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Welcome to our D-E COVID-19 website, your one-stop online resource during the pandemic for D-E School communications to-date from Head of School Dr. De Jarnett and our Division Principals; helpful contacts; division-specific online distance learning resources; links to activities, articles, and books worth exploring; service opportunities with D-E connections and opportunities to "make it better''... and more! Check out our subpages, Resources & Links, Our D-E Community, Family Activities & Fun, and past COVID-19 communications (see below), to stay connected.

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LATEST MESSAGES from DR. RODNEY V. DE JARNETT, HEAD OF SCHOOL

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  • 5.20.2020 Reflections

    Reflections From The Head of School

    Below is the latest reflective message from Head of School Dr. De Jarnett. Also included is an original salt watercolor, just one of a set created by Schroeder K. '28We welcome submissions of original artwork, poetry/prose, quotes, etc.! Please Email all submissions to share@d-e.org. Finally, a reminder that this and all School messages sent during COVID-19 can be found at www.d-e.org/covid
    May 20, 2020 
     
    Dear D-E Families and Friends,
     
    “Gratitude Changes Things.”
     
    Working in my study late last night, I took time to look ahead at my schedule before heading to bed.  Wow, Memorial Day Weekend is this coming weekend - only a couple of days away! Well, really, I should have said Memorial Day is this coming Monday. 
     
    Unfortunately, the first thought that came to mind was that I might have less email and meetings and could find time to take a day off.  I know students always look forward to the day away from classes and a shorter week. I’m sure parents think the same way regarding work. For many of us, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer (even though summer begins on the Summer Solstice). Oh, and in a consumer society, it has always been a great day for sales. But this wasn’t the purpose of Memorial Day. Memorial Day is a day we set aside to honor those men and women who gave their life serving in the military. 
     
    When I was growing up, there was always the small town parade ending in the cemetery where we listened to a few speeches from town leaders or a veteran. Once in a while, a young service member from the town would be home on leave and say a few words. As a young boy, I always took notice of the sharpness of their uniform. And of course, there is always the understanding that those we honor gave their lives, so we can live free in the democracy that we should treasure and never take for granted. 
     
    I was fortunate a few years ago (after listening to him speak at a conference), to have lunch with Tim Snyder, the Yale professor/historian and author, who invested his academic research studying Central and Eastern Europe during the years leading to World War II, as well as the Holocaust. In our conversation, he asked me if the original founding fathers of our country were to return to the United States today, what would they be most surprised to see? I thought for a moment and gave some suggestions about growth, world influence, population, technology, etc. Tim quietly said "no"-- they would be most surprised to know we are still a democracy! The founders knew, Tim told me, how fragile democracy really is. He and I then filled our lunch conversation about the events that led to World War II and how quickly democracies died.  If you ever want a very short, but interesting read, read Tim’s very small book
    On TyrannyI have never again thought the same about democracy and the checks and balances that are so purposefully articulated in our constitution.
     
    The path to Memorial Day is long and filled with history dating back to the Civil War.  Some claim it began in 1863 when then-President Abraham Lincoln honored those who had died at Gettysburg, during a graveside ceremony. Later in 1868, General John A. Logan issued a proclamation calling for "Decoration Day" to be observed annually and nationwide.  The day was called Decoration Day because people would lay flowers on the gravesites of those who had died in battle - thus ‘decorating the cemeteries.’  Over time, veterans and service members would wear their uniforms in parades and we started to decorate our homes and towns. Waterloo, New York is now considered the ‘birthplace’ of Memorial Day and in 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared it thus. I’ll leave it to you to learn why Waterloo is considered the birthplace of Memorial Day. (That’s the teacher in me.) And think about that for a moment, this happened in the 1960's, in the heart of the Vietnam Conflict. 
     
    It wasn’t until 1968 that this holiday was officially called Memorial Day when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Bill, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. An act of Congress in 1971 finally made Memorial Day a national holiday.
     
    If you’re curious, the Poppy became one of our symbols of Memorial Day because this common red field flower was the first to reappear after the brutal fighting of World War I. John McCrae, a Canadian soldier and physician, witnessed this and the war firsthand and was inspired to write the now-famous poem “In Flanders Fields” in 1915.
     
    I continue to think about Memorial Day differently as I have grown. As noted earlier, I remember gathering in the cemetery on Memorial Day as a very young boy. Later, the new town I moved to honored Memorial Day with a parade that ended in the cemetery. During those years, I remember as a Boy Scout, placing small flags on the gravesites for all of the veterans before the parade began. Eventually, I marched as a Scout in the parade, and then during my high school years I marched as a member of our high school band. Then, during the Vietnam years, I lost a good friend, Larry. Our town dedicated on Memorial Day that same year the small stone veteran’s memorial that I built (as we had no such memorial at the time in our town). Yes, that memorial is still there.  I still pull out my draft card from those years and think about all that might have happened to me.  And yes, I often look at the flag I keep on my desk in my study that was on my dad’s coffin (as he was a veteran of World War II.)
     
