Other News



  • May

    Spring Round Up

    Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,
    Time is flying in the high school–we can’t believe we have one week until Field Day! A reminder to families that next Friday, May 27th is a day of school, and a wonderful tradition for the whole LREI community! We will spend time with our lower school buddies and celebrate the Class of 2022.
    And as we plan the end-of-high-school celebrations for the graduating class of 2022, we are also in the process of welcoming the class of 2026–a robust and energetic group that is our largest class ever, with students joining from schools across New York City. Our 2022-2023 Peer Leaders enthusiastically welcomed them to LREI yesterday for the traditional ice cream social; it was so wonderful to have them in the building.
    Academic Updates
    Next week we will release the 2022-2023 Course Guide for rising juniors and seniors. This year, we are thrilled to offer this guide in a new, digital format that we hope will help students and families more clearly assess which courses students want to take next year. We will share this with students on Tuesday in an assembly, and then out to families later in the day. We ask that all rising junior/senior families review this with their students in the next 2 weeks, when course sign-up forms will be due.
    A snapshot from the new dynamic course guide

    End of year grades and comments are typically released a week after the end of school. We often get questions about transcripts at that time. If, after you review grades and comments, you notice discrepancies on your student’s transcript, you can email Jenny Escorcia at jescorcia@lrei.org. Please note–it takes longer to certify Honors Projects, so these may not immediately appear on the transcript in June.

    Year-End Events . . . please join us!

    • Spring Festival of Plays, this Saturday, May 21st at 2 and 6 pm; tickets can be purchased in the HS lobby tomorrow, or by emailing Joan Jubett: jjubett@lrei.org
    • Spring Concert, Thursday, May 26th, 6 pm, HS PAC
    • Sports Awards, Tuesday, May 31st at 5:15-6:30 pm, HS PAC. Light refreshments will be served in the courtyard.
    • Lit Magazine-Arts Showcase-Coffee House, Wednesday, June 1st @ 6 pm; HS PAC; There will be art displayed throughout the school, and amazing slate of performers, and a mid-show reveal of the 2021-2022 EI Lit Mag. Light refreshments will be served in the courtyard.
    • Senior Project evening, Tuesday, June 7th, 6:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served in the courtyard.
    And finally, in the coming weeks we will share additional year-end information by grade, including information on mental health resources for students and families over the summer. In advance of this, if you would like to talk with someone on our Wellness Team about concerns or support you feel your student needs, please reach out to Ty Beauchamp, tbeauchamp@lrei.org

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  • Teacher Appreciation

    Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,
    Today we share some of the work in the high school this week from the perspective of our greatest super power . . . our teachers. 

    Besides being the brains of this operation, they are simultaneously the heart and soul . . . they show up everyday to support your students’ cognitive and social-emotional growth, knowing how inextricably linked these are.
    What does it mean to be a high school teacher at LREI in 2022? In some ways, the work we do has been profoundly changed through the pandemic, yet we continue to be guided by the core pedagogical principles we have worked from since the first day we walked into our classrooms.
    As progressive teachers, we facilitate learning through experience and inquiry. We posit questions that lead students to think critically towards solutions–whether these be mathematical, theoretical, or practical. We spend our days building skills and abilities that help students think critically about the world around them. In 2022, this is complicated work.
    This week alone, teachers have engaged in discussions regarding constitutional rights, protections, and processes in relation to womens’ bodies and choices. They have helped students consider the complexities of human rights, economics, and politics as they intersect in the ongoing Ukranian invasion. They have analyzed data regarding the impact of methane gases on our climate, and considered the implications of redistricting in relation to voting rights.

    They have also supported 23 students in drafting and rehearsing campaign speeches for Student Government elections, rehearsed with students for the upcoming Spring Festival of Plays and end-of-year coffee house. They have made art and music and story together. They have celebrated risk-taking, persistence, and extra practice. And they have soothed stresses, encouraged students to turn in missing work, and reassured those who are anxious that they are moving shoulder to shoulder through this journey with them.

    Teaching is hard work, and teaching in 2022 sometimes feels overwhelming. However, the reason we show up, day after day, is the hope our students bring to LREI each day. 

