Today, we held our annual Welcome Assembly, in which every new member of the Atrium community received a welcome sunflower from an eighth grader. Head of school Marshall Carter welcomed new students and eighth graders shared their own greeting. Librarian Susan Jacoby and art teacher Talin Megherian invited visitors to view the library’s new artwork, created to more accurately represent Atrium’s population. Middle School math teacher Liz Caffrey, fifth grade teacher Nicole Moran and kindergarten teacher Jaleesa Anselm asked families to consider “What is math?” (definitions, not opinions), and to write their conclusions in a banner to be contemplated and discussed later. To new students and old, welcome (back) to Atrium!
At Atrium, learning is a continual process—both the simple act of learning and learning how to teach. Summer is no exception, and Atrium educators spend much of the summer doing professional development and learning how to enhance their teaching. This summer, Middle School teachers Laura Page (science), Paul Capobianco (social studies) and Julia Schroeder (ELA) each participated in Developmental Designs' Education for Equity program, a program focused on social-emotional learning and social justice. After completing the workshop, the teachers worked together with art, music and PE specialists to help integrate social-emotional learning more fully across all the subject areas.
On June 7, seventeen Atrium students graduated from eighth grade. "These graduates are exceptional–they are kind, hard-working, and innovative thinkers,” said Marshall Carter, Atrium’s Head of School. “Whether they came to Atrium as seventh graders, or have been here since kindergarten, they've come together as a class and have been great leaders for Atrium. We look forward to hearing about their successes and adventures in high school and beyond–we're so proud and pleased to call them Atrium graduates."
Fourth and fifth graders recently completed their climate study research projects, a research study that integrates their science, reading and writing curricula with an element of engineering. The students began by learning the difference between climate and weather, and ended by creating a model of a house designed for a particular climate in tandem with writing a five-paragraph research essay about the effect of climate on lifestyle in their specific geographic location.
This week, Atrium students celebrated Field Day, a long-standing school tradition. Students cycled through 13 different activities across the campus. Grouped by mixed age Constellation, children participated in chalk drawing, kush catch, parachute games, tic tac go and bubbles outside.
For twenty years, students in Jill Ferraresso’s second grade class have been doing Heroism Studies: researching a hero from American history and then embodying them in a presentation before their class. While the project has transformed over the years, Heroism Studies are a hallmark of Atrium’s second grade curriculum; children learn how history is often driven by social justice visionaries.
Led by Performing Arts Specialist Sophie Rich ‘03, fifteen Middle School students performed The NeverEnding Story twice on Wednesday: once for their fellow students, and again in the evening for families and friends.
In Kindergarten (and in Pre-Kindergarten), children are already deeply involved in the complex task of becoming readers, which will continue for many years to come. Metaphorically, some have compared the process of learning to read with learning to drive, though learning to read well takes many more years to develop. In the same way that a driver must integrate and practice many separate skills, understandings, habits and awarenesses, so readers must do the same. It requires growing attention, stamina, working memory, self-direction and self-monitoring, and a healthy amount of independence, risk-taking, and confidence.