2019

  • December

    A Walk in the Lobby

    Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,
     
    Have you been wondering what’s happening in the high school right now? Haven’t had the chance to stop by? Read below for a virtual walk through the lobby!
     

    The days before Thanksgiving were filled with simple moments of community and gratitude as students made time to write thank you notes to friends and teachers. On the day before Thanksgiving we were led by our Student Government in a recitation of Maya Angelou’s poem, On the Pulse of Morning, a sing-a-long of Lean on Me, followed by the annual activity of writing things we’re grateful for, and then attaching them to cardboard trees in the lobby. 
     
     

     
     
    For the past few weeks the lobby has been abuzz during lunch as members of our Student Government staffed a table where students made cash donations for hats, gloves and socks to be given to several community organizations the high school partners with. Our wall is a beautiful representation of the impact that is possible when we collectively work together.
     

     
    And finally, the section of work created by our 9th graders. Over the past 2 weeks our 9th graders have spent time getting to know all of the adults in our building, and taking some time to listen to their stories . . . about their lives, how they came to LREI, and what they love to do when they are not at school. This flash story project, represented on our wall with polaroid selfies and story quotes, is a reflection of the “Community of Care” ethic we have been working on with our 9th grade, and across the school through the Commons Project. Our 9th graders have now moved on to designing Community Action Projects that they will conduct in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned to hear how these are completed!
     
     
     
     
     
    In all, this walk through our lobby today reveals the important, community-based work our students are engaging in. When you have the chance, stop by in person!
     
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  • November

    Music in the the Lower School

    Faith Hunter
    It’s 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, and I’m heading downstairs to observe a 1st Grade music class. My mind travels back to early childhood memories: happily sitting amongst my classmates as we sang familiar seasonal songs, that triumphant feeling that came as I stepped away from the piano at the annual recital with my peers. Years later, my appreciation for a piece beautifully played on the piano, a musician’s ability to improvise around a particular rhythm, and a choir’s ability to command a large room is ever-present.
     
       
    Stepping into music class, I smile as I watch our six-year-olds actively involved from the minute they enter the room singing to the moment they leave. In 30 minutes, they collaborate in pairs or in small groups to choreograph a dance with movements aligned to specific musical phrases; three students play the xylophone; three others read out lyrics; and three others still dance to a particular rhythm — each group part of a larger piece that comes together only when every member plays their part.
     
    I am confident our 1st Graders will have joy-filled memories of their early music classes. I also know that, thanks to Aedín’s commitment to designing an experiential, integrated, progressive lesson, the seeds planted in Tuesday’s music class will blossom into skills and habits of mind our children will utilize for the rest of their lives, whenever they are called upon to demonstrate creativity, courage, non-verbal communication, spatial awareness, or refined social skills. Once again, I am reminded of how honored I am to have joined such a talented faculty. 
     
    Best, 
    Faith Hunter
     
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
     
     
    Thanksgiving Food Drive
    November 18-25
    Our second graders are kicking off their annual Thanksgiving food drive. Help them support a local organization that feeds the homeless by donating non-perishable goods in the designated collection boxes. The boxes can be found in the stairwell landings throughout the lower school
     
     
    Lower School Principal’s Open Forum
    Monday, December 2, 2019
    Sixth Avenue Library
    8:45 am - 9:30 am
     
    Please join Faith, our Lower School Librarian, Stacy Dillon, and Tech Integrators Celeste Dorsey, Clair Segal, and Joy Piedmont for an open discussion about technology and your children. We will discuss the challenges surrounding technology and our children, and examine ways to guide, model, and teach responsible and mindful use of technology and devices.
     
     
    Early Dismissal Reminder 
    There will be Early Dismissal on November 27, 2019.
    Fours through First grade will dismiss at 11:45 a.m.
    Second through Fourth grade will dismiss at 12 p.m.
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  • An Opportunity for Learning & Growth: The Crucible

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,
     
    This past weekend the LREI community was enthralled by the performance of our high school students in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. And though the work of these 40 cast and crew members left audience members breathless and moved, it is the work--the teaching and learning--that occurred in the production of this show that is worthy of an additional curtain call.
     
     
    Joan Jubett establishes the theater as a classroom, decentering her role and in turn centering student work, student voice, and student learning. Below is an excerpt from Joan regarding how she views the process of producing a play at LREI:

    “We’ve talked much about how working towards a performance is an experiential learning process. As a teacher/director, I have much to learn about how to refine these experiences for students though I do know there is so much in the doing alone. 
     
    What I’ve definitely learned this year is that patience with the self and with others is key. I’m still working on that. I’m worried less about being a perfectionist too. One example: When I hear a student say “sorry” for something they do not need to apologize for, I really try to highlight that the rehearsal process is where we are striving for understanding, clarity, intention, empathy. 
     
    “Sorry” really doesn’t have a place in the rehearsal process, except maybe to learn that it is an outdated mode of expression for a “mistake” which actually is a key to greater understanding and clarity. And learning.”
     
     
    In addition to the work that unfolded inside the theater, a senior and an alum produce a written piece, analyzing this play across time and political dimension, further extending and deepening the learning. We share this written piece with you here: A Note from our Dramaturgs
     
     
     
    We as a community are so proud of this production, and of the learning and growing that happens in our performing arts program. We look forward to many more opportunities to see the work of our students and faculty this year!
     
     
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  • Make America

    Ana

    Make America

     
    Something was different about this year’s eighth grade trip to Washington DC. 

    When the class returned a few weeks ago they were eager to share the usual stories about rich experiences - the Library of Congress, the monuments, the museums. But many also had stories about interactions with other school groups - some with students in MAGA hats and Trump 2020 paraphernalia. For some of our eighth graders, just seeing that outward expression was novel; downtown Manhattan isn’t representative, after all. As one student said, “I used to wonder how Trump won… but I saw there were a lot of Trump supporters.” Then it went deeper. Students talked about being targeted, taunted by individuals from other schools. Some admitted to being fearful while touring a museum, worried that they would wind up in a room alone with some of these students.

    I wasn’t there but I believe them. And I have never heard reports like this before. Something is different. 

    It raises so many questions. What responsibility do we have as adults to name and contextualize experiences like this? Was it these students’ actions or attire that was intimidating? What advice could I give students about responding to subtle (or blatant) racism? Is a MAGA hat itself intimidating? Where is the line between free speech and hate speech? A political perspective and personal bias? Is there any righteous way to engage in moments like this?  Is there any way to fight the tide of polarization? 

    I assembled the whole eighth grade the week after they returned and dedicated two consecutive mornings to hearing their answers to these questions. I remain deeply moved by their answers, and I think it’s important to share what they said with you for two reasons. First, because I want to honor their perspective. Their experience that week was a raw and real example our where we are as a country: tense, divided. Second, because their conversation itself indicates the way forward. They were not all in agreement about what happened or what it meant. But no disagreement threatened the integrity of the community. That’s what it really takes to make a great America. 

    The comments below have been edited lightly for clarity. I hope having this window into our conversation helps inspire you to have conversations of your own at home. We are all - myself and the teaching team - eager to be a resource for you if you need us. 

     


    At first it started as a joke, when we saw Trump supporters, but it started to affect us in a completely different way. It started to affect all of us.

    There was a group that had a similar schedule as we had. We kept seeing them in so many places. They were clearly wearing all MAGA stuff. We saw them get kicked out of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

    Because of that we were focused on them and not on the exhibit sometimes. It took up our time and attention. It was hard to learn at the NMAAHC; it was such a weird environment for them to be in there.

    They were horsing around, running up and down the escalators it was not respectful at all. Their teachers weren't doing anything about it. That was strange. 

    The security guard told them to stop. One kid was screaming back at the guard. They talked back, said they can't be kicked out because of our politics, and they pointed to us and said why aren't you kicking them out. We weren’t doing anything; we were just standing there. It felt like they were targeting us because of our race.

    Me personally, I interacted with some MAGA hat kids. I regret it. It wasn’t a good idea. It was unnecessary.

    They probably grew up in an environment where they've learned to like Trump. If our parents were Republican then we would like Trump. It's the environment they were raised in. 

    It was also more than just that. Kids were pointing to their shirts, asking us to read their shirts. It was intimidating. They were fake crying towards us.

    As a black girl it was harder. They were giving me looks like I was disgusting or something.

    It felt weird to see girls wearing all the pro-Trump stuff. All the things Trump has said about women, it just felt even more weird to see girls wanting to wear that.

    I had a really really bad feeling. And I felt like coming from Mexico they already didn't like me. 

    At the Natural History Museum some MAGA kids came up to me and asked me where I was from. I said New York. They said of cool we are from Brooklyn. But I don’t think they were. 

    A kid at the Lincoln memorial said “ching chong” to me. 

    One of them said, "I smell a liberal." One of my classmates had a comeback. Not everybody can respond like that. 

    There’s nothing wrong with wearing a hat, but it was the way they acted that brought out what was wrong and made us uncomfortable. 

    They were screaming outside of the Emmitt Till exhibit (where you’re supposed to observe respectful silence). It was actions like that.

    Something that sticks with me is about them coming up in a family that is Republican. But I come from a Republican family. It's not that they're Republican, it's that they express their views in a negative way. It's not fair to just say they're Republican.

    In the end, it's kind of their opinions and our opinions are just opinions. We shouldn't criticize them for thinking what they are thinking.

    But it’s not just opinions. We were getting followed and experiencing racism and sexism. It wasn't their beliefs that we were concerned with, it was how they were acting towards us. It wasn't appropriate to the surroundings. I don't think anyone who is a part of LREI was acting in a negative way. 

    Also, the reason it felt different was because of all the events that have happened. So many white supremacists and other extremists have endorsed Trump. And he hasn’t spoken out against them. The MAGA slogan is not a political stance anymore it's now about beliefs. It’s racist.

    But their actions were based on their political beliefs. They acted like they acted because that's what Republicans believe.

    Trump supporters, not Republicans. It’s not the same thing. Not all Republicans support Trump. Or maybe it’s liberal versus conservative.

    I think the MAGA outfits made us a lot more sensitive because it's uncomfortable and we're not in that situation often. I don’t know if we would have noticed the bad behavior as much if they weren’t wearing that stuff. 

    I think it felt the way it did because we’re in the midst of a presidential campaign and that's why there were so many more Trump kids. 

    It also has to do with the chaperones. Unless they believed in the same thing. The chaperones didn't say anything. They were allowed to do what they wanted. 
     



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  • This Week at Lower School Gathering

    Faith Hunter
    Dear Families,
     
    There is little an adult could have done to captivate our youngest students as effectively as our 1st and 4th Graders did yesterday. Nineteen 1st Graders stood in front of the Lower School and recited their “Five Little Pumpkins” play. Four 4th Graders created and delivered this month’s Lower School Gathering, which began with their performance of the famous “Double, Double Toil and Trouble” lines from Shakespeare’s Macbeth and ended with their interview of seniors from the boys and girls high school soccer teams about their successful season that resulted in both teams competing at States. Lower School Gathering serves many purposes, including the opportunity for students to step up as role models who inspire and encourage one another — ask your child how yesterday’s Lower School Gathering went! Click on the image below to get a glimpse of this week's lower school gathering. 
     

    Best, 
    Faith Hunter
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  • Class of 2022

    Margaret Paul
     Dear Families,
     
    10th grade is a year of significant growth--both academically and socially. No longer new to the high school, 10th graders are working to deepen their relationships within the school and across their grade, and they are working to expand their intelletual engagement through the exploration of complex concepts in Math, Physics, American History and Literature, World Language, and an array of Art courses.
     
     
    They are examining forces--the ways they shape and move our physical world, our societies, ourselves. And they are developing an awareness of the power and agency within each of them to take up leadership roles within their friend groups, advisories, classes, and the broader school community. 
     
     
    On our 10th grade trip to Vermont last week we worked together with students to think about the ways in which their own personal stories, identities, and journeys fit into the context of our larger community narrative, connecting them to a larger sense of purpose, and thinking about what it means to receive and care for the stories of others. 
     
     
    This was important work--at times challenging and at times light-hearted--and our 10th graders met all of it with openness, seriousness, and care for one another. And though they cannot see it now, the work they did is a critical link to their junior year when they will imagine research projects in communities far beyond our own where they will need to demonstrate the level of thought and care that they have practiced here at LREI.
     
     
     
    We are so proud of the work of the class of 2022! They are showing up as students and community members in ways that demonstrate their growing sense of agency, and reveal their immense abilities as leaders and collaborators.
     
