In these months so characterized by societal upheaval, hardship, and strife, who knew that inspiration for navigating this time would come my way from a comic Twitter creation, the 81-year-old cultural icon, trophy ex-wife, and friend to all humanity named Duchess Goldblatt. Duchess is a fictional character developed one Tweet at a time. The memoir, Becoming Duchess Goldblatt, tells the story of her evolution on Twitter, along with the healing power of the creation of Duchess on the real-life author.
The sounds of laughter and delight filled the playgrounds and classrooms at Dedham Country Day School this September as children returned to school after several months, happy to be back together with their peers and teachers.
Despite the pandemic, school at DCD started as planned this year on September 9 with in-person learning for most of its 308 students in pre-K through 8. Just a handful of students opted for remote learning out of the total enrolled.
Head of School Allison Webster recently asked parents to join their children in some summer learning and reading, sharing with them two options that are on DCD's faculty reading list which are sure to be engaging and thought-provoking in light of recent events. Below is an excerpt from her letter to the community.
The spirit of community, connection, and competition were in the air during the 92nd DCD Olympics Day which took place on Monday, June 2nd. Scrolling through the Zoom pages of our Olympics Day opening assembly, you could see that the red, white, and blue teams were going to be well represented despite our inability to compete on campus as a whole school community this year. This hallmark event has taken place since 1928, continuing even during some of the most difficult times in history, including the Great Depression and two world wars. Now, during this unprecedented time when we're facing a global pandemic and fight for racial justice, the Olympics provided children a much-needed way to experience the joy of community.
Though it’s been an atypical year due to the impact of this global pandemic, the DCD Class of 2020 is ready to fly! Back in March as we departed for what we all thought would be a two-week spring break, our 8th graders left campus armed with a host of secondary school acceptances and some big decisions to make for the next stop on their educational journeys.
Gathering in the Lowell Center to share all the creativity and hard work that has taken place in our performing and visual arts program has always been a highlight for students, parents, and faculty. Whether it’s in the Lower School Performing and Visual Arts assembly, through Gallery Week, or the Middle School Performing and Visual Arts assembly, the degree to which the arts and creativity are valued at DCD is always palpable.
I’ve always enjoyed spotting irony in the world. For example, I was delighted when my niece reported that my peace-loving and mild-mannered brother-in-law got into a shouting match with a person in the Life is Good store (the Life is Good store!). It brought a smile to my face when a friend of my parents was not able to go with us to the beach because he was going to listen to his “Live in the Now” tape series. As I watch coronavirus unfold across the globe, and people are in various states of isolation, it is not lost on me that I started the year speaking with faculty about The Art of Gathering, by Pria Parker.
With all the new food options available to DCD students from our new dining service with Flik, we are taking the opportunity to work with students to give them some reminders about building healthy diets.
DCD Chief Financial Officer, Bob Santry, presented at the 2020 NBOA (National Business Officers Association) Annual Meeting, Envisioning the Future, February 23-26, in Orlando, Florida. The conference is designed to help CFOs and other business and operational leaders in PreK–12 education share best practices for independent schools, and it attracts professionals from across the country.
Sixth-grader Robby Hargrove performed at Carnegie Hall this February as part of the Crescendo International Music Competition. It was the first time on stage at Carnegie for Robby, who has been taking weekly lessons on the violin for the past five years with his teacher Nelli Jabotinsky.
On Wednesday, February 19th, DCD 8th grade students had an unusual break from their typical afternoon filled with academic classes. They had an opportunity to host a group of middle school students from DCD’s Horizons program for an afternoon of camaraderie and connection.
On Saturday, February 8th, Dedham Country Day School hosted a special day of service to benefit children in the greater Boston area served by the Cradles to Crayons organization (C2C). C2C’s mission is to provide children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive at home, at school, and at play.
This winter term, DCD’s Alternative Ensemble music program has returned with a new twist. A free after-school program created in 2013 by Duane Claussen and Rob Thacher for grade 4 and 5 students, the “Alt Ensemble” has taken a variety of shapes in exploring non-traditional approaches to music and sound, including improvisation, game-play, and instant composition.
Third time's a charm for 5th grader, Nate Felix, winner of this year’s spelling bee at Dedham Country Day. Twelve contestants from 3rd to 8th grade, representing the top spelling performers each class, flexed their spelling muscle in this morning’s competition.
Last Friday’s annual morning of service at DCD in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. showed there are no age requirements for kindness and compassion. Students spent the morning engaging in age-appropriate service activities, from the youngest in pre-K to eighth-graders who are getting ready to move on to high school, finding meaningful ways to serve others as the focus of the morning.
It might just look like fun and games to the casual observer, but armed with iPads and Dash and Dot robots, kindergartners at DCD are doing some important developmental work building their computational thinking skills.
As parents and educators, we often hold two different goals side by side that can create some dynamic tension. On one hand, we try to shape our children and guide them towards values, behaviors, and attitudes that we believe and respect; we have conscious or unconscious ideas about who we hope our children will be. At the same time, we work to embrace our children for who they are, allowing them to become the fullest version of themselves. At times, these two goals can become inconsistent, since our children – in being fully themselves – may exhibit values, behaviors, and attitudes that do not align with our own or our hopes for our children. So what to do then? The way parents shape children, and in turn, the way children shape parents, is one of the most nuanced, challenging and beautiful aspects of parenting.