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Winter Stories

Last Friday, Berwick celebrated its third annual winter carnival – where we stop everything, get the PK-12 community outside in the snow, and have some fun. At the opening ceremony, I told the kids that these are moments when we know we are part of something bigger than ourselves at Berwick. Soon all three divisions were off to broomball, acaderod races, and snow sculptures. We watched as faculty and student alike dove in to have a good time together.
I was struck that our opening ceremony took place on the same day as the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. For the first time, my children are old enough to be interested in this international competition. They are drawn to the names of the countries and trying to figure out where everyone must train based on geography. They think sports like skeleton and luge are beyond cool. And they don’t understand why their Dad seems to tear up at every other event.
“You cry at everything,” one of them said recently.
Well, as a Head of School in Feb…
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It is hard as a leader, and harder as a parent, to acknowledge that certain things are out of our control. I heard recently from a Berwick parent that their freshman in college was back in the house for the past month and how hard it was to figure out the proper parenting role. Mostly this person just hoped and prayed that good decisions would be made. W…

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As we have all returned to the busy pace of Berwick life once again this week, I have been struck deeply by the rather insidious expectation and unquenchable thirst we seem to have for communication of all types. This is not to dismiss the need at schools for great communication. To the contrary, I would offer that most of my toughest and most important moments as a leader have revolved around challenges associated with communication – whether to our internal or external audiences. The need for transparency and informed expectations are essential component to running a solid school these days. I certainly know that I have plenty of room for growth in this area.
But it is also true that I spent the majority of my time last week with my cell phone off, my computer gone, and in the presence of a roaring fire. Music, backgammon, cribbage, and conversations were ubiquitous. Without such immediate access to email or CNN, a rather cliché epiphany emerged: I had everything I needed right wher…


I don’t think everyone is aware that for this period between Thanksgiving and Winter break, grade levels within the Middle School temporarily re-organize themselves to offer interdisciplinary learning experiences to break up the regular routine of class. This year, I was asked to participate in the “Machine Pilot” aspect of the seventh grade effort to explore the concept of extra-terrestrial life (E.T.). Seventh graders are asked to consider who, out of anyone on the planet, they would choose to send into outer space to interact with alien life forms and why. Our students are told they can literally choose any person on the planet, and the focus need not necessarily be someone with experience in space travel. In fact, they are asked to envision a pre-programmed ship with one seat, leaving them to consider not just technical skills but who would we want to represent human kind in this first interaction. They research, create resumes, write persuasive cover letters and are ultimately as…