21 Dec

Upcoming Parent Ed. Events

2019 welcomes several parent education opportunities from the D-E Parents’ Association (PA) including a “repeat” of a “PEP” talk on resilience, this time in the evening as requested by many D-E parents.

„» Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019: 7:00 – 9:00 PM (Hajjar Auditorium)

“High-Ding in Plain Sight” featuring substance abuse / parent educator Tim Shoemaker. Shoemaker returns to D-E this January (due to popular demand), and reveals the little known secrets of expert drug detection and highlights a rare combination of research proven parenting techniques. This unique seminar empowers parents to competently address the number one threat facing children today- Drug Abuse. Delivered in an engaging style that entertains as it enlightens, this course is guaranteed to have you laughing, learning and loving the choice you made to attend.

„» Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019: 6:30 – 8:30 PM (Hulst House): Resilience and Self-Reliance “PEP” Talk facilitated by D-E Parent Paola Bettelli

The Parents’ Association (PA) Parent Education Committee is offering another “PEP” talk, this time on the topic of “developing our children’s self-reliance and resilience so that they may become the masters of their own destiny.” D-E Lower, Middle, and Upper School parents/ guardians all are invited to join in Hulst House (located in Leggett Hall).

D-E Parent Paolo Bettelli will help to facilitate the conversation, which aims to discuss whether over-parenting may be hindering our children’s ability to rise up to challenges, embrace opportunities and develop their own sense of purpose and self.

In advance of this conversation parents are encouraged to check out resources provided by Ms. Bettelli (click here to view).

During this PEP talk, parents/guardians can expect to discuss strategies proposed by well-known authors on raising self-disciplined and resilient children, capable of meeting life’s challenges and of exercising their rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

„» John Kriger, best-selling author, “Tuned On and Tuned Out”: Date TBD 
Enjoy this presentation on social media and thoughtful insights for parents of children living in today’s “screen” age.

06 Dec

US Awareness Day on Gender Equity: Dec. 11

One of the great things you can do in independent school is to decide to take a day off from class and explore one particular subject in depth. The subject could be about current events, social issues, health and wellness issues, or a particular academic subject. In a very different format than regular classes, we can have the opportunity to engage topics from different perspectives, angles, and lenses. It allows students and adults to explore, and learn together, with sufficient time and space to delve deeply. With opportunity for prolonged dialogue, the subject takes on special meaning and import: having the entire population of 600 in the Upper School talking about the same things on the same day creates a synergy that lives beyond the day. We can experience the value of fruitful and productive conversation, and at the same time build spirit within the School.

We are planning to present these special days at least once a year and the first one is scheduled for next Tuesday, December 11. The subject will be gender equity. Based on some survey work we did last year in the Upper School, talking with students and faculty, and looking at the current cultural state of affairs, we believe that we will all benefit from looking at gender role and modern society. We see ongoing conversations, controversies, and contemplations about gender in the world around us, and we are impacted in school as we try to assist students in their development as young adults. 

Organized by a creative group of students and faculty, the day will include a keynote address by a nationally-renowned expert, Dr. Jackson Katz*, in gender equity and masculinity, followed by different workshops, films, and reflective discussions to process what is being presented. Students will have several choices for both workshops and films, allowing them to explore aspects of gender that are of particular interest to them. The day’s main agenda is to provide information for consideration and conversation, on a subject that impacts everyone.  * Note: To learn more about Dr. Katz, please click here or visit http://www.jacksonkatz.com/

We see this mutual exploration experience as an important day for our students and faculty, and we hope that you will support the idea at home. We will send more information soon about the available workshops and films, and perhaps you’d like to assist your child in making their choices.

20 Nov

Save the Date: “PEP” Parent Ed. Event Dec. 5

The Parents’ Association (PA) Parent Education Committee is offering another “PEP” talk, this time on the topic of  “developing our children’s self-reliance and resilience so that they may become the masters of their own destiny.” All D-E parents/guardians are invited to join in on Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 8:15 AM in Hulst House. 

