Shush: verb, demanding silence.Schuss: verb, a high-speed run down an alpine slope.
Growing up in rural Massachusetts, there were very few outstanding elementary schools. I spent my earliest years at one, like so many schools at that time, where the pedagogy was comprised primarily of sage-on-the-stage classroom structure, an environment where students were expected to passively absorb whatever was espoused. We were essentially told to "sit and git." In the winter months, old steam radiators and teachers alike could be heard throughout the hallways and classrooms issuing their own versions of shhhhhh. Winter seemed a particularly inactive time to me, and the implicit message imparted by the faculty’s telltale shushing sounds was that learning, too, was meant to be inactive.
As I entered the sixth grade and my family began considering the options for junior high school (as it was once called), we found an incredible school, similar in so many ways to Tuxedo Park School. In that transition, I made note of the subtle and obvious differences. The faculty was vibrant and they were interested in me. Not only did they invite active classroom participation from their students, they wanted to know who I was and what I believed in. For the first time in my life, my teachers had roles outside of the classroom as well: they were my coaches, my table heads and my advisors.
In the classes and hallways we weren't “shushed,” but rather, we “schussed,” incorporating skiing as part of the engaging, wholistic academic program. From my observations it was clear that this was a very different kind of school, a place where learning was meant to be engaging and active. Tuxedo Park School is also a school that understands the active engagement of it students will cement a foundation for life-learning. It is also a school that schusses.
What, then, is the hidden curriculum of skiing? Peel back the layers, and the metaphors are revealed for learning, daily life and for meeting the future challenges of adulthood. In a day and age when students are increasingly plugged into a virtual world, skiing engages them physically in the real world. Long after the years of team sports and interscholastic competition, skiing offers students a compelling option for developing into healthy, active adults. Skiing requires forethought, preparation, split-second assessments, planning, bravery and an understanding of the environment. Self-possession comes from defining and achieving such personal goals as fitness and athletic skill. In equal measure, skiing enlivens the imagination and a sense of adventure. Upon each mountain descent, skiers have more than one Robert Frost moment of "two paths, diverging in a wood," of deciding which path to follow, and of that choice making all the difference. Finally, skiing is at once an independent and a social experience, an activity that connects people across cultures and generations.This was very much in evidence at our Gore Mountain Upper School Ski Trip last week, an activity that strengthened student-to-student, and student-to-teacher relationships, forging an increasingly tight-knit and cohesive community. While the institutional hallmark of skiing does not, in itself, ensure an exceptional education, the rare school such as TPS that incorporates such wholistic curriculum does much to address the multi-faceted nature of human development, and stands a better chance of preparing its students for their future.
An impressive showing of community helpers arrived last Friday to be hosted by the Primary School at their annual luncheon. Members of the Fire Department, Public Works Department, Post Office and Police Department were on hand in good numbers and were eager to share their stories with the young captive audience who stared back with wide eyes at the tales of bravery and adventure. Huge thanks to the parent volunteers who decorated the rooms so beautifully and to the community helpers themselves!
Shepard Field was host to a snow-less but beautiful, fun-filled day of games among the primary school students. Primary Winter Games 2012 witnessed considerable team spirit, inventive cheers, and cooperation between older and younger students. Congratulations to all the teams for winning the following outdoor events: Yellow Team-Slalom RunPurple Team-Sled PullRed Team-Giant Snowball pushBlue Team-Olympic Ring ball throwBlack Team-Olympic-Egg on spoon
Students in the Kindergarten will be running a school-wide post office beginning Monday, February 6, through Thursday, February 16, 2012. The kindergarteners will be selling stamps from 8:00-8:30 AM at the end of the Mattes Wing, near the Lost and Found. Please encourage your children to stop by and purchase stamps, which cost five cents. The money will be donated to Eleventh Hour Dog Rescue. There will be a mailbox in Blairhame on the right hand side of Mrs. Castellano’s desk. Please let your children know that they must have the name and homeroom of the person they are sending mail to on the outside of the letter. The students must also have their letters in the mailbox no later than 12:30 PM in order for them to be delivered that afternoon. Although faculty have discussed appropriate correspondence with all students, I encourage you take a few minutes to talk to your children about what is and is not appropriate to write to each other. If you have any questions about the Kindergarten Post Office, please email us or stop by. We hope you will participate as well as your children. Happy Mailing!--Andrea Hutchins and Brianne Moses
First grade students used paper mache and paint to create their castles, decorating them with flags and a coat of arms they designed thenselves. Finally the students created knights, horses, kings, queens and princesses to populate their creations. The students had been studing fairy tales in their classroom and reading fairy tale books in the library; now they've managed to add their own plot line to a rich tradition!
Last week, students in 6th grade English debated two sides of an interesting topic regarding Karen Cushman’s novel, Catherine, Called Birdy. After working in teams to prepare points and site key references, students faced off in a head to head debate where they argued the motives of the main character’s parents who sought to find her a wealthy suitor for marriage. Were Catherine’s parents being selfless in finding a stable mate for her to marry, or were they selfish, concerned only with bettering their own social status and wealth? Both sides scored many telling points, but in the end, it was “special guest judge” Mrs. Calderon who would decide!
Our weekly ski day has proven fun for all--despite last week's absence of our Upper School--and fresh snow. Happily Tuxedo Ridge is handy with the snow machines and our 6th graders stepped up to fill in for the missing older students. They acted as responsible and dedicated buddies to their younger peers and judging by all the smiles, TPS students had a great time at the mountain!