    Today, however, I think of my lunch conversation with Tim Snyder and wonder about how fragile it all is.  Our democracy has not been perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I am grateful to have lived my life under its influence.  I hope my children will have the same blessing.  But I worry, because I have learned how fragile it all really is.
     
    Self-help author, Dr. Wayne Dyer wrote: “When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.” Vietnam changed for me when I spoke at my friend Larry’s funeral and served as his pallbearer.  My draft card, still in my box in the basement, reminds me always, as does my father’s flag. “When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.” Grateful for all we have, I know that this imposed shelter-in-place has not been easy for any of us. But on my ‘bad days,’ I think of those who have no face masks, real shortages of food, no income at all. There are those families who lost someone or who have been sick. Then, I realize my ‘bad day' is not bad at all. 
     
    Expressing gratitude changes you. It changes how you see things. And expressing gratitude is contagious.  Those around you -- even those family members with whom you’ve been together for so long now, will soon be more grateful for the abundance around them as well... if they see the gratitude in you. Some, in fact, consider gratitude ‘the mother of all virtues.’ The benefits of gratitude are endless.  But more than anything, gratitude helps you realize the abundance of everything around you.  Gratitude is the foundation upon which you build happiness and then joy.
     
    So this Memorial Day will be different than the others before it.  I’ll be home like many others.  I’m not headed to a beach or lake. I will not be sailing. It will for me, however, still be the start of summer. There will be no parades this year but I will remember Larry who lost his life in Vietnam and my dad’s service.  That will make me pause.  This year, I’ll think of all I learned from Tim Synder and pause to hope for the future of my children. 
     
    Most importantly, I’ll be grateful because even at home and ‘running’ a school community that is not physically together as it should be, I am privileged to do what I do.  And my gratitude, I hope, will be contagious to those around me as their gratitude will also infect me. Gratitude will change the way I look at Memorial Day this year - another day in Collins House waiting to eventually get out to learn what the new normal will be.
     
    Sincerely,
      
    Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett
    Head of School
     
    The Souls of the Seven Seas
    Salt Watercolor by Schroeder K. '28
     
     
  • 5.17.2020 Reflections

    Reflections From The Head of School

    Below is the latest reflective message from Head of School Dr. De Jarnett. Also included is an original poem by Asher Cohen '25We welcome submissions of original artwork, poetry/prose, quotes, etc.! Please Email all submissions to share@d-e.org. Finally, a reminder that this and all School messages sent during COVID-19 can be found at www.d-e.org/covid
    May 17, 2020 
     
    Dear D-E Families and Friends,
     
    “So where is the truth?”
     
    I grew up, as many of us did, in what now seems like a simpler time. With my family, I watched the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite – a fellow sailor by the way. He provided me with an authoritative truth about the world.  I remember that he even closed each newscast with the statement; “That’s the way it is.”  Of course it was - he told me so - how could I doubt it. These truths from the nightly news were confirmed each week by Time and Life Magazines. Of course, these media outlets were not flawless, but they did make our lives easier. Thomas Jefferson declared, “Were if left to me whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” And Walter was this to me – the truth that allowed me to judge government and the world.
     
    As I grew older, I started to think that we really had four branches of government and that the fourth branch (the news) was not elected. What did that mean to me? Back then, I envisioned men (yes men at that time) sitting around large tables in NYC determining what the world would see that night on the news or read that week in the magazine. I visualized them as having such great power to determine what we would know of the world and the perspective from which we would find our truths. As I pushed harder to know that truth, I learned through my studies that some of what I thought was historical truth, was in fact, not true – and the real truth often hurt because it revealed to me what others in my childhood did not want me to know.
     
    So what is truth?  And how does one find truth? One might suggest today that truth is but an expression of power, or it is what's repeated over and over again. With so many public figures struggling to find the truth, I am no longer surprised with the long list of ‘fact checks’ after most every public moment. And to complicate it even more, today’s tailored niche media outlets make it easy for us to find someone who will validate our thinking - our truth.  No wonder we think that our society cannot function well anymore.  Maybe this is what we see in the gridlock in Washington, or the inability to find compromise in the world.  And with so much digital content available to us, we might find that truth is nothing more than a majority vote on a webpage – or that truth could be best found in the most recent edit of an online blog rather than the accumulated judgments of experts.  Are we ready to relinquish truth to the whim of the crowd? 
     
    As young children, our initial conception of truth is developed through experience and the growth of common sense, with an emphasis both on what is common around us and on what we sense is right from others we respect. If we see a lot of anything around us (common), we begin to believe that is what we should do or be like. And then we ‘check’ what we see of what is common around us with how we sense our parents or teachers react to that. As a little boy, I would point to a light and say ‘light’ because I saw that was common around me and then see the agreement of my parents; I found both common and sense - I had found truth. But common sense only gets us so far. We all know that misinformation or disinformation can spread readily through any community. Economist John Kenneth Galbaith called this ‘conventional wisdom.’ For example, we all know parts of the list of one-time widely acknowledged truths that are now rejected; the world is flat, milk is good for you, cigarettes are not bad for you.  Conventional wisdom is not necessarily the best source to look for to find truth.
     
