Tag Archives: Education

Hamlin Alumnae Reflect On Their Education

On May 6, Hamlin welcomed back ten members of the class of 2015 who will soon be graduating from high school (two just did). These bright and articulate young women reflected on their Hamlin education in front of an audience of faculty members, staff and trustees. Wanda M. Holland Greene and Teebie Saunders led a vibrant and insightful discussion, asking the students about their time at Hamlin, exploring topics like: gender, core values, academic preparation, and their passions. Below are a few of the central themes that emerged.

-All the panelists spoke about how Hamlin prepared them to speak up and advocate for themselves in classes and at their high schools. Many cited the “confidence” that Hamlin instilled in them.

-Most of the panelists were involved in various forms of leadership at their high schools, including: being a peer advisor, participating in student government, being captains on sports teams, and leading clubs focused on art, inclusion, feminism, and politics.

-Panelists spoke about how they felt very prepared for high school. They cited the skills of time management and organization that they developed while at Hamlin. Many of the former students also mentioned the excellent education they received in math, science and technology.

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Gender Inclusivity Dialogue with PLAID

On Tuesday morning, our PLAID parent group and some of Hamlin’s administrators showed the film Creating Gender Inclusive Schools, followed by an engaging dialogue.

PLAID’s mission is to support a vibrant and inclusive environment in which all members of the community can celebrate their authentic selves. We foster open dialogue through family programs, parent education, and community outreach.

Politicians and 24-hour news outlets spend a lot of time talking about gender and schools, yet most people are left wondering: how are schools talking about gender with students in grade-appropriate ways? Creating Gender Inclusive Schools shows how one school approached this important subject, and along the way demonstrates the power of having a conversation with youth about gender.

A large group of parents and faculty members gathered to watch the film and talk about gender inclusivity in small groups, and as a larger group. Head of The Hamlin School, Wanda M. Holland Greene facilitated the session with care and compassion.

The following were some of the key ideas that surfaced from the both the film and dialogue:

-Being inclusive doesn’t mean just inviting people; you have to work at it.

-Gender is not about biological parts; a person gets to decide their gender.

-At Hamlin there is a space for girls with all sorts of gender expression.

-Students don’t have to follow rules around masculine and feminine stereotypes, such as favorite color choices, types of dress, and free time activities.

-Many students (in general) are not binary in terms of gender, they often have aspects of their identities that are masculine, feminine, or neither.

-When thinking about gender inclusivity, it is important for schools to create an environment where students are safe and seen.

-“Hamlin provides a supportive and nonjudgmental environment for my daughter.”

To learn more about the film and topic, please visit: https://www.genderspectrum.org/creating-gender-inclusive-schools/

 

 

Grade 6 Partners with OneProsper in India

OneProsper International is working to empower girls in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, India to break the cycle of poverty. Our solution brings clean water, education and better nutrition to underprivileged girls living in the Thar Desert. We recognize that a girl in India faces many obstacles before she can earn an education. OneProsper takes a holistic approach to solve the crisis of female literacy.

Grade 6 social studies students are studying the eastern hemisphere and the issue of water scarcity in countries like India. As part of their learning experience they are focusing on the struggle of women in the northern Thar Desert where resources are scarce, forcing girls to forgo school in order to walk long distances to get water for their families. This spring our OneProsper partnership continues for a 3rd year with students doing individual fundraising to assist women and girls in India. (The above photo shows a girl who has benefited from our partnership).

Below is an update from One Prosper’s Founder, Raju Agarwal.

Thanks (in part) to the generous donation of the Hamlin Class of 2020 in 2018, 100 disadvantaged girls in the Thar Desert of India will start going to school in July 2019, at the start of the next school year.

We are currently in the process of constructing taankas (rainwater harvesting tanks) and khadins (farming dykes) for each of the 50 selected families (100 girls).

Taanka construction will be completed by end of April.  As a result, 100 girls will be freed from water collection. Khadin construction will be completed by end of June.

In June, 100 girls will receive bicycles, school uniforms, and school supplies. And, their mothers will receive biosand water filters and seeds and training to plant crops.

To learn more about One Prosper, please visit: https://www.oneprosper.org/

Hamlin Welcomes Nthabiseng Lizzy Matsetela

During most of March, South African teacher, Ms. Nthabiseng Lizzy Matsetela will be sharing her talents with our Hamlin students and faculty as part of the program Teach With Africa. Ms. Matsetela is especially focused on instilling a love of math in her students. Ms. Matsetela is partnered with Hamlin teacher, Gillian Curran. Hamlin has participated with Teach With Africa for several years and always welcomes the cross-cultural exchange of ideas and friendship.

Teach With Africa is a non-profit organization empowering students and teachers in a reciprocal exchange of teaching and learning in Africa and the United States. Teach With Africa seeks to reduce the embedded inequities in our societies by working to provide access to quality education in order to transform children’s lives, schools and communities.