     
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  • October

    Social Media and Digital Behavior

    Ana

    Social Media and Tweens' Digital Behavior

     
    I have been talking to the fifth grade about their digital behavior in adolescent issues lately. This is an umbrella term I’ve been using instead of “social media” because it includes things like gaming (Roblox, Minecraft, etc.) and watching YouTube videos, along with the social media platforms typically associated with smartphones. When I asked them to write contracts for each other, imagining they could govern the class’ digital behavior, they made some good rules. Don’t take your phone to bed, don’t text or post anything you wouldn’t say in person in front of your principal (ha), use privacy settings so you’re only connected to people you know, have hard conversations in person only, don’t brag about having a phone. 
     
    When I talk to middle schoolers in general about digital behavior, their reactions are predictably mixed. They like the connection it allows. They like being able to share jokes and experiences and to make plans. They like being able to crowdsource (they don’t call it that) answers to questions about homework assignments or about the timing of the dance. They don’t like the constant notifications, the pileup of messages and posts. In a typically tween understated way, they call this pressure ‘annoying’. They don’t like how easy it is to misread tone and for social tensions to get worse. They don’t like how easy it is to get embarrassed or left out. They have good advice: 
     
    Much has been written recently about the dangers of social media and the correlation between its use and unhappiness. As this video from Common Sense Media points out, there are also benefits to being able to connect over texts and online. Young people can (like us) learn to post, text, share and “like” in accordance with their principles. If we can pass along values like consideration, humility, and fairness, they will bring those values to bear on their digital lives. This is good news. The question for us as educators and parents is how. How do we model and teach responsible, skillful digital citizenship in the age of finstas, tiktok and FOMO? 
     
    As a community, here are our guiding principles: 
     
    1. It’s not (just) about the technology. The issues that surface when kids start using social media are actually not about the technology or the app itself, though those tools do amplify and accelerate them. Middle schoolers are grappling with what they always have: how to be a good friend, how to be loyal, how to tell the truth when it’s hard, how to keep a secret, when not to keep a secret, how to be funny, how to be forceful, how to be kind, what is romance, what is privacy, what is sexy, what is safe, and what kind of person they want to be. The questions we as adults face are also the same: how to be connected as they gain independence, how to set limits, how to build trust, how to ask the right questions. 
     
    1. Social media requires us to be more involved, not less. As social media gives children the opportunity to have greater independence and privacy, we need to find new and more skillful ways of staying connected and involved. In a recent New York Times opinion piece, writer Joanna Schroeder describes how young people - young white boys in particular - can be ‘recruited’ by gradually being introduced to content that sows seeds of misogyny, bigotry and white supremacy. She used the examples of her own son laughing at memes poking fun at the concept of ‘triggering’ or joking about ‘snowflakes.’ The best protection against our children falling under the wrong influence is to commit to talking to them about what they see, challenging and pushing back when they say it was ‘just a joke’ or that we ‘don’t understand.’ This means keeping an eye and an ear on what they are looking at, what makes them laugh, and what gets their ‘likes’. It also means insisting on having conversations when the content we see is edgy, inappropriate, or hateful. Middle schoolers want us to pay attention and to set limits more than they may ever say. Here is a contract that one parent gave her son when he received his first iPhone. I encourage you to take inspiration from it and use it to create your own family’s rules. Below are some guidelines we recommend at this age:
      • Middle schoolers should get phones when they need them for safety reasons: that is, when they start to travel alone.
      • Phones should be checked in at night, and not be taken into the bedroom. (Most middle schoolers have said they’re grateful for this rule, even when they outwardly resist it).
      • The minimum age for virtually every social media app is thirteen, which means if your child has an account it is effectively yours, and under your active supervision.
      • Talk about appropriateness, kindness, sharing, pressure, status, privacy, sexting, safety, friendships, exclusion. Don’t wait until there’s a problem
      • Build trust. Let your child know how and when you will be checking up on them and what the expectation is. You are allowed to say, “Ok, I’m checking your texts now, give me your phone for a few minutes.” Don’t read emails, texts, or posts in secret. Give privacy in measured doses and take it back when you need to. 
      • Communicate with other parents and with us. Speak up if anything feels uncomfortable or inappropriate. 
     
    1. Cultivate an analog life. You can model this by establishing tech-free times together as a family. Here are some ideas from Janell Burley Hofmann about cultivating some “Slow Tech” rules for your family. Also, middle schoolers need and want opportunities to socialize and to do it away from the watchful eye of adults. It is perfectly developmentally appropriate for them to do that. Both Danah Boyd, who wrote It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens and Jean Twenge, author of iGen describe how young people have fewer opportunities than past generations to meet up outside, in the neighborhood, at the park or the mall. They are recreating some of that private social time in their lives online. We need to help them connect with each other the old fashioned way. Give them permission and opportunities to be outside together. Or to roam a museum. Without their phones.
     
    It was terrific to see so many of you Monday at our Social Media Evening. I hope that is just the beginning of the conversation. I am including some resources below. There is no perfect resource, no cheat sheet for which apps are safe and how to monitor them; the world of social media changes so fast. The best way to learn about your child’s life online is to be present and attentive, to stay in conversation with them, with us and each other. 
     
     
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  • VARSITY SOCCER TEAMS HEADED TO STATES

    Girls and boys soccer teams are undefeated season champs.
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  • Class of 2021

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Dear families,
     
    On the surface you may not perceive it, but Junior year is a pivot, a turning point, in the life of our high school students. They are turning toward something beyond what they know . . . 
     

     
    Intellectually, they are exploring the complexities of literary, social, scientific, and mathematical principles and concepts in their class discussions.They are asking questions and expanding into ideas in impressive and sophisticated ways. 
     

     
    This week they have discussed the construct of mass incarceration, the interstitial spaces of immigrant experiences, and the intersection of conflicting beliefs at the Israeli-Palastinian border. From Neuroscience to Economics to Media Arts they have deepened their understanding and knowledge of phenomena and systems, and interrogated assumptions and previously held ideas. They have overturned old conceptions and unearthed new ones as they think, wrestle through, and construct ideas together.
     

     
    When asked how their year is going, our juniors indicate this pivot, this turning toward something beyond what they know, is both exhilarating and challenging. On any given day when we ask our juniors about their school year we get the following answers right in a row: “Exciting! So stressful . . . tiring, busy. Amazing! Challenging . . . up and down.” 
     

    However, we as a faculty have a very consistent response about their year. The way the Class of 2021 has shown up--ready for the work and challenge of their electives courses, ready for leadership opportunities, and ready for student-driven projects like the Junior Class Trip--has impressed us since day one. This group of juniors is taking on the year with a seriousness and focus that we are so proud of! 
     

    For parents of juniors, a special note. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to advisors, teachers, or to us if you need anything. Junior year is also both wonderful and challenging for families, and we are here to offer support and encouragment along the way.

    Again, let us say how grateful we are for the Class of 2021, and all of the effort, focus, and thought they are bringing to school each day.
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  • Morning Meeting

    Ana

    Morning Meeting


    A middle schooler’s day starts and ends in their homeroom. It’s their base of operations, where their locker is, and where they will see their advisor each day. As the middle school advisory program has expanded and matured, so these bookends to the day have taken on more varied and meaningful uses. This year, the middle school team is piloting a more robust version of homeroom called morning meeting. 
     
     
    Between arrival at 8:15 and the start of classes at 9:00, the three advisors plan and facilitate activities that touch on areas outside of the planned curriculum, but that are in some ways just as essential to helping each middle schooler thrive. These run the gamut from social emotional to personal organization, from identity and equity to current events. Below is a sampling of the prompts your child might hear (and respond to) as they start their day.

    • Honesty, Loyalty, Kindness and Talent. If you had to choose one quality in a friend, which would you choose and why?
    • What is impeachment? How does it work? Which presidents have been impeached and why?
    • Find someone in the room who has the same number of letters in their name as you do. Shake hands, or wave. Say “Good morning” to each other. 
    • Which identifiers or descriptors do you use for yourself? How does this match (or not) how other people identify you?
    • Trivia: Work collaboratively with four classmates to give your best answers to the following ten questions.
    • Which living person is a hero to you and why?
    • Why do we procrastinate? (New York Times article)
    • Student-lead current events, such as: What is the argument for changing the name of Columbus Day to Indiginous Peoples’ Day? Why is this question important to you? How is this a "call to action?" What do you hope your classmates will do about this issue?
    • Autograph hunt: Find the person in the room who has each of the following skills/hobbies.
    • Do a guided mindfulness exercise. Focus on breathing; set an intention for the day. 

    It is thanks to the groundwork laid during these morning meetings that we are able to have deep curricular conversations, problem-solve social challenges, support students’ identities and grapple with the news so successfully from day to day. Just today during middle school meeting, I talked about impeachment. I asked who among the middle schoolers have talked about it at home - about half. Who had talked about it in morning meeting? About three quarters. We answered a few questions (how is impeachment different from removal from office? Can the vice president be impeached?), made a few observations, and I encouraged everyone to continue following the news and asking questions, as these are unusual times and a rare learning opportunity.
     
    Among other things, our morning meeting structure is a springboard for this: talking about the news. I encourage you to take advantage the way I did today. If you're ever curious about what has come up in these morning conversations, you can always ask your child's advisor or read the updates from the student reps on the middle school news page (on Connect). 
     
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  • FACULTY TEAM PRESENTS AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE

    focused on progressive education, equity and access
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  • HS MANDARIN TEACHERS SELECTED FOR TEACHER LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

    as part of the Asia Society China Learning Initiative program
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  • Middle Schoolers, My Heroes

    Ana
    Dear Middle School Families,
     
    It was terrific to see you all at curriculum night last week and to be able to watch the inimitable middle school faculty at work giving you a taste of what your children experience every day. Below are my remarks from that night. If you haven't already, please also take a look at the admin reminders included in the packets from the evening and consider coming to our first ever "open" parent rep meeting on the morning of October 10th. 
     
    Warmest,
    Ana
     

    Middle Schoolers, My Heroes

     
    Brain scientists say adolescence is a second infancy - an explosion of intellect and cognitive capacity. We can see it especially in critical thinking and fault-finding. Tweens are known for finding loopholes in rules, arguing, and pointing out hypocrisy. Here at school we can leverage this for deep learning. Students of this age are extraordinary experimenters, analyzers, speculators, arguers. They are learning to discern good from bad, valid from not, and to support their thinking with reasons. The next time you find yourself in an embattled moment with your tween remember this. It isn’t all bad. They’re learning to stand their ground, to build a case. Stretching these muscles is good. 

    This is more important now than ever. In the Information Age, when you can have access to virtually limitless data, to every possible argument, being able to anchor yourself is not just valuable but essential. And still, it’s not enough. 

    All this cleverness and guile is only valuable when employed in service to a greater good. And these years also see an explosion of independence. In a very basic way, middle schoolers start to see themselves as powerful and relevant. Their choices have impact. They can be the one to befriend the new kid. They can change the course of a class discussion with their question. They can start a climate strike. And our whole program is centered around this transition too - from what do I get to what do I give. This age is a real renaissance of two of our four Cs - critical thinking and citizenship. And they serve each other. 

    As you listen to the teachers present tonight, I encourage you to consider how, in each classroom, in every subject, the teachers are attending to both: leveraging the very adolescent powers of critique and judgement in order to dig deep and asking the ever-important question: so what? How is this skill, this analysis, this insight, part of a larger story and why does it matter? Why does the hydrocycle matter? Why does compound interest matter? How does a bounce pass matter? How does Mesopotamia matter? 

    Last weekend, they projected the bat-signal onto a building in Brooklyn. I watched it go up from a ferry on the east river with my family and several dozen other giddy New Yorkers. While most of us watching and taking photos were enjoying the novelty and artistry of it, the 80th anniversary of Batman, I couldn’t help but also feel some thrill at the idea of help being summoned from the darkness somewhere. These are times that call for heroics. We all need a rescue. 

    But as any true comic book aficionado will tell you, the subtext of all superhero origin stories is that heroes are ordinary people who become extraordinary by rising up from hard times - for others. 

    I like to imagine we have the opportunity now to help cultivate a heroic generation. Our job is to equip them with critical faculties so that they can keep their bearings in the sea of information, to keep pointed true north, undistracted by fake news, noise, naysayers. To help them develop the habit of staying oriented outward, to remember the ‘so what’ and the ‘now what’ of every lesson. And to keep a keen eye out for the signal that they are needed, as it’s not always projected into the sky.  


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  • Senior Leaders

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,
     
    It is not unusual to hear the word “leadership” used in reference to our senior class, the Class of 2020. They are taking their responsibility as the oldest students in the high school so seriously, and accomplishing the work of leading our student body in bold, creative, and thoughtful ways.
     
    They are leading in the expected, more visible places--on Student Government, as X-Block leaders and Peer Leaders, through their work as Admissions Ambassadors, and on the stage, the courts, and the fields--and also in places that are less seen.
     