    Yes, in our quest for truth, we will, most likely, always begin with our developing common sense, but the search for truth cannot end there. Next in our process of finding truth, we might rely on the scholarly disciplines as areas of expertise because they have been developed and deepened over the centuries. As a mathematician, I would suggest that my discipline has developed the firmest set of truths.  Other disciplines have their respective methods for ascertaining truths, but they are different than those a mathematician might use to find or establish truth. 
     
    What distinguishes the quest for truth in science is the possibility of altering, rectifying or disproving the current truth through continual observation and experimentation. This iterative process of experimenting, discovery, challenge, testing, experimentation and new discovery has served us well over the centuries.  But it does, from time to time, present us new information that is proven false with further experimentation and testing. We read this often in medical findings where experimentation generates results, but the results are then testing again - an iterative process that the medical profession uses over time to find the truth. We understand this today as we hear about how long it will take to find and produce a vaccine.
     
    The process of finding truth in the sciences, I think, places the security of finding truths in physics near the top with mathematics, whereas finding truths in psychology or economics are found a bit closer to the bottom. If this wasn’t the case, I think we would all be much happier and wealthier. Historians seek the truth in fundamentally different ways, as their observation only happens once and cannot necessarily be repeated and tested as it is in the sciences. And in the arts, well, I’ll need to think about that for a while.  Consider Pablo Picasso, the very well known artist, who said, “We all know that art is not truth.  Art is a lie that makes us realize truth, at least the truth that is given us to understand.  The artist must know the manner whereby to convince others of the truthfulness of his lies.” 
     
    Howard Gardner, who invited us to think about multiple intelligences, suggests that the notion of a single truth or a single standard of truth in today’s world seems hopelessly simpleminded.  With all of this information around us, Gardner says that we don’t necessarily find truth but rather we establish expertise in finding the truth.  Yes, the search for truth is now more difficult, but ultimately more reliable, because it has been much more comprehensive.
     
    How best can we help our children find truth in a world that is growing more complex and contradictory?  It is not the product of truth we want our children to find, but rather the process of how they go about finding truth. We should introduce our children to both the power and the limitations of sensory knowledge (common sense). We should help them learn (and maybe even master) the methods different disciplines use to find truths. And most important, we introduce to our children the power of accumulated experience, or expertise. And finally, we should help our children recognize the ways in which humans may be irrational, prejudiced, or susceptible to propaganda in their search for truth.
     
    Remember that our personal search for truth changes throughout our lives as we gain more expertise.  Just think of the difference between the school student armed with SAT achievement-test facts and the doctor entering the surgery room.  This is not a difference of how much information these two know - it is a difference in the process of how they think.  As our children grow, we need to help them appreciate, compare and synthesize the methods for finding truths across the several disciplines and how each process supports and learns from the other.  Ideally, one should blend the youthful ability to take in and store new information with the well-honed judging and evaluating capacities of older persons.
     
    At the end of our mission statement, we state “meet the challenges of a changing world.”  The search for truth today is much more complex, much more comprehensive and more aligned to the questioning behaviors of an adolescent than it was before. We often talk about the ‘challenges of a changing world’ and refer to technology, the environment, the ongoing political turmoil in the world, the jobs that do not yet exist for which we must prepare students and the ever growing and changing knowledge base that can sometimes overwhelm us all. But we must also realize that our ways of finding truths have changed greatly over our lifetime and we must help our students learn new ways of finding truth. We can begin by explaining the process through which we try to establish truths, the ways in which we struggle to determine truths and that we recognize that well established truths change. This would be a wonderful evening conversation in any family.
     
    And finally, when thinking about how we search for truths and how this process continues to evolve in our changing world, we learn once again the importance of the opening words in our mission statement, ‘a community of learners.’  It is only as continuous learners that we can consider our search for truth. It is through a combination of expertise and experience that our students will learn from us their process of finding truth in their lives.  And it is through the diversity of our community that we broaden their views of truth --  and only if we can help them learn to listen.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett
    Head of School
     
    Untitled 
    By Asher Cohen '25
     
    This idea of working together is important always,
    But right now, it is more important than ever,
    With all the problems facing our world,
    With people dying and global Covid-19 cases in the millions,
    With all the health care workers putting their lives on the line to help others,
    We need to give back and create change.
     
    In order to return to our normal lives,
    To go to school,
    To go play sports,
    To go travel,
    We need to work together.
     
    If we can stop the spread by working together,
    We can experience our new normal way of life,
    I would like to see what our world is going to look like,
    I bet you would like to see it too.
     
    So in order to see our new world,
    And to be allowed to go outside,
    Our world needs to work together.
     
    If you think about it,
    Most global problems have been solved by working together,
    So why has no one solved COVID-19 yet?
    Because our whole population is not working together.
     
