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The Head's Perspective October 2018

Join me for periodic updates from Moorestown Friends School through The Head's Perspective. I hope to connect you with the exciting learning that is taking place every day on our campus. Please enjoy this snapshot of life at MFS.

Peer Leadership

Our 12th grade Peer Leaders have kicked off the year by finding their teaching partners and beginning their work with the 9th graders. This required course for freshmen is a wonderful way to learn from peers about topics as wide ranging as self-care, digital identity, and conflict management. For our seniors, it's a chance to give back and to serve as important role models for the younger students. At a recent School Committee meeting, I had the pleasure of watching Peer Leaders T'Shay, Cameron, Lizzie, Matthew, and Mya lead our trustees through a variety of icebreakers. I was impressed by their organization and confidence and how expertly they led a group of adults through challenging exercises. With such a strong start, I'm eager to see how their leadership skills evolve over the course of the year.

Trustees participate in an icebreaker with Peer Leaders

Preserving Past Traditions and Creating New Ones

Hoagies and Cooking

Many of you know that I believe in the power of food to bring people together. Former Head of School Larry Van Meter started the tradition of Hoagies With the Head. I am happily continuing this tradition of inviting new students to my house to enjoy a meal and reflect on the first few days of their transition to life at MFS. I met with 5th - 11th graders and collected a wide range of advice from our newest students, including staying organized and being present in the hallways. Our new students are feeling adjusted and welcomed by their peers, and I had a great time getting to know them in a smaller setting.

Hoagies and conversation with our new 9th - 11th graders

Cooking with Friends is a new tradition. I have invited seniors to come in small groups to my house at some point this year to learn how to cook a meal together. As they get ready for life after MFS, I wanted to share practical cooking skills, hear about their experiences at MFS, and give them a unique experience that they could enjoy together. So far, we are off to a great start!

The Ladybug!

I have had the pleasure of meeting many students as they search for the ladybug in my office. I mentioned to students in their opening meetings that ladybugs bring good luck in German culture. My mother's side of my family is German, so ladybugs were a key feature in my home growing up. I now have a wooden ladybug hidden in my office, and students have been dropping by to try their luck at finding it. The lucky ladybug seekers receive a prize and have the important job of hiding it for the next visitors. I welcome children – young and old – to visit my space, introduce themselves, and have their first ladybug encounter.

DIVISION FEATURE

In each issue of The Head's Perspective, I will feature an activity or initiative taking place in our Lower, Middle, or Upper Schools. I hope you enjoy learning about some of the experiences that make Moorestown Friends School so special.

Quest: 7th Grade

As we all know, the world our students inhabit is far different than the world in which we grew up. The challenges and opportunities of our global society require them to think and interact in different ways. To prepare them, we offer our students chances to make cross-curricular connections, think critically from multiple perspectives, collaborate to solve open-ended problems, and reflect and learn from successes and failures – all while developing the content knowledge and skills needed to grow as independent thinkers.

I have been excited to watch our new 7th grade Quest program take root in the Middle School. This academically rigorous, inquiry-based program allows students to explore the humanities and science through interdisciplinary projects and learning experiences. I visited the day the entire 7th grade was involved in a marshmallow challenge – using spaghetti, marshmallows, and other materials to build the tallest tower possible in teams. In addition to learning some basic engineering skills, students were prompted to reflect on teamwork and communication in order to build a solid foundation for future collaborative efforts in the class. I am eager to see the result of our students’ work this year as they engage in relevant learning that puts them in the driver’s seat.

Students accepting the marshmallow challenge

Adopt-a-Team

One of the things I love about MFS is the opportunity to bring children together from across divisions. The Adopt-a-Team program is one such program. Lower School classes are invited to adopt a varsity sports team for the duration of a season. Our student-athletes recently visited their sponsoring classroom to talk about their sport and to introduce themselves. Lower School classes are now busy making signs and going out to support their new friends as they compete on the courts and fields. What a wonderful way to build new friendships.

Some of the supportive cards made by our Lower School students.
Moments from the rainy Convocation ceremony on September 28, 2018

Dear Community Members: I have felt unbelievably welcomed in my first three months at Moorestown Friends School. From the greetings from students in the hall to the cards from families in the mail, I can see first-hand why so many of you have called MFS home for so many years. The special Convocation ceremony that took place on September 28 illustrated best just how unique a place we have here. Because the forecast that day called for cloudy skies, we took a risk and had Convocation outside. As the misty rain turned into a steady drizzle, our students of ALL AGES set the tone. They were attentive and engaged, and it struck me that they understood just how special a moment this was in our 233-year history. Even from the podium, I could see teachers giving their umbrellas to students and helping them stay dry so that they could soak in the moment. I am proud to be a part of Moorestown Friends; perhaps even more proud to be an MFS parent and to share in this experience with all of you. Here's to a great continuation of the school year!

Have a great Fall!