Week of October 17, 2011
From the Head of School
We had an interesting presentation by Marc Prensky on Wednesday evening of this week. As we’ve mentioned in earlier newsletters, Mr. Prensky is a former CEO, speaker, inventor, and author of three books about modern education (Digital Game-Based Learning, Don’t Bother Me Mom – I’m Learning, and Teaching Digital Natives). He made a number of points over the course of his 90 minute talk, but there was one in particular that I wanted to mention in this week’s Enews; the topic of verbs vs. nouns.
For years, schools have been giving out laptops only to see them misused as toys, or even worse, as drink coasters. Millions of dollars have been spent on smart boards in classrooms, and yet in many cases the only noticeable difference has been the improvement in allergies due to the lack of chalk dust. It’s pretty clear that there’s a lot of excitement surrounding the acquisition of new technologies, but unless we know how to truly use the technology to advance learning, then it’s not much different than giving the keys for a brand new Lexus to an infant. The seat may be comfortable and fun to sit in, but it’s not going to go anywhere. That’s where the “verbs” and “nouns” come in.
Mr. Prensky talks about thinking of the skills that we want to teach as verbs (reading, writing, analyzing, listening, negotiating, designing, communicating, collaborating, thinking critically, etc., etc., etc.), and the tools that students are using all the time as nouns (computers, the internet, smart phones, PowerPoint, video, Facebook, texting, etc.). The necessary skills (the verbs) are timeless, so they don’t change. Indeed, in her book, Less Time for Meddling, A History of Salem Academy and College 1772-1866, Frances Griffin writes the following about the Moravians who founded the Academy:
“They believed, as wholly as the Brethren for three centuries had believed, that in the Scriptures lay the supreme law under which all men and women must live and work. Unless one could read the Word for himself (or herself), how could he fully comprehend its teachings, much less dedicate his life to them?”
This was 240 years ago, and Salem Academy is still inspiring young women to read, probe, and analyze information for themselves. We don’t just want them to study the material, we want them to think about it too. We do what we do in the classroom to get the girls to think!
Well, more than a hundred years before we even opened our doors at the Academy, John Amos Comenius, considered by his contemporaries to be “the father of modern education”, argued the following:
“…children should be taught in their mother tongue rather than across the formidable barrier of Latin; (and) that textbooks should include illustrations to help the child understand…”
Seems pretty basic today, but I suspect these were fairly novel ideas 350 years ago. The truth is the language and the textbooks were just tools (nouns) to teach the skills (verbs) of reading, writing, analyzing, etc. Obviously, we have many more tools in our tool shed these days, but we need to use them to advance the cause of learning…not just because we have them.
One of the many blessings of an independent school like Salem Academy is faculty independence in the classroom. In other words, we determine which of the “verbs” are going to be our priorities as an institution, but we don’t prescribe to our teachers how to teach them. Our teachers are free to be creative in their approach – as creative as they need to be for the girls to be successful. Of course, the greatest blessing about being at Salem Academy is that we have outstanding people in the classroom...on both sides of the desk.
Thanks to all the parents that came out to hear Mr. Prensky speak on Wednesday evening. We’re working on getting a video of his presentation for you to access in the days ahead. Stay tuned. In the meantime, have a great weekend!
- First Quarter report cards will be posted on the Parent Portal by 5:00pm today!
- On Saturday, Mike Satterfield and other staff members will be taking a large group of students for a day of sight-seeing and shopping. The first stop is downtown Chapel Hill where the girls will have the opportunity to visit UNC's campus and walk around the area, as well as shop at the many boutiques that line downtown. The next stop will be the Streets at Southpoint mall in Durham where the girls will have hours to eat and shop! The bus will leave school at 12:30pm and will return at 11:30pm.
- Host a Student for Thanksgiving Break: We have several international students that may need a place to stay over Thanksgiving vacation. If anyone would be interested in hosting one of these students, please get in touch with Miss Thompson
Salem DADs Meeting
All Salem Academy dads are invited to the next DADs meeting which will be on Tuesday, October 25th from 7-8pm in the Academy Faculty Lounge. Our guest speaker will be our College Counselor, Mrs. Kelen Walker. All Academy dads are welcome!
Salem Academy DADs is a group that gets together to compare notes and discuss the varying issues that come about when raising teenage daughters. It's always an informal conversation, and all Academy dads are welcome to attend!
College Counseling News: College Tour Trip
The College Counseling office is excited to announce our 2012 New England College Tour for juniors! This is a great opportunity to visit a diverse group of schools in a different part of the country. The dates are February 26th-29th and we will visit the following schools:
The cost is $1279 and includes airfare, hotel and meals. The links to the full itinerary and registration forms are below. Please feel free to contact Kelen Walker with any questions!
