Prospective parents are invited to experience the wonder of our remarkable school! Second Look takes place Thursday, February 26 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. This parent-only event features a classroom crawl, alum table, preprimary parent panel and ask anything booth with our school leadership team.
Most importantly, prospective families get to speak with Ancona’s amazing team of educators. Whether you attended the open house or not, Second Look connects you to the fabric of our learning community. Our students are also planning a special surprise for attendees. Don’t miss it! Please note that the preprimary parent panel will begin at 7:00 p.m.
At Ancona we don’t tell students that climate change is a problem or what to do about it; we let them learn about climate change by analyzing real-world data, and we empower them to take whatever action they feel is right and effective. The 5th and 6th grade unit on Climate Change is highly interdisciplinary and is based very firmly in real-world contexts–two fundamental principles of project-based learning. 5th/6th Grade Math/Science teacher Sylvia Glassco’s description of the unit captures this and more:
“Beginning in 1970, students travel through time to investigate breaking climate data as it is released. Studying and simulating experiments with ice cores and sea ice, ozone thickness, and regional and seasonal shifts in animal behavior, students make scientific judgments about what is happening and what needs to be done. Taking various global perspectives, students come together to debate international treaties at two mock conferences addressing climate change.”
Throughout the unit, students develop a deeper understanding of some key science concepts and processes, including climate systems, energy transfers, data collection and graphing, science as an iterative process, as well as skills in the areas of non-fiction reading and writing, public speaking and debate. They also tackle essential questions like, “How do climate systems and human behavior interact?” “How do scientists refine their understanding over time?” “What are the responsibilities of scientist-citizens?”
By reading a selection of news articles from the past four decades and by re-enacting various experiments from those times, as well as learning about scientist-citizens like Rachel Carson, all within a cultural context, which they explore through the music, images, and social/political trends of those decades, students reconstruct our nation’s fluctuating relationship with the causes and effects of climate change. They are encouraged to analyze the data and debate the implications, learning to identify and handle different kinds of information–distinguishing between demonstrable facts and expressed opinions.
As the unit progressed and students’ knowledge about the human impact on climate grew, so did their frustration and their desire to do something about it. They began to explore ways to communicate the facts and to motivate people to take action. Thsi desire to do something about climate change led perfectly into the two culminating projects students were responsible to create. Each student prepared a paper for the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, where they represented various nations (considering the economic, social, and political contexts of those nations). They also formed groups to create projects that allowed them to act on their beliefs about climate change. Students chose a variety of ways to take action, including a podcast, which will soon be broadcast on a local radio station, a movie, a series of posters (that you may have seen in the lobby of the school over the past two months), a climate rally–in front of the school on two different ocassions, a web site, an Instagram feed (titled “climate change 101”). One group of students is still planning a bake sale, the proceeds of which would allow them to “adopt” a tract of rainforest through the Nature Conservancy, and another group of students is looking for grant money that would help Ancona get solar panels for the roof of the school.
Project-based learning requires that students truly grapple with real-world problems and construct their knowledge and understanding through first-hand engagement with primary source documents and experts. They are also afforded the opportunity to express their ideas and feelings and to propose, implement, and analyze solutions of their own. These elements of project-based learning are all present in the integrated Climate Change unit the 5th and 6th grade students engaged in this year.
Ancona’s Annual Diversity Symposium is Saturday, April 18 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. This year’s symposium explores the basics of gender identity and gender fluidity within the context of parenting and teaching. After a welcome coffee reception, the day will include a keynote, breakout sessions and lunch followed by a theatrical performance by About Face Theatre with a Q&A. Ancona welcomes educators, parents, school leadership and community members interested in multicultural education. Please join us for Dimensions in Multicultural Education: Gender Identity and Expression. Learn more >
The Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that the following candidates are up for election at the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting at 6:30 p.m., January 28: Dontrey Britt-Hart, Ben Smith-Donald, Elaine Wackerly and Henry Wishcamper.
The meeting will be held in the Mitchell Commons. The Board encourages parents to attend all regularly scheduled Board of Trustee meetings as they are open to the public and there is a time for parent/visitor comments at each meeting. Moreover, parents have a vote in the election or reelection of Trustees. We hope to see you there.
Dontrey Britt-Hart and her husband Brett Hart have been active parents at the Ancona School for over eight years, since their oldest son Jonah, now in fifth grade, started in the preprimary. They have two other sons, Aidan (3rd grade) and Matthew (Kindergarten), who also joined the Ancona community at the preprimary level. Wearing many volunteer hats, Dontrey has served as a room parent, Camp Edwards chaperone, Photo Day helper, parent photographer for assemblies and an assistant for the teachers on numerous field trips. She also served on the Head of School Search Committee and facilities committee. Holding a master’s degree in Writing from DePaul University, Dontrey is a seasoned public relations professional with corporate and agency experience. Her personal passions include photography and fitness. She and her family live in the Kenwood community.
Ben Smith-Donald and his wife, Radiah, have been members of the Ancona community since 2009, when their oldest daughter enrolled as a five-year-old; she is currently in the 5th grade. Their son entered school here in 2012, and is currently in 2nd grade. Their youngest daughter is in her first year at the school in a pre-primary classroom. Ben works as a consultant for biotechnology investment; before that, he attended medical and graduate school at the University of Chicago. Ben served on the Head Search Committee in 2013-2014 and is currently on the Transition Committee. (more…)
Due to the dangerous temperatures, please send your children to school with ample layers. Keep in mind that their extremities, such as the ears, hands and feet need extra attention. As advised earlier, you should decide whether or not to send your child to school on these days based upon your commute. Please see our updated cold weather policies for more information.
Ancona School will be open Wednesday January 7. Every family should make its own decision to come to school based on the safety of the roads and amount of time spent outside. Parents who decide to keep their children home should communicate with the school. Such absences will be excused.