A Week in the Life — Vol. 4

In addition to the usual day-in-the-life series of photos, this edition features Middle School overnight trips, as well as the Montreal and Quebec City voyage. Meanwhile back here at home, the head of school played a little impromptu squash on our newly opened courts. Finally, we present the striking photographs of German international student Max K. ’19. They are images of the school as you’ve never seen it.

(I Love The Sound Of) Breaking Glass 2
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Candy Portrait Group
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PE & Athletics Center Grand Opening

The community turned out in great numbers to be the first to tour the new Physical Education & Athletics Center, the most significant addition to the Country Day campus in more than a decade. Thank you to the Room to Grow donors and volunteers who made the building possible!

Also on Saturday, maintenance team members Ty Book and Kevin Cotchen won the John A. Jarvis Competitive Croquet Tournament. They played as Team Maintaining Bonner, to honor math teacher Jeanine Bonner who was injured in the previous week’s Cougar Bowl. The tournament began with a moment of silence in memory of Sally Jarvis.

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Two Days of Bonding Over the Civil War

Communications Department Intern Chandler S. ’17 and eight of her fellow upperclassmen joined Head of School Steve Lisk and Upper School American history teacher Todd Berner for a two-day trip to the Antietam National Battlefield in early August.

“I definitely didn’t think the trip was going to be as much of a bonding experience as it ended up being,” Chandler said. “I figured we’d go and come back and that would have been fine because the trip itself sounded cool.

“It was just nice; everybody talked and whether you were a freshman or a senior didn’t matter.” Chandler didn’t walk into the experience a blank slate; she loves history, and the Civil War in particular. “I’m familiar with the generals on both sides and all the main battles, and obviously I knew about Antietam,” she said.

“But I had no idea how much I didn’t know until Mr. Lisk started talking. He would get chills talking about certain aspects of history,” she continued. “I’d never seen it before, but he’s obviously in his element teaching.”

The group rode in two vans and traversed the 3,000-acre national park guided by an audio tour. Antietam was the first major Civil War battle fought in Union territory, and the single bloodiest day in American history. Robert E. Lee withdrew his forces to Virginia and Union General George McClellan could claim victory, albeit a decidedly pyrrhic one: More than 22,000 soldiers, split about evenly between North and South, were killed or wounded on September 17, 1862, and the war would continue for almost three more years.

Where the audio tours ended, Lisk was just getting started, Chandler said. “The program would end and we’d get out of the vans and he’d go into more and more detail. We’d ask questions and have discussions and wouldn’t leave until no one had anything left to ask about. We literally spent hours on the tour after the ‘official’ audio tour ended.

“It’s mind-blowing that he could talk about so many different things and just be at home doing it. It’s obviously what Mr. Lisk is passionate about.”

Ice Festival Slideshow

The Ice Festival set a new record for charitable warmth this year, besting last year’s historic high by raising almost $2,900 for Lancaster Area Habitat For Humanity.

“This is a great event,” said Upper School dean of students and festival co-coordinator Rob Umble. “It brings the whole community together like the All-School Picnic, but with the added benefit of raising money for such a good cause.”

Along with the Race For Home and efforts of the Upper School Habitat For Humanity Club, the Ice Festival completes the trifecta of Country Day endeavors that helps support Lancaster Area Habitat For Humanity. The school’s sustained commitment to the charity goes back more than a decade, and continues to strengthen with age.

 

Umble extended special thanks to Chris Starzyk and the entire Parents Association “who put in a lot of time and hard work each year to bring the Ice Festival together.

“And of course we couldn’t do this without Diane Wilikofsky,” Umble added. The Ice Festival’s Chili Cookoff is Wilikofsky’s baby, and no mention of the event would be complete without bestowing laurels on the chili champs.

Judges Choice Awards: (decided by our panel of three judges)
3rd Place —The Foreign Language Department
2nd Place — “Baxter’s Chili” (The Starzyk Family)
1st Place — The Business Office Chili

People’s Choice Award: (Popular vote tallied by number of tickets collected)
3rd Place — “Chili Shooters” – The Athletic Department Chili (182 votes)
2nd Place — The Business Office Chili (209)
1st Place (for the third-straight year) — The English Department Chili (239)

 

 

 

Tabling the Old Approach to Math

It seemed like something out of “The Twilight Zone”: For 30 minutes, Rob Trubiano’s Middle Schoolers sat in the dark learning about graphs while the clock on the wall stood frozen at 10:01. A storm knocked out the lights but neither Trubiano nor his students seemed to miss a beat.

Country Day’s first math teacher to use a Harkness Table and its method guided and encouraged a discussion that ricocheted across the room with each student contributing, oblivious to the dark and the diabolically static clock. The Harkness Table and its dedicated pedagogy aren’t new to Country Day; teachers such as Mike Simpson and Allen Miller have spent a few years incorporating its student-led discussion approach into their teaching of Upper School English and Middle School history, respectively. But Trubiano is the first LCDS teacher to bring the Harkness Table and method into a math class.

“USA Today does this neat thing called ‘Snapshots,'” Trubiano said to the class. “They’re surveys in graph form and that’s what we’re going to do today, so who’s got an idea for a survey?” A torrent of ideas came rushing out, and Trubiano gently helped guide the flow in the right direction, but otherwise took a backseat. “Kinds of pets” — That’s good; keep going — “Favorite ice cream flavors” — Good one. You don’t need to raise your hands — “How many sports you play” — Yes! — “Favorite number” — Are you planning on playing the lottery?… And on it went until the group hit their winner: Favorite superpower, and Trubiano split the class up into groups and had them draw graphs reflecting the results.

The week before that class, Trubiano talked about the difficulty of taking the Harkness leap into math, and why he felt it was a worthwhile effort. “The folks from Phillips-Exeter gave a presentation at the school using the table and the method, and I was very impressed,” Trubiano said. “They focused on the overall discussion-based approach, and weren’t so concerned about efficiency.

“The challenge with teaching math that way,” Trubiano continued, “is that it’s so content-oriented and the fastest way to communicate the content is for the teacher to lecture. But with the Harkness method, students gain a lot from the opportunity to articulate ideas about concepts and content and to obtain feedback from each other.”

Trubiano decided to ask for more training and a table and Head of School Steve Lisk decided to set him up with both. Trubiano traveled to Phillips-Exeter last summer to attend a workshop on recognizing and mastering the challenges of teaching with the Harkness method, and his custom, first-of-its-kind table comes apart to allow smaller group work.

From the Day One, Trubiano saw the opportunities the table provided. “Everyone is on the same level,” he said, “and you get that sense that we’re all in this together; we’re literally all seeing eye-to-eye, and that fosters not only an eagerness to participate, but a willingness to be wrong.

“I want there to be a common goal, and a sense of community around the table. That trust has to be there for students to take the chance of being wrong, because without that, no one would ever attempt anything.”