     
    In between classes, when we see them checking on one another, and on younger students.
     
     
     
    In their classrooms, as they genuinely listen to each other--valuing each others’ ideas and building collective knowledge and understanding.
     
     
    And in their willingness to solve problems within the school. In the past month they have led climate change efforts, launched a student-led community service initiative titled “Engage for Change” and advocated for revisions to the Honors Project program to make this process more efficient for students and teachers. 
     
     
     
     
     
    They not only speak up and raise issues, but they show up, and they do the work. They make announcements in Morning Meeting about cleaning up the cafeteria, and they also get out the broom and dustpan when they see a mess.
     
    With courage and care they are leading our student body this year. We are proud of them, and you should be too! So today, if you see one, hug, high five, or handshake a senior for all that they are accomplishing at LREI this year!
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  • September

    Kindness and the Climate Strike

    Faith Hunter
    My heart was full as I took in the sight of your children gathered together in the auditorium for our very first Lower School Gathering this past week. We kicked off the 2019–2020 school year with a challenge to think about ways in which we can each demonstrate acts of kindness to bring joy, strength, and unity to our community. Around 200 children closed their eyes and focused their thoughts. Then the smiles that spread across their faces, and the “humble thumbs” that were raised on their knees, signaled our students were ready to share their ideas of how they will lift up our community.
     
    Our commitment lies in giving children experiences that foster reflection around how each decision we make has an impact. My message to the children was one of effort and intention: “As we come together to begin this year, let’s make an effort to do our very best in each moment, and our very best comes with the responsibility to act in a way that lifts our community.” Click on the video below to see the final moments of our gathering, where the children worked together on a cheer. School pride was certainly in the air. 
     
     
     
    As many of you know, there is a climate strike for students and adults being organized tomorrow afternoon. The goal is to demand that transformative action be taken to address the climate crisis. Just this week, the Department of Education announced that public school students will be excused from class (with parental permission) for this walk-out and march. We are expecting a lot of student/family participation, particularly in our middle and high school divisions.
     
    Our teachers and parents have partnered in order to allow our 4th Grade journalists to participate in the strike, both out in the field and here at school. Together our 4th Graders will take the lead in sharing how our community can work together around this important issue. Throughout the day, in all grades, our teachers have planned developmentally appropriate learning experiences to center children in thinking about the impact our actions have on our environment. We will share stories of young children who have made a difference and emphasize the contributions students can make in their everyday lives by recycling, using less energy, and more. 
     
    Helping our children identify connections between themselves and their world and find ways in which they can make a difference sits at the heart of our mission which drew so many of us to this school. Please partner with us in talking with your children this week about thoughts and actions of kindness — kindness towards each other, kindness towards our community, and kindness towards our Earth. 
     
    Recommended Parent Resources:
    The Rabbit Effect by our very own Kelli Harding 
    How to Fill Your Bucket by Carol McCloud
    Be Kind by Pat Zeitlow Miller
    The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper
     
     
    With Gratitude, 
    Faith


    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
     
    Important Information Regarding Curriculum Nights:
     
    Afterschool Extension on Curriculum Nights - sign up here!
    The Afterschool Program will be running an Afterschool Extension on October 3rd (2nd Grade, Chloe/Hadiyyah's 3rd Grade, Deborah/Jessica's 4th Grade) and October 10th (4s-1st Grade, Jessie/Molly's 3rd Grade, Dan/Mara's 4th Grade) for Curriculum Night. The program will run from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. Afterschool teachers will be with students to offer a wide range of open art and physical activities. Pizza will be provided for all students. This service is $20 per child for the evening, paid in cash at drop off. Siblings are $10. All school aged students are welcome. Email Denzel at (djohnson@lrei.org) if you have any questions.
     
    Please RSVP for the October 3rd date by Monday September 30th.
    Please RSVP for the October 10th date by Monday October 7th.
     
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  • Lifting Up Our Community

     
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  • Ninth Graders are Ready

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  • September Middle School Snapshot

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  • The Sunshine Tower

    We love the Class of 2023!

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,
     
    We’re having a moment and we want to tell you about it. We’ve completely fallen in love. We’re smitten, captivated by, and enchanted with . . . the classes of 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023! Over the next few weeks we are going to use our page as a window for you into our high school world, and into all the ways your children are impressing us every single day. We have an incredible student body, led so capably by our Senior Class, the class of 2020. There is so much to tell you!


    Today we are going to start with our newest group . . . there is so much to say about the way our freshmen, the class of 2023, have shown up ready for school, ready for friendship, and ready for challenge.
     
     
    They began their year at Camp Ramapo, where they scaled walls, scurried through ropes course challenges, and trusted the seniors to belay them on the (very high) Sunshine Tower. From the minute they arrived they were eager to participate and join in.

    During our time at Ramapo we talked about the concept of a “Community of Care” and asked our 9th graders to consider what a Community of Care actually looks like. Their genuine, thoughtful responses were so impressive that we wanted to share some of them with you here:
     

    And upon their return to school they immediately engaged as serious students and community members. It has been so wonderful to sit in their classes over the past few days and hear their ideas and questions. It is clear that they are committed and focused on the work of transitioning to high school, and we couldn’t be more proud of them!


    As we said before, there is SO MUCH to share about all of our classes--and no way to do this in one page! So, stay tuned for all that we have to say about the classes of 2022, 2021, and 2020!

    Wishing you a wonderful September weekend.
     
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  • Welcome Back from LS Principal, Faith Hunter

    Faith Hunter
    Dear Families,
     
     
    Welcome back! I am thrilled to join this diverse and joyful community. You have made me feel so welcome, and this is exactly how we want our students to feel as they start their school year: valued, heard, supported, challenged, engaged, and deeply cared for.
     
    This time of year stirs up childhood memories in most of us, memories of those first days of school. I vividly remember the build-up, putting on the outfit I had carefully picked out the night before — some years, a favorite dress; others, a cool pair of sneakers or T-shirt. I remember that groggy walk to the kitchen for breakfast, my body still unadjusted to the reality of a “school schedule” now fully upon me. I remember reacquainting myself with the weight of a backpack on my shoulders as I walked from my house to the bus stop; taking a seat on the crosstown bus and watching as familiar and unfamiliar faces joined at each stop; approaching the school building and feeling fluttering butterflies in the pit of my stomach.
     
    Then, every year, something would ease as my eyes fell on the community coming together in front of me. My four- to ten-year-old self registered administrators standing with mugs of coffee, shaking hands and giving hugs; parents gathering in growing clusters, chatting away; some children racing over to play with friends. And, above all, throughout that first day, I felt my classroom teacher already crafting the learning community that would become my family for the year.
     
    As I walked around the building today, I saw carefully crafted learning communities designed to feel like family. The results were visible in your children’s faces and actions: moments of connection, smiles, and laughter. I wanted to share some of those moments with you in the pictures below. I cannot wait for the year ahead! 
     
    Click on the video below to for a few snippets of the first day of school in the lower school!
     
    Sincerely,
     
     
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  • New Habits, New Committments

    Ana
    Dear Middle School Families,
     
    If these two days are a bellwether, we are in for an incredible year. The middle school is humming with energy; in and out of classrooms middle schoolers are smiling, engaged, happy to be here and - as I mentioned in our first middle school meeting this morning - eager to pitch in. There have been so many moments of kindness already. It’s not what our culture typically expects of this age, but it’s been my experience that given the opportunity, middle schoolers like to do good. And be in charge. Both at once is ideal. I’ve seen middle schoolers giving directions, passing out supplies, sharing the last chocolate milk, introducing the new students, inviting bystanders into a basketball game. I was happy to see everyone anyway, but these moments make me proud. 
     
    I often tell people that what I love most about middle schoolers is how constantly and thoroughly they reinvent themselves. It is in some ways a volatile age, and those of us who have chosen to work with middle schoolers have embraced that. We love that they are in-process. The availability of a clean slate is a necessary salve to the sting of the failed experiments. The fact that they can dust themselves off after something embarrassing and try again as the ‘new me’ is what saves them. This fresh-start quality is especially palpable in the first week of school. 
     
    On the other side of this landscape of identity formation, though, is the question of what not to let go. What do our middle schoolers want to hold on to and not shed, not evolve away from? What do they stand by and stand for? This is the age of experimentation but also of deciding what is non-negotiable. It is an age of routine-building, habit-making, and commitment-keeping. Our job as adults is, paradoxically, to give them freedom to change and the encouragement to stand by their values and commitments. We, the adults, model this for them and sometimes insist on it.

    This morning I asked the middle schoolers what it meant to do something intentionally and we agreed it means to do something on purpose. If we want to cultivate the best parts of ourselves, I told them, it takes discipline and intention. I asked each one of them to consider a quality they aspire to and set an intention to cultivate that good habit all week long. I will check in again at our next Thursday meeting. 
     
    As we begin the journey of the new school year together, I invite all of us - the community of adults - to consider how to leverage the power of habit. What will we do to help these middle schoolers experience and practice standing by their values in ways large and small? What routines will help them build stamina for hard work? What weekly rituals will we create and insist on? How can we help them build up a non-negotiable core underneath the swirl of adolescent uncertainty? One of my intentions is to keep this idea at the forefront by talking about it with middle schoolers. 
     
    Welcome to the new year.
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  • Parents Association Fair

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  • Beginning with Intention

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  • Jumping Right In!

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  • Learning through connections, smiles, and laughter

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  • Junior Trip Lab

    Welcome to the 2019-2020 School Year!

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,
     
    Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! We welcomed your students yesterday, and then jumped right into our work together.
     
    First, we sent our new 9th grade, the Class of 2023, on the bus to Camp Ramapo for their 3-day orientation. Heather Brubaker, 9th grade dean, wrote late last night that it was an amazing day, and that your children were fully invested in the work of getting to know one another.
     
     
    Our 10th grade, the Class of 2022, began a 3-day, City-As-Lab experience yesterday. The purpose of this experience is to activate our 10th graders research and analytical thinking
    abilities as they begin their year of course work. Through a series of field trips, they are working on noticing the world around them, looking for evidence of the histories and occurences in the places they visit, and then thinking about and analyzing the implications and consequences. Today 10th graders traveled in groups across the boroughs on foot, ferry, subway and bus as they activated their abilities to notice, wonder, and discover.
     
     
    Our 11th graders, the Class of 2021, are well into the Junior Trip Lab that launches them into planning for the trips they will go on in April.This is an intensive lab that pushes juniors to think about issues in the U.S. that are both important to them, and pressing to our nation, and then to work their way to the 6 topics that the class of 2021 will study. Today, juniors lead discussion groups for each other on 20 issues they are interested in--from immigration, to coal mining, to gun control, to sea level rise--and then by Friday will work together to find consensus around 6 of them. This is serious, hard work and we are so proud of the way that the Class of 2021 has shown up and engaged so far. 
     
     
    Our Seniors, the class of 2020, arrived excited and ready for the year, and are (as expected) focused and engaged in the beginning phases of planning their senior projects, and in working with the College Office to prepare for upcoming interviews and applications. In addition, 17 of our seniors are serving as peer leaders at Ramapo, leading orientation discussions and helping our new class make a successful transition to high school.
     
     
    And of course, our outstanding faculty are leading all of this work! Most teachers are with their advisory groups this week, finding time to catch up about the summer and check in on how students are feeling as they begin this new year.
     
    We want to remind you of some important dates in the next few weeks, as there have been a couple of changes to the calendar. And remember, all events for families can be found on your calendar in Connect.
     
    Monday, September 9th: Regular Classes begin; Add/Drop opens
    Tuesday, September 10th: 12th Grade College Night
    Thursday, September 12th: Add/Drop closes
    Monday, September 16th: 9th Grade Potluck
    Thursday, September 19th: LREI 101 for new families
    Thursday, September 19th: 10th Grade Potluck
    Tuesday, September 24th: 9th/10th Curriculum Night
    Tuesday, October 15th: 11th/12th Curriculum Night
     
     
    We look foward to seeing you throughout the fall!
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  • What a great way to start

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  • August

    Summer Learning

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  • June

    'Rising' with MS Principal Ana Fox Chaney

    LREI
     
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  • LREI Community Wears Orange to Support Measures to End Gun Violence

    LREI
    Visit WearOrange.org for more information.
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  • Thank You!

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,
     
    We want to take this moment, in our final page of the year, for some thank yous.

    First, we want to thank our incredible faculty for the commitment and care they have for our students; our faculty is the heart of the high school, and we are so grateful for each of them!
     
