Head of School's Corner - April 2018

Dear Gulliver Community,

As I think about a robust school experience, and a true "future ready" education, I believe there are three important pillars we must provide our students. Obviously, students need appropriate information and knowledge, whether seen as the "three R's" or the liberal arts tradition that has been the foundation of great schools like Gulliver, and our recently completed curriculum mapping work has confirmed to us that we are second to none with our program. We have also incorporated new experiences, activities and expectations to ensure our students have the necessary skills to thrive in the increasingly complex shorter and longer term world that will be theirs. It has been exciting to work with our leadership, and faculty and staff, to ensure we continue to innovate and evolve so that our students can develop the much-needed habits of mind and the character traits such as communication, cultural competence, creativity, and critical thinking. Increasingly important though, I believe a third leg is required for our students to be fully ready for academic, intellectual and civic success and leadership going forward, and that is the capacity to engage.

Initially, this takes the form of learning how to dig in to work of all kinds, such as homework, working at a musical instrument or other artistic discipline, practicing athletic skills, or learning how to use technology or other modern devices or methods. The second phase of engagement builds on these first "digs," allowing students to learn more about their own passions and then work to become more expert in an area. In this second stage, students can begin to see key issues, understand how to ask the right questions, and begin to find ways to make a difference for themselves and others.

The final stage, that of of full immersion, sees students truly connecting to a topic, activity, service or passion experience. These experiences are the most exciting, and we are committed to expanding such possibilities for students at all stages of their Gulliver lives, from our youngest students to thriving alumni. We want to further build our network for our entire community to engage, including such opportunities as parents and alumni helping us engage in meaningful service projects in local and global communities, offering internships and mentorships, linking with local institutions in partnerships and other outreach, all working to create a true lifelong educational environment through school.

We can see all three of these pillars in action in this issue. Students in maker fairs learning to create and prototype, participating in business plan showcases (pictured above) to then compete regionally and nationally, outside experts in dance and music visiting our classes to demonstrate the most current skills and practices, and our own coaches leading national teams; all point to our focus on making sure the Gulliver experience creates relevance by linking what students study to what they really need to know. We look forward to how this will become an even greater part of our program, with members from all parts of our community helping to provide opportunities for all of our students, at all levels, next year and beyond!

Frank Steel
Head of School