So, I have decided to branch out from the blog a little and start podcasting. I have become a big fan of podcasts and wanted to give it a try. My current idea is to focus on how educators light the spark in their students. Our faculty talks regularly about our students’ growth trajectories and I love hearing stories about that moment when a spark is lit in a student and there is no turning back! I hope you enjoy hearing about how Jenny Foreman uses dance to light a spark in young people—launching them into lives filled with joy and fulfillment. Thanks to Hunter Bachman ‘16 for fixing up my recording, editing, and adding his own music!
The thought of taking 163 students camping for three days in four different states can be a little daunting. A big thank you to Laurie LeClair, Brooks Johnson, the kitchen crew, and the Outing Club for all the work they did organizing the logistics of our fifteen different trips!
Two weeks ago we spent some time talking as a faculty about why we take the whole school on camping trips. I feel it is always important to evaluate traditions and study how they support our school’s mission. For this year’s discussion we used a framework developed by Shanterra McBride, who spoke to our faculty about the needs of young people as they develop into adults, to evaluate the camping trip tradition. Ms. McBride provided seven different adolescent needs and as a faculty we found that our camping trips, when done right, helpful fulfill the seven needs she outlined. Below I have listed the seven needs and some of the ways we believe our trips address them.
1. Need for Belonging and Membership
-Youth need to know they are cared about by others and feel a sense of connection to other in the group.
Maybe the most important goal of the trip is to provide yet another circle of peers and adults in their Dublin lives. Camping creates an uber-community very quickly. During our first lunch we allowed the students to sit together and nobody said a word! At 10:30 that evening they were still laughing and talking around the campfire. I was exhausted, but was so happy that they were bonding and let them stay up a little later! These trips force us all to depend on one another. I love the organic conversations that only start after miles of hking or paddling together.
2. Need for Safety and Structure
-a perception that one is safe in the world and that daily events are somewhat predictable.
-We try to provide the students with as much information about the trips and what to expect before we travel. We try to match the adventure level of the trip to the readiness level of our students by giving them choice in their trips.
3. Need for Self Worth and Ability to Contribute
-Youth need to feel their lives have meaning and purpose.
-This need is so important. Sometimes adults can get in the way of student growth by trying to do everything for them. Part of the reason we have work gang and student jobs at Dublin stems from the need of people to feel like they are contributing to the community. Something as simple as washing dishes can make students feel like they have a meaning and purpose.
4. Need for Self-Awareness and Ability to Reflect and Assess
-insight into our own and other’s strengths and weaknesses and how this affects our abilities to deal with challenges.
-Ahh, self awareness. Such an important need. Camping trips help us slow down and reflect on our daily lives. We try to provide many opportunities for campers to consider their own strengths and weaknesses. We even did daily meditation on our trip.
5. Need for Independence and Control Over One’s Life
-Youth need to know that they can influence people and events through decision-making and action.
-We try to include students in the decision making and planning process of each trip.
6. Need for Closeness with at Least One Lasting relationship with an Adult
-neighbors, friends’ parents, teachers, and anyone who takes the time to care.
-We hope every student connected with at least one of the adults on the trip. It’s amazing how many conversations we can have with students in just three days together.
7. Need for Competence and Mastery
-Youth need to feel and believe they are capable and experience success at solving problems and meeting challenges to develop their self confidence.
-Students learn how to cook, hang tarps, climb up a cliff, support an injured hiker, and work as a team.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I hope you are enjoying the beautiful month of August wherever you might be when reading this letter. I am looking out of my office at our beautiful green quad, the majestic trees surrounding us, and the mountains and hills that frame our breathtaking views. I truly cannot wait for your student to arrive in just a matter of days! I like to write to our families every August to share what we have been working on over the summer and talk about some of the programs and people that will be a part of your student’s education this year.
I thought I would focus this letter on some of the programming we will be offering this year since parents and guardians do not always hear from their student about some of these “extra” things that are taking place on our campus. I am finding that we are living in an age when it is very difficult to be a teenager in high school. Our goal is to find the right balance of supporting and challenging our students so that they grow, develop healthy relationships, learn about people different from themselves, find ways to deal with and harness their stress, and find joy in learning. The more I learn about teenagers today, the more I realize how important the mental health of our students is. In fact, it may be the most important thing for us to think about and work on together as an extended community. With that in mind, I have asked Arts Department Chair Jenny Foreman to lead a health and wellness task force this year so that we can study this issue carefully and come up with action items to support the emotional health of our community. While we may be doing many positive things right to support the mental health of our students, I am confident that we will learn there is much more to be done in this area as our students deal with ever-increasing pressure on them. I look forward to engaging with all of you in this process.