    Let’s be the start in ending the Coronavirus,
    because if we do our personal part,
    We will go back to the world we once enjoyed. 
  • 5.13.2020 Reflections

    Reflections From The Head of School

    Below is the latest reflective message from Head of School Dr. De Jarnett. Also included are just a few six-word-long story submissions we have received in response to Dr. De Jarnett's 'challenge' sent earlier this week (click here to view)We welcome more six-word-long submissions as well as original artwork, poetry/prose, quotes, etc.! Please Email all submissions to share@d-e.org. Finally, a reminder that this and all School messages sent during COVID-19 can be found at www.d-e.org/covid
    May 13, 2020 
     
    Dear D-E Families and Friends,
     
    “Finding purpose in the midst of so much.”
     
    These days, I'm finding that I'm busier than ever! My list of things to do is long and growing everyday it seems.  With so much going on, I found myself earlier this week trying to decide what is the purpose of all my efforts.  What am I doing?  What is this all about anyway?  Yes, I’m doing a lot.  And yes, I think it is fair to say that I’m accomplishing a lot.  Currently beginning to focus on the various scenarios I need to think about for next fall, an observer might even think that I have found time to think ahead.  Thinking ahead, or, panicking about all that I have to consider... I’m not sure which it really is right now.
     
    With so much going on right now, am I losing sight of the big picture?  That’s a great question.  I don’t want to reflect back on all of this work and realize that I did not use my time well.  That got me thinking...  In the 1970's, as businesses started to consider how to make their assembly lines more efficient and to more successfully compete against other businesses elsewhere, we started to learn a lot about what could be improved in U.S. manufacturing. At that time, managers were deeply concerned with the lack of quality of some U.S. products as well as the growing expenses in producing those products.  Competition from other countries was starting to eat away at U.S. sales and profits. U.S. consumers were finding better quality at less costs from other manufacturers. As U.S. businesses began to modernize their production process, they learned that workers had lost sight of what the company was working to accomplish, nor did they understand how what they did affected the work of others, or the quality of the end product. Trying to improve efficiencies and quality, managers found that the individual worker could not provide any valuable insight into how to improve either. Over time, managers realized that individual workers were so busy and so focused on their work, they lost sight of the big picture. 
     
    In my own industry, education, we learned in the 1970's that teachers were so focused on their discipline and individual classes that they forgot about educating the whole child.  Teachers forgot how work in one discipline can actually support the learning in another discipline.  And so, in the midst of the 'stagflation' of the 1970's (high unemployment and high inflation), a movement began to improve and modernize our industries and schools to more successfully compete on the world stage. This leads me to wonder, with so much going on right now, have I lost sight of my own purpose? Stanford’s Center for Social Innovation and K-12 Lab has done some interesting research on purpose and education.  They suggest that if a student (and I think as well as a teacher -- and even a parent/guardian) “steps back from their habitual routines to ask the ‘why’ question, they will be able to better understand ‘how’ to do it and be motivated to the ‘what’ of it.”  
     
    Parents, I know you can relate this easily to my own discipline of study: mathematics. Remember all those polynomials that you learned to factor in school? You worked hard to learn a lot of little steps and processes, but I bet you never understood why learning how to factor a polynomial mattered.  You never learned the ‘why’-- and therefore, as you tried your best to learn the ‘how,’ you quickly forgot the ‘what’ once the course was completed.  You needed to know the ‘why’ to effect change in the ‘how’ and ‘what.’  And the why factoring a polynomial mattered (besides the famous ‘you’ll need this in college’ answer), was never explained to you. 
     
    One result of the changes from the 1970's is that today’s assembly line workers (now working with smart machines) work more in teams.  And because they better understand the ‘why,’ most assembly lines now provide individual workers with the ability to stop the assembly line if they notice something that isn’t right. An individual worker who understands ‘why’ can do his or her work based on values rather than rules. And we know that values inspire whereas rules are there for you to consider breaking them.  I think the line managers of the 1960's would faint if they learned the ‘power’ granted the line workers today.  But they would be impressed with workers' concern for values and they would be shocked that they would not need today to invest so much time ensuring workers followed the rules.
     