    We show up for their ideas, their vision, their audacity. 
    We show up for their confidence and courage. 
    We show up for their boldness and swagger. 
    And we show up for their heart.

    Read More
  • April

    Best Week of the Year

    Margaret Paul
    Dear families.
    This is one of our favorite weeks of the entire school year--Junior Trip Week. The timing and opportunities of this week mark a shift for all of our students.
    Our seniors are hard at work on their Senior Projects. We see them on Tuesdays when they come in for homeroom and advisory, and then a handful of them throughout the week. Otherwise, they're out of the building--taking their first steps out into the world beyond high school. Tomorrow marks the end of week 3 of the experiential portion of the project--the halfway point!
    Juniors are around the country engaging in their place-based research projects. The students who departed on Sunday & Monday this week are not the same students who return tomorrow. They've spent their week immersed in their topics, meeting with many people and discussing their experiences with their group throughout each day. The students always come back to the building seeming to have aged more than one week. I look forward to the energy they bring back to us as we move towards the end of the school year. 
    9th & 10th graders are here in the building, continuing to build the foundation that will allow them to successfully participate in their future work. 9th graders took part in a day of service at the UCC Youth Farm in Brooklyn yesterday. The grade & their advisors were able to enjoy the nice weather and help tend the gardens. 10th graders took the Pre-ACT yesterday. Not necessarily as exciting as the other grades, but it marks another milestone on the way to becoming 11th graders.
    Please enjoy the pictures and updates below!
    9th graders at UCC Youth Farm
    Climate Change in Charleston, SC. 
    The Sea Level Rise/Climate Change group traveled to the Ghost Forest of Helena Island SC on Tuesday after an inspiring conversation with Queen Quet of the Gullah.Geechee Nation. Though we previewed images and discussed the Ghost Forest before our arrival— terms such as “tree graveyard”, “doomsday forest”, “skeleton beach” set the tone for our visit— nothing could have prepared us for such a stark and uncanny experience of the effects of climate change. We walked out onto a beach littered with the remains of petrified trees that looked like lifeless monuments to the stands of lush forests just off the shore. This visceral experience of the beach and its environs put into bold relief the irrevocable effects of climate change and sea level rise.
    Criminal Justice: Mass Incarceration in Chicago, IL
    Each person we met with got us one step closer to answering one of our essential questions: “How is society supporting incarcerated people through legal aid and representation?” Here we spoke to Renaldo, Anthony, and Kaitlyn of the Illinois Prison Project, who taught us about the effects of the prison system on people all over the country. It was impactful for us because it allowed us to see the humanity of incarcerated people that the media often doesn’t show.
    Indigenous Rights & Environmental Justice in Seattle, WA
    On Tuesday, our group visited the Quinault Indian Nation and met Dean Johnstone, the manager of the local fish hatchery. We learned all about the salmon life cycle and the role that hatcheries play in the Quinault reservation ecosystem. The hatchery acts as a place of production for the tribe which provides a source of food and income. We also talked about the role of climate change, as higher water temperatures reduce salmon population through diseases and unsuitable habitats.
    Sex Education & Reproductive Rights in Atlanta, GA
    The Sex Education and Reproductive Rights Junior Trip group has spent the week exploring the intersections between reproductive rights, health, and justice. Our partners in Atlanta have given us perspectives on the repro movement from activism, research, and political action. Students are bringing back a deeper understanding of the nuances surrounding reproductive justice and the importance of protecting bodily autonomy. In the photo, you can see us enjoying one of our favorite meals at a local barbecue spot!
    Homelessness in Seattle, WA
    Students on the Seattle trip studying homelessness have met with a range of organizations working on both the individual and systemic levels to create safe and permanent housing solutions. A highlight for students included a Thursday morning meeting with leaders at the King County Regional Homelessness Authority, a relatively new organization seeking to transform and disrupt the county’s response to homelessness by centering the voices of those who have lived experience of homelessness. Students were inspired by the organization’s theory of change and radical vision for housing all people and left feeling hopeful and excited to share what they’ve learned. (Pictured: students visiting Pike Place Market after a morning volunteering at and touring Downtown Emergency Services Center’s shelters.) 
    Indigenous Rights & Environmental Justice in Albuquerque, NM
    We have spent time this week listening and learning from Chicano and native peoples’ leaders who are fighting environmental racism in the greater Albuquerque, Pueblo, and Navajo lands. In listening to leaders, visiting sacred sites, and touring fracking operations on Navajo land we have developed a deeper and more complex understanding of the fight the communities are engaged in.
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  • SOS Training

    Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,

    Earlier this week you received an email from our Mental Health Support team, Ty Beauchamp and Joannie Sciarrone, regarding our upcoming S.O.S., Signs of Suicide training. As they mentioned, it is essential for all of us in the LREI community–faculty and staff, families, and students to get this training to continue to keep our students healthy and safe. We have posted the information regarding the SOS training below.

    We also want to take this opportunity to remind you of the wrap-around team who work closely with our amazing LREI faculty to support our students through their days and weeks. The Wellness team for the high school meets weekly to plan supports, coordinate services, and communicate with teachers. 
    Carey Socol (college guidance and school counseling), Margaret Paul, Allison Isbell, Barbara Bode (nurse), Marion Holley Smith (Dean of Students), Ty Beauchamp (psychologist), Manjula Nair (Dean of Student Life) and Joannie Sciarrone (school counselor). Not pictured: Kellen Howell (college guidance and school counseling).

    Another aspect of support in the high school is our Learning Support team: Jessica Prohias Gardiner and Jonathan Segal; not pictured: Jerry Cascio.

    Throughout the school, advisors, teachers, and these teams are here to ensure both academic success as well as health and well-being during students’ four years of high school. Please be in touch–we are all here to partner with you as you help your student navigate their high school years.
    Information from the original email posted again below for your reference. Zoom information will be provided next week.
    The mental health team will be facilitating Signs of Suicide Prevention lessons to students, faculty, and families throughout the month of April. 

    The program's goals are to decrease suicide and suicide attempts by increasing student knowledge and adaptive attitudes about depression, encouraging personal help-seeking or help-seeking on behalf of a friend, reducing the stigma of mental illness, and engaging families and faculty in prevention through education.

    Students learn to identify warning signs of suicide and depression through videos and guided discussion questions. The main message to students is to ACT (Acknowledge, Care, and Tell) when worried about themselves or their peers. At the end of the lesson, students complete a screening for depression, allowing the mental health team to support students in need. 

    At least one family member is required to attend one of the Signs of Suicide Prevention lessons on zoom. Please attend the training on either April 13th from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. or April 13th from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Students will receive another version of the lesson in their advisories at the end of the month. 

    Please reach out to Joanne Sciarrone, School Counselor, and Ty Beauchamp, School Psychologist, with any questions or concerns. 
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  • February

    Student Leadership

    Margaret Paul
    Dear families,
    Leadership in the LREI high school takes many forms, and as we near the end of trimester 2, which marks the end of the classroom experiences for the class of 2022, we want to highlight the work of student leaders this year, and jumpstart the possibilities for student leaders as we move toward the 2022-2023 school year.
    Last week we held an annual event known as #ItHappensHereDay, a day of student-led workshops exploring issues around diversity, equity, identity, and belonging. More than 40 10th-12th graders helped to plan the day and lead workshops, and their work exemplifies the type of leadership we are modeling at LREI . . . collaborative, community-minded, creative, and courageous acts on behalf of our school. Please see below for the list of workshops that students engaged in throughout the day:

    In a few weeks our seniors will transition into their independent Senior Projects, and our 9th through 11th graders will feel the slight shift that happens in the spring as they move closer to being 10th, 11th, and 12th graders. During the spring we will be talking to students about the leadership opportunities that are open for the 2022-2023 school year, and advisors will engage in conversations with students about their personal goals and plans. We encourage you to review the list below, and have some home conversations about your students plans and goals as well.