We have put together an extensive schedule of outside speakers and internal programs to help our students as they grow into adulthood. This coming year we will have your student work with outside presenters on a variety of important topics including: how to have difficult conversations and effective communication, drug and alcohol education, nutrition, and sexual health and healthy relationships. We will continue our internal programming around issues of equity and inclusion and training in consent. The ninth and tenth grade will have special orientation programs throughout the year to help prepare them for the transition to Dublin School and beyond. Our Friday night INSPIRES Series has an exciting schedule of visiting speakers presenting and performing on a variety of topics including history, poetry, dance, politics, music, and food. And don’t forget our annual Tooth and Porridge Radio Show! We have a terrific slate of speakers participating in our Writer’s Series and great events and presenters planned for both Hispanic Heritage and Black History months. I know that our daily Morning Meetings will be packed with entertainment, world and national news, senior presentations, guest speakers, and hopefully lots of laughs!
Last year I spent a good part of this letter talking about the completion of our four major construction projects. This summer we have been focused on smaller projects on campus and the construction of a snowmaking system at the school’s Nordic Center. Last year the Board of Trustees determined that snow sports were an important part of the school’s past, present, and future and that snowmaking would be critical to these sports’ future existence. Michael Lehmann (son of the school’s founder) and trustee George Foote, along with a few other donors, have provided the funds to make sure that the snowboarding, alpine skiing, and cross country skiing teams have snowmaking facilities ready to go this fall. We have also received a significant grant from our utility company due to the fact that we are purchasing some of the most energy-efficient equipment on the market. In fact, we hope that by reducing bus travel for our athletes will actually use less energy overall and save more of our students’ precious time. With a World Cup level trail system and our proximity to Boston, we anticipate significant demand for the rental of the Nordic Center for training and racing (we have already partnered with Harvard University and four other clubs and schools). Our hope is that the operations of these venues will pay for themselves and provide revenue for the school in the near future. It is exciting to carry on the tradition of celebrating the out-of-doors that the Lehmann family started back in 1935.
We have just welcomed a great group of new faculty and staff members to the school. As I write this letter I can see them going through their three-day wilderness first-aid and CPR course out on the quad after a week of academic and residential life training. They have already brought great energy and exciting new ideas to our community. I hope you will give them a big Dublin welcome when you see them!
Jackie Kenney joined our admission office team in July and will also work on a residential life team and coach snowboarding. Jackie was a four-year varsity athlete at Penn State University and worked at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences last year. Jackie will be living in Little House.
Jennifer Green has joined our communications team and will be working on a number of projects including our newsletter and social media. Jennifer also works for Camps Newfound and Owatonna in Maine.
Baran Doenmez ’07 will be coaching boys’ soccer and working on a residential life team. Baran holds Dublin’s record for most goals scored in soccer and played Division One soccer at Hartwick College before playing professionally in Switzerland.
Christopher Young will serve as our athletic trainer and assistant Athletic Director. Christopher has been a trainer since 1998, working most recently at Castleton University, and will be living in Lehmann House.
Cielo Perez, an astrophysics major from Williams College, will be teaching Physics and math, working with the dance program, and living in Hill House. Cielo served as a teaching assistant in the Math and Physics Departments at Williams while also serving as the student leader of the College Planetarium.
Julie Venne will serve as our Math Department chair, coach sailing, and work in residential life after a very successful career at Pine Crest School in Florida. Julie will be living in Corner House and enjoying all the hiking, skiing, camping, and kayaking that New Hampshire has to offer.
Evan Kendall joins us from Berwick Academy in Maine and will teach math, work in the Learning Skills Department and coach cross country running and skiing. Evan graduated from St. Olaf College, where he majored in math and competed in skiing and running, before receiving his Masters in Teaching Secondary Mathematics from Boston University. Evan will be living the Monadnock Dormitory.
Alan Weathers, who taught at Dublin from 1995 to 2001, returns to Dublin to teach history after an award-winning career as History Department Chair at Miss Porter’s School.
Erik Schmitt has been named the new Director of the Perkin Observatory at Dublin School. He will also teach Astronomy, coach Robotics and help in Sadie’s Maker Space.
Andrea Allbee is filling a new position to the school and will serve as our Controller. Working with new CFO Peter Imhoff, Andrea has already done great work on our audits and budgets. When not punching numbers, she loves riding bikes and horses.
Doug Wilcox worked in a variety of roles in theater, public health, and outdoor education in places like Oregon, Zambia, New York City and most recently at Keene State University. Doug will be serving as a Learning Specialist and running our English as a Second Language Program.
I love looking at the variety of courses we offer over a given four-year period at Dublin. I thought you might want to see what your student might be studying this coming year. Here is a list of some of our brand new courses for this year: History of Psychology, Psychology of Learning, Psychology of the Self, History of West Africa, Human Rights, 20th Century Genocides, AP Statistics, College Algebra, Harvesting Energy Through Motion, Infrastructure and Off-Grid Power Design, Solar Energy and Its Applications, Sports Science, Combat Robotics, Fablab Projects, Advanced Spanish Through Literature and Film, History of Western Music, Instrumental Ensemble, Acting Shakespeare, Frankenstein (interdisciplinary), non-AP Physics, and Woodworking Portfolio. And based on student requests we will have non-credit courses in Personal Finance and Human Sexuality Studies. Anyone want to be a student again?