    And we want to thank our wonderful parent community too--your support of our faculty helps carry us through the year. Specifically, we are grateful for the work of the 2018-2019 PA Reps, who have provided throrough weekly communication, and have raised questions and concerns on behalf of families. The success of our high school students is reliant on strong partnerships with parents and caregivers, and we are grateful to work with all of you on their behalf.
     

    We congratulate our high school students on {almost} completing their academic year. Students will complete final projects and exams on Monday, June 10th. On Tuesday, June 11th all 9th-11th graders come to school at 8:30 am and are dismissed by 1 pm. We will gather for an end-of-year assembly, meet in advisories, clean out lockers, and receive and sign yearbooks! It is a festive, fun day together.
     
    On Wednesday, June 12th, all 9th-11th grade students should arrive by 8:15 am, ready and dressed for graduation. En masse, led by our deans, we will walk together over to NYU where the Commencement Ceremony begins at 9:30 am. This is our last moment together for the 2018-2019 school year, and students are dismissed directly from NYU once our Class of 2019 tosses their caps!
     
    Which leads us to our final note. It with full hearts and teary eyes that we will send out our graduating class on June 12th. As advisors to this grade, we know them well and will miss them tremendously. That said, we are so proud of who they are what they have accomplished during their time at LREI.
     

     
     Congratulations to the Class of 2019!
     
     
    And to all of you, we wish you a wonderful summer with your families. We hope you enjoy both rest and adventures, and we look forward to welcoming you back to LREI in the fall!
     
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  • May

    Seniors Return to Sixth Avenue to Revisit Memories!

    LREI
    40 Charlton ➡️ Sixth Avenue. Seniors return to the roof to revisit memories with teachers and enjoy a morning of play with our LS students! Graduation is less than 2 weeks away, Class of 2019! 👩‍🎓 👨‍🎓
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  • Fours release painted lady butterflies in nearby gardens!

    LREI
    🦋 Kenna has the scoop from our Fours! The class has put great care into their caterpillars 🐛➡️ which have turned into chrysalides ➡️ which have turned into butterflies! Today, our Fours released painted lady butterflies 🦋 in nearby gardens! #lreilearns
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  • Celebration of the Arts!

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,
     
    The end of May is brimming with sounds and sights in the high school! Over the past week we have celebrated the work of the performing arts department through the Spring Festival of Plays last Saturday, the Spring Vocal Music concert on Tuesday, and the Spring Instrumental Music concert this evening.
     
     
     
    Brava to all of our high school students who have shared their talents through each of these events, and to our accomplished performing arts faculty for their work and leadership.
     
     
     
    And just around the corner is an exciting new event at which we hope you will join us! On Thursday, May 30th, The Visual Arts Showcase will open just before the annual Lit Mag Coffee House. Join us at 5:30 to walk through the gallery spaces of student art, followed by student films, and ending with the reveal of the 2018-2019 Lit Magazine and Coffee House performances. It is going to be a beautiful, celebratory evening of student work, and we hope you will join us. We are grateful to our faculty who have supported students in writing and creating content for the Lit Mag and for the Showcase, and planning and leading our Coffee House events across the year.
     
     
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  • In Support of Reading

    Ana
    Please see the below guest post from our Director of Library Services, Jennifer Hubert Swan
     
    Dear Families,

    I read aloud to many of your middle school children once a week and they have become skilled at settling in, listening deeply, making observations, drawing connections and conclusions and making predictions. Research says it increases their reading comprehension, study stamina and understanding of human interaction. Try it and see. Watch the squirming slowly cease as they sink in. Watch their eyes close in relaxation or widen in wonder as they "see" the story unfold in their imagination. I won't say it's magical, because that word is entirely overused outside of Hogwarts, but it is wondrous. And transformative. It's simply the most lovely part of my week.
     
    When we launched the 7th grade iPad program many years ago, I vowed to join the students and do everything they did on my own iPad: read, write, create and communicate. I spent one entire year doing all my recreational reading on the device, alongside them. As a librarian and instructor of digital literacy, I was excited to take part in this initiative and was eager to see how the students would react. But after doing so much of my reading digitally, I was bothered by what I perceived to be my lack of focus after a year dedicated to reading on screens. Suddenly I was skimming, impatient with long descriptions, and no longer able to sink into a story the way I once did. So I resolved to build it back up, no matter what. And it was hard work. I deleted my iBooks and Kindle apps and made myself stay on the print page, even when I wanted to jump over to email (which you can't do on paper, though I tried mightily). Bit by bit my focus has returned, but I have to work at it. And I’m not alone. Now we are seeing more and more research and professional literature, that reflect that same feedback. Scientists and educators are now publishing the early troubling results of too much screen time--shortened attention span, lack of focus and shortening of stamina.  

    Of course, screens are a part of our lives now, and it would be not only inconvenient, but literally impossible to banish them completely. Nor should we. It's a format and manner of communication that is being utilized in our world, and it would be foolish not to educate students on their proper use. But that doesn't mean that screens need to dominate our lives outside of school and work, when we use them to complete necessary tasks. Together we can teach our students - your children - how balance their screen and print lives, with an emphasis on print in order to cultivate their attention, focus and inner imaginations. Maryanne Wolf, the Director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA, says we have to help children develop a “bi-literal” brain when it comes to print vs. screen reading.

    If screen time during down time is a concern for your family, I have a suggestion for you. Not only is it easy and free, but it's incredibly pleasurable. Reading. Reading together silently and independently in the same room or around the table, or reading one book aloud as a family, after dinner or before bed. Listening to an audio book while doing a craft, doodling or completing a jigsaw puzzle. Sharing the New York Times Weekender on Sunday morning. Together. One of my fondest memories is the summer my husband and I spent a reading aloud The Cider House Rules to each other before bed. I often bring home choice picture books to read aloud to him, because as an artist and librarian himself, I know he will enjoy the story and appreciate the illustrations. You're never too old to be read aloud to. You're never too old to derive pleasure from reading aloud to someone else.

    Summer will be here before we know it, and I am happy to help you make sure you all head off on your warm weather adventures well stocked with news, stories and poetry. The book swap will be happening at Sixth Avenue next week from Wednesday to Friday. The summer reading lists for each grade level can be found here, and your child's teachers will be talking to them about this in class. I am here in the library five days a week, ready and able to make recommendations and suggestions. Please do not hesitate to find me or make an appointment for a longer consultation, either alone or with your child. Put my well-honed, 20+ years reader's advisory skills to work!  

    I look forward to seeing you in the library,

    JHS
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  • LREI's student leaders are giving back: Michelle M. featured @prep_for_prep

    LREI
    "Giving back to the community keeps me grounded and reminds me of where I came from," next year's LREI Student Body President states. Michelle is a volunteer with Prep's SAYC Saturday Academy. She first encountered the program in third grade when she attended the academic enrichment classes. She has since returned to SAYC to teach and plan lessons for current students, covering topics such as #DACA and presidential elections. "I love working with children and this is one of the ways I can help and inspire others." Stay tuned for more with Michelle in June's Q&A news feature at LREI.org. #leadersdontjusthappen
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  • Rising

    Ana

    Rising

     
    There is something about this time of year - the way everyone is poised on the threshold of the next step - that makes the passage of time more palpable and more concrete than usual. Middle schoolers are visibly reflecting on their own aging. It’s intentional; we have structures in place that invite this self-consciousness and even amplify the sense of portent. I toured the fourth graders around the middle school, we invite and celebrate the twelfth graders (our former lower and middle schoolers) in middle school meeting, and every day the eighth graders refine their reflections for moving up. Time is always passing, students mature and grow day by day, but it’s these moments of transition that you feel it.
     
    The fifth graders gave advice to the visiting fourth graders and in doing so sounded - and clearly felt - old and wise. Don’t drink too much chocolate milk, they said seriously. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember to do a little bit of homework every night and don’t wait until the last minute. Just a few short seasons ago they were just as new to middle school life. Now, they see themselves through the fourth graders' eyes and their nascent sixth grader-ness comes alive.
     
    The middle schoolers see their future selves reflected in the older students too. When the twelfth graders came to our assembly, teachers spoke about each one’s young self - their misadventures, fourth grade poetry, and napping habits. I watched the middle schoolers watching them, picturing - I imagine - how these apparently grown people were once their own age. Look at these twelfth graders and imagine yourself sitting here, I told them at the assembly. What will teachers remember about you? What will it feel like to look back on this time?
     
    The whole middle school is leaning into the big next step. They see the rising grades below them and feel seasoned, confident. They look ahead at their older schoolmates and see their future - exciting, uncertain, and full of promise. These transitions are poignant for you as parents and, while it's not always obvious, even more so for your children. Enjoy these last days and don’t be surprised if your children feel very old one moment and very young the next. Or both at once. It’s a side effect of the age and of the season and it’s terrific.
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  • Reunion 2019: Special Events for the LREI Community

    LREI
    We invite all LREI families (past and present!) to the following Reunion events. We hope to see you there!
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  • (Video) Sally Frishberg Testimony & The Museum of Jewish Heritage Visit

    LREI
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  • Manny Vargas, Founder of the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) Visits LREI

    LREI
    LREI Mission in Action, courtesy of HS Co-Principal Allison Isbell: Manny Vargas, Founder of the Immigrant Defense Project (IDP) engages with LREI upperclassmen to discuss current immigration case law and the work his team is doing on behalf of immigrants in the U.S. For many of our students that experienced the border trip in Texas, this visit is a continued reinforcement of the work still to be done. It is an honor to have such a preeminent voice in the fight for immigrant rights in our school today. We are grateful to Manny for his time, and grateful to Molly Harris for hosting the visit with HS teacher Jane Belton. #lreilearns
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  • Active Participants in Our Democratic Society

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Excerpts from recent emails received from students:

    Hi Allison and Margaret,
    Hope you all had a relaxing week! We as student government are extremely eager to jump in with some of the projects we want to finish before the end of the school year, and we really want to prioritize the Academy curriculum.

    Hi Margaret and Allison,
    I am writing on behalf of the LREI Cares Club. For a while now we have been discussing the idea of a community service requirement with an alternative approach. We were wondering if you have any availability to meet with us next or the following week to propose our idea. Let us know what you think when you have the chance. Thanks so much!

    Hi Margaret and Allison,
    The yearbook editors had an idea for next year's book that we'd like to do on Field Day this year.

    In the high school we often reference the section of our mission noting our responsibililty to students becoming  “ . . . active participants in our democratic society, with the creativity, integrity, and courage to bring meaningful change to the world.” 
     
    From the outside, this might sound rather ambitious, but from our position among our students we see these characteristics and abilities developing in them every single day.

    This spring, our students have been Intiating ideas, solving problems, and working to improve our LREI community at record rates! Margaret and I have joked that we are not going to have a job if our students keep tackling all of the challenges. In the past month, we have received emails (like the ones above) about the following:

    • Students participating in a protest for climate change (led by 9th graders)
    • Students intiating “Red is Green” intiatives to grow sustainable practices in the building (11th graders)
    • Students imagining options for public art around the building (10th graders)
    • Students requesting a change to the sanitary products in the bathrooms (10th graders)
    • Students requesting to join conversations about curriculum (11th graders)
    • Students drafting plans for expanding community service opportunities (11th graders)
    • Students planning in advance for a (surprise) photo in next year’s yearbook (9th, 10th, 11th graders)
    • Students asking to reimagine our 9th/10th Academy program (10th and 11th graders)
    • Students ordering and placing additional clocks and boxes of tissues in all classrooms (10th graders)
    • Seniors arranging meetings with underclassmen to ensure that current student-led programs and groups wil continue once they graduate
    The ways our students consciously, creatively, and collaboratively engage in our school gives us great hope for the future. These conversations and learning experiences are not easy and do not always lead to the outcomes students might initially imagine, but the work and thinking that happens in this process leaves an indelible memory on them of how meaningful change happens.

    We are grateful for your students, and all of the ways they 
    are working with us towards a more just, more caring, more beautiful community.
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  • LREI Celebrates Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

    LREI
    Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month - Our global citizen students teach us how to greet with a ‘Good Morning’ welcome, 26 variations!