    The ‘why’ I am trying to accomplish the tasks I am currently working on has a lot to do with ‘purpose.’  And thus, my interest in the work of the Stanford’s Center for Social Innovation (CSI).  How do they define purpose?  I know I need to find some purpose if I am going to keep doing all of this.  Well, the Stanford’s CSI suggests that there are three (3) aspects that you need to consider to find purpose.
    • First, you need to think about all those ideas that are ‘begging’ to be addressed.  You know, these are the ideas that keep you up at night or make you angry that not more is being done about it.  Right now, I’m angry that we can’t produce enough quality COVID-19 tests!  This may be critical to our returning to campus in the fall.  What is anyone doing about this?  So, what are the things that are keeping you up at night?
    • Second, what are your skills?  What are you ‘gifted’ at?  What do people compliment you on that also comes naturally to you?  By the way, to answer these questions, I suggest you think ‘way beyond’ your resume since many of us work in fields that are not that aligned to our university degrees anyway.  Me, well I’m really organized.  I like to build things! I like to dig in deep and spend time alone working to accomplish a definable task.  (Remember that birdhouse that gave me so much satisfaction).
    • Third, what do you love to do?  How would you spend your time if you had no other responsibilities? For me that’s always been challenging to answer. Would I build things? Maybe real houses rather than birdhouses. I know I would rather build a room than a jewelry chest. But I love to ride my bike. I love to sail. Would I be satisfied only doing that?
    Wow, there is a lot to think about here. And the Stanford’s CSI says if you can find answers to all three, then you should concentrate only on those answers that fall into all three categories, i.e., the intersection of all three.  OK, so here is my mathematics at work again... the intersection of all three if you were to make a Venn Diagram.  Do you remember those Venn Diagrams from school?  You should make one for this exercise.  It might help you visualize it all.  From the intersection of all three categories is where you will find purpose in your life.  This sounds like a way to become an entrepreneur and start my own business and live happily ever after.
     
    So, let me think.  One thing that is keeping me up at night is how to find solutions to the various scenarios of how we might return to school in the fall.  Yes, what will happen next fall is keeping me up at night.  To think about all of that, I need to really organize the possibilities as well as my thinking about each and how I will find solutions.  There is a lot to consider.  Guess what? I have an overlap (intersection) already -- an idea that needs a skill I possess.  But what about the things I love to do… hmmm... I love to build.  That’s it!  I’ll find purpose working through the solutions for next fall; the ideas that are keeping me up at night (and yes, I’m a bit angry that someone is not doing anything about it), this work will require a lot of organizing (sketching out the possibilities as well as building the flow charts describing what I need to learn, solve and do), and it’s like building a big room (not that small fine stuff, but rather something really big). So I’ve found purpose! And guess what: I’ll do it right here at D-E. Whew.
     
    The Stanford’s CSI goes one step forward in working with the K-12 Lab; information they developed for schools that's also really good for all of us to consider. They organize this thinking into four (4) categories so we can consider how one might develop a purposeful life. And in doing so, they developed some really cool names that make it easy to understand, as follows: 
     
    1) There are the disengaged. The disengaged are those who are direction-less or on a path someone else defined for them.  By the way, this is the reason parents should not lay out the path of interest for children because in doing so, your child is likely to become disengaged. The disengaged don’t try and they don’t care. We’ve all seen those traits in others throughout our lives.  We don’t want that - it lacks purpose.
    2) There are the dabblers. The dabblers are, like the disengaged, often direction-less (that makes sense for a ‘dabbler’) or on a path someone else defined for them. The difference is that the dabblers, unlike the disengaged, invest extreme effort and work in what they are doing. I guess it’s just that they can’t stick with it. Well, they are dabblers aren’t they? They too lack purpose and I don’t want that... it doesn’t appear to be very rewarding... working all that time without direction or vision.
    3) There are the dreamers. Well, now we’re talking! Being a dreamer sounds a lot better than being disengaged or a dabbler. The dreamers have a big positive trait; they have a self-defined vision.  This is totally opposite of the dabblers and the disengaged who are directionaliss or on a path someone else determined. We’re headed in the right direction now. Oh, but dreamers don’t try or care. Now I get it. Of course, dreamers have a vision but they don’t do anything, they're just dreaming. But, we’re getting closer.
    4) This must be it.  And it is!  There are the purposeful. These people have a self-defined vision AND they invest extreme effort and hard work. That’s it. With a self-defined vision and a lot of hard work, I’ll find purpose in my life.
     
    I now have two ways to think about bringing purpose into my life and work.  I want to do work that is important, even if it keeps me up at night. I also want to do something that requires skills and traits that come naturally for me.  I want to do something that I love to do.  And if I can find this direction myself (so that I have a vision that is self-defined) and I work really hard at what I am doing -- I’ll be satisfied in my work. because I’ll have found purpose.
     
    That’s it... I’m off to bed and ready to begin my day tomorrow. Well, if I can get to sleep because all of this is still keeping me up at night - at least until I’m finished finding the solutions.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett
    Head of School 
    JUST A FEW SIX-WORD-LONG STORY SUBMISSIONS  
    (Please continue to send them to us at share@d-e.org!) 
     
    "Show them we are not indifferent."  Lori Davis West P '23
     
    "Try different ingredients, it will rise!" Kavita Bafana '96, P '24
     
    "Even in masks, I see smiles." Traci Burgess, P '28
     
    "Mediocrity is not worth living ever." Soha Fontaine P '20, '22 
     
    "Ended last, took in the view." Paola Bettelli P '22
     
    "Too windy, Toto.  Let's stay home. " - Jose Miguel Moracho, D-E Faculty Member 
     
     
  • 5.10.2020 Reflections

    Reflections From The Head of School

    Below is the latest reflective message from Head of School Dr. De Jarnett and "Memories" -- an original poem written by Andre Valencia '27. We love to receive submissions for Dr. De Jarnett to feature, including original artwork, poetry/prose, quotes, etc.! This edition of "Reflections" also includes a special challenge from Dr. De Jarnett (see below for details)Please Email all submissioms to share@d-e.org. A reminder that this and all School messages sent during COVID-19 can be found at www.d-e.org/covid
    May 10, 2020 
     
    Dear D-E Families and Friends,
     
    "Everyone has a story, what's yours?”
     