Click each link for important forms:
1) Trip Itinerary
2) Registration Form
3) Release/Permission Form
College Admissions Reps Visiting October 24th-28th
Wednesday, October 26th:
9:00 University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Thursday, October 27th:
10:45 Wittenberg University, OH
Salem played an ever-improving and young Trinity Episcopal tennis team October 18th and lost by a score of 8-1, with Anita Gimenez-Coral capturing the lone win. Many of the matches, despite the score, were quite competitive. Claudia Jesse and Susan Rogers played a good match even though losing by an 8-5 decision. Sadly, this match was the last regular-season event for our two seniors, Susan and Zada Gabriel, who captured many victories for Salem over the last two seasons. We will miss them greatly. As always, Salem showed excellent sportsmanship and respect for Trinity's players.
Varsity Field Hockey
The varsity field hockey team traveled to Asheville School on October 18th. This was a tough game for Salem as many of the girls noted how tired they have been feeling. Many of the girls were sick and unable to play their normal amounts of playing time, if at all. Daniela DeCristo and Haley Norris continued to control the offense. Haley had a number of breakaways but was unable to put the ball in the back of the net. Kiersten Washle had a fantastic game playing defense. She cleared multiple balls out of the circle, stopping Asheville School from scoring. Virginia Maddrey played another great game at sweeper. Virginia really exhibited leadership and control in a game versus a very assertive Asheville School. The team's last game of the season is Friday, October 21st at Reagan at 5pm.
The cross country team traveled to Carolina Friends School for the Conference Championship. While they did not win, every girl ran hard and for back-to-back years, the girls brought home a 2nd place trophy. The team was led by Chie Mushayamunda, Olive Wilbur, and Christa Combs. All three girls ran well enough to make the All-Conference Team. This was Olive's 3rd year making the team and it was Christa's 2nd year. The team has one more race on October 28 as the team will travel to McAlpine Park for the State Meet.
Special Visitor to Salem this Week
On Tuesday, October 18th, Kitty Rosati visited Salem Academy. She is the great, great granddaughter of Mary Fries Patterson, for whom Patterson Hall is named. She was here to do some research on her ancestor and took some film footage of the portraits of Mary Patterson, Emma Bahnson, and Carrie Schaffner. She hope to incorporate some of the history into a book.
Shop at Food Lion and Earn Money for Salem
Dear Parents, Faculty and Friends,
Thank you for supporting our school through the Food Lion MVP Rewards program.
Salem Academy is participating in the new Food Lion Classroom Rewards program to earn much needed funding for our school. We need your help and support to maximize our fundraising effort. We are encouraging you to shop at your local Food Lion store and every time you shop, Salem Academy will earn a share of the program funds donated by Food Lion based on what you purchase.
If you haven’t already linked your MVP Card to support our school, please follow the steps below.
1. Go to www.foodlion.com
2. Click on Community Outreach
3. Click on MVP Rewards
4. Click Register your MVP Card
5. Click on the arrow that says, “Shoppers register here”
Once on the MVP Shopper Registration page, enter your MVP Card number (all 12 digits), your contact information and link it to our school. Our code is 214297.
Purchases of only the following brands will help earn cash for our school: Food Lion Brand, Healthy Accents, Home 360, Nature’s Place, On the Go Bistro, Smart Option, Taste of Inspirations, Butchers Brand Beef and Holly Farms Poultry.
Help our school earn even more by shopping on double points day! All Food Lion brand product purchases will receive double credit on the 10th of each month.
For more information on how you can help, please contact:Megan RatleySalem AcademyPhone: 336-721-2664Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Food Lion is a banner of Food Lion LLC, a subsidiary of Brussels-based Delhaize Group (NYSE: DEG).
Link Your Harris Teeter VIC Card and Support Salem
Beginning August 1, Salem Academy proudly continued in Harris Teeter's Together In Education program to help raise funds for our school. It's easy and it's FREE. Simply give the cashier our code, 5509, and your VIC card when you check out and your card will be linked for the entire school year. That's it! You only have to link your VIC card once each school year. Once your card is linked, Salem Academy will receive a percentage of your Harris Teeter brand (Harris Teeter, Premier Selection, H.T. Traders, Harris Teeter Naturals, Your Pet, Hunter Farms, Highland Crest and More Value) purchases credited back to our account. This program does not interfere with your VIC savings or cost you any money!
For those of you who participated last year, don't forget to re-link your VIC card to our account code next time you are shopping at Harris Teeter!