Ms. Matsetela shares:

My name is Nthabiseng Lizzy Matsetela; I was born and bred in Limpopo province, and currently live in Johannesburg. I’m studying for my B.Ed. with University of South Africa (UNISA) and am in my second year. I want to be a teacher because I believe I have all the qualities needed to be a teacher and a role model. I enjoy reading inspirational books. I also enjoy exercising and sharing information either by teaching or by having positive conversations.

To learn more about Teach With Africa, please visit: https://www.teachwithafrica.org/

Grade 3 Students Perform “Cero” in Spanish

Members of Grade 3 recently performed in the play Cero. The performance was lauded by both parents and faculty members alike.

From Cero’s program:

This Third Grade Spanish play is the result of a collaborative and interdisciplinary project combining theater arts and Spanish. Students have worked on key elements of acting and staging during the rehearsal process. At the same time, the girls have been developing their fluency while using many new Spanish words and phrases within the context of telling a story. 

In addition to developing students’ language and acting skills, we hope that this project has enhanced the girls’ range of self-expression, confidence, and enjoyment of both Spanish and theater. 

Synopsis:

Cero is a big, round number… but she feels empty on the inside. As Cero watches the other numbers count off, she wishes that she could count, too. But how can a number worth nothing count for something? 

No matter how much Cero tries to change her shape, she realizes that she will always be a zero.

Will Cero learn that everyone has value, no matter their shape or size?

Hamlin Students Visit the SFMOMA

On Thursday, students in Grade 6 had the opportunity to visit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and see the Magritte exhibit.

René François Ghislain Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for creating a number of witty and thought-provoking images. Often depicting ordinary objects in an unusual context, his work is known for challenging observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality.

Hamlin art teacher, Ms. Feldman put together an interactive Keynote that allowed our students to engage in profound learning as they experienced the artwork.

As part of the Keynote tour (with their iPads), girls did the following (among other activities):

Discuss with your partner:

-Explore the works in this room. What emotions are being expressed? Do you think that art needs to express emotions? Whose emotions does art express?

-Choose one piece of artwork to talk about. What do you think will happen next in this piece?

-With your partner, find a piece of art in this room to talk about and answer these questions: What is the story that you see in this work of art? What do you see in the work that tells you it is about this story?

To learn more about the exhibit, please visit: https://www.sfmoma.org/exhibitions-events/

 

 

Interview with Kindergarten Teacher: Jen Phillips

Ms. Phillips is in her 7th year teaching kindergarten at The Hamlin School.

What do you love about teaching kindergarten?

So much, kindergarteners are so open, excited, and happy. I really enjoy teaching students to be good young people. We focus on social-emotional learning. How do you make a friend? How do you solve a conflict? How do you tell your friends what you need? Academically they are excited for everything, they don’t always get enough credit (because they are the youngest), but they are capable and ready to learn.

What do you love about teaching at Hamlin?

The girls are amazing. Every year you get this new group of bright and diverse students. I also love my co-workers. Hamlin is a supportive community. I’ve done many professional development workshops that have helped enrich my teaching practice. I love coming to work every day.

What is one of your favorite memories from elementary school?

I have great memories of reading and writing. I always loved reading books on a cushion underneath a table in the classroom; it was like my own little cocoon. I would read books like Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins.

Describe a favorite teaching moment.

I love when the girls take on the role of peer teacher, extending their learning and deepening their understanding. In these moments I often see the girls making connections between what they have learned and their own lives. When they begin teaching each other I know that I’ve done my job.

 

Matter of Trust Speaks at Hamlin

In the spring, Grade 7 students will be participating in a active learning experience called Rise to the Challenge.

Rise to the Challenge is the intensive for our Grade 7 studentsIntensives are a concentrated period of study where an entire grade is working on a project or projects, with profound research and preparation, followed by a public event. These intensives are designed with Hamlin’s mission in mind, as our students meet the challenges of their time.

Grade 7 students have the opportunity to choose their own topics, do in-depth research, then share their findings, providing short and long-term solutions to various problems.

To prepare and inspire our girls for Rise to the Challenge, we have had speakers sharing their altruistic passions with our students.

Yesterday, Lisa Craig Gautier, the founder of the nonprofit A Matter of Trust, spoke with students.

Matter of Trust provides systems for sorting recyclables and compostables into useful stockpiles. By focusing on convenience, we learn what households need most from community reuse programs. Gathering perspectives from global industries, we find motivations and new zero-waste opportunities. We are passionate about efficiency and deconstructable designs.

Ms. Gautier encouraged our students to discover their passion and make a difference in the world by thinking outside the box in creative ways.

Special thanks to Mr. Ditto (in the photo), who invited Ms. Gautier to Hamlin.