    I have been writing a lot of words lately. Between my emails, letters, messages, notes, new protocols, new procedures, various contracts, and the like, it has been a lot of writing for me. When I started my career as a young mathematician, I really never thought I would write so much. 
     
    I have learned over my life that the words we chose to use can build community, they can create lasting friendships, they can motivate and inspire. The words we use can also divide us, hurt others and create unsolvable conflict. As a result, I am each day learning to be more careful with the words I use. Each word, as well as the phrases they build, can have a powerful effect on others. So, in my writing to you, I always hope that I choose the right words and use them well. 
     
    Henri Frédéric Amiel was born in Geneva in 1821. Despite success as a professor of aesthetics and philosophy, he felt himself a failure. One byproduct of his relentless self-doubt was a journal he not only kept, but that in many ways he ‘lived in’ from 1847 until his death in 1881. Amiel's journal, Fragments d’un journal intimepublished in 1883 and again in 1939, was widely translated and gained him asting fame for the words he chose to use and the ways he connected them. “Journal Intime” reveals a sensitive man of great intellectual ability, struggling for values against the skepticism of the age. 
     
    If I may, here are two of the many quotes from Amiel I like:
    “The man who insists on seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides.” 
    “The highest function of the teacher consists not so much in importing knowledge as in stimulating the pupil in its love and pursuit. To know how to suggest is the art of teachers.”  
     
    Working with children especially, I have learned that some words hurt.  This is why I encourage teachers and students to work together to really understand what words mean to others in our community.  A student who passes another in the hall and says, for example, “That’s so gay……,”  isolates and hurts others who hears these words.  As a family, you could discuss a lot of phrases we say but probably should stop using.
     
    And there are some words I just do not like. One example is the word ‘but.’ Often in my work, someone will start a conversation with me telling me all they love about the School only to eventually get to the word ‘but,’ at which time they really tell me what they were there to say in the first place. This practice has come to be so prevalent, that I sometimes find myself waiting for it to happen.
     
    Some words are just wrong. As a mathematician, here is my chance to correct one of those words used incorrectly. Often, I will hear someone pronounce the number 2,012 as “two thousand ‘and’ twelve.’  Well that’s just wrong.  It should be pronounced “two thousand, twelve.” That ‘and’ is really reserved for the decimal point. For example, $2,012.14 is pronounced “two thousand, twelve dollars ‘and’ fourteen cents. Well, there is something you can practice going forward. 
     
    Some words can unsettle us, particularly when combined in just the right way. E. Gordon Gee, when he was the president of Ohio State University, keeped a framed quotation in his office that was meant to unsettle his professors.  The quotation was: “If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”
     
    Then, of course, some use words when put together just the right way, will make us think. Here is a great example from John Palfry and Urs Gasser who co-wrote, Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives“If we are to reach our children and help them learn, we must adapt, we must face that our students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.”
     
    And when words are put together in the best ways, they create stories that pull us in and stay with us. The authors that can accomplish that leave their mark on our thinking and in our souls.  When I was a teenager, I found that Ernest Hemingway captured my imagination. In fact, I had a poster with Hemingway's photo (see below) in my bedroom for many years. 
     
    Hemingway was a writer who taught Americans about the running of the bulls at Pamplona, who personified an idea of machismo now woefully out of fashion, who was a legendary hunter and fisherman – and who incidentally wrote A Farewell to Arms and The Old Man and the Sea. There are a lot of legends about Hemingway as he was always bigger than life.  One such legend emerged not too long ago on the Internet, around the beginning of the 2012-'13 school year, and caught the imagination of everyone.  So, I thought I would revisit this legend in this message, ‘but’ (there is that word) with the same challenge as I did with our students in Fall 2012. 
     
    Papa, as Hemingway was also known, was lunching at the Algonquin, sitting at the famous ‘Round Table’ with several writers. (Let’s stop there for a moment.  Living in the New York City region, I can’t tell you how excited I was to eventually have the chance to sit in the Algonquin on 42nd, across from the Penn Club.) 
     
    Sitting with his friends, and always living bigger than life, Papa claimed he could write a six-word-long short story. The other writers balked. Papa told them to ante up $10 each. If he was wrong, he would match the pot, if he was right – he would win it.  Well, they all pitched in their money and waited for Papa to fail. He didn’t. He quickly wrote six words on a napkin and passed it around: “For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” Papa won the bet. His six-word-long story had a beginning, a middle, and an end.
     