    Korean 🇰🇷 ‘jo-en-a-chim’
    Japanese 🇯🇵 ‘oh-high/yoh’
    Arabic 🇧🇭 🇮🇱 🇵🇸 🇯🇴🇮🇶 🇰🇼 🇱🇧 🇲🇻 🇴🇲 🇶🇦 🇸🇦 🇸🇾 🇦🇪 🇾🇪 ‘sabah alkhyr’
    Hindi 🇮🇳 🇳🇵 ‘shubh prabhaat’
    Pashto 🇦🇫 🇵🇰 ‘sahaar mo pa kheyr’
    Kurmanji 🇮🇶 🇸🇾 🇹🇷 ‘bayanî bas’
    Cantonese 🇨🇳 ‘jo sun’
    Nepali 🇳🇵 ‘Subha prabhãra’
    Israeli 🇮🇱 ‘bo-ker tov’
    Urdu 🇮🇳 🇵🇰 🇧🇩 🇳🇵 ‘assalam o alaikum’
    Russian 🇷🇺 🇦🇿 🇬🇪 🇰🇿 🇹🇯 🇹🇲 🇺🇿 ‘debroye utro’
    Armenian 🇦🇲 🇬🇪 🇮🇷 ‘bari arravot’
    Tamil 🇮🇳 🇱🇰 ‘kālai vanakkam’
    Khmer 🇰🇭 : ‘arun soo-uh sday’
    Malay 🇲🇾 🇮🇩 🇧🇳 🇹🇭 🇸🇬 ‘selamat pagi’
    Benghali / Gujarati 🇧🇩 🇮🇳 ‘Suprabhata’
    Farsi 🇮🇷 ‘sobh belheir’
    Mandarin 🇨🇳 ‘zao’
    Sinhala 🇱🇰 ‘subha udaesanak’
    Vietnamese 🇻🇳 ‘chow’
    Burmese 🇲🇲 ‘main g lar nannaathkainnpar’
    Tagalog 🇵🇭 ‘magandang umaga’
    Malayalam 🇮🇳 ‘suprabhatham’
    Turkish 🇹🇷 ‘Günaydin’ 🇵🇰 🇮🇳 Punjabi ‘Subha savēra’ 🇹🇭 Thai ‘Swasdi txn chêā’
    Lao 🇱🇦 ‘sa bai di ton sao’
    Chamorro 🇬🇺 ‘Buenas Dias’
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  • What To Do When You're Not Doing Homework

    Ana
    Dear Middle School Families,
     
    Several times in the past few months I’ve been asked by parents about keeping their middle school child meaningfully occupied between the end of school and the beginning of evening routines. Homework fills some of that time, but as we understand more and more about learning development, we - the teachers - have been more judicious about what we assign to students outside of school. This is not only because of research supporting that there is little benefit and some harm to extensive assignments, but because we want to show that we value and support children having rich lives outside of school. The world is wide, their interests are many. We want middle schoolers to have time cultivate hobbies. The reality of the age we live in is that when middle schoolers have unstructured time, they’re often on their phones. What do you do as a parent if you want your child to engage in activities that are rich and rewarding, or to experience the benefits of idle time? Hence the occasional request: Can you just give my child more homework?  
     
    The neuroscientist Frances Jensen, who wrote The Teenage Brain, said that the kinds of activities that most help develop the adolescent brain are reading and anything that requires repeated practice. While it may feel simpler to have these activities assigned by teachers, it actually would undercut the most important thing about hobbies - that they are done by choice. That’s not to say there aren’t ways to help support and encourage your child in pursuing interests and cultivating passions. Part of the answer is clarifying the rules about screen time (see my letter about that from earlier in the year). The other is helping to initiate and sustain lifelong learning. Middle school teachers offer some suggestions about how to do this below. The offerings from last week’s Discovery Day are a good starting place! As the days lengthen as we approach the open space of summer summer vacation, there will certainly be opportunity to try some of these out. 


    Michelle: Learn something from a grandparent (like crocheting)
    Megan: Invest in a pair of binoculars and print a NYC bird list. New York City parks are a stopping ground for migratory birds in the spring!
    Jeremiah: Keep a sketchbook! Drawing is a practice-based skill, but you can write, collage, keep photos and so much more.
    Amanda: Write a letter to a camp friend or grandparent. Decorate it with stickers.
    Robin: Keep a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle in progress for the whole family to work on
    Jessica: Plant herbs/plants/succulents indoors
    Sherezada: Does your child wonder how something works? A fun family project could be to figure it out together.
    Sharyn: Practice yoga.
    Suzane: Model reading! Let children see what you value and they will follow suit.
    Sarah: Bake together. Start with pie dough from scratch.
    Amanda: Be in charge of meal prep for a week.
    Alexis: Biking in a local park or nearby greenway.
    Clair: Chores. Kids should have jobs around the house that help to support the home and build a sense of investment and responsibility The more a kid feels like they’re a part of the family and the household, the better their behavior and the happier they’ll be in the long run.
    Karima: Get a kit and have them build something! 
    Momii: Learn to play solitaire (the kind with real cards).
    Dimitry: Practice your instrument for 30 minutes a day. If you don’t know what to practice, ask me!
    Margaret: Kids should express themselves creatively! Some great ideas for home include short term (not too messy): origami, doodling, solving brain teasers, doodling and coloring. Some longer term (somewhat messy) - tie-dying, papier mache, sewing, yarn crafts.
    Ana: I have great memories of teaching myself to juggle when I was in middle school. I went to the park across the street from my house. I liked the privacy of it - that no one I knew was watching and no one was judging my progress.
    Rob: My girls and I love to learn a new card game and play it for a night.
    Phil: Learning card tricks, always good at a party and when you’re a grandparent.
     
    Warmest,
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  • Building a Foundation in Programming - LEGO Mindstorms in the LS Classroom

    LREI
    🤖 LEGO Mindstorms in the LREI classroom - Michael and our fourth graders @lrei_class_of_2027 dive deep into the programming side of the science unit as students build a common robot as a template for their construction. With the programming foundation in place, independent projects took shape this morning with a mountain climbing 🧗‍♂️ robot, gymnast 🤸‍♂️ and drumming robot 🥁 alive on student desks! #lreilearns
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  • LREI Class of 2020 at College Fair

    LREI
    LREI Class of 2020 shifts their attention to the College Fair! At LREI, our College Guidance office takes the time to build a relationship with each student. “We believe that building trust and a deep understand of each student’s future goals enables us to accurately advise them on a variety of options.”

    To learn more about Carey and Kellen’s department, visit our College Guidance page at LREI.org ➡️ High School ➡️ College Guidance, and follow us @lreicollegeoffice
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  • MS Musical 'NEWSIES' Debuts Friday, May 10th at 7pm

    LREI
    LREI middle school presents: Disney's NEWSIES: The Broadway Musical.
    Join us on Friday, May 10th at 7pm and Saturday, May 11th at 2pm and 7pm.

    Tickets on sale in the Sixth Avenue lobby starting on Friday, 8am-9am: $12 Adults, $10 Students. (Poster design by Tatsuya '23) 

    Director: Joanne Magee
    Musical Director: Susan Glass
    Choreographer: Maria Malanga
    Set Designer: Ana Nivelo
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  • April

    "This is service learning in the deepest sense" - Junior Class Project from Brownsville, TX

    LREI
    Junior Class Trip continues - Live from Brownsville, TX, the project focus is immigration and family separation. HS Co-Principal Allison Isbell’s message speaks to the junior class’ trip mission, “This is service learning in the deepest sense.” #lreilearns

    Some words from the field: I am watching our students transform right in front of me. They just had a conversation that was driven by the following comment: "we need to own that it is not the responsiblity of LREI to make sure we keep doing this work. This is our responsibility now. If we stop thinking about this when we leave it is because we are shirking our responsibility as people and citizens - it's our work now."

    "We just spent the last 3 hours working to help a flood of migrants who were release by DHS - our students used every bit of Spanish they know to help them get clothing, food, medicine, and to explain how the bus system works. This is service learning in the deepest sense - coming to know the experience of others through the work they did. Nothing could possibly bring them closer to what is happening at our borders than this." -HS Co-Principal Allison Isbell
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  • Imaginative Inquiry - LREI Collaborates with NYSAIS Colleagues #deeperlearning

    LREI
    From Director of Learning and Innovation Mark Silberberg - Great day of learning with LREI 3rd grade teachers @lrei_class_of_2028 and @nysaisnow colleagues #deeperlearning via idea that children’s imagination is our greatest resource in the classroom and placing it center stage as a powerful tool for learning. To learn more, visit imaginativeinquiry.com #lreilearns
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  • Junior Class Trip Itinerary Shifts to Austin, TX

    LREI
    Junior Class Trip installment #4 - Kara Luce’s group has a busy itinerary in their first 48 hours in Austin, TX. Following a visit to NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, LREI students take in a presentation on CPCs and learn how advertising is used to deceive Texans into buying illegitimate healthcare providers. Yesterday afternoon, an informational session from Texas Freedom Network teaches our students various techniques used to end the stigma of abortion in faith-based communities. #lreilearns
     
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  • Junior Class Trip Ventures to LA Mission for Volunteer Work

    LREI
    Junior Class Trip Day 2 - our west coast crew continues on. Following volunteer work at the LA Mission, the group experiences a tour of homeless encampment on Skid Row. LREI students also collaborate (photo) with Homeboy Industries - an organization that works with members of gangs to help them get steady jobs and mental health counseling. As our Junior class trips continue, stay tuned for exciting developments in Texas as Allison leads her team through their immigration project. #lreilearns
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  • Junior Class Trips

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Dear High School families,
     
    The high school hallways have been quieter this week with the Juniors away on their trip and Seniors working on their Senior Projects. Those of us at home have been hearing bits and pieces from the 11th graders and their trip leaders from the road. I share below just a smattering of what they have been doing this week. We cannot wait to welcome them back and hear all the details of their transformative experiences.
     
     
    Rural Economies & Political Idealogies in Harlan Co, Kentucky: "Tuesday: We met with students in Harlan County High School’s web development class in which students design and maintain websites for businesses and nonprofits across the country, learning tech skills while also earning money for their work. The program is part of a regional effort to leverage schools as engines of economic development. Also part of the visit: Students spent time sharing stories about their disparate experiences growing up in NYC and rural Appalachia."
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Homelessness & Gentrification, Los Angeles: "This photo is from our tour of Ascencia homeless shelter in Glendale, after which we had a round table discussion with Ascencia Americorps volunteers, and representatives from two other partner organizations- YWCA, who works with victims of domestic violence, and Doors of Hope, who focus on homelessness outreach and prevention." 
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Impact of Sea Level Rise, Louisiana Gulf Coast:  "We started in New Orleans to learn about one if the most memorable storms in recent history, to understand what it looks like in that context, and then moved from the city to the regions on the coast that are being inundated. This picture shows students getting a tour of the Superdome where New Orleans residents sheltered after Hurricane Katrina."
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Abortion & Crisis Pregnancy Centers, Austin: "Spent the morning learning about the narrative on the "other side" of the aisle. Texas Alliance for Life showed us the Capitol and talked about some of the bills they are sponsoring. Students found this to be a valuable experience for understanding a different perspective."
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Criminal Justice: Mass Incarceration, New Orleans:  "We learned about how critical the first 72 hours are after an incarcerated person is released from prison. Rising Foundations is a grassroots organization that helps formerly incarcerated men, who have no safety net to fall back on, find their way in a world that has changed significantly since they entered prison. The organization was started by and is run by formerly incarcerated men."

     
     
     
     
     
     

     
     
    Immigration & Border Policy, Brownsville: "On Wednesday we cooked 80 meals for families seeking asylum and waiting to cross in Matamoros, Mexico. With our community partner, Team Brownsville, we pulled our food in wagons across the border, served families, played soccer with some of the children, and walked back across to the U.S."
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  • Life in the Lower School

    Elena Jaime
    Dear Lower School Families,

    I wish to take a moment to thank you for the time you took to come in and learn about your child’s experiences and the work the children do each day,  during the Spring Family Conferences. Ultimately, the goal of the family conference is to strengthen the support system that each child has in place in order to achieve success as a scholar and as a citizen. Thank you for the openness and thoughtfulness that I know you brought to the conversations with teachers, and the perspective that you added to the conference. I also wish to thank the teachers for their deep dedication to the students, hard work in preparing for these conferences, and their commitment to partnering with you in order support each child.

    I imagine that during the conference, and in the reporting you may receive from your child about their day, you have heard about the investigations, projects and shares that have taken place over the past number of weeks. In big and small ways, the evidence of student learning and engagement is all around. Rather than continue to describe these moments in words, I wanted to capture them through photos. These images represent only a fraction of the many photos that are accessible to you through your Vidigami account which capture life in the lower school. Follow this link to create an account and access the photos.
     
     
     
    Warmly, 
     
    Elena 
     
    Important Announcement
    Please join the Sustainable LREI Committee and other LREI families at the second-annual EARTH MONTH BEACH CLEAN-UP AT CONEY ISLAND on Saturday, April 27th 1:00-3:00pm (Rain date is Sunday, April 28, 1:00pm-3:00pm). This is an event for the entire family.  Clean-up supplies will be provided, just bring sunscreen and snacks! We will be located on the beach behind the New York Aquarium - look for the green tent. Click here for more information. Questions? Email sustainable@lrei.org. 

