The rain held out just long enough for the last potato chip to be crunched and the last game of tag to find a winner. Families on both ends of the buddy line, seniors and ECP-2 students, came out to picnic blankets and hamburgers for this annual tradition. Though the skies were overcast, the smiles were bright. Parents of seniors got to meet their child's little buddies, while the ECP-2 parents got to meet what will be their counterparts in about 13 years. Good thing about almost-rainy weather? No ants.
In my last Crossties submission, I was a bit heavy in my discussion on class, privilege, and empathy. I have not left that discussion behind, and I want to let you know that I just received Jonathan Sacks’ The Home We Build Together, the book referred to in the John Allman letter I mentioned previously. Let me get through that and I will report back to you. It may be a while however, as I just returned from a rainy weekend at the beach where I found two rollicking novels of maritime adventure and a compendium of four novels by Trevanian in an antique store in Georgetown, SC—all good stuff even if they do smell a bit like mildew.
So, where am I going with this? We are in the middle of college admissions season and students are wondering what they can do to find that extra 20-30 points on their verbal scores. It is a bit tough at this point, so we resort to a bit of trickeration, essentially teaching kids to take the test. A more effective strategy is to encourage/coerce/bribe your children into reading for pleasure. The earlier you start, the more effective you will find encouragement. A study by the National Reading Foundation found that students learn 15 new words each school day and that a majority of these words come not from intensive instruction but instead from independent reading. It is amazing how reading, and the increased vocabulary it produces, can have a dramatic impact on standardized test scores.
Members of the Cave Spring Fire Department came to speak to our most impressionable students to help allay the fear of "the masked fire fighter" and to explain how a first responder can help a family out of a dangerous situation. Two large fire trucks were parked in front of Ellis Hall. Students explored, asked questions, and listened to the volunteers as they described what they do and what tools they use for their job.
On Wednesday, Dr. Devorah Heitner, founder of Raising Digital Natives, a website geared towards families navigating the difficult choices facing kids today with social technology, came to speak to our students and our community. Dr. Heitner first had lunch with representatives from the Middle School SCA where she mostly asked questions and listened to how our students make use of technology and how they've learned to strategize to make the most of what's available while also making time to focus on the things that matter. Later that afternoon, Middle and Upper School students gathered in Fishburn for a frank talk on how best to respect each other when using social media, and the things of which to be aware when using a public space.
That evening, she held a special session for parents. During that time she spoke about ways families can begin conversations to help mentor children instead of monitor them, giving them the guidance they crave in an ever-changing digital landscape. Afterwards, Dr. Heitner held a question and answer session and book signing. Thursday morning, area counseling and school professionals were invited to North Cross for a special breakfast conversation with Dr. Heitner. The effort was spearheaded by Director of Counseling Leigh Ann Hamlin, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs and a partnership with Carilion Children's. We thank Dr. Heitner for her time and wisdom. For a brief review of her presentation to parents, visit our YouTube channel.
The Crossties Blog provides timely updates about activities from the campus of North Cross School.