D-E Parent Paolo Bettelli will help to facilitate the conversation, which aims to discuss whether over-parenting may be hindering our children’s ability to rise up to challenges, embrace opportunities and develop their own sense of purpose and self. Parents will discuss strategies proposed by well-known authors on raising self-disciplined and resilient children, capable of meeting life’s challenges and of exercising their rights to  “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Questions may be directed by Email to Parent Ed. Committee Chair Erin Brown at: ehnb2000@gmail.com

20 Nov

Message from Joe

Dear Upper School (US) Parents & Guardians,

A bit of a surprise admittedly (as was last week’s winter weather), but we’re now here, on the eve of our Thanksgiving holiday break. It’s a great time to reflect on the fall thus far, and also look ahead to the coming weeks. I’ve recorded a new JoeCast (my periodic podcast), and below are some photos of recent events as well as timely reminders of upcoming US activities and programs.

Vaping, as you probably know, has become a prevalent activity amongst high school students, and a real cause for concern. Dwight-Englewood is not immune to this trend, and we know that there are many students who have thought about, tried, or are present users of these e-cigarettes, also known as vapes, with the major manufacturer being a company called Juul. The word juuling, then, has become synonymous with this activity, although there are another types of devices. Also, as I am sure you know, there are all sorts of chemicals that can be found in the juices that are vaporized and then inhaled, above and beyond the nicotine that they were created to contain.

In an effort to help our students grapple with this trend, we invited Tim Shoemaker, an expert in this area, to speak with our students and faculty. Tim had been here in May for a presentation to parents, and that was so successful that we had him return to the Upper School, and he will be coming back in January to speak at the Middle School, to meet parents, and do some follow-up work in the Upper School.

Tim’s presentation was dynamic and chock full of information, directed at delivering messages about the contents of those cigarettes, the types of false advertising that takes place and how companies are deliberately marketing these products to adolescents. His goal was definitely to inspire students to stay away from vaping, rather than risk becoming addicted or injured. He used the film Titanic as a double metaphor. On the one hand he asked the question that if you knew the end of the movie, would you have every gotten onboard the Titanic in the first place, and he likened that to the notion that if you knew what could happen to you down the line from vaping, would you ever start in the first place? Of course he picked Titanic because of the type of story it tells, something that looks wonderful and safe at the start turns into something very different later on.

Tim also delivered a lesson about media literacy and false advertising along the way, which was very well tuned to the critical thinking skills we are working on in School.

It was a jam-packed hour, and actually ran over our allotted time, and I let him go long because he was still finalizing the message, and because students were paying close attention to him. I was glad that I did, and had we not been off Friday we would have followed up right away, because there are lots of pieces to continue talking about. In lots of individual conversations after the presentation, Tim learned more about the behaviors in our school, and also how some kids are looking to quit or build the resistance skills to stay away from this behavior. We will come back to this after break, certainly, and I urge you to see Tim’s presentation when he returns in January.

Looking forward to the coming weeks, please note that Winter 2019 Driver’s Ed is once again being offered at the School by D-E 360° in partnership with FNL Driving School.  For details and to register online click here or go to www.d-e.org/driversed

In the event your Thanksgiving holiday weekend gatherings include conversation about summer plans, you may want to consider the outstanding D-E 360° International Summer 2019 trips available. Led by members of our own D-E faculty, this year’s trips include China, Italy, South Africa, and Salamanca (Spain). All the trips have an early December initial deposit deadline so it’s best to confirm plans soon. You can find details including itineraries and cost information here or go to https://de360.d-e.org/d-e-travel/

I also encourage you to ‘save the date’ for an upcoming December 5 “PEP” talk, which is a Parents’ Association-hosted parent ed. event on the topics of resilience and self-reliance. D-E Parent Paola Bettelli is graciously facilitating this conversation scheduled for Wednesday, December 5, at 8:15 AM.

Finally, a note to check out the photos included here from the events of the past week, including last week’s Fall Sports Banquet, US Diwali Assembly, and Stage Band’s Jazz Brunch, plus this morning’s All-School Thanksgiving Assembly. Suffice it to say, all these gatherings showcase just some of the exceptional talent prevalent within our entire student body, and are a tribute to both our families and our faculty/staff and coaches as well.   

I wish you a relaxing holiday weekend and look forward to seeing you all next week, after the break.

Sincerely,

Joe Algrant

16 May

13 Reasons Why

A year ago, the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why generated lot of strong responses, to the content of the series, to the dramatic nature of some of the scenes, and to the way it was seen to glamorize teen suicide. It did fuel lots of positive conversations about important issues, but it was also seen by some to be inappropriate for younger adolescents.

Well, the second season of 13 Reasons Why is being released this Friday, May 18, and so I thought to let you all know that, in case you are not already aware. Apparently this season is also dark and intense, and includes scenes that are violent in nature as well as some that show sexual violence as well.