    To sign up yourself & family/friends, to attend the beach clean up, please sign up here :

    Important Dates:
    Tuesday, April 30: Third & Fourth Grade Science Night
    Wednesday, April 24-Friday, April 26: MS Art Show
    Wednesday, May 8: Fours Movement Share
     
     
    What To Expect Dates:
    May 3: What to Expect in First Grade
    May 10: What to Expect in Second Grade
    May 17: What to Expect in Third Grade
    May 23: What to Expect in Fourth Grade
     
    End of Year Potluck Dates:
    Monday, May 13: Deborah & Alicia’s Fourth Grade Potluck
    Tuesday, May 14: Dan & Wing Mai’s Fourth Grade Potluck
    Wednesday, May 15: Elaine & Shelby’s Third Grade Potluck
    Monday, May 20: Jessie, Chloe & Helen’s Third Grade Potluck
    Tuesday, May 21: Tasha & Melissa’s Second Grade Potluck
    Wednesday, May 22: Bill & Christine’s Second Grade Potluck 
    Tuesday, May 28: Ariane & Jessica’s First Grade Potluck
    Wednesday, May 29: Sarah & Katy’s First Grade Potluck
    Thursday, May 30: Alisa & Aiyana’s Kindergarten Potluck
    Monday, June 3: Beth & Maria’s Fours Potluck
    Tuesday, June 4: Elizabeth & Sharmin’s Kindergarten Potluck
    Wednesday, June 5: Tammy & Elif’s Fours Potluck
    Read More
  • MS Art Show Debuts at Sixth Avenue

    LREI
    Our middle school talent is (quite literally) on display today. Let’s begin with several intricately crafted cardboard sculptures before diving into geometric design, ceramics, and medieval style illumination. #lreilearns
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  • Show Me The Art

    Ana

    Show Me the Art 

    The middle school art show opened yesterday evening in the sixth avenue auditorium. If you haven’t taken the time to visit it yet, I encourage you to do so soon - the table art will down on Friday and the art on the walls will remain for another few weeks. The products of various learned techniques are impressive to see - painstaking and elaborate cutting, bending, kneading, layering and shading. The art is especially striking when assembled - the eye projects all together, or the watercolor triptychs. There’s a power in seeing each child’s work in the context of their peers’ - the full range of interpretations and variations on a single prompt.
     
    In making visual art, the process and product are public in a way that they often aren’t in reading, or science. Students’ skills develop in public. Can’t figure out how to make the nose in your self portrait look more realistic? Is there some mysterious error in your two-point perspective drawing? Does your sculpture tip over? Every mess and mistake happens publically. In our art classrooms, the public nature of the process builds resilience, creative problem solving and a non-judgemental community. Art students are used to seeing each other try and fail. They share and copy each others’ techniques. They aren’t territorial over strategies or ashamed of failures.
     
    The public nature of art-making is a model for what we aim for in all our classes: a community of learners borrowing from, leaning on, and critiquing each other, refining their understanding all together. Of all the art in the show I like the in-process pieces the best; the ones where not all the stray lines are erased, or not every corner is colored. It reminds me of the effort invested in the piece and of the evolving community of artists in which it was made.  
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  • Junior Class Trip Ventures to Safe Place for Youth - LA Homelessness Project

    LREI
    In our first installment of the Junior Class Trip, Jonathan Segal takes us out west in the LA Homelessness Project. The group ventures to Safe Place For Youth - an organization that supports homeless youth by providing a variety of services, including mental health, education, and job training. #lreilearns
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  • MS Art Show Opening Night - 4/25

    LREI
    MS Art Show preparation! Late night hanging student art work with Jeremiah Demster and faculty! Inspiring work from the middle school - “it’s amazing to see so much work from our school out at the same time.” @jaydemster Opening Night is hours away! #lreims #lreilearns
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  • Earth Day Beach Cleanup

    LREI Community, mark your calendar! Join us on Saturday, April 27th at 1pm for our second annual Earth Day beach cleanup @sustainablelrei 🌏 🏖 Last year, we collected more than 200 pounds of trash! Clean-up supplies will be provided - we only need you! For more information, contact us at sustainable@lrei.org. Directions: MTA - F/Q🚊 West 8th Street Station, Coney Island BK. GPS: 602 Surf Avenue, Brooklyn NY.
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  • We welcome our newly elected 2019-2020 Student Government!

    Student Government with HS Co-Principals Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul

    LREI
    “Learning by doing” is an oft quoted phrase attributed to John Dewey. And our analysis of this often follows the path of immersive learning, experiential learning--which seems to imply that in the act of doing, learning sticks.
    Read More
  • Third Grade NY's Galore of Foods

    ES 3rd grade @lrei_class_of_2028 had a fantastic time trying out LREI’s new food court, NY’s Galore of Foods! The class appreciated the polite and efficient service and were equally impressed by how their buddy class worked together to make this project happen. #lreilearns
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  • Fourth Grade Field Research

    What does the Statue of Liberty mean to you? Our fourth graders @lrei_class_of_2027 pose this key question to fellow visitors during their trip to Liberty Island. This week, our students will continue to brainstorm and reflect on their voyage as it connects to our curriculum and mission. #lreilearns
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  • From Lower School Principal, Elena Jaime

    Elena Jaime
    Dear Lower School Families,
     
    I write to you at the end of a rather full week in the Lower School. By now you will have heard the news regarding my departure at the end of this current school year. As is true in the midst of most major shifts in life, this moment brings with it a number of conflicting emotions. Echoing Phil’s note on Tuesday evening, I am thrilled at the opportunities and challenges that will come with my new position, and am deeply saddened by the loss I will feel when I leave LREI’s Lower School.
     
    These moments of transition invite reflection. As someone who values the importance of relationships in my work as an educator, my reflection naturally focuses on the ways in which the relationships I have built with faculty and staff members, families and students have impacted the way I engage in my work.
     
    The success of our community is, in no small part, due to the extraordinary gifts that the faculty and staff bring to their work. On tours with prospective parents, I often speak of LREI educators as both scientists and artists. Our teachers are deeply committed, life-long learners who utilize both their understanding of the science of learning and their passion for curriculum and program development to create a truly transformative learning experience for their students. Their love of developing curriculum is surpassed only by their care for their students. The teachers model each day what it looks like to remain committed to deepening one’s practice, and that is a lesson I will take with me. I will leave the community knowing that this talented group of educators will move the work of the division forward in service to your children.
     
    In my first letter to the community three years ago, I ended with an invitation to families to visit often, and to my delight, that invitation has been taken up on countless occasions. This community of parents and caregivers has shown me what true partnership looks like on behalf of the students I serve. You have generously shared your hopes for the work we do with your children and you have walked along with me as we have shaped this community in order to live more fully our values. The importance of that partnership is a lesson I will treasure.
     
    Finally, no conversation about my time at LREI would be complete without a focus on the students. Each time I host a visit to the division, I am reminded that our students are remarkable learners and community members. They work hard to make sense of the world, question assumptions people take for granted about how the world ought to be, and act in the service of others. A song we often sing during gatherings in the Lower School is “What Can One Little Person Do?” Our students constantly remind me that there is much that each of us can do, and even more so when we rely on the strength of our relationships with each other.
     
    The moment I walked into the building a little over three years ago, I knew that this community would become an important part of my life, both professionally and personally. The relationships I have developed with colleagues, families, and students have left an impression that will impact all that I do moving forward. For that, I am eternally grateful.
     
    I would be remiss if I were not to mention how invaluable my partnership with Debra Jeffreys-Glass, our Lower School Assistant Principal, has been over the past three years. Her deep commitment to our mission and values, her thoughtful approach to the work of supporting students and families, and the example she sets for all as a life-long learner have been essential to the success of the division. We wish her all the best as she takes the next step on her professional journey.
     
    Over the next few days, the teachers, Debra, and I will work together to figure out when and how to share our news with the students. In the meantime, there is much work left to do as we head into the final stretch of our year together- cities to construct, plays to write, books to read, stories to write, field trips to experience, and learning to do. I will treasure each moment as it comes, and continue to work closely with the teachers to ensure that the students experience a successful end of year.
     
    As always, please do not hesitate to be in touch should you wish to share your thoughts.
     
     
     
    With deepest gratitude,
    Elena





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  • Student Government

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,
     
    Updated Student Center, thanks to the 18-19 Student Government
     
    “Learning by doing” is an oft quoted phrase attributed to John Dewey. And our analysis of this often follows the path of immersive learning, experiential learning--which seems to imply that in the act of doing, learning sticks.

    And while I don’t disagree with this notion, Dewey was getting at far more than simple motor memory. Dewey’s theory on experience is more expansive than children coming to know by repeating behaviors--and far more profound. He theorizes that meaningful learning encounters in our environments are generative--for both the individual and their environments. And this cyclical exchange produces both individuals and communities that expand, grow, and transform because of the learning and knowledge that is generated.

    In practice, what does this look like, and why does it matter? One place where we see Dewey’s theory of experience in action is through the work of the Student Government. It is a powerful exemplar of this notion that iterations--each new group of students elected--create and implement experiences for our students that significantly move us forward in the ways we relate to each other in our community. Ideas accumulate, and ways of knowing lead to solutions that are fair and just.

    The Student Government in the high school carries daily and weekly responsibilities--leading morning meetings, organizing announcements, keeping students apprised of learning and activism activities outside of school. They also imagine and implement initiatives that respond to student needs and concerns. They stand up and speak into situations within the student body, they mediate disagreements, and they offer care and support when we experience pain and loss.
     
    This year our Student Government engaged in--

    Community Building: leading coffee houses, candy sales, Spirit Week

    Community Changing: listening to students needs, and then designing and implementing renovations to the Student Center, making space for more students to spend time together

    Community Caring: Worked with Allison and Margaret to think about orienting policies and procedures in the High School handbook around safety, care, and education.

    In a nutshell, they lead. And in the work of leading, they simultaneously construct knowledge about what “leadership” means, ultimately imprinting the LREI community in ways that are significant and longlasting. with understandings of how to lead a community through service and action.

    We want to celebrate and commend the 2018-2019 Student Government for its important, lasting work: Daniel Jegede, President; Leilani Sardinha, Vice-President of Social Justice;  Nubia Celis-Etienne, Vice-President of Communications; Jonah Davidson, Vice-President of Programming; Cameron Krakowiak, Junior Executive
    Thank you for your leadership and service!

    And, we welcome our newly elected 2019-2020 Student Government, and eagerly anticipate all the ways they will buid on the work that has happened before them.
     
     
    Emily Nally, VP of Communications; Ajahni Jackson, Junior Executive; Dakota Law, VP of Social Justice; Onaje Grant-Simmonds, VP of Programming; Michelle Mardones, President
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  • Welcome Margaret

    Ana
    Dear Families,
     
    I’m thrilled to be able to announce that Margaret Andrews will begin a new role next year as the middle school assistant principal. This is great news for our division, as it will only increase our ability to attend carefully to your children and their experience, to create and iterate on the curriculum and our teaching practices, and to partner with you. 
     
    Margaret will continue to do much of what she has done in her role as middle school dean, such as planning assemblies and dances, supporting clubs and student reps, guiding and meeting with individual students and families. She’ll take on additional administrative responsibilities that will allow me to spend more time working directly with students and teachers on big picture divisional initiatives. 
     
    I’m excited to continue to have Margaret as a partner in leadership; we make a good team. I have relied and will continue to rely on her perspective, insight and good humor. The middle school faculty heard the news earlier this week. Since then, many teachers have remarked on what a terrific opportunity this is, and how it will - in so many concrete ways - allow us to continue to grow and fulfill LREI's progressive mission.
     
    Margaret will continue to serve as a sixth grade advisor but not a math teacher, which means we have begun a search for a new sixth and eighth grade math teacher. I will keep you informed as we move through that process.
     
    Warmest,
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  • The Fours All Smiles and Songs

    All smiles this morning from the Fours music share with Sara! Stay tuned for the official gallery of images from Tammy/Elif and Beth/Maria classes @lrei_class_of_2032
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  • Second Grade Dancers

    LREI second graders @lrei_class_of_2029 create choreography with NYU’s Kaleidoscope Dancers @newyorkuniversity_
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  • Knight Varsity Baseball

    Knights Varsity Baseball returns to the diamond! LREI offense set the pace in the season opener, scoring 15 runs en route to a 15-5 victory over York Prep. Renzo O. led the offensive attack with a grand slam home run while Josh S. added five strikeouts from the mound. Visit LREI.org/athletics to follow the full schedule of spring sports. Go Knights! #lreiathletics
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  • Spring in LS with Principal Elena Jaime

    LREI
    The past few weeks have been exciting ones in the Lower School. The halls are buzzing with the sounds of our Four Cs in action. Citizenship and creativity are currently on the minds of first graders. Their focus on the ways in which communities care for each other by sharing acts of kindness led one first grade class to be inspired by the model of an organization they studied, God’s Love We Deliver, and create their own system of exchange of snacks for acts of kindness in the division, Snack Love We Deliver. This led another class to challenge the community to document 100 acts of kindness in honor of the 100th Day of School. Not surprisingly, the community rose to the challenge, surpassing this expectation. Our first graders are modeling the ways in which we can all be called into service to others in creative and thoughtful ways, something that can be seen in countless ways throughout the division.
     
