Academics

Building Literacy Skills Begins in Preschool

December 9, 2021
In our play-based program Preschool students learn to communicate and express their needs and feelings to teachers and peers. During meeting times, students begin to express themselves as they share their thoughts and ideas with the group. Children listen to a variety of literature, developing their vocabulary as well as print and phonemic awareness. Preschoolers begin to take note of environmental print, looking for their name tags as well as matching pictures with words. They sing songs to understand how words are strung together and build their background knowledge through theme-related studies which will later help them recognize new words as they begin to read.
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Academics

Please & Thank You

November 26, 2021

Returning to the servery this school year has been absolutely wonderful. Not only are we getting the students and teachers out of their classrooms, but they are also provided so many healthy and yummy choices this year. Because we are operating in the servery and dining rooms during a pandemic, we have implemented several health and safety measures. One of those measures is moving eight grade levels through one-at-a-time. In order to manage that many servery sessions, we’ve made some changes this year to be more efficient. One of my roles to help expedite movement through the servery is parsing out around 120 sets of silverware (fork, knife, and spoon wrapped in a napkin) to the students in the Lower School through four lunch waves. We also have Mrs. Murray and Ms. Pina who help pour and serve many, many milks, juices, and waters for the students each day.

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Academics

Feedback

November 18, 2021

During a recent Lower School Faculty meeting, teachers viewed Austin’s Butterfly: Models, Critique, and Descriptive Feedback. This video, created by EL Education, a non-profit organization which began out of a collaboration of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and Outward Bound in the 1990s, provides insight for teachers and students regarding how critique and feedback, through the process of multiple iterations, can transform student work. After the video, teachers read Seven Keys to Effective Feedback by Grant Wiggins and discussed the important and critical components of feedback: goal-referenced, tangible and transparent, actionable, user-friendly, timely, ongoing, and consistent.  

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Professional Development

November 4, 2021

A friend who publishes an oncology journal recently shared with me that they had just returned from hosting a group of doctors in Kiawah, SC for a few days for some professional development and golf. It was very strange and a little funny to hear the term “professional development” used in a context not pertaining to teachers. Of course, I know that those in the medical field participate in ongoing training and education, so I wondered why that comment about professional development (PD) for folks outside of the educational landscape landed on me as it did.

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Musings on Math

October 22, 2021
Last night my son texted me and asked when I would be coming home. I responded letting him know an approximate time and asked him why he wanted to know. Usually, his answer is because he’s hungry, but last night, it was because he needed help with his math homework. Now it’s very possible that I may have stayed at work longer than I needed, and I also may have taken the long way home, but let’s just keep that to ourselves! 
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Parent-Teacher Partnerships

October 1, 2021

During our recent Parents’ Night, I spoke about teachers in terms of their sincere commitment to their students’ growth and development, and how they chose a teaching career because they care about the outcomes of others. I also touched on the importance of continuing to build a strong parent/teacher partnership on behalf of the students. What I’d like to speak to now is the role of the parent in this critical relationship.  

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Continuing the Journey: Mathematics Learning 2021 and Beyond

August 16, 2021

Christine Ladd, Marianne Michailow, and Akilah Williams all attended the seminar Continuing the Journey: Mathematics Learning 2021 and Beyond sponsored by the Association of State Supervisors of Mathematics (ASSM), NCSM: Leadership in Mathematics Education, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).

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Trustee Scholars

June 3, 2021
 
At Renbrook School, eighth-graders traditionally serve as leaders of the student body, running Morning Meeting, serving in senior positions on the student council, acting as team captains, playing major roles in the school musical, and more. Students can participate in the Trustee Scholar Project as one of their leadership roles.
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Creating a Beehive of Innovation 

May 24, 2021

At Renbrook, we are committed to project-based STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education, a multidisciplinary approach to hands-on learning. We believe that giving our students the chance to tinker, create, and build shows them that they can impact systems and objects in their world. We want our students to see that they can bring their learning to life by creating effective solutions that integrate knowledge and skills across disciplines. We take children’s intellect and ideas seriously and strive to help them build a “maker mindset,” demonstrating the value of an iterative process. It is through such process-oriented work that our students discover that their outcomes can be refined and improved through self-reflection and sharing their work with others. 
 

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Celebrating 40 Years of “Mathtown” at Renbrook School

May 12, 2021
Middle school children are full of questions about themselves and the world around them. What career will I have as an adult? How does what I am learning in school help me in the future? Hundreds of vital questions that deserve answers. Middle School students are reaching adulthood and will be moving on to secondary school. In a few years, they will pick a college and declare a major or find a job. Children at any age need to understand why they are learning topics, and at Renbrook, teachers intentionally bring learning to life. A hands-on approach allows students to work at their own pace and tackle challenges appropriately.
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Technology in a Time of Pandemic: Versatility & Expansion

April 26, 2021

In March, when the curtain came down on school as we knew it, Renbrook was well-positioned to pivot to online learning. “We had done the heavy lifting in 2018-2019,“ says Dave Blodgett, Academic Technology Coordinator, “when we moved to a cloud-based system school-wide.” In March 2020, teachers and staff were already living in Microsoft’s “more is more” online environment, and the sudden onset of virtual school accelerated their exploration of new ways to connect with students using a variety of apps and platforms.