Not that it will necessarily be as popular as the first season, but if so then we can expect many of our students to be watching this over the weekend and during the next few days. In speaking with our psychologists, we thought to remind you that our Student Support Page on the D-E website has resources for you to read if you’d like. That page can be accessed by clicking here. I also wanted to point you towards Common Sense Media, a valuable resource that has prepared several pages that might be of help with this show. You can find them by clicking here. Of course, if you’d like some specific advice or information, feel free to call us.

16 May

Liberty in North Korea

When children walk out of the auditorium program saying things like “that was the best assembly ever,” or “that was amazing,” I pay attention because those statements mean something. While I don’t always know what it means, in this case I knew exactly what it meant because I had the identical reaction. I think the entire room did.

With help from the Grace and Mercy Foundation, we had the good fortune to welcome the Director of an organization called Liberty in North Korea (LiNK). Hannah Song spoke with us about the work that this NGO does for North Korea. She opened by asking what came to mind when thinking about North Korea. Responses were, as she anticipated, related mostly to Kim Jong-Un or nuclear weapons, or the upcoming summit or, on this particular day, the three prisoners who were released from North Korea and arrived that morning in Washington.

Ms. Song wanted to expand our view to issues of human rights in North Korea, and hoped that her presentation would help us understand more clearly the restrictive lives of North Koreans, and the work that her organization does to help “change the narrative” so that the people of the world know the truth. Another piece of LiNK’s work is helping refugees escape to freer societies around the world, and no matter how much she had convinced us of the value of this work, the message hit home in a visceral way when she introduced Robert, a refugee who escaped from North Korea several years ago and was making a new life for himself in the US.

This young man, who you may have probably about from your child, told a harrowing story about his journey that was riveting, both in the drama of what he had to do, but also riveting in the way he had internalized it and used it to make incredible strides in his life. Students remarked at how happy he was and how easily he spoke about himself and his experience, which begins with his father abandoning him at age 5 and then his mother passing away when he was 12, and includes jumping out of moving trains and forging rivers in the middle of the night to escape from North Korea to China. You should ask your child to relay the story he told us because it’s incredible, and my words on paper won’t do it justice. Robert is now all of about 22, speaks remarkable English having started high school at age 17 when he arrived, is studying coding and working as an intern at LiNK. He wants to open a restaurant someday (food – or the lack thereof – was a major theme of his story), and was pleased to tell his audience about being hooked on video games for a while when he first arrived.

On many levels this was indeed an amazing morning. As a personal story, as a study in perseverance and determination, and as a story about how we can help others, the tangible response from many has been to try to start a chapter of LiNK on campus to be more closely associated with the human rights work of this organization. Students also remarked, and they were completely right, that you can watch lot of videos and read accounts of these harrowing escapes, but hearing these stories in person and being able to react to the words, emotions, and body language elevates the experience to a level that we hope inspires. Our students’ worlds are so video and media heavy that sometimes we worry about their connections to real life, so I was very glad to hear them recognize the importance of live interaction.

13 Apr

Save the Date: Spring Carnival Sunday, April 29

D-E’s annual all-school Spring Carnival, sponsored by our US student clubs and the Parents’ Association, is set for Sunday, April 29, on Leggett Field (or, in the Myrna B. Sherman Gymnansium in the event of inclement weather). 15+ booths and activities including free BBQ lunch, live music by our US students, tie-day Tshirt making, photo booth, ‘make your doggie treats’, and a STEM Festival with drones, “dry ice” ice cream, slime making station, and more. Free admission and open to D-E families of all ages. For more details click here or go to www.d-e.org/activities (D-E LogIn required).

13 Apr

Community Service Fair 

Last week the Upper School sponsored our first annual community service fair. To assist students in understanding and choosing projects and locations and interests, we invited service organizations from around the county and in the city to come and talk about what kinds of service are available for high school students. The groups ranged in scope from Englewood Hospital to a teen volunteer theatre troupe that performs educational skits about important current social issues for middle schools.

We plan to repeat this fair every year, and to bring more organizations as we increase our focus on the value of service to others. Below you can view some photos from the Fair. To view a list of the participating organizations that attended click here or visit www.d-e.org/activities(D-E LogIn required.)

13 Apr

JoeCast 

Here the latest Podcast on Upper School programs and more, from US Principal Joe Algrant!