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  • Junior Class College Trip

    LREI Class of 2020 enjoying their junior class college trip! Quick stop to the @theculinaryinstituteofamerica before continuing the college journey @lreicollegeoffice. #lreilearns
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  • Racing Extinction - 4/17/2019

    LREI
    IN CELEBRATION OF EARTH MONTH 2019, PLEASE JOIN SUSTAINABLE LREI AND NYCEED FOR THE FILM SCREENING OF RACING EXTINCTION 
    (
    Followed by a panel discussion at 7:30pm).
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  • March

    LREI Spring Break Snapshots

    From the Notre Dame-Basilica of Montreal to Shanghai Tower, our middle school explorers are venturing all over the world. Stay tuned for more updates @lrei_class_of_2023 @lrei_class_of_2024 #lreilearns #lreims
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  • Lower School News

    Elena Jaime
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  • "Final Exam Week"

    Allison Isbell
    This week our high school students wrapped up trimester 2 with final class sessions. And though this week is titled “Final Exam Week” it is far from the traditional load of tests that many experience in more traditional settings. Though paper exams appear at times, most of the culminating experiences of our classes are experiential, prioritizing creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.
     
    Our Arts classes engaged in critique, and our World Language classes gave presentations in their target languages. In Math and Science students worked toward mastery on content standards by demonstrating their growth on both tests and in lab experiences. And in English and History students worked collaboratively as writers, policy makers, and researchers in their specific areas of study.
     
    Please enjoy the photo collection below as a quick snapshot of our exciting, engaging, experiential final exam week!
     
    The European Renaissance held their final exam at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where they analyzed and critiqued selected pieces.
     
     
    The Literature of Mass Incarceration class visited Federal court and observed arraignments.
     
     
    The 9th grade Chemistry class conducted an “investigation” of “Mole Airlines Flight 1023” where they had to solved a murder mystery using chemistry concepts.
     
     
    The 10th grade engaged in an Arts Collaboration experience with 60 students visiting from the Oure school in Denmark!
     
     
    Students in the HIstorical Analysis through Literature course created both oral and written histories of their families.
     

    And this is only a glimpse of all of the amazing work that was done by your students this week! We wish you a wonderful break, and look forward to seeing you again in April.
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  • Social Justice Teach In

    Ana
    Dear Middle School Families,
     
    Last Thursday was a special and exciting moment in the middle school. Fifth, sixth, and seventh graders spent the morning attending workshops conceived and run entirely by eighth graders. Each workshop focused on a different social justice topic - from the freedom of the press to pollution - chosen and researched over many months by the eighth graders themselves.  Our keynote speaker, basketball analyst and former player Jay Williams spoke with tenderness and enthusiasm about hard work, humility, leveraging your privilege for good, and even his own tricks for responding to unkindness on social media. Click here to see the talk. 
     
    Below are photos of the day, descriptions of the workshops themselves, and a few links to video of the workshops. I can’t overstate how powerful it was to see eighth graders moderate a discussion about race and policing, or sixth and seventh grade students earnestly interested in learning about body positivity. Today, a week later, fifth graders used their skill as docents to give tours to parents, teachers and schoolmates of an ancient Kemetic tomb. It was full of artifacts they recreated themselves... ahem, I mean thousands of years old. These days showcased so much of what we do well at LREI and what we have to be proud of; what an excellent way to kick of spring. I wish each of you a bright and relaxing holiday.
     
    Warmest,
     

    Ana Fox Chaney
    Middle School Principal
     
     
     
    Taking Pride: Did you know that 92% of LBGTQ+ youth say they receive negative comments about being LGBTQ+?  In our workshop we will talk about creating safe spaces for all LGBTQ+ people in and out of school, make “Pride Pins” and a “Garden of Safety.” Come to our workshop and help us create an open and safe environment for all LGBTQ+ youth!

    Coral Bleachin’: Teach-In: Half of all coral on the planet has died in the past 30 years! Coral bleaching is a pressing problem with disastrous consequences and few know about it. Coral reefs provide habitats for ocean life, produce oxygen, and more. Choose our workshop to play “Ocean Commotion” and learn how you can help coral survive!

    The “Press” is in Distress Do you appreciate the news? Do you care about current events? In our workshop we will discuss the importance of journalism and the First Amendment.  Then, we will make our own newspaper and write to journalists in prison who’ve been arrested for speaking out. Get real facts, not fake news!

    Education for a Better Nation Having a home is a luxury for many kids in our city.  Did you know that 1 in 10 kids in the NYC public schools doesn’t have a stable home? These kids can’t get the most out of their education. Come to our workshop to learn about homelessness and schools and make art that will spread the word about this critical problem.

    Maternal Care, Everywhere! Maternal care means caring for pregnant women.  Unfortunately, too many pregnant women, and their unborn babies, lack basic care.  Come to our workshop to play a game about this issue, make “mommy packages” for women in need, and write notes for soon-to-be or new mothers.

    Playing for ALL How would you feel if you didn’t have sports, recess, or PE in your life? Sports activity is critical for mental and physical health, but too many kids miss out because of economic issues or physical disabilities/differences. Come learn about access to sports and play a game for blind people called Goalball! Then, learn about how you can help!

    Policing and Communities: Injustice in the Justice System Police are supposed to “Protect and Serve”. However, too often people in certain communities are treated unfairly and brutally by police. In our workshop we will explore data and scenarios describing why and how police treatment can be brutal.

    The Plastic Pollution Solution Plastic is literally everywhere-- it’s in our waters and even in our bodies. In multiple tests microplastic (tiny bits of plastic) have been found in our organs! Come to our workshop and we will teach you about plastic recycling, you will lobby against plastic overuse, and finally, you will leave with concrete ideas to be part of the plastic pollution solution!

    Real Beauty? :  Women in Fashion Too many young girls don’t think they are beautiful. Unfortunately, unrealistic images are presented to us by the media and the fashion industry. Want to know why and how this happens? Come to our workshop.  We will do a photoshoot, play a fun game of “spot the photoshop” and empower you to be savvy about the fashion industry. Open to ALL genders!

    Schools: “Drop-Outs” OR “Push-Outs”? Every 26 seconds a student in the United States drops out of school.  Wait...are they dropping out or getting pushed out? The public school system in New York City does not help all students, as it should.  In some cases it harms more than helps. Come to our workshop to learn more , step into the shoes of “push-outs”, and learn about what’s being done to keep kids in school.

    The Real Story of Social Media and Teens Social media is everywhere. One billion people use Instagram around the world. In our workshop we will talk about how girls, and their body images, are affected by social media. We will discuss the stereotypical “perfect” body type, how that’s “liked” so much, and how unrealistic it is.  We will share stories about “social media diets”, tracking your screen time, and explain how to yourself avoid screen obsession! Open to ALL genders!

    “Shut Up and Dribble”: Sports, Athletes and Activism Do you love sports?  Did you know that beyond being fun, the history of sports is filled with examples of athletes confronting racism in the U.S.?  Come to our workshop to discuss who some of these athletes are, from Althea Gibson to Colin Kaepernick. We will end by making T-shirts in honor of player-activists!!
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  • LREI Big Shindig - Thursday, March 7, 2019

    LREI
    Once called the Big Auction. Then the Big Party, The Big Shindig is a fun celebration that will focus on bringing together the entire LREI community while raising necessary funds for the school. For nearly 100 years, the LREI community has come together to celebrate and support the school.
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  • February

    American Justice

    LREI
    Last Wednesday, February 20th, over 100 members of the LREI community attended the presentation by Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and author of Just Mercy.

    This evening was co-sponsored by six downtown independent schools including LREI. What a terrific evening! His stories and comments and observations, his call to action, inspired the near-capacity crowd of students, families, and staff members from the six downtown independent schools that were represented.  A rare experience!

    Thank you to the adults and students who helped to organize and host this event.

    I encourage you to watch his TED Talk, and/or to read, Just Mercy, which is now also available in a young adult version.

    As we were charged by Mr. Stevenson, I am looking forward to hearing about all of the ways that we as a community are going to harness our hope in order to engage with and change the world.
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  • Focus with MS Principal Ana Fox Chaney

    LREI
    Concentrate. Pay attention. As adults we imagine hearing (or delivering) these directives with a frown. We think of focus as elusive but necessary, maintained through discipline, with brow furrowed, a battle against distraction. But properly cultivated and supported, focus actually comes naturally from engagement with appropriate tasks.
     
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  • Lower School Art Show 2019

    LREI
    Our annual Lower School Art Show will take place in the Bleecker Street auditorium on Thursday, February 21 and Friday, February 22.  There will be an opening for children, parents, caregivers and guests on Thursday, February 21 from 3-4 p.m.
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  • All the Heart and Fight . . .

    Allison Isbell

    As the winter season of high school sports comes to a close we want to celebrate all of the heart and fight that our athletes brought to the courts, the track, and the pool!

     
    26 seniors led their basketball, fencing and track teams in winning seasons! We have been so impressed by the ways our seniors motivated and encouraged their teams, as well as the high bar they set for athleticism and sportsmanship.
     
     
    111 students athletes played on our teams, representing participation by 44% of our high school student body!
     

     This is the first year our fencing team participated in league competitions in the ISFL (Independent Schools Fencing League). We are so impressed by their focus and commitment as they have established themselves in the league.
     

     
    Both the Girls’ and Boys’ varsity basketball teams moved into the playoffs after completing winning seasons.
     
     
    Our Indoor Track & Field team will compete in the NYSAIS Championship meet next week.
     
    Our Swim Team is competing in the ISAL Swim Championship meet today!
     
    Again, we are so incredibly proud of our student athletes this season and last, and look forward to Baseball, Softball, Tennis and Outdoor Track beginning very soon. Please encourage your students to check their email for sign-up information if they have not done so already.
     
    Go Knights!
     
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  • Focus

    Ana

    Focus

    Concentrate. Pay attention. As adults we imagine hearing (or delivering) these directives with a frown. We think of focus as elusive but necessary, maintained through discipline, with brow furrowed, a battle against distraction. But properly cultivated and supported, focus actually comes naturally from engagement with appropriate tasks.
     
    Maria Montessori, who like Elisabeth Irwin believed passionately in fitting the school to the child, described concentration as the “first essential” to a child’s development. She observed that it takes time to ‘warm up’ to a task, but for a child who is focused - fully immersed in their work - happiness will follow. This is one of the central arguments of the mindfulness movement: multitasking and distraction are correlated with discontent, attention to the present task with happiness. In the digital age, it feels like the forces of distraction are many and the incentives to sustain focus are few. We’d all like to have better concentration - for ourselves and our children - but where does it come from?
     
    According to Montessori, concentration in children arises naturally when the task is appropriate and when it’s uninterrupted. We have all experienced the pleasure that comes with focus - the satisfaction of being ‘in the zone.’ And when you’re there, your effort feels effortless: you’d rather keep going than stop. In the middle school, we plan for this by situating long-term, deep-diving projects at the center of each year. We make space for warming up to tasks, for delving, mulling-over, revisiting and mastering.
     
    Three out of four of the middle school grades are in the thick of their year’s grade level project, their opportunity to develop and practice sustained attention. In fifth grade it is the Kimetic (Egyptian) Tomb, in sixth the Medieval Guilds, in seventh (already past) the Cultures In Contact Museum and in the eighth, the Social Justice Project. Students spend 20, 45, 60 minutes at a time, scaffolded by teachers, researching a topic of their choosing. Then they spend comparable stretches writing, re-writing, creating artifacts, and presenting aloud to others. They return to these projects day after day for weeks. This sustained attention to a topic - irrigation in ancient Egypt, for example, or medieval Persian poetry - is how we cultivate the habit of focus. Through the careful selection of tasks, and creating uninterrupted space in the day and the curriculum to return to them, concentration develops. This immersion not only builds the important disposition, but yields a useful byproduct: pleasure, satisfaction, fun.
     
    Speaking of these major projects, please click here to read a letter from the students in one of the eighth grade social justice groups. Enjoy the long weekend.