We are looking forward to the arrival of the students next week. We have designed the opening two weeks of school to help orient your student to our community and create as many different circles of peers and adults in order to acquaint them with as many people as possible. These circles include their camping trip groups, advisor groups, dormitories (which day students will join for the first time), class meetings, Work Gangs, academic classes, afternoon activity groups, and many more formal and informal circles. A recent Dublin graduate visited us this week and told us that Dublin prepared them to thrive in college because they knew how to meet people different from themselves, talk to their professors, study thoughtfully and seize opportunities. Getting to a point where a student is ready to navigate our increasingly complex and confusing world, like this young graduate, is a long, difficult, exciting, and rewarding process. I think I speak for all ninety faculty and staff members of the Dublin Team when I tell you we are honored, humbled, and inspired that you and your student have chosen to partner with us on this journey.
See you soon,
On this day one hundred and fifty-four years ago Union General Gordon Granger delivered the following notice (referred to as Order #3) to the people of Galveston, Texas:
The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and hired labor. The Freedmen are advised to remain at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts; and they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.
Every year I receive notes about students and their behavior. Over the last eleven years I would say that not all of them have been glowing, but most certainly are. This year I have received more positive comments about our students than I have ever experienced in my career. We heard many compliments about how our seniors behaved on their recent service trip to Florida. And just recently I received the following letter from the man who takes care of Emmanuel Church, the Episcopalian Church that abuts our campus and that is used for its summer congregation. This note struck me since it refers to one of the first traditions that the Lehmann family brought to our school: the Work Gang. Paul Lehmann felt that Work Gang was possibly the “most important course in the school” because it taught the students something “new, useful, interesting.” Mr. Lehmann wanted the students to make their neighborhood a better place and frequently sent his students into the community to help out as needed. We continue this tradition today by helping out organizations like Emmanuel Church. I would love all of our students to graduate from Dublin and start building up their neighborhoods by asking, “How can I help?”
Here is the letter:
I’ve started several drafts of this letter – all trying to encapsulate the aid and positive attitude of the Dublin students I interacted with over the past 4 Saturdays. While each group varied in size, their ability to make a difference and improve Emmanuel’s grounds has been significant.
Last week I worked with Brooks and a small group… the week before, with Paul Wardlaw (and 2 other faculty). While I do not remember the names of the other adults on other weekends, ALL were terrific.
A mainstay of support has been Andy Hungerford…
I am tempted to quantify “success” or “Achievement” by noting “x” truckloads of saplings, shrubs, wet leaves and sand removed from the property. Yet what I value most is “attitude”…and what generated my broadest grin happened last Saturday. As the small group ambled down the hill towards the church, the first student approached me and initiated the question: “How can I help?
Fessenden’s honored head, Frank Perrive might have considered the above: The Special Sauce” – qualities that are hard to quantify but make good kids great community members… I have seen firsthand, that Dublin School has some very special sauce, and I am most appreciative that your faculty, staff and students shared it with me.
“I am not going to stand up here and tell you this is my second home because actually, this is my home.” So said a departing senior during their audition to be chosen as a graduation speaker for their class. Each Dublin School graduating class gets to choose two of their peers and one of their teachers to speak at graduation. In preparation, each interested senior gives a short speech to their classmates during a senior pizza dinner with yours truly.
I never know what kind of attitude to expect from a departing class of seniors with just over two weeks left until graduation. Many times they are fully ready to leave and are pushing against the adults as they strive to show their readiness for more independence and responsibility. Last night’s group, our largest ever graduating class, spoke about how sad they were to leave each other and this place that they have grown to love. We even had three seniors who were so moved by the other speeches that they asked if they could give a speech. My assistant Anne Mackey and I tried not to cry while the seniors were talking about the experiences and people that shaped them during their time at Dublin. I could feel the power and the sense of community in the room.
“We are ready for bigger and better things ahead.” The same senior who talked about Dublin as their home concluded their speech with these words. I was reassured. We are always cautious about creating dependency in our work with students and I was thrilled to hear that at least one student is ready to launch from our campus on the shoulders of Mount Monadnock into an exciting future. I look forward to celebrating the Class of 2019 on June 1st and in the days to come.
We had a truly awesome revisit day yesterday! We had a record number of attendees and I could not be happier with the students and families that were here. When I met with the students at the end of the day I told them that when I met with admissions before the admission cycle began that I wanted them to find explorers, kind young people, and students who would help us build community on campus and beyond. By the looks of the crowd I spent time with yesterday our Admission team hit a home run. I also enjoyed meeting parents who care so deeply about their children and their child’s education. While our revisit day is early in the process we are thrilled to have already received so many exciting enrollments for next year. We are also receiving great enrollment news from our accepted students in places like Afghanistan, Egypt, Hong Kong, Hawaii, and California! I am so proud of the professionalism, integrity, and compassion that our Admission Team brings to our enrollment—it is no wonder they attract such great families to our school.
My message to our visitors centered around our belief that young people respond better to inspiration than to expectation. It is clear we are putting together a school of students who both inspire and are excited to be inspired. Can’t wait to hear more good news on the 10th!