beautiful faces, my throat caught a bit. What incredible children make up this community. Smart, interesting, sweet, loving, spunky, articulate, gentle, generous, courageous. All of these things and more. It's a pretty inspiring group of kiddos who will make a tremendous impact on the world in the near and far term. That's why our family is part of this community and that's what makes it hard to say goodbye until next year. I hope to see many of you at summer camp and we should try to have a gathering at some point just for fun to reconnect and tell stories of what our lives are like in the lazy days of summer.

Recruitment: But before everyone packs up their assessments and idea books and heads off for a summer of fun, I wanted to say that if you have any fantastic ideas for recruiting highly-qualified and spectacular kids for our (2nd) K/1 and our 4/5 classrooms this summer, please do not hesitate to either give me a call or email me at fran.loosen (at) Your ideas have been *fantastic* so far and we are hitting the ground running pursuing many of them. No idea is too out of the box, keep the creative juices flowing. We will have to prioritize our activities, but your input and insight is great. For those of you coming to the recruitment meeting tonight, thank you! Your energy is much appreciated.

Free Money: I am a real Sally-come-lately but somewhere in there I missed that Summers-Knoll is a beneficiary of the Take Charge for Education program at Target and figured others might be too, so I'm going to mention it here on the off-chance that others are reading this. It's pretty cool. You use Target's credit card and they contribute 1% on all your Target purchases or 1/2% on all other purchases back to the school. For years I've played the airline miles game and have always paid annual fees for miles I rarely use. This year maybe I'll see how this works to support S-K without even really thinking about it.

If you have found opportunities for the school to benefit from this somewhat passive fundraising, please let us all know. Remember that goodsearch and goodshop are still great options. Every little bit counts.

Finally: To our teachers, staff and are simply amazing. Thank you. You make such an important impression on the lives of these children. They are uplifted by your intelligence and warmed by your kindness. There's just not enough time or data storage space to say to thank you for all that you do and for the many instances of care and compassion that go unrecognized. You are a true gift.

Safe travels and happy summer to you all. I will keep putting things up here during the summer just as a way to stay in practice, but I hope to get other parents involved in this blog and *really* hope to get a PTO of sorts up and running. If you are interested in helping out (or, I could just find you) please let me know. It's a great way to socialize with families and to help the school grow.