Buddies Coming Together

2177by Evan Kurtz, Head of Middle School

Yesterday the Middle School and Lower School came together for our first BUDEE session of the year. An acronym for Be Understanding, Dedicated, Empathetic, and Engaged, our first gathering proved to be all of the above.

It can be challenging for Middle School students to be understanding of younger students, but I witnessed many of them connecting and communicating with their younger classmates. It was impressive how they were able to speak with the lower schoolers on their level while avoiding “babying” them.

Middle School students showed both dedication and empathy as they worked on the “get to know you” project with their Lower School buddies. Ask a 6th grader about the patience required to work with a kindergartener – that’s dedication! Empathy was on full display as 7th graders took to the floor, or filled small chairs to occupy the same physical space as the 2nd graders. This empathy will grow as buddies discuss issues in future meetings that each of them faces, albeit in their own ways.

These traits will continue as they remain engaged with the BUDEE program each month. I look forward to watching each relationship grow as students form bonds which will make our campus stronger and more together. Each Middle School student will also gain insights into their leadership style and skills from their work with their buddies, skills which will serve them well in many situations to come.

Resiliency and Self-Efficacy

Originally Presented at Lower School Curriculum Night

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My name is Nicole Girvan, and this is my fourth year as Head of Lower School and eleventh as a division director.  I shared this with my lower school families at our recent Curriculum Night and wanted it to be available for anyone who was unable to attend or for those in other divisions as it is relevant for every parent. 

Two years ago, I shared a Ted Talk about grit and the importance of perseverance by Angela Duckworth, and this year I want to briefly talk about the notion of independence, self-efficacy, and emotional intelligence. I recently viewed another Ted Talk given by Julie Lythcott-Haims about over-parenting. She does a remarkable job stressing the importance of allowing those teachable moments and life lessons for our children. She shares how important it is for parents to avoid defining their child’s worth by their grades. More importantly, Ms. Lythcott-Haims talks about how parents need to build self-efficacy in children.

The weekend of the Back to Prep Bash, my husband and I dropped off our oldest son at boarding school. In one of the orientation sessions, the school psychologist told us that our role as parents has shifted and it may cause discomfort. The gist of the presentation is that parents of middle and upper school students are moving away from being “managers” to more like “consultants.” When the kids are young, parents manage their schedules, including after-school activities and playdates and sometimes even the circle of friends. However, as the kids get older, they do not need (nor want) us to “manage” them, and thus the shift to the role of “consultant” begins.

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Empathy and Compassion for “Our Neighbors”

We have all been moved by the harrowing images of widespread suffering and damage in parts of Texas and Louisiana and unfortunately, it looks like Hurricane Irma is going to hit Florida. It is hard to fully comprehend this level of devastation and the heavy toll Hurricane Harvey is having on the people in its path. Indeed, many members of the One Prep family have connections to the Houston area, making this even more personal and pertinent for our community. Our thoughts, prayers, and support go out to the people known and unknown to us now trying to deal with unimaginable adversity.

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