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Look What Our Community Built!

In an earlier letter this summer, I mentioned having worked with a number of our students on improving the path to Tiedemann Field during our last work day. I referenced the experience to make a point about students’ work habits, ethic, etc. and failed at that time to also mention that we did get the job done. I suspect that the students who stuck with it that day think, “I helped do this” as they tramp up and down that path on the way to practice, And I bet it makes them feel good. They may even mention it to their teammates. For most of us, experiencing that feeling every once in awhile -- the “I helped do that and it feels nice” feeling -- is why we keep coming back to work. One of our goals here at Wooster is to have our students experience that enough while they are here to make it a part of their thinking when they leave. We want them to think about lives of purpose, and work that is challenging, but has a meaning and makes them feel good.

So a bunch of Wooster Lower School parents got together this weekend and built some swings. Late last year, we got our students to think about what they were looking for in a playground and help us design it. Over the summer, Todd Fischer, Tom Curley, Kim Gerardi, and Stephanie Bell did the planning. Earlier in the week, our teachers dug the holes for the swings, redesigned the sandbox and moved a whole bunch of sand. On Saturday, we had a hearty, hard-working crew show up to break rocks, move dirt, mix cement, raise the supports, but in the poles, hang the chains and attach the seats. Along the way there was a lot of measuring, cutting, drilling, shoveling and sharing of expert opinions! When it was over, we all felt pretty good. To be clear, a lot of us were also sore, which didn’t feel great, but we felt good on the inside!

Along the way, we also got to know some fellow parents, not at an “event” or meeting, but while working. It also doesn’t hurt to practice some of the skills and dispositions that we preach through our curriculum -- collaboration, leading, following, problem solving, working hard, finishing the job, and having fun -- by putting them into action in our own lives. When we get all of that, AND we build a better swing set, it can’t help but be a success. Most importantly, we got this:

Posted by Matt Byrnes in Thinking, Creativity, Community on Thursday September, 3, 2015 at 08:41AM


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Matt Byrnes

Matt Byrnes
Head of School

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What I Have Been Reading:


The Martian, Andy Weir

Not just for sci-fi fans. Fun, exciting, and interesting story about what it would be like to survive on Mars.

Sold, Patrica McCormick

The story of a 12 year-old Nepalese girl who is sold into slavery in the sex trade of India. Based upon true accounts. Tough to read, but important to read as well because human trafficking is a real, and growing, problem.

Non-fiction for Fun:

The Boys in the Boat, Daniel J. Brown

Great story and some very interesting history.

An Army at Dawn and The Day of Battle, Rick Atkinson

The first two books of the Liberation Trilogy will teach you a lot about the evolution of our involvement in World War Two.

About School, Thinking, Teaching, Learning, etc.:

Why Children Don’t Like School, Daniel Willingham

Lots of neuroscience well-connected to the life of school, teaching, and learning.

Make it Stick, Peter Brown, et al.

More neuroscience but a deeper dive into how we (and students) can “forget less” if we make some changes to our behaviors, routines, and assessments. Our faculty read this past summer.

Leadership, Innovation, and making things work:

The Hard Thing about Hard Things, Ben Horowitz

How successful start-ups and innovators work.

Things a Little Bird Told Me, Biz Stone

Twitter Founder writes about his journey -- a great read for any teenager or parent of one.

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