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Outdoor Learning: Curiosity, Creativity, Community at Work

April 5, 2021

Given the treasure of our 75-acre campus, turning to the outdoors as the safest way to learn together has been a natural adaptation for Renbrook this year. Undoubtedly our location on Avon Mountain has been essential to our successful effort to hold school in person. But more than that, learning from nature has been a vital element of Renbrook’s philosophy and practice from the outset and is embedded in the school’s philosophy and traditions.        

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Music at Renbrook Is Not Just Enduring – It’s Thriving!

March 29, 2021
Last spring, as Zoom classes carried on, students in Upper School missed sports, art, and music—the non-academic areas of school life. But each of those departments found ways to include their joys in the lockdown experience. Woodworking and photography challenges were issued, and PE videos appeared on Instagram. 
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Curiosity, Creativity, Community: They’re in our Renbrook DNA

March 28, 2021

In Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll’s Alice finds herself quite suddenly and unexpectedly in a world alarmingly different from her own orderly one. When the pandemic struck last winter, we, too, went down a rabbit hole. We had no choice but to engage with the new reality and use our wits, as Alice does—all the while registering surprise and amazement.

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Social Studies, Humanities, and History at Renbrook School

February 25, 2021

Renbrook’s mission calls us to prepare our students to lead in a global and inclusive world. Our “Curriculum Spotlight” highlights our Social Studies, Humanities, and History Program which plays a central role in this work. Our intentional development of empathetic citizens dedicated to the greater good is more important now than ever.  
 
As you explore our Division Heads’ “fly over” of the scope and sequence of this important program, join us in our partnership to develop our children’s commitment to serving ideals and institutions that support our community and strengthen our democracy.

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MATHCOUNTS 2021

February 17, 2021

Congratulations to all of our Renbrook “Mathletes” who recently participated in MATHCOUNTS. Particular congratulations go out to sixth-grader Hridaan Mehta for qualifying for the next round of the MATHCOUNTS Competition Series, the Chapter Invitational. Hridaan scored 37 out of 46 possible points and ranked fourteenth overall.
The MATHCOUNTS Competition Series is a national middle school mathematics competition that builds problem-solving skills and fosters achievement through four levels of fun, in-person “bee” style contests. The contests are all being held virtually this year and Hridaan will move on to the Chapter Invitational on February 25, 2021. Best of luck Hridaan! 

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Student-Driven Curriculum in Kindergarten – Why and How?

February 16, 2021

Despite COVID-19 limitations that require each kindergarten class to remain socially distant, the kindergarten teachers brought their students together on Zoom to brainstorm what topics they might be interested in studying. The list was vast and varied! Topics ranged from tunnels to whistles to clocks.

Each teacher created a list of the students’ ideas and the individual classes then began to group the topics into themes such as food, machines, toys, and transportation. Once several categories were identified, each class voted on a theme to study, with each student allowed two votes. Topics were given 2 points for a child’s first choice and 1 point for a child’s second choice. Two kindergarten classes selected transportation as their theme while the third selected toys.

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Math at Renbrook School

December 28, 2020

Math at Renbrook School is dynamic and engaging at every level. Here, our Division Heads provide a description of our math philosophy and the ways we bring learning to life through real-world applications.  
 
You will find through their writing that our math program is a foundational element of a Renbrook education. Secondary schools recognize our graduates for their conceptual mastery as well as their ability to execute an array of problem-solving strategies. Our outstanding math instructors take great pride in our student outcomes. 
 
While our students’ strong standardized test scores tell a part of the story and their math trajectory makes their former teachers beam, we are most proud of the ways our teachers develop confidence and a love for math. 

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Uncovering the Past: A group of fifth graders discovered their town’s secret history and honored a forgotten hero.

April 25, 2020

Renbrook School is excited to share this article that appears in the April issue of Scholastic News. The article, “Uncovering the Past,” tells of the Witness Stone Project completed last year by Renbrook fifth-graders who discovered their town’s secret and honored a forgotten hero.

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First Graders Create Book Cafe

May 20, 2019

First graders have been learning about communities, how they function, what their needs are and the importance of why people work. They got an opportunity to experience what it feels like to “work” by creating their very own first grade “Book Cafe.” Students chose specific jobs and how they will run their specific sections. 

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