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March HEADlines

28 Mar

Welcome back to spring (at least we dodged the Wednesday storm, even if March is not going “out like a lamb” just yet!). It is a pleasure to welcome our students back and to have celebrated their accomplishments at our Honors Assembly on that first Monday morning. By the end of the assembly all students had been standing multiple times for their involvement with various service activities and performances in plays and concerts, in addition to the more specific awards for the Geography Bee, Eleanor Crow Public Speaking Contest, Honors and High Honors achievement in Upper School from first semester, the math and French contests, art recognition, and History Day. Among those accomplishments is an eighth grader who qualified based on the AMC – 10 results to take the AIME, a highly prestigious competition that is the entry point for the International Math Olympics competition.

New Website
I am delighted to announce that we are live on our new, responsive website. The site is designed to work well on a variety of digital devices, maintaining the integrity of the site’s design and functionality. There are improvements throughout.

Applewild Speakers Series Concludes
We had a full house for Wendy Grolnick’s Applewild Speakers’ Series presentation Wednesday evening. She spoke to parents and guests about how to encourage intrinsic motivation in our children after having a conversation with our faculty in the afternoon. I had the chance to talk with her at dinner, and she mentioned, as she did in her introduction that evening, how impressed she was with the professionalism and engagement of our teachers – and how clear it was that they know their students well. She noted that our emphasis on Core Values and Core Competencies encourages autonomy and thereby helps develop internal motivation. We will post the slides from her presentation to our (new!) website by next Friday, and I encourage all parents to take a few minutes to read through the brief summary.

Just Before Break
The Poetry Alive! Marshall Fund residency was fun and valuable, even as it always stretches some students’ comfort levels to perform poems. Seeing how the Upper School students decided to “tell” their poems – and then watching them deliver them – provided a perfect example of how we seamlessly find ways to instill our Core Competencies. In this case, collaboration, creativity and communication were certainly on display both with the seventh and eighth grade performances on Thursday evening and again Friday morning by the eighth graders and some reprised selections from the previous evening. Earlier that morning I had the distinct pleasure to hear the first graders’ animal projects: fennec fox, tree frog, gazelle, koala bear, lion, and bat. The first graders had clearly practiced their “public voice” and making eye contact, and they used words like habitat, eucalyptus, predator, and carnivore with absolute confidence. I then enjoyed seeing the second graders perform their Aesop’s Fables at Common Time. Just another normal day at Applewild, filled with energy and extension of our curriculum!

Over the break many of our eighth graders spent some time refining their History Day projects – a perhaps unintended consequence of having been selected to move on to the State competition on Saturday, April 5. In all, 25 of our 30 students (83%) earned recognition at the regional competition on March 1, and 24 (80%) qualified for states, including a sweep of first place in all categories!!!

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