Special Moments from the Week

ERB TestingBy Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

This has been a week contrasted by the seriousness of ERB standardized testing for our 5th – 7th grade students versus the frivolity of many other things I witnessed on the Goshen Campus as we continue to wind down another great year. On the one hand, the Middle School wing has been very quiet as our students gripped their No. 2 pencils with earnest and took on the ERBs for the first two periods of the day. Not exactly their favorite St. Francis activity, but I think they do understand that these tests are a fact of life, and one they will face many times in their academic and professional careers. What I hope they also appreciate is the fact that we don’t dwell on or obsess about these tests and create undue pressure for them. We complete them, do our best, learn from them, and move on. As it should be.

Brownie Troop_4x6Conversely, while navigating around the campus this week, I’ve seen or taken part in the following fun moments:

  • Watching our 3rd grade Brownie Troop 1729 present 20 brand new books about accomplished women in history to our Library, and to Lower School art and science classrooms at Lower School Morning Meeting on Tuesday. They raised money as a troop fundraiser, and this is what they decided to do with their funds. The pride on their faces was very evident, and I thought Judy Riendeau was going to cry on the spot! Thanks to parent Gerri Willis and 3rd grader Bren Willis for Poster_4x6leading the presentation!
  • At the same Morning Meeting, Faith Murphy and I read aloud cards that the elderly residents of the Beehive Home down the road on Highway 42 wrote to us recently, thanking us for singing to them last winter. They all signed the cards and made note of the time our kids put into this, and commented on how “nice it is when the generations can interact.” They included many photos from that day, and Faith mounted them on a posterboard which is outside of her classroom. We hope to renew that relationship next year!
  • I also got to take part in the very exciting “Trivia Lunch” hosted by Lindsy Serrano and Anne Holmes on Wednesday in the Main Amp! Students and teams from 6th and 7th grade challenged each other and several pumped up faculty teams in “Millennial Trivial Pursuit” over their lunch and recess. What struck me most about this was how much fun kids and adults were choosing to have with each other, gladly giving up their recess on a beautiful day! This speaks to the relationships cultivated between teachers and students here (and my team winning helped!).

But to buttress this article with another serious event, Wednesday after school, our faculty stayed for a professional development presentation on dyslexia from Stephen McCrocklin, parent, alumnus, and founder of The Langsford Center. The 90-minute talk with slides and video clips was profound and a stark reminder of the difficulties these kids face in schools every single day simply trying to learn to read with obstacles most of us can’t imagine. Hearing that nearly one child in five is somewhere on the dyslexia scale also brings this into a much clearer perspective. It was encouraging realizing as a Progressive school, we naturally make accommodations for these students, which isn’t usually the case in many schools or for kids undiagnosed. One of the quotes that struck me was from a grown man with dyslexia who said, “Dyslexia forces you to think, and in the real world thinking is more prized than learning.” Again, our focus is also on learning how to learn, rather than simply regurgitation in a timed situation. It was a fascinating presentation, and important that our faculty engage in refresher presentations like these every year.

Finally, as the year continues to spiral toward all the end of the year events, I wanted to invite you to the 8th grade Capstone Presentations next Wednesday, May 3rd from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room. It is always a fascinating event, both seeing what topics our 8th graders chose to research, and to hear them talk about what they’ve learned and the arduous process they went through to complete it. I leave invigorated by it every year, and it’s also fun to see their huge sense of relief both at their accomplishments – and the fact THAT IT’S OVER! One step closer to their Goshen Graduation! (and they get to enjoy the Kindergarten Derby later that day as well!).