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Head of School Blog Page

I look forward to blogging on a regular basis about topics that affect parents and students in today's world.

HEAD OF SCHOOL BLOG

Post #1:  A Fresh Start  


Well, it is the eve of a new school year. Excitement is building at school as faculty are back preparing their spaces and lessons, coaches preparing their fields and strategies, support staff preparing their plans and purchases--all we need is the students.  


This is a fresh start for me as the new Head of School at Augusta Prep. This is a fresh start for your student(s). We will all face new challenges which are opportunities for growth. I am very mindful you parents will also face new challenges as your children move up a grade or division and into new stages of development. 


In the spirit of the Augusta Prep core belief that “That a quality education involves a partnership between home and school,” I thought I would offer some parental “homework.” After 24 years in education, I have found some wonderful reads that have informed my practice as a professional and as a parent (of two independent school graduates). Wait? Did I just write parental homework? Yes. Let me explain...


We all come to this parenting journey with a range of skills and a variety of mentors. How does one get this right? It is hard. Each stage of life brings different challenges you must face. We want to be good partners with you in this journey. That is part of what we mean by “Prep for Life.”


Lower School parents: I recommend a few titles for you to consider this fall. First, consider the The Blessing of a Skinned Knee: Using Timeless Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children, by Dr. Wendy Mogel. This is a classic by the well-published clinical psychologist leaning on wisdom of Jewish teachings, but is wonderful advice for folks from any ethnic or religious persuasion (I promise as I have heard her speak twice). If that title does not pique your interest, then consider Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, by Richard Louv. While I am not sure I subscribe to his hypothesis of “nature-deficit disorder,” I do admire his analysis of the factors of modern life that tend to keep our kids indoors and the potential impacts that has on children.


Middle School parents: This may seem a stretch, but I recommend you read How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid For Success by Julie Lythcott-Haims. A former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University, she draws on her experiences with students and parents as well as research to caution against “overparenting.” I have heard her speak and she presents simple advice to prepare your child to self-advocate and learn sufficiency long before you send them off to college. If that title does not appeal to you as it seems too far away, then try Teach Your Children Well: Why Values and Coping Skills MATTER MORE Than Grades, Trophies, or “Fat Envelopes", by Dr. Madeline Levine. I have seen Dr. Levine speak, and she brings thirty years of clinical experience to the table along with the latest research.


Upper School parents: Well, you are in the thick of the college match journey. I really feel your angst as I have just recently travelled this road with my two college students. Please consider Colleges that Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges, by Loren Pope. Have you or your child already plotted the one path to one choice? If so, I challenge you to read this book and investigate options you may not have ever considered. After reading this book, my wife and I encouraged our son to look at a few in person and he found a perfect fit. Or, consider the newer title Where You Go is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania, by Frank Bruni. While I have not read this book yet, I am intrigued by it given good reviews and having watched the process change (and become corrupted) over the last two decades. Having just survived two college searches, I encourage you to prepare yourself to ease anxieties your student(s) will face as they try to find a best fit. By best fit, I mean the two or three places they and you think they will thrive.


So, again I challenge you to take on some homework yourself this year. You will model the life-long learning we promote in the Prep mission statement and you may find something to help develop or reinforce your parenting strategy. I would love to partner with our Parent League on a book group for each division this year - I would love to read along and participate in small group discussions with you around any of the challenges for each stage. In that spirit, please click here to select the title you would be most interested in reading along with me and discussing over coffee. We look to announce the results in the coming weeks and get started in October.


Hey, we are in this together!


Best,

Derrick






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