FROM THE DESK OF SUSAN CHILVERS
I hope everyone had a great break last week and enjoyed time with their family. I was at home for the first half of the week and then went to Pennsylvania with Jay to visit his family for the last four days. His sister had a baby shower for her son and daughter-in-law who are expecting a baby at the end of March. Also his mum had, unfortunately, had a fall the previous week and was in rehab so we were able to spend a lot of time with her. She is making good progress but will probably be there for a couple of weeks more.
Before break I had auditions with the older classers and this week I have talked to all the middle class about parts available for them. This is always the hardest time for me when I am doing a play. I want to include everyone in some way in the production and incorporate their ideas as much as possible and they have many wonderful ideas! However this takes time and everyone (including me) is anxious to get on to rehearsing and performing. Our school plays are truly a whole school experience and incorporate so many aspects of learning that I will try to draw attention to as we go through this process. Right now they are learning to be patient as I consider all the people who want to play different parts, give precedent to those who are older and thus have less time left in school to be in a school play, and also be patient while I add characters and extra parts to suit individual needs. Soon I will say “what’s done is done” (Shakespeare) and give out the parts. I thank Helen for agreeing to work with me on the music, and accompany the show and Rosalie for offering help with costumes.
Last night we had another wonderful graduate evening. As Jay said last night, and I agree with him, it is his favorite meeting of the year. As is our tradition Jay prepared a spaghetti supper with salad and garlic bread and favorite desserts and we all had a chance to chat and catch up before the meeting started. We had 12 graduates attending who represented all four years of high school. After introductions as to which school they attended, the year they were in, their favorite drink, their favorite subject and what clubs they belong to, they fielded questions from the audience and did an incredible job of answering them. They are an amazingly diverse group of characters, but what came through time and time again was how much they care about each other, how close they felt when they were in the school and how this has continued despite their attending different high schools. Some of my favorite answers were: – What do you miss most about the school? Jay, snack, being able to eat when I’m hungry and talking to friends when I want to, doing projects, being responsible for my own learning, having Phys. Ed. with Chris and being treated like a human being! When asked what they felt least prepared for in high school the overwhelming majority said Biology but after much discussion about what they didn’t know, Jay asked them what their grades were and nobody had less than a B+ and the majority of them had A’s! Then one of the graduates pointed out that there is not necessarily a correlation between grades and true learning. How wonderful to hear that beyond the new school walls.
While still talking about academic learning, several of the graduates pointed out how much they had learned from the Key Curriculum Math Series and how far ahead you would be in math going into high school if you had in fact completed the whole series.Socially the graduates commented on making new friends, getting along with all types of people and characters, having good relationships with teachers and feeling good about themselves, attributing much of their ability in these areas to having spent time at TNS. It was good to see some of the graduates’ parents who came with them and that the current New School parents and students who attended seemed to get a lot out of the evening. I received the following email from a parent, “Graduate Night was very worthwhile. The graduates impressed upon us that while there were some difficulties in their transition to high school, they were equipped with the life skills necessary to meet those challenges, cope in new situations and continue to grow as people in general. We were extremely impressed with their candor, self-assuredness, deep connections with each other, and heartfelt gratitude toward TNS. It was a very special night and we were happy we could attend.”