This year, ERBs will occur earlier than usual: on February 15-16, and on February 21-22 for students in grades 2 through 9. These tests measure aptitude and skills in many different verbal and quantitative realms. This year students will also complete the "constructed response" sections, one each in verbal and math, where students write out their answers in longhand to show their thinking process while answering math questions and reasoning through reading comprehension questions.
With results from this earlier testing period coming to school and home in the spring, we will now be in a position to run some spring information sessions for parents about the testing. We will also meet, as we have always done, with individual parents who have questions about their children's performances before we break for summer.
What is the best way to help your child prepare for the ERBs? The general rule is that children need a good night’s sleep and a solid breakfast. The skills that these tests measure are ones that your children have been working on in classes throughout their years at TPS. We look forward to discussing your child’s scores with you this spring. Of course, please do not hesitate to email Mr. Heard at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Thank you to all who attended the Parents’ Association Meeting last Friday and engaged in a Parents’ Ideas Exchange. Inspired by Kathleen McNamara’s book discussion of Richard Weissbourd’s The Parents We Mean to Be at our January Parents’ Association Meeting and her “House Rules” article in last week’s Menuscript, parents came together to discuss the topics on their minds. Grouped together with parents of children of similar ages, Moms and Dads exchanged ideas, experiences and expertise with one another in an open and comfortable setting. All came away with new information and a stronger sense of community.
We hope you will join us at our next Parents’ Association meeting on Friday, March 30th at 1pm at the Pink House, followed by the Middle School Talent Show. Let’s keep the conversation going!
As we look to the 2012-2013 school year we are already beginning to plan new opportunities for those interested in volunteering. If you are interested in being a Class Parent or becoming more involved in the Parents’ Association, please email Ellen Calves (email@example.com). Thank you, Suzanne Donaghy
Please see the Web Calendar for division and athletic events.Thursday, February 9 - Ski Race Day at Tuxedo Ridge (casual dress for all students) - Come Cheer on the Skiiers!
Friday, February 10 2:20pm - Todd Williams will be performing live jazz at Coquito in Warwick, with sets starting at 8pm and at 9:30pm. (While we like to think of this Wynton Marsalis protege as our own, every second Friday of the month we share him with the outside world.)
HEAD OF SCHOOL, FOR A DAYOn February 14th, Kristen and Alex Gotsis will be Heads of School for the Day. They have decided that the dress code will be pajama day.
When does school start next year?Click here for the TPS 2012-2013 School Day/Vacation Day/Early Dismissal Calendar.No School days are in RED; 3PM or 12PM Dismissal Days are in Green.
With just one month until Showtime, the TPS Drama Department is seeking your help with accruing props for Grease.PROPS LIST:1 pair of red foam dice1 tire iron1 air horn1 track relay baton1cheerleading twirling baton2-3 bean bags (CHAIRS)1 vanity table1 baseball bat1 lightweight portable picnic table2 lightweight picnic benches
Complete rehearsal schedule.
If you are interested in earning additional service hours, the Extended Day Program would welcome your assistance. We are looking for students to spend time reading, doing a craft, and playing board games with the younger students that stay at school until after 4pm. If you are interested, please contact Mrs. Morrisohn.
Come and help us make blankets for children in the hospital; all blankets will be donated to the NJ Chapter of Project Linus. WHEN: Saturday, February 11 from 10am to 12pm, Tuxedo Park School Dining RoomWHAT TO BRING: Scissors, 1-3/4 yards 60" wide printed or solid fleece.Students of all ages with their parents are welcome. To sign up, call/email Kristen Heard: 351-4737x109 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Come learn how to fuse glass at our next workshop for adults and children; the cost is $60. This can be taken as a one-time class to make simple projects, or an ongoing opportunity to delve into the many artistic possibilities of fused glass. The technique could be compared to quilting or applique (with heat), the colored glass being pieced together to form patterns or abstract motifs. The result can be complex or simple, or like applique, it can be an image on its own. The class will meet from 10:00 am until 1:30 on Saturday and includes a potluck lunch. To sign up contact Megan Sweeney at x111 or email@example.com
On February 19th at noon in Warwick, a class on bullying will be hosted by black belt master instructor Gary J. Stevens at the Chosun Taekwondo Academy, 62 Main Street Warwick, NY 10990 Top Floor. Admission is free but requires reservations: (845) 986-2288 www.chosuntkd.com
The boys basketball team took to the court confidently against Saddle River last night, and though we struggled in the first two minutes to put the ball in the hoop, we quickly overcame the sluggish start and simply picked up momentum from there. We never looked back. By the end of the first quarter we up 10 -0 and the coaches were able to sit out four of our five starters. All the players began to get some time and make impressive contributions to the team. Co-Captain Connor led the team with ten points, and both Brandon and Quentin had six points. Brandon deserves honorable mention for his ability to play point guard, setting up our offense masterfully and passing to the players positioned with the best opportunities to score. The entire team played strong defensively and Amrit, Jack S, and Rio rebounded well and defended the baseline with authority. Our victory today is a result of good team basketball. We went on to win 27 to 13. We are looking forward to continuing to play confidently in our next game which is away, on Wednesday at 4:15 against Upper Saddle River Cavallini School. Congratulations to the entire team on their win!