    Over the years Papa's six-word-long challenge has remained and occasionally resurfaces.  Here are some examples:
    “It all changed in an instant.” - Larry Smith 
    “Found on Craigslist: table, apartment, fiancé.”- Becki Lee
     “Never second guessed my own instincts.”- Shepard Fairey
     "It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.” - Yogi Berra
    "Surfing little ripples, wishing for waves."- Karen Barbier
    "Might as well eat that cookie." - Chef Paula Deen
    "Life gives lemons, but no juicer." - Jordon Miller
    "Stage 4 cancer made me live." - Melanie Barbour
    "Used it up, wore it out." -  Sharon Goolsby
    "I’ve made all the best mistakes." - Jessica NcKeen
     
    So now that we are all at home together and we’ve watched movies together, put together that jigsaw puzzle, played the card games… here is my new challenge to you:
     
    Everyone has a story, what’s yours?
    (but only in six words please)
     
    I’d love to hear yours. Send them to share@d-e.org.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Dr. Rodney V. De Jarnett
    Head of School
    Memories
    By Andre Valencia '27
     
    Memories are silver. 
    They taste like that one delicious meal at that one restaurant far, far away.
    They sound like your family all gathering together for a special occasion.
    They smell like the best dish at the cafe by the corner, now boarded up.
    They look like your house did during that special birthday party.
    They make me feel a longing for the past.
 

FROM KIM LEWIS, LOWER SCHOOL (LS) PRINCIPAL

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FROM JONATHAN DAVIS, MIDDLE SCHOOL (MS) PRINCIPAL

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  • 5.6.2020 Update for MS Families

    May 6, 2020
     
    Dear Middle School Families,

    Although it was pretty clear that it would happen, it was hard to get the news from New Jersey and New York that schools would be physically closed for the remainder of the year.  I had been holding out hope that we would get a week or two at the end of the year where we could come together as a community and finish the year in the traditional way.  We will be continuing school through the last scheduled day, June 11.

    The senior school administration, principals, and faculty are working together to develop end of year plans that will allow us to end the year with as much celebration as possible while also making sure everyone is safe.  We know that there are smaller things to take care of as well, such as making sure students can pick up their items which were left at school before spring break.

    At the same time, we are also moving forward with the 2020-2021 school year.  Students met with their grade level dean this morning to talk about scheduling for the coming year.  There are two parent Q&A sessions scheduled for this week, with current 7th grade families meeting tomorrow morning at 8:15, and current 6th grade families meeting Friday morning at 8:15.  We will be recording these sessions for those who cannot attend.

    There is also a change coming in the Middle School administration next school year.  With Betsey Carson’s retirement, Liz Traub is stepping away from the 7th Grade Dean position to work in the Learning Center with a focus on math and organizational support.  James Aitken will shift from 8th grade to 7th grade.  I’m excited to announce that Junior De La Hoz, formerly of Proctor Academy, will be joining Dwight-Englewood this fall as the new 8th Grade Dean.  He will make a recorded appearance in the parent meeting tomorrow.  

    We also have scheduled parent forums for later in May.  I expect that we will know more about the direction things are going by then, so it will be hopefully a conversation with more certainties than unknowns.  Of course, they will all be virtual meetings using Zoom.  
    6th Grade: May 20, 4:00 pm
    7th Grade: May 21, 8:15 am
    8th Grade: May 19, 8:15 am

    It is during challenging moments that you really learn about people.  It is clear that the Dwight-Englewood community is a strong one, and I’ve been impressed with the resiliency of our students and the adaptability of the teachers.  

    Stay safe and healthy.

    Regards,
    Jonathan

FROM JOSEPH ALGRANT, UPPER SCHOOL (US) PRINCIPAL

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  • 5.13.2020 College Counseling Update for Junior (Class of 2021) Families

    May 13, 2020
     
    Dear Junior Families,
     
    Since meeting with you over Zoom on April 29, we’ve continued to meet with your children, through College Knowledge during Advisory and Activities periods, through which we’ve introduced the Common Application and a deeper discussion of the Activities section. Thus far, students have been tasked with completing a mock interview, identifying & confirming with teachers who will compose their letters of recommendation, creating a Common Application account, populating their Activities section on the Common App, and crafting a rough draft of their resume. We’ve asked them to upload any work they compete to the My Drive section of their SCOIR account.
     
    We welcome you to reach out to your child’s counselor directly if you are interested in reviewing their progress thus far and/or are interested in setting up another time to meet as a family. Please don’t forget to log in to your SCOIR account to complete the Parent Survey if you have not already done so. Your responses provide us with valuable insight about your child that strengthens our ability to assist them in the college process! 

    We will host our first ever D-E Virtual College Conference on Monday, June 8 and Tuesday, June 9. The goal of this event is to prepare your sons and daughters to springboard into the summer with a clear plan of how to complete their applications, research colleges, and construct their college lists.  During these two days, we will provide a variety of options, including a Mock Admissions Case Studies event which we are coordinating with the Admissions team from Union College, who will guide your students through the application review process. This will empower them to understand how applications are evaluated and convey useful information about how to make their own applications stronger! During the two days, we’ll also offer a number of panels consisting of our colleagues from a variety of colleges and universities, as well as an essay writing think tank and preliminary review. 