    12th Grade Opportunities:
    Admissions Leadership Council
    Admissions Ambassadors
    Affinity Group Leaders
    Engage for Change Leadership Team
    #ItHappensHere Planning Committee
    #ItHappensHere Workshop Leaders
    Peer Leaders
    Sports Captains
    Student Government: Executive Board & Class Representatives
    X-Block Leaders

    11th Grade Opportunities: 
    Admissions Ambassadors
    Affinity Group Leaders
    Engage for Change Committee Leaders
    #ItHappensHere Planning Committee
    #ItHappensHere Workshop Leaders
    Sports Captains
    Student Government: Executive Board & Class Representatives
    X-Block Leaders

    10th Grade Opportunities:
    Admissions Ambassadors
    Engage for Change Committee Leaders
    #ItHappensHere Workshop Leaders
    Student Government: Class Representatives
    X-Block Leaders

    We end our note today by thanking our student leaders for the 2021-2022 school year. While we will have many chances to celebrate them in person, we want to acknowledge the hard work and commitment all of our student leaders have put in this year–we are a better community because of you.
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  • Black History Month Celebrations

    Margaret Paul
    Dear families,
    Last week the lower school classes set a beautiful example for all of us in the LREI community by leading an assembly that centered diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging work across the school. During this assembly, the 2nd graders sang a song titled “What can one little person do?” that highlighted the importance of each person’s role in caring for communities.

    Building from this theme of personal responsibility and engagement, we want to share some programming that has occurred in the high school in the past few weeks, as well as some upcoming events that will continue this theme . . .

    A few weeks ago a facilitator from Callen-Lorde Community Health Center led a workshop for all high school students to deepen our knowledge around TGNB inclusion, after which students discussed ways to ensure belonging and safety for all of our students.

    Following this workshop, a group of juniors and seniors participated in a workshop regarding healthy relationships, led by Nalicia Willams from the One Love Foundation. The goal of this workshop was to train upperclassmen to be equipped to speak with younger peers about healthy vs. unhealthy relationships. We are so thrilled to be partnering with One Love, and to have the support of Nalicia as we help our students grow in this area.

    Today, we were so honored to join together with our peer schools Calhoun and Fieldston for a webinar with Dr. Beverly Tatum, renowned author and scholar. Dr. Tatum has worked for several decades to help young people work through the central question about identity, to navigate the space between who we feel we are and who the world says we are. Her work has shown that doing so, reckoning with who we are, is an important process on the way toward better personal mental health, greater academic success, and finding a sense of belonging. Oni T, Class of 2022, represented LREI as a student moderator for this session.

    This week Marion Holley Smith, our Dean of Students, has been working with students on a community building activity that centers the idea that “To know us is to love us, to love us is to know us.” Teachers have worked together to identify adjectives that describe special qualities in each student, and these have been written on skin-toned hearts to be displayed in the lobby. By connecting with our hearts, we can truly see and know one another, and Marion’s leadership in helping students see and know one another is critical this year. 

    And there is much more to come! Next week is Spirit Week, an annual tradition for us, and then we will continue to celebrate Black History Month by honoring black voices both known in the world and in our own personal lives when our Black Student Union leads our HS assembly. And finally, there is a bulletin board in the front lobby right now, inviting students to write the names of black family members, friends, teachers, mentors, etc. who have made a difference in their lives . . . continuing the theme set by our wonderful 2nd graders last week: 
    What can one little person do? What can one little me or you do?
    What can one little person do to help this world go 'round?
    One can help another one, and together we can get the job done.
    What can one little person do to help this world?
    Harriet Tubman was alone on that darkened road to freedom,
    but she couldn't leave her people far behind.
    Moses stretched out her hand, and she led them to the freedom land,
    for she knew that she had justice on her side.
    When Sojourner Truth was freed, she got down on her knees,
    and she prayed to God to help her on her way
    With her voice and with her might, she fought for what was right,
    for she knew that she had justice on her side.
    Rosa Parks sat on the bus, and the driver said, "you must
    move to the back of the bus, or be thrown in jail"
    But she stayed and stood her ground, and she brought that old law down,
    for she knew that she had justice on her side.
    Brother Martin Luther King told the world "I have a dream!"
    and he led this country's fight for human rights
    We must fight for liberty, until all of us are free,
    and we'll know that we have justice on our side.
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  • January

