Team Building

What do you worry about when you are starting a new job, going to a new school, or even just going back to school after a summer break? Are you excited, perhaps even a little nervous? These are the feelings that we all experience: teachers too. So, this year, Crefeld addressed the transition back to Crefeld for a new school year head on. Using both inside and outside resources, we spent several days in intentional team building activities so we could become stronger as a community, get to know one another a little better, and help lessen those first days jitters.

It started on the first inservice day when the faculty and staff reported back to work. We put aside student scheduling and setting up classrooms for the day and after a quick, get to know you exercise in the theater, we headed to Plymouth Meeting Mall, divided into three teams, and spent the morning rotating through three different “escape rooms.” Then we headed to lunch. This was a perfect way to have all the new and returning faculty and staff to become better acquainted with each other.

Then, on the Tuesday before the first day of school, we hosted a new family orientation on campus. New students had an opportunity to meet each other, meet their teachers, and get to know their way around the campus. While the students were having some fun, the parents were in “Crefeld 101” with me.

Each academic team (7/8, 9/10, 11/12), working with elective teachers, spent the first three days of school doing fun, team building exercises. Some students participated in a scavenger hunt at the Philadelphia Art Museum, others hiked in the Pine Barrens, another group worked on campus with an art therapist, and some built Adirondack chairs. The goal of this initiative is to build a stronger school culture. We celebrated our first week of school with the traditional whole school BBQ on Friday.

With our first day jitters out of the way, we are ready for the challenge of the new school year!

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National Small Schools Conference

Over the last three days, Crefeld hosted the National Small Schools Conference (NSSC)! Educators and school leaders from all over the United States came to our campus for three days of amazing speakers and thought provoking workshops (not to mention some delicious meals together). The speakers included opening keynote Alfie Kohn, closing keynote Andre Lee, and featured speaker Leslie Gomez, who provided valuable information on how to protect children against abuse.

So why a conference for small schools? Because small schools are nurturing, caring, communities that function very differently than our larger counterparts. In small schools, often budgets are limited and everyone wears many hats. Crefeld hosts NSSC to bring people together who are committed to small schools, who accept this challenge, and who make a big impact on our world.

Please check out our conference website and plan to attend next year!

http://www.nationalsmallschoolsconference.org

Graduation

Well, we made it! Another class of Crefeld graduates headed out to to change the world. As I sit here and reflect on the class of 2018, I not only think about how much they have changed as young people, but how much they have impacted our community. They are a group of singers, artists, scholars, poets, and, most importantly, they are agents of change. The understand their inherent worth and their duty and obligation to powerfully impact society. I am very proud of each of them, and they are proud of themselves. The Crefeld class of 2018 will forever be woven into the fabric of our community and our lives.

Tonight, we have Senior Dinner, a special evening to honor the graduates and celebrate with their families. Tomorrow, we finish the school year with a whole school BBQ, as we spend the last few hours of the year eating, playing games, and signing yearbooks. Then, on Friday, is our commencement ceremony.

Once again, I am so proud of the Crefeld class of 2018.

#Crefelderforlife

Spring Mini-Courses 2018

Spring Mini-Courses, or as we informally call them, Spring Trips took place last week, and they were a huge success! This is just another prime example of Crefeld’s commitment to experiential learning. We suspend classes for the week and students, alongside their teachers, immerse themselves in a week long adventure. For some students, this is a deep dive into a much-loved topic, for others, it’s more of an exploration and an opportunity to try something new. We are committed to these trips, not only to expose students to new activities or to do a deep dive, but to build stronger peer relationships and grow stronger as a community. We value not only the skills the students are learning, but the importance of collaborating as a group, leaning on one another when experiences become difficult, and supporting one another when we take risks. Spring Mini-Course experiences are an integral component of our curriculum, because they help us grow into the best versions of ourselves.

Here’s a recap of the trips: 1) We had a music trip that spent time in a recording studio (owned and operated by a Crefeld alum) that produced five tracks. 2) Students worked in the HandWork Studio in Narberth honing their sewing skills. 3)On the trip to the redwoods in California, our students were cabin leaders for Bay Area 5th graders. 4)The Glass trip stayed on campus and learned new techniques. 5)The course at the Teton Science School in Wyoming conducted field research. 6)The Local Adventurers went whitewater rafting, rock climbing, and ziplining! 7)The hikers on the Appalachian Trail pushed themselves physically and saw a porcupine (and had pizza delivered to the trail??)! 8)The CReF Lab worked on campus building handheld video games and took field trips that included the Drexel ExCITE Center. 9)And students enjoyed a trip to Washington, DC to explore our nation’s capital and see a play at Ford’s Theater!

Welcome back, Crefelders. Now let’s get to work. There’s a lot to do between now and graduation day on June 8.

The Fourth Quarter

Here we are, beginning the fourth quarter. It is amazing to me how quickly the school year goes by. We are getting ready for Spring Mini-Courses, the Spring Performance, Prom, Senior Dinner, and, of course, Graduation. There’s a lot to do in the next two months, especially for our seniors who are completing the Graduation by Exhibition process.

However, as I think about the seniors and their transition into the next stage of their lives, I often reflect on how much each one of them has matured and developed . They are turning into adults and I couldn’t be more proud of them. Stacey Cunitz, Director of College Counseling, will soon share the growing list of colleges and universities that have accepted our seniors. It’s an impressive list.

As an educator, it makes me reflect on a some advice that I was recently given and something I believe we do exceptionally well at Crefeld - to see young people as who they really are and not judge them on the behaviors that they sometimes display. That’s what we do, every single day.