To learn more about Matter of Trust, please visit: https://matteroftrust.org/

 

 

Interview with Dr. Kelsey Twist Schroeder: Our New Middle School Division Head

We are very excited to have Dr. Kelsey Twist Schroeder with us this year. Dr. Schroeder comes to The Hamlin School from Roland Park Country School in Baltimore, where she was the Dean of Students for the Upper School. Dr. Schroeder attended Stanford University, where she was a scholar-athlete, excelling as an All-American lacrosse player. She went on to earn her Masters in Education from Stanford, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Schroeder is the mother of three girls; her two oldest are now attending Hamlin.

1. What are you most excited about for this school year?

In my first year at Hamlin, I am most excited about becoming part of this extraordinary community. When I visited Hamlin last year for my interviews, I could immediately sense what a strong, supportive community it was. Every person—from the students to the employees to the families—believes in the mission of the school and living the Creed, and you can feel that energy in the air.

That is the kind of environment where I want to be a school leader, and it is the kind of school culture I want for my own daughters. My spouse, Jamie, and I are simply over the moon that our daughters, Hazel and Lillian started in the Lower School this fall, and hopefully our youngest, Marion, will be here in a few years!     

2. You recently completed your Doctorate in Education. Tell us about the focus of your work.

The Mid-Career Doctoral Program at Penn brings together a diverse cohort of educational leaders from urban, rural, suburban, private, and public contexts. We had different backgrounds, educational philosophies, and professional roles, and we came together to use that range of wisdom to tackle complex educational challenges.

The focus of my dissertation was on how adolescent students at a selective independent girls’ school conceptualize and experience leadership. The premise of the study is that leadership is dynamic and that girls coming of age today may not approach leadership in the same way girls did ten or even five years ago. Because I am committed to developing leadership capacities in girls, I wanted to begin that work by first understanding what attitudes, experiences, and hopes shape the way the girls currently approach leadership.   

3. You are the mother of 3 girls; what is the best piece of parenting advice you have received?

Being a mother of three girls has been the greatest joy of my life, and as any parent knows, raising children is also challenging at times. My first daughter, Hazel, was born 13 weeks prematurely. We are blessed that Hazel had a remarkable recovery, but she had a difficult start to life. During her long stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) she had one particularly hard day and was having difficulty breathing; as a new mother, I was feeling overwhelmed. A nurse that I had become friendly with came up to me, put her arm around me, and compassionately said, “I know you wish you could, Kelsey, but you can’t learn to breathe for her.” I will never forget that moment and the caring way she spoke those words to me.

Watching your child struggle to learn is one of the most challenging experiences as a parent. It’s our instinct to want to step in and help. I have returned to that wise advice several times over the years. Whether it’s learning to tie a shoe or make new friends, I have to remind myself that I can guide and support and love my kids, and I also need to let them learn independently.

4. You were a highly accomplished athlete. How does that experience inform your work as an educator?

Growing up, I was blessed to attend a girls’ school that never asked me to pick between being a scholar, athlete, or artist. I loved being able to sing in my a cappella group and then dash off to my basketball game. While I learned so much in academic classrooms, I think I learned just as much being a three-sport varsity athlete (lacrosse, field hockey, basketball). Athletics is where I learned how to get along with others, including people who were very different from me. Being part of a team taught me how to put the group’s goals above my own individual goals. Being an athlete taught me the satisfaction of hard work. My dad shuttled me from game to game and would always tell me how proud he was that I “played my heart out” whether we won or lost. While I like to win as much as anyone, my family never prized winning over trying my best and being a good sport. I try to imbue those lessons into my work with students every day.      

5. What would your favorite K-8 teacher say about you as a student?

I had many amazing teachers during my K-8 education, so it’s impossible to pick a favorite, but one teacher who had a tremendous impact on me was my 5th grade teacher, Mary Beth Dyer. She had (and still has) one of the most wonderful laughs in the world. It’s big and joyful and carefree, and when you hear her laugh, you can’t help but smile. In addition to a contagious positive spirit, Ms. Dyer taught me to not be afraid of failing and live life as a learning adventure where you get a chance to grow every single day.

Hamlin Teachers Present Action-Research Projects

For the second year, Hamlin teachers delved into reflective learning through inquiry projects that they personally designed. Teachers used data, research, and reflection, to investigate, modify, and improve their teaching practice. 24 teachers participated in the Inquiry Project Year, sharing their findings with colleagues at a year-end celebration on June 14. This reflective work serves to make Hamlin a learning institution that continues to grow and strive for excellence in a variety of areas.

The following are just some of the topics that were covered:

Michelle Lovejoy and Rachel Davis developed an interactive Outdoor Ed portal on Hamlinet that shares photos, videos, and other content from all outdoor ed trips.

Gillian Curran designed part of STEM Night to center her classroom on student-led teaching and student-created materials.

Kylie Cobb and Alison Kutnick created an interdisciplinary Social Emotional Unit of Study, specifically for Grade 1, in order to provide students with tools and life skills to support themselves in 6 focus areas: Friendships, Kindness and Respect, Conflict Resolution, Building Confidence, Feelings, Mindfulness, and Resilience.

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