    In light of the limitations caused by the Covid-19 stay at home directives and cancellation of several standardized test dates, the D-E CCO has decided to host an additional SAT test date in August. We want to give you a “head’s up” to ensure you take advantage of this as soon as the registration opens up, which the College Board shared will be later in May. Please make note of this as space will be limited and on a first come first-served basis. 

    The popularity of the Virtual College Visits has prompted us to add additional time slots for colleges throughout the first week of June. Colleges are eager to connect with your children and we encourage them  to sign up to be on the mailing list for any college they are considering.  Please know that we traditionally host over 100 colleges for in-person visits to the D-E campus each fall!
     
    That’s it for this week’s Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom! We wish you continued good health and look forward to hearing from you!
     
    Warm regards from your partners in the college application process,
     
    The CCO Team
     
     
    Eileen Cunningham Feikens, Dean of College Counseling
    and Directors of College Counseling:
    Paola Gentry
    Matthew Tatelman
    Tasha Toran
    Joseph Yung
  • 5.6.2020 May Distance Learning Updates

    A Message from US Principal, Mr. Joseph Algrant:

    May Distance Learning Updates:  AP Exams and the End of the Year

     
    May 6, 2020
     

    Dear Families,

    So we get to May, when we start to look towards the end of the year and a break for summer with all sorts of plans and opportunities: for rest, for relaxation, for being outdoors and maybe living on a different schedule. This May is of course different, and the end of the school year seems both exciting but also in a way daunting since summer plans remain up in the air and no one is sure how restricted our movements might be in four or six weeks. And now that we know we will not be returning to campus this spring, we can start finalizing distance learning plans for the end of the year.

    Given that surety, I write today with two purposes: let you know the calendar for the last weeks, and to report out the survey results from last week.

    The results of the survey, which was filled out by about 120 families, can be found by clicking here. To summarize, most families think that the present schedule is working well, and that students are working with purpose much of the time. There are some questions about our use of Wednesday to provide meeting time for clubs, other activities, and larger grade and school meetings. Students and teachers are finding time for extra help, and students report that the day also provides time to catch up on work that is due later in the week. As we move deeper into the time we are working from home, I think that this day will become increasingly valuable. We continue to believe that it’s important to maintain this time for students to connect with friends and activities that matter to them. We will be asking these questions at the end of next week to see what may have changed and what we might need to change for the last weeks of the year.

    Turning to the schedule for these next weeks, here are some important dates to know and plans around AP exams and the end of classes.

    AP Exams are now slated to begin the week of May 11, a week later than usual, and continue until May 26, with late testing continuing until June 5.

    Senior classes will end on Thursday, May 14, with the exception of AP classes, which will continue through the date of the exam. Seniors will begin their selective program on Monday, May 18, and that will continue through Friday, May 29.

    Regular classes for grades 9-11 will end on Friday, June 5. The last day of School is Thursday, June 11, as has been on the calendar all year.

    There will be no final exams this June. There usually are exams in Mathematics, Science, and Language in grades 9 and 10. Instead, there will be some final project or assessment that will take place during the week of June 8th in those grades. The exact schedule is still being worked out and we will let you know that as soon as it is ready, but there will be no exam or other type of cumulative test. For many reasons this would not be in the best interest of our students.

    Students in grade 11 will work on the college search process and other year-end activities during the week of June 8. These days will provide a great opportunity to help juniors be ready for the summer and to return to school in September ready to submit their final applications. It is something we had been planning to do before the pandemic, and current circumstances make this even more important to do.

    And there are a few rules particular to AP Exams:

    Unlike in past years, students are not allowed to miss classes the day before an AP exam. Our distance situation changes that need, and the tests are also significantly reduced in scope.

    On the day of any AP exam, students are not required to attend class before the exam. They are expected to attend any class after the exam.

    Before signing off, I wanted to mention that we are finding that students are having problems sleeping. They are reporting being unable to fall asleep, or they are playing video games in the middle of the night, or watching some show when they would usually be sleeping. Teachers are reporting students barely making it to 9:00 classes and talking in advisory about not being able to regulate their sleep. There are several reasons for this, and I think it’s important for us parents to be checking on our children about their sleep. We sent this document for discussion in advisory, and thought you might want to see it. You can access it by clicking here. If this is a problem you think your student is having,  please feel free to reach out to talk about ways to help. 

    Thanks for reading another long message.  We will be in touch again as plans solidify further. And thanks as always  for your patience, cooperation, and support. 

    Stay safe and be well.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Joseph W. Algrant
    Upper School Principal
     
Mailing Address: 315 East Palisade Avenue Englewood, NJ 07631
gps: 81 Lincoln Street, Englewood, NJ 07631
201-569-9500 Email: d-e@d-e.org
Located in Englewood, New Jersey, Dwight-Englewood is a greater New York City area private school with a rigorous college prep curriculum for boys and girls in preschool through grade 12.