Can you imagine what it would be like to have an entire updated Encyclopedia Britannica, Roget’s Thesaurus, National Geographic Atlas, and Webster’s Dictionary in your backpack when you walked to school? Add to that all of your textbooks and notebooks, a typewriter, video camera, and a line of direct communication with your teacher. What if your math tutor was always standing beside you? Sick at home? No problem, as your backpack now holds access to your classroom. You can see why educators see such promise in laptops, iPads, and other tablets.
I was recently asked by a parent, “Why should I send my child to North Cross?” I am asked this frequently, and I usually reply with any one of a number of stock answers. For some reason this time, I chose to say that I felt North Cross was the only school in the Valley that is focused primarily on preparation for college—not the kind of answer that allows you to slip away and talk ACC basketball with someone else. The answer demanded a follow up discussion, so I spent some time explaining that we did not have religious education as a goal, nor did we have basic minimum state standards as a goal. From the day our students are welcomed onto our campus, our teachers and curriculum are focused on the college admissions process. Obviously, other schools in the Valley send students to good universities, but I stand by my thesis that we are alone in our primary focus.
(Published in the October 2014 issue of South Roanoke Circle)
We all know the proverbial story of the well-liked “C” student, with a big personality, returning to his or her high school reunion as a millionaire while the “A” student has yet to achieve up to his or her promise. I can tell you for a fact that in most cases this does not pan out; the “A” student usually does very well in life as well. But why ruin a good story? This story is often repeated because it illustrates something we all know to be true: that qualities such as friendliness, empathy, interest in others, and sociability play a large role in determining success.
(Published in the September 2014 issue of South Roanoke Circle)
It is time for school to begin, and many of you are already considering whether or not to start the year with a tutor. Good tutors can be invaluable but they definitely come with a cost and more importantly, they can be hard to find. So what should you look for in a tutor?
(Published in the May 2014 issue of South Roanoke Circle)
I enjoy writing my Education Matters column and in doing so, I hope I have provided some helpful information to parents of school-age children. Writing for a broad audience can be a daunting task and I am acutely aware that my audience is largely well educated. So it should not have come as a surprise to me when I was mailed copies of two of my articles with grammatical corrections in red ink.
Welcome to our second annual State of the School address. I appreciate your willingness to venture out on this very chilly evening. The fact that you are here is testimony to your deep interest in North Cross although I must admit the email tease we sent home was pretty juicy by state of the school standards.
But before I get to the sizzle, let me say a few words about how far we have come in such a short time. I know for those of you that read Crossties regularly or attend Headmaster Coffees this may be repetitive, but on the off chance that there is someone in the audience who has not done these things, please humor me. Listen to what we accomplished in the past two and a half years. Remember, this was accomplished through the hard work of many, including the parents that paid tuition, gave to the annual fund, took part in school events, and above all… used their Kroger Cards. Working together, faculty, staff, Board, and our North Cross families, we have accomplished tremendous things.
(Published in the December 2013 issue of SoRo Circle)
We are smack in the middle of the college application season, and December marks the last chance this year’s seniors have to raise their SAT scores. It is the time of year when parents say to themselves, “Why is it that my child works hard, has great grades, and can’t get into X college because of their low SAT scores?” In fact, over the past 25 years, a billion dollar test prep industry has sprung up to assist students in raising SAT scores so they may gain admission to the most competitive colleges. So, why does it seem that SAT scores are much lower than grades might predict?
Google “Ferris Bueller anyone anyone” and watch the YouTube clip of Ben Stein and his economics class. Then read on.
I attended a school assembly the other day prepared for our usual recitation of athletic successes (losses are rarely mentioned), announcements of college visits, and general exhortations that dress code could be more faithfully followed. Rather than the usual housekeeping details, however, I was pleased that one of our students made a thorough presentation on the Syrian situation, complete with slides and a video on how sarin gas affects humans. The best part was that the presentation was not done as part of a class assignment: rather, it demonstrated a positive level of personal student engagement.
We had a beautiful day for our graduation ceremony that was a fitting end to a great school year. For those of you that know me, I am not prone to retrospection as I prefer to think about what lies ahead, nor do I frequently use the adjective great to describe school years. But in this case, we had a great year and it deserves a little reflection.
I am sure many of you have seen the front page article in Wednesday’s (March 20th) Roanoke Times about Community High School dropping its tuition in half. I read the article several times with interest as I know that tuition and financial sustainability are significant issues for all private schools across the nation. I was intrigued enough to do a little research and would like to share with you my perspective in hopes it will inform your discussion.
The Crossties Blog provides timely updates about activities from the campus of North Cross School.