Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

During the year, I often postulate to students (and even to teachers and staff) about the importance of stepping out of one’s comfort zone, trying something new, and being able to learn from failure.  This past Friday, I embraced my own advice by being the auctioneer at this year’s Spring Gala/Auction.  For those of you who attended, it was obvious I am an unseasoned novice – I found it hard to even keep track of the highest bid!  Thankfully, the auction went very well and the overall Spring Gala was a hit!

To help lighten the mood before I began the auction, I shared a quirky video of my “education” into the world of being an auctioneer.  You can click here to see the video!

In the meantime, for those of you who did not attend the auction, I encourage you to please consider donating to this special event since funds directly support the children’s education at FWM. Please look for an email with more information on post-auction donations or reach out to Alison Kistner.  Her email is akistner@fraserwoods.com.

 


Monday Words of Wisdom

Below are a few quotes that I would like to share with you this Monday as you think about the upcoming week with your family.  They come from a variety of sources and are meant to be inspirational and thought-provoking.

Yours,

Chris

Time is always moving on; nothing can stop it. We can’t change the past, but we can shape the future. The more compassionate you are, the more you will find inner peace.  – Dalai Lama

So that we may always have something to offer.  – Lycurgus of Sparta

Someone with good self-regulation does have self-control and can, for example, stifle an initial gut reaction when necessary. But they also use creativity and empathy to consider alternative avenues that can help them accomplish their goals.  – Diana Divecha

Asking kids what they want to be leads them to claim a career identity they might never want to earn. Instead, invite them to think about what kind of person they want to be — and about all the different things they might want to do.  – Adam Grant

While we cannot predict the future for each of our students, we can predict that persistent, self-directed, life-long learners will be best positioned to prosper. Personalizing learning is essential to developing these skills in our learners.  – Janet Pittock

We burden ourselves with unnecessary responsibilities all the time. We’re so distracted by all the things we should be doing and could be doing, but we completely forget to ask ourselves … ‘‘Do I even want to be doing those things?”  – Ryder Carroll

We are born through connection, and it is through connection to others that we accomplish virtually everything else in life. We do not just prefer healthy relationships; we need them.  – Brianna Wiest

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The Gift of Sharing a Meal

Growing up, Sunday dinner was important in my home.  Joining us for many of those meals were members of my extended family.  My Nonni, who lived in Greenwich Village, would walk the nine blocks to my family’s apartment or sometimes my Uncle Bobby and his clan would make the drive into the city from Staten Island.  There would be fun banter, outlandish stories (sometimes too colorful), and lots of laughs around the table.

Coming together to share a meal builds community, strengthens relationships, and creates a fellowship that lifts the soul.  On April 17th, the Middle School is hosting a “Pizza & Salad Dinner” at FWM starting at 5:00pm.  All are invited and I would like to encourage you to attend; not just to support our older students who will be serving the guests, but also to celebrate the gift we have as a FWM family.  To sign-up for the dinner, please click here.

In addition, before dinner begins,  please consider stopping by the Art Show in the Commons between 3:30-5:30pm to see the Elementary and Middle School student art.  Also, parents and caregivers are  strongly encouraged to join their Primary or Elementary child in his or her classroom for Parent & Child Night which will go from 5:30-6:30pm.

I hope you will join me on April 17th for a wonderful evening of learning and community!

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After the Winter

Dear Friends,

I hope you find solace and hope in the below poem by Claude McKay.

Peace,

Chris

 

After the Winter

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
     And against the morning’s white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
     Have sheltered for the night,
We’ll turn our faces southward, love,
     Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire the shafted grove
     And wide-mouthed orchids smile.
And we will seek the quiet hill
     Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
     And works the droning bee.
And we will build a cottage there
     Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
     And ferns that never fade.
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Flight 1927

Last year, FWM began a new approach to the Middle School Play.  The teachers empowered the students to write an original play.  Students decided the story-line, developed a plot, and wrote lines.  For those who attended last year, it was magical.

While having lunch with the 8th graders today, I asked them what they thought about this year’s play.  They all had positive things to say.  For me, the most exciting comment was, “It is even better than last year!”  Considering last year’s success, this last comment really excited me.

On Thursday, the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders will be performing their original play, Flight 1927.  If you want to experience the final product of a student-centered experience, I strongly encourage you to attend.  At the very least, you will be supporting the work of our elder FWM students who have poured their hearts and talents into this creative endeavor.   At most, you will leave inspired by the brilliance.

The play will begin at 7pm on Thursday, March 7.  I hope to see you there.

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Learning from Michael Scott

 

         

At FWM, there are quite a few  fans of the television series, “The Office”.  Two of the biggest enthusiasts are in the Admin Wing: Administrative Assistant Michele Stramaglia and me.  In the morning, we sometimes will reminisce about the antics and folly of Michael Scott, one of the main characters on the show.  On the show, Michael Scott possesses an almost unfathomable lack of self-awareness.  He is convinced that he is loved by his employees who he routinely ridicules or makes uncomfortable with inappropriate jokes or offensive comments.

Like Michael Scott, we all have faults and shortcomings that we sometimes are unable to see or perhaps don’t want to see.  Teaching our children to be mindful about their foibles and flaws without judgement can be a beautiful and powerful gift.  They need to know that imperfection is part of the human condition and there is no shame in it.

Michele gave me a mug that reads, “World’s Best Boss”.  In the “The Office”, Michael Scott purchases the same mug for himself because he is convinced his co-workers believe he is the perfect manager.  For me, the mug is a reminder to lead with humility and to recognize that we all have imperfections that prevent us from being our true selves.  With that understanding, we can begin to embrace others with patience, empathy, and compassion.


New Middle School Video

When we decided to do a video focusing on FWM’s Middle School, it was because we knew that what we offered our students here is very unique.  True the academic program is strong and prepares children for top tier high schools, but even more than that, our Middle School is a place where adolescents can safely explore their voice, identity, and individuality.  To be clear, a “safe school” doesn’t mean one that coddles children or shields them from adversity; children will experience a host of painful emotions as they journey through adolescence and this, in the end, will help them be stronger and more resilient adults.  However, at FWM, we intentionally cultivate compassion which is not a typical focus in many Middle Schools in this country.

Please enjoy this video that provides a small slice of the Middle School experience at FWM.

 


Telling Authentic Stories

African author, Chimamanda Adichie, shares her story about discovering the importance of writing about things she recognized.   Enjoy this inspirational TedTalk!