    Science is Collaborative

    Margaret Paul
    Dear families,
    As high school students, we both loved science. We were intrigued by the impressive body of content that existed in courses titled Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. There was an excitement to taking these classes–like getting ready to run a race or climb a mountain kind of excitement–because the way science was viewed was as an external body of knowledge that we were setting off to get. We spent countless hours studying textbooks–working to absorb as much information as possible in order to pass tests–and prove that we had, in fact, gained the knowledge. We were curious and eager, and we were proud to show what we had learned.
    But what was missing in our high school science experience is critical to surface. We’ll make it stand out here with some bullet points:
    • Science was viewed as a pre-determined, discrete body of knowledge to acquire.
    • The body of knowledge was static; we studied textbooks and we conducted labs that replicated what scientists had discovered; we were not scientists and we were not engaged in discovery.
    • The purpose of questions was to check whether or not we had learned from the class materials, checking that we were representing it correctly.
    • The purpose of tests was the transfer of knowledge; we demonstrated our memorization of material by representing it back on the test.
    At LREI, our students have a fundamentally different experience in our science classes, which we believe is critical to their lives as thinkers and learners, far beyond the science classroom. Our pedagogical stance takes the position that:
    • Students ARE scientists who are developing the ability to encounter an unknown phenomenon and develop their understanding of it by constructing and testing models. Eventually, our student scientists come to understand that what they have discovered is a match with what other scientists have discovered–which is what leads them to the formalized knowledge of the scientific community (wow)!
    • The study of science is about engaging in an ever expanding, dynamic field that helps us understand our world, and to solve problems within it.
    • Through the study of scientific phenomena, we develop the ability to think critically, working collaboratively to build consensus and models by asking questions, and ultimately making sense of whatever is under study.
    Modeling plasma membranes in Microbiology.
    Testing and trying is central, and thus “failure” is central too. And this experience might just bring our students closest to the work of professional scientists across the world, as they engage together in the experimental cycles of testing and failing in order to discover more and more in our infinitely fascinating world. 
    Physics 10 students gathering data.
    Constructing understanding together.
    Click above for a short video!
    4 years of science at LREI.
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  • College Panel and Reporting Progress

    Dear Middle School Families, 
    Progress Reports are ready to view. Information about how to access them is included at the end of this message.
    Last week, we had the pleasure of hosting former students for our Alumni College Panel. They are so much themselves and how we remember them, though even more themselves now - confident, funny, engaging, grown. They about the progressive education they got here and what it has meant to take that education with them to their colleges and universities and about the joys and challenges of being on their own away from home. Our alumni are uniquely impressive in their sense of themselves and the world. Our students grow up to be the best kind of adult - thoughtful, brave, kind, insightful, dedicated, curious. If you would like to watch the panel, the video is here.  
    Listening to these former students illuminates what we already know, but don’t always observe directly - that every middle schooler is on a journey, working on getting closer to the person they will eventually become, and away from the person they won’t. Being someone who works with middle schoolers means embracing this constant experimenting and evolving. It means happily and steadily providing opportunities to reflect, transform, and change directions. It means celebrating the struggle and the awkwardness and being willing to see students in a new light from one day to the next - sometimes from one hour to the next. I love this about middle school. It’s so dynamic, so hopeful. 

    Progress reports are now ready (see the instructions below) and I encourage each of you to read them in this spirit - as a portrait of your child’s journey toward their best self. Remember that while we all want them to do well, the ultimate goal is that they stretch and grow towards their courageous, creative, funny, insightful, strong adult selves - and they can’t do that without taking some risks, and experimenting with new skills and habits. Mastery is sometimes elusive and sometimes easy. When you talk with your child about their report, talk about what has been accomplished, but also what is in process, and what is hard. As psychologist and author Carol Dweck has pointed out, students with a growth mindset - who know that skills and abilities are developed through persistence and are not fixed traits - far outperform their peers with a fixed mindset. As the adults in their lives, we can help them develop this understanding by praising effort, risk and dedication above skill. 
    As always, our middle school progress report comes in two parts: narrative comments available on Connect, and a PDF of Jumprope scores that arrive by email. To access the narratives on Connect, log in and click on your child (in the upper-left corner). You will see a menu called 'Progress'. When you expand that menu, click 'Report Cards' and then below that, two reports - the Midterm Curriculum Update that you read before fall conferences and the latest report. Click 'T1 Curriculum Statements And Comments'. If you have any difficulty, don't hesitate to reach out.
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