Crefeld's Class of 2019

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I can’t believe it’s already been a month since we graduated the Crefeld Class of 2019. While my words are no substitute for the intensely personal and thoughtful advisor speeches shared at graduation, here are my parting words to a special group of people that I’m proud to now call Crefeld alumni.

On graduation day, we come together to celebrate our seniors and their culmination of hard work, perseverance, and personal growth. 

As I look out at you, the graduating class of 2019, I see a group of young adults who have many tremendous strengths and positive attributes. I’m going to share a few adjectives that come to mind when I think of the seniors we are honoring today.

Fun - You’re all fun people. The staff and I truly like working with fun, happy students.

Funny - In addition to being fun, you’re funny as well. You have so many inside jokes with each other AND with staff. All of you make me laugh every day.

Determined - You are all determined, extremely determined. Determined to change the world, determined to make an impact, determined to make your voices heard, determined to not be a bystander in this ever-changing world.

Strong - You are all strong. Strong minded, strong willed. In fact, you’re a class full of strong personalities. 

Sensitive - You are all sensitive young adults. And I mean this as a positive. What the world needs right now is more sensitive, thoughtful young leaders. 

Smart - Graduating by exhibition demonstrates your mastery of  content knowledge, academic skills, and self-expression. Your intelligence and problem solving skills have been impressive to watch. 

Fun, funny, determined, strong, sensitive and smart - that’s you as a collective. I have immediate memories of you as individuals that will stay with me forever. These memories have forever incorporated you into the fabric of the Crefeld community.

Jacques - Our one on one conversations, or maybe we should call them negotiations. And of course your trip to California. 

Ari - Your Bad Brains t-shirt, and you turned out to be a rockstar!  

Lucas - You are Crefeld’s creator of harmless mischief. 

Maya - I enjoyed learning about the many nuances of horseracing.  

Ava - Your commitment to advocacy. You are an unapologetic champion for others.

Damir - Your strength, both mentally and physically, AND you rappelled down a skyscraper.

Eli - Your contributions to morning meeting--always educating the community and holding us accountable. 

Jimmy - You are a kind soul. I’ll remember your humor and wit. 

Ben - You always know what is right and you are always doing it. You model integrity. 

Elijah - I will forever see you dancing down the hallway, in my office, on the front porch, everywhere...

Viktor - I’m impressed with how much your art grew, both both in size and in depth.

Veronica - Your voice, both on stage and in the halls.       

Aislin - You’re full of surprises. You quietly defy expectations.

Avi - You’re dedication to mastering new skills whether its learning about aviation or blowing glass. 

When you leave here today, I want you to take with you all of  the laughs, the lessons, the tears that you have experienced and the friendships that you made, all of which have helped make you stronger, better versions of yourselves. You are always welcome here. Congratulations as you are now a part of Crefeld’s history and no one can take that away from you. I wish you all the best of everything. I am proud of you! Good luck, Class of 2019!

Thank you.

Why is Consent so Complicated?

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We used to teach that “no means no”... then “yes means yes.” These days we teach that consent in a sexual relationship requires a “continuous, verbal, and enthusiastic yes!” While we want to believe that having the right instructions will lead to good behavior, in reality, it is hard to teach someone how to be caring and respectful through a list of directions. We need to actually feel connected and believe that the other person’s wellbeing and desires matter. 

As parents, there is a lot we can do during and before our children’s adolescence to foster healthy, intimate relationships. Equipped with more meaningful information, the consent definition can become a useful reminder, rather than the main instruction manual. 

To help solve the problems around consent, we must look at our society’s deeply rooted gender socialization. For the purposes of this article, we are focusing on boys and girls, even though socialization impacts everyone, regardless of gender identity. Even if we buck stereotypes in our homes, gender norms are insidious. We need to talk directly with our children about being themselves despite pressures. To read the whole article, please click here.

Spring Break 2019

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Spring Break is here. It’s time to relax and get ready for the fourth quarter and the end of the year rush! We have so many exciting things going on when we return: Spring Mini Courses, Prom, the Spring Arts Celebration and Silent Auction, and, of course, Senior Dinner and Graduation!

Our seniors are getting ready to leave us and we are celebrating the many college acceptances they have earned (with a little (or more than a little) help from Stacey)! I am so proud of each of them for all that they have accomplished. Honestly, I’m so proud of the entire Crefeld Community and honored to be part of it. Every day, I see the amazing work of artists, programmers, thinkers, scientists, poets, and risk takers.

Please enjoy the much deserved Spring Break.

George

A Head of School's Guide on How to Call a Snow Day

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Step 1: 5:00 am - Wake up

Step 2: 5:03 am - Drink a Starbucks doubleshot

Step 3: 5:04 am - Start checking the “Philadelphia School Closings” websites

Step 4: 5:10 am - Cross reference districts that have closed or delayed with sending districts.

Step 5: 5:15 am - Start group text with several other school Heads

  1. Me - “Are you closing?”

  2. Head 2 - “I am thinking about it, you”

  3. Head 3 - “I think we are, but I haven’t made the call yet”

  4. Head 4 - “Hey, just joining in, did you see that Cheltenham just closed?”

  5. Me - “Philly is still on a delay!”

  6. Head 4 - “Philly never closes.”

  7. Head 3 - “I just made the call, we are closed!”

  8. Head 2 - “Me too!”

  9. Me - “Ugh, I am going to call now.”

  10. Me - “Stay safe!”

  11. Head 2 - “You too.”

  12. Head 3 - “Be careful”

  13. Head 4 - “Stay warm”

The biggest factor that goes into making the decision to close school is student and staff safety and how many of our sending districts have delayed or closed. There is a law in PA that requires school districts to transport their students to private school, if that private school is within 10 miles of the home district (if that district transports provides transportation to its own students). So I sit with a list of students from each district, with the largest number always coming from Philadelphia. So if Philadelphia delays or closes, so will we. But if two of the sending districts with a larger amount of Crefeld kids delay or close, we could easily lose 20% of our student population because those sending districts will not transport our kids, even if we stay open.

I hope this clears things up.

Stay safe. George

Difficult Conversations with Teenagers

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Earlier this year, one of Crefeld’s teachers, Sara Narva, wrote an article about having difficult conversations with your young person. I will share the article and it’s link here. Kudos to Sara for sharing this piece.

Before we talk about how to have difficult conversations, we need to appreciate you. Yes, YOU. You are a parent, doing one of the hardest jobs on the planet. Parenting is an enormous job that requires a wide range of skills in which most of us receive no formal training.

Similarly, children also have a very difficult job. They are young people in a society that disparages and dismisses them in many ways. They are bombarded with misinformation and glorification of risky behavior, and simultaneously expected to make healthy and safe choices. They are trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world. 

You and your young person love each other in a world where it is difficult to make time to connect. You are always doing your best (even when you wish you could do better) and they are always doing their best (even when you wish they could do better). 

Having difficult conversations is… difficult. Whether it’s talking about sex, dating, alcohol use, bullying, or even just how they are doing, it can feel challenging to talk to your teen. Here are a few ideas to help get you started, or to get back on track. To read the entire article, please click here.