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  • Identity, Friendship and Activism

    Dear Families,
     
    This year's Karamu sheet gave students the opportunity to celebrate the “unique and beautifully diverse cultures of our friends and neighbors.” I was so moved by the submissions of our middle schoolers, some of which are pictured here. Despite this age’s reputation for self-centeredness, tweens are are keen observers of their friends and families; they are sensitive, empathetic and connected.

    We spend a lot of time in classrooms addressing and encouraging this lesser-known side of our middle schoolers. We now know that social-emotional skills not only make children good community members, they also drive and facilitate intellectual development.
     
    Those of you who were here visiting this week saw some examples of this. Fifth graders wrote speeches to be elected as class representatives. They wrote about their commitment to each other, to the grade, to being good listeners, and to improving the community (new clubs, reducing waste, raspberries for snack). In adolescent issues, sixth graders brainstormed the ingredients of good apology - that you should describe what you did, never say “I’m sorry if...” or “I’m sorry you...”. Eighth graders from the women’s affinity group (WAG) helped to lead a middle school assembly about positive masculinity. These are just a few of the many ways we help middle schoolers exercise and develop the consideration and insight that came through so vividly in this years Karamu posters. I hope you can make it to tonight’s celebration.
     
    Warmest,
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  • January

    #ItHappensHere

    Yesterday in the high school we had the opportunity to take a pause in our regular courses of study for an annual event, titled #It HappensHere Day. Students attended workshops on a variety of topics, and we have included descriptions of these workshops here
     
     
    Below is an explanation of the purpose of the day, drafted by student organizers over the years, followed by a photo journal to give you a window into this powerful, student-led experience. We are so proud of the ways that our students "showed up" to do this important work yesterday--both as Student Leaders and as engaged participants.
     
    Enjoy!
     
    #ItHappensHere Day is about acknowledging that although we are a progressive and socially aware institution, we still have work to do. In order to fulfill our mission of equity and justice, we must be active in combating marginalization and oppression, especially in our own community. For this reason, the school has dedicated a day to investigating social justice issues present at the school and beyond, through educational workshops.
     
    This year’s theme is ACCOUNTABILITY. We will be exploring the concept of owning up to one’s privileges and acknowledging the ways in which we contribute to systems of inequality. Although members of our community experience privilege in different ways and to varying degrees, we all have aspects of our identities that unfairly advantage us, as well as aspects that unfairly disadvantage us. We are all responsible for using whatever privileges we have to lift up those who are being marginalized.
     
    We invite everyone to share their voices during sessions whether you are a leader or a participant. We wish to cultivate an environment where people feel comfortable calling each other IN for the collective work to happen. We hope that #ItHappensHere Day is a transformative and powerful experience for everyone. 
     
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  • Failure as a Partner to Success

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Student Artist Max Zinman, '20, adapts a well-known M.C. Escher drawing into
    an exercise in fatalistic thinking and self-sabotage. Look closely to see how
    he has revised the meaning of this piece.
     
    Dear Families:
     
    Failure is not something we often like to dwell on. As a mom of 3 boys I have not often found myself on the sidelines of games or on the bench at the playground talking about all the ways that my boys have failed, all that they have not accomplished. We just don’t do it. Instead we focus on performance, success, achievement--the hooks upon which we hope they might hang their burgeoning sense of confidence and self
     
    As parents and students we are situated in a societal context that equates success with outcome: with grades, test scores, rankings. And, thus, failure is viewed at odds with success--as a shortcoming, deficiency, limitation, defeat.
     
    Mask: This sculpture was conceptualized as a consideration of dual identities. During
    the process of firing in the kiln it cracked around the edges. Initially, the student
    sculptor was disappointed that the piece didn't work as planned, but upon reflection,
    came to value the cracks as an element that deepened and expanded her original concept.
     
    But what if we began to view failure in its various forms not as limiting, but as the necessary ingredient that drives success and gives it unique value, substance, and power? What if we recognize failure as a partner to success, rather than its rival?
     
    I propose that we take on an expansive definition of failure: rather than allowing it to represent the absence of something--not knowing, not reaching, not achieving--the experience of failure in its various forms should instead be shorthand for risk taking, imagining, testing, modeling, iterating.
     
    Math: Artifacts of mathematical processes are situated around the edges of our
    math classrooms--daily representations of the iterative thinking of our students.
     
    How we frame failure also affects the way we frame our own personal narratives. In the cycle of our school year, we are at a moment in time where students can understand the efforts, processes, and products of the work they have done as iterative, dynamic, in motion--or, conversely, they can  see their work as static, immovable, fixed.
     
    So, how do we help our students analyze their perceived failures in ways that are productive, rather than self-defeating?  How do we help them make that transformative shift and begin to view failure as an essential ingredient for school success? And finally, how do we help them take up experiences of failure in ways that give rise to self-determination, responsibility and agency?
     
    Eletroscope: Student physicists built electroscopes to investigate the photoelectric
    effect (which is how solar panels work). This photo precedes testing: students are
    hoping that UV-C light will "move" the tinsel pieces. When you next see a student
    physicist from the Modern Physics class, ask them how this experiment went!
     
    In our classrooms, in our conversations, and in our feedback to students we are working to value the iterative, expansive processes of reviewing, revising, revisiting, refining. Through practice, with work, and over time we are orienting students toward “try again,” “think through,” “assess” and “analyze.”
     
    I ask you to join us in helping your students uncover the great potential that lies beneath perceived failures. Help them move from frustration to places of productive engagement by analyzing and naming parts of their work that are going well, and areas where they can revise and refine their processes. Guide them through the following questions:
     
    What can I do differently this time that might change the outcome?
     
    Watercolor: Originally this artist intended to paint a singular watercolor piece. However,
    she was frustrated by each attempt, and thus ended up with many iterations. In the end,
    she cut and spliced her favorite sections from each version, and by pushing through her frustration created a piece that is much stronger than her original concept.
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  • Welcome to #ItHappensHere Day 2019!

    LREI
    The foundations of democracy and of our school are built by daily habits of recognizing the rights of those who differ from ourselves. -Elisabeth Irwin
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  • Karamu 2019 - LREI's Community Multicultural Arts Celebration

    LREI
    PA Multicultural Committee Presents: KARAMU 2019 - A celebration of Family, Food, Music, Dance, and Culture. 

    Join us on Friday, February 1, 2019
    5:30-9:00pm
    Charlton Street Auditorium
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  • LS Principal Elena Jaime Reflects on MLK Day of Service

    LREI
    Writing in The Washington Post in 1983, Coretta Scott King, provided a vision of how the holiday honoring her husband should be observed: "The holiday must be substantive as well as symbolic. It must be more than a day of celebration… Let this holiday be a day of reflection, a day of teaching nonviolent philosophy and strategy, a day of getting involved in nonviolent action for social and economic progress.” In her reframing of the day, Mrs. King offered us the challenge of finding the ways in which we can become active citizens in the service of bringing about progress. This call to action mirrors the mission of LREI which seeks to graduate “active participants in our democratic society, with the creativity, integrity, and courage to bring meaningful change to the world.”
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  • Student Artist Max '20, adapts a well-known M.C. Escher drawing into  an exercise in fatalistic thinking and self-sabotage. Look closely to see how he has revised the meaning of this piece

    Failure as a Partner to Success with HS Principal Allison Isbell

    LREI
    Failure is not something we often like to dwell on. As a mom of 3 boys I have not often found myself on the sidelines of games or on the bench at the playground talking about all the ways that my boys have failed, all that they have not accomplished. We just don’t do it. Instead we focus on performance, success, achievement--the hooks upon which we hope they might hang their burgeoning sense of confidence and self.
    Read More
  • Fostering Confidence & Independence

    Ana Fox Chaney
    It was a pleasure to see several of you at our adolescent issues evening last week. As promised, this week’s note is a summary of that talk, which was about fostering confidence and independence in middle schoolers. Alexis Kahan, our school psychologist, and I chose this wellness theme as a counterpoint and compliment to last year’s conversation about how to recognize and alleviate anxiety. One of the great surprises of both parenting and teaching is how much development and learning happens without us. In the case of building middle schoolers’ self-esteem, this is certainly true. There is no way to gift them this quality or teach it to them directly. As with academic learning, the best way we as adults can support the confidence and independence of our children and students is by creating rich conditions and then being willing to step aside.
     
    The advice below is drawn from a talk given by psychologist Dr. Michael Thompson at the 92nd St Y a few years ago, called “How To Give Your Child Confidence and Independence: Eight Things Parents Cannot Do For Their Children (But Wish They Could).” Woven throughout are suggestions from an article by another prominent child psychologist, Dr. Laura Markham, called “True Grit: 12 Ways to Raise a Competent, Resilient Child,” and - of course - our own experience from many years working with middle schoolers.
     
    • We can’t make our children happy. Of course, we want them to be happy. But there is a difference between a child’s momentary happiness and their overall wellbeing. We can’t make our action orbit their momentary happiness or bend over backwards to prevent them from being upset. If we do, we send the message that their unhappiness is intolerable, which misses an opportunity to teach them about managing discomfort, and we open ourselves to being manipulated. What we can do is make sure our children feel loved and accept - and not be afraid of - momentary bad feelings. Instead of letting their unhappiness make us unhappy too, we can model a healthy relationship to feelings by empathizing and describing them. (“I know you’re mad now, but…” and “I know it’s really disappointing when…”)
    • We can’t give our children self-esteem. Dr. Thompson points out that the “self-esteem movement” in this country had the relationship backwards: self-esteem isn’t the engine behind success, it’s the byproduct of skill development. In other words, children build confidence by getting good at things. What we can do is give them manageable challenges: experiences where they are pushed to build new skills that we know are within their reach, so as not to be demoralizing (as there is little benefit to insurmountable challenge). We can also use the language of growth mindset, which validates their effort rather than evaluating the results. This would mean saying, for example, “I see how hard you worked on that. I bet you feel proud” instead of, “Good job” or “You’re great at that.”
    • We can’t pick our children’s interests for them. They often try something for a little while and then want to stop, regardless of our own personal investment. When children say no to things, it’s important in two ways. First, they are telling us who they are by telling us who they aren’t. Not only is this self-definition developmentally appropriate (and necessary) in middle school, but it’s an opportunity for us as adults to get close to our children by learning more about who they are and who they want to be. Second, being able to make their own choices - to stop doing something, or start doing something else - is one way to affirm their ability to impact their world and build confidence. Following through on commitments is an essential lesson too - but it’s important to examine whose commitment it was in the first place before insisting that they stick with something.
    • We can’t keep our children safe from everything. If we are overly concerned with safety, we risk giving children what Dr. Thompson called a “bath of anxiety.” Competence comes from risk-taking. What we can do is give children opportunities to risk (and fail) within certain boundaries. This requires some of our own courage. Commuting alone to school is an important milestone at this age. Exactly how and when this happens will depend on where you live and the wishes and abilities of your own child, but the self-assuredness that comes with the real-world skill of being able to navigate the city without an adult is invaluable. We can build up to this, and other things, gradually - first going together, then trailing behind, then maybe sending them with a friend. It’s important to acknowledge those things we are especially fretful about and draw confidence from the perspective and advice of an “outside source” such as another family.
    • We can’t micromanage our children’s friendships. Learning in community is powerful for children. The lessons learned by being part of a social community - how to get along, how to be loyal, how to understand someone who is different, how to get over an argument - aren’t delivered effectively by an adult talking. What we can do is put children in situations with each other where they can forge some of these skills, by seeing them modeled, by testing them out, and sometimes by failing at them without an adult mediating. This social emotional learning is the rationale behind many elements of the middle school program - from an intentionally unstructured recess time, to student-run cross-grade clubs, to buddy activities. Another way we can set our children up for success in relationships is by modeling positive self-talk so that they develop their own, which in turn supports a positive self image - the best and closest thing to “bully-proofing.” This means, for example, avoiding phrases like “I’m such an idiot,” even casually, and instead saying things like “I think I can fix it” and “It will be ok because I have a good sense of direction.”
     
    Giving middle schoolers the space and opportunity to figure things out on their own is usually easier said than done. It takes discipline to avoid jumping in and rescuing them, and fortitude to watch them walk out into the world. It is been my experience as an educator and as a parent so far that the best thing we can do is continue talking and asking questions of each other, telling our stories, sharing strategies and being honest about our mistakes.
     
    Thanks again to those of you who made it to the evening event. As always, let me know if you have any questions.
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  • Family Style Lunch at Sixth Avenue

    LREI
    At LREI, lunch is more than just a meal; it's a time and place for continued learning and reinforcement of core LREI values.
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  • MS Robotics Team Earns Honors at Manhattan First Lego League Qualifier

    On Saturday, January 12, 2019, LREI's middle school Robotics team competed in Manhattan's First Lego League Qualifier.
     
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