It's hard to believe that Upper School graduation is just over a week away. Being new to Chase, this has been a year full of "firsts", and I am looking forward to the many events on the immediate horizon that are there to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and close out the school year. In my first faculty meeting way back in August, I pledged to the faculty that I would be a "learner before a knower", and as I move into the summer months, I will take all that I have learned this year and begin to look at ways to build structure and program to better support our mission as a school and the well-being of our students. I am excited about changes we have already put in motion, specifically the course registration process and a new daily rotation which was built around the themes of mission, student choice, current pedagogy and methodology, best practice, consistency, and predictability. As I look at what I call my "summer list", I know that the next three months will be busy ones, but there is a distinct shift from being reactive to proactive. As a teacher that draws much of his energy from students and faculty, the first few weeks of summer bring a welcomed quiet, but by July I am looking forward to the start of school. If you happen to be in town during the summer months, please know that I am in my office on most days and welcome visitors.
Communication from my office and the Upper School will be light during the summer months. Grades will open a week after graduation, summer work will be finalized and posted during that week as well (most students will have gotten their work prior to leaving school, but just in case they misplace it, we will have it on the portal). As noted in my letter regarding scheduling, we are hoping that both rising juniors and seniors will have finalized schedules in their hands by the time they leave for break; we will be sending them home with a copy for parents. Rising sophomores will be starting their scheduling process this week and we hope to fast-track them as there are more required core-courses that make scheduling a bit more streamlined. In the beginning of August, you can expect the first official communication from me in the form of a welcome back letter with details on the start of school and class trips.
Every year around the final week of school I will mosey over to the English department and ask for a "summer reading list". What I ask for are titles of books, the quintessential high school literature, that I have not read. Some of my favorite books have come out of these lists: Slaughter House Five, The Caine Mutiny, As I Lay Dying, Of Mice & Men, 1984, Great Expectations, The Things They Carried, Things Fall Apart. I would recommend that if you are seeking a beach-book, go online and look at summer reading lists for high schools and pick something you remember hearing about, but have never read. You might even want to ask your child what two books they are reading for Chase summer work and pick those up for yourself; it can become a great springboard for conversation at the picnic table. I would also recommend a read or two on parenting. I have The Teenage Brain by F. Jensen and Amy Nutt on my list, as well as Untangled by Lisa Damour and Masterminds & Wingmen by Rosalind Wisemen. As my kids navigate a world I feel is vastly more complex than the one of my childhood, I hope these reads will give me a better understanding of what they face and help build my toolbox of appropriate and growth-focused support for them.
I look forward to seeing you over the next two weeks and celebrating all that our students have accomplished this year.
~ Karl Palmgren
Head of Upper School