In recent school years, the two weeks prior to Spring Break have provided a wealth of non-traditional learning activities for our Grades 6-10 students.
First up is the Global Issues Network (GIN) DC Conference. GIN's history extends back to its founding at the International School of Luxembourg in 2003. The DC Conference has been co-organized by WIS and School Without Walls students since 2011. This year, The British School joined the organizing team. Dozens of WIS Upper School students, along with their counterparts from schools all around Washington, DC, spent two days discussing ways to develop sustainable solutions to address critical problems facing the world.
On Sunday, February 25, over 150 heads of school in New York State posted a full-page advertisement in The New York Times, addressing the Parkland shooting and its aftermath. Their “Open Letter to the President and Our Nation’s Legislative Leaders” stated that, “the easy and virtually un-restricted availability of highly lethal, semiautomatic assault weapons and ammunition places our schools, most especially our children, in jeopardy.”
Civility might seem an old-fashioned word. It’s been around a long time. At age 16, George Washington hand-copied 110 “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation” that originated with French Jesuits in 1595. Most of these rules sound archaic, though still applicable. Consider this selection: “Cleanse not your teeth with the table cloth napkin, fork, or knife; but if others do it, let it be done without a peep to them.”
I find the bulletin boards that line the Primary School hallways to be a real source of wonder. They are an extension of the classrooms, a means for capturing much of the core learning that is underway.
Last night, I attended an alumni gathering in New York City. It was organized as a social event, but also as a forum with a particular focus on the professional workplace, in this case finance and technology. In attendance were alumni ranging from those who are only a year or two out of college, to a member of the tiny class of 1977, Andre Mann, who was WIS's first IB Diploma recipient. Our panelists were Isabelle Winkles, Class of 1996 and a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, and Erik Nordlander, Class of 2000 and a Partner at Google Ventures.