Legacy Society Profile: Jane C. Shipp

News

Jane Shipp was Renbrook’s Headmistress for 20 years, from 1990 to 2010. Only Florence Greene, our founding Headmistress, served the school longer. Mrs. Shipp preferred the title Headmistress because she saw her role as head teacher, the first among equals. She left a lasting imprint on the school and is remembered fondly by former students, parents, faculty, and staff. Although she has scrupulously kept her distance since retiring, she watches our doings with keen interest and speaks with great conviction about her love for the school and its mission.

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GIFTS AT WORK: Manafort Family Plaza

News

Trudging up the hill to the Upper Athletic Fields used to mean emerging on the verge of Edith P. Gengras Field on a muddy pathway under the Sills Family Tennis Courts, squishing through puddles to reach the soccer and field hockey fields. Now, the trudger is greeted by an elegant stone plaza and a stone wall proudly proclaiming “Renbrook School.” The first field is now dedicated to Bruce J. Irving, and beyond it is the new Gengras Family Field.

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ALUMNS IN ACTION: Tim Paydos ’85, IBM’s Global General Manager of Government Industry Solutions

Alumni

Tim Paydos’s interest in using the latest technology to solve problems can be traced back to the early 1980’s, when the first computer arrived at Renbrook. He remembers sharing the excitement as Marg Ayres, Head of the Math Department, set up the big, clunky Apple computer in the library and called it “the Computer Lab.” Hooked, Tim continued to explore the possibilities of the new technologies as they evolved through his time at St. Paul’s and then at Harvard, where he majored in Foreign Relations with a specialty in Nuclear Wargaming. Tim’s studies included government and history, sociology and psychology, and statistics and probability. How would he use his varied interests and aptitudes? Would he follow many of his talented peers into investment banking? No, Tim was excited to deliver value to society through innovative, geeky technology.

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Renbrook School Celebrates Flight Day

News
In recognition of our rich aviation history, Renbrook School recently held a day-long Flight Day celebration after a 3-year pandemic-induced hiatus. Flight Day is an annual all-school event that began in 2010 and joyously celebrates the deep connection between Renbrook School, the Frederick B. Rentschler family, and Pratt & Whitney.
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ALUMNS IN ACTION: Emma Kagel ’97, Bioethecist

Emma Kagel

“Like many who pursue a career in healthcare, it was my personal experiences as a patient that led me to seek a meaningful way to contribute to the practice of medicine,” explains Emma Kagel ’97. Forging her path in the rapidly evolving field of bioethics, she has drawn on her struggles and triumphs as a profoundly deaf child and an early adopter of cutting-edge medical technology. Now she is making a difference at Beth Israel Lahey Health as a compliance officer, addressing ethical issues in medical research. She is also the founder of Bioethics Alliance, whose goal is “to foster evidence-based insights and best practices to advance bioethical dialogue, therapeutic partnerships, and ethical action for a just society.”

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ALUMS IN ACTION: Morgan Caswell ’06, Manager of Air Quality Practices for the Port of Long Beach, CA

Alumni

Renbrook alum, Morgan Caswell, Zoomed in to give seventh and eighth graders a window into how science and technology are at work to solve a complex environmental problem in Southern California. The students were riveted by her clear explanation of how she is coordinating the efforts of industry, government, science, and citizens to clean up some of the dirtiest air in the country. What was Morgan’s path to this critical job?

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Renbrook’s American Chestnut

American Chestnut

Last year’s seventh-grade Life Science class discovered three American chestnut trees in the Renbrook Forest (Renbrook Magazine Winter 2022). This exciting find enabled students to dive into the historical, cultural, and economic significance of this once-dominant hardwood and the introduced blight which swiftly killed over four billion trees in the early decades of the 20th century. It also provided them with a unique opportunity to join the American Chestnut Foundation (TACF) in its bold mission: “to develop a blight resistant American chestnut tree through breeding, biotechnology, and biocontrol, and restore the tree to its native forests in the eastern United States.” By sending twig and leaf samples and other data to TACF’s regional scientist, Renbrook students helped expand TACF’s database of all the known wild chestnut trees in the United States. But this was just the beginning.

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Rigor in the Lower School

Academics

While rigor is a term used often in education, its meaning varies greatly depending on who is using it. For those of us within the college preparatory, independent school world, one frequently reads or hears about programs, teachers, and/or curricula that are either rigorous or lacking thereof. 

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Scientific Thinking in the Seventh Grade

Academics

“SCIENCE: Because figuring things out is better than making stuff up.” This quotation from Neil Degrasse Tyson, is emblazoned on one of Howard Wright’s favorite T-shirts, and it sums up the core of scientific thinking. Evidence, tested and tried, is the basis of knowledge, not assumptions, hunches, or opinions. Skepticism, readiness to reconsider, and openness to new evidence are essential to scientific thinking, and our Upper School students live it every day.

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Inquiry Based Learning

Academics

Olivia Goodrich, Upper School STEAM teacher, is all about inquiry-based learning. The process goes like this: start with a question; observe; gather data; generate more questions to guide further observation; continually revisit the same phenomenon to dig deeper; test your previous conclusions.

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GIFTS AT WORK: Gengras Family Field

News

Athletic Director Peter Reynolds beamed as his familiar, raspy voice rang out at the dedication of the Gengras Family Field. What a difference our beautiful new turf field will make to our students! A reliable playing surface for our teams to practice and compete on, regardless of the weather. A dry outdoor classroom for physical education classes. “Our athletes will have a new, stronger sense of pride as they wear the blue and walk onto this field,” he boasted.

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Renbrook Students Shined on the Slopes this Year

News

Several Renbrook students demonstrated exceptional skills and success in their ski programs this year, and we’re so proud of their commitment, hard work, and accomplishments. It is a pleasure to share the good news about our students and their endeavors! 

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Scientific Thinking from the Beginning

Academics

In the Beginning School, children are naturalists. Our 75-acre campus beckons them to explore the outdoors and the creatures, plants, and rocks they find there. They are taught to stop, pause, and look more closely. Our youngest students are not bound by a curriculum; they follow their own discoveries and observations. Their teachers build on the children’s own curiosity to lead them into the process of formal inquiry.

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How Do Scientists Think?

Academics

For the next several weeks, follow us as we explore the notion of scientific thinking. What do we really mean by scientific thinking, and how does it inform our teaching and learning at Renbrook School?

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Building towards Benchmarks in a Play-Based Curriculum: Math

Academics
Building number sense allows children to think flexibly and fluently about numbers and allows them to generalize numbers across contexts. Developing strong number sense in the younger years is necessary to compute and solve more complex problems in older grades. Helping each child to believe they are a mathematician and develop a love for math begins with children building an understanding of numbers.  
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