Dear Laurel Families,
This week was an exciting one for Laurel School! Last Friday, the 7th grade STEM class presented their Future City scale model to the rest of the students at Morning Meeting. After watching the 7th grade build the model from scratch over the past few weeks and wondering out loud, “What is that thing? It looks so cool!” they finally learned all about it as the 7th graders practiced presenting their work in preparation for the NJ Regional Competition that took place on Saturday, January 18, at Rutgers University. At the competition, Laurel School students kept their cool and showed their knowledge as they competed with 70 other teams, many of whom represented gifted and talented programs from STEM specialty schools from around the state. It was a proud moment to see the presenters handle themselves with composure as they explained their work to the judging panel. We were especially proud that our team was recognized by the NJ Regional Chapter of DiscoverE for their determination to compete unaccommodated in this tough competition. Our very own Lauren Hernandez was a video star, as she was interviewed and discussed the model and the experience. We will need to check back to the Future City website when this video is posted. On competition day, more than one engineer at the event mentioned their own dyslexia and offered great encouragement for our students to consider engineering as a career.
Another exciting event at Laurel this week was the casting announcement for our Spring Musical, Annie Jr.! There was an excited buzz throughout the school on Wednesday, along with sporadic bursts of song snippets from the play, after students found out their roles at Morning Meeting.
At today’s Morning Meeting, some of Ms. Nancy’s Executive Function students presented information on the options for how to spend the money raised during the Animal Advocacy Club’s recent snack sale. Pros and cons for choosing between “Adopting a Koala” and purchasing the material and sewing “Joey Pouches” were presented. Both options would benefit wildlife affected by the recent bushfires in Australia. After the presentation, students were invited to vote for their choices using ballots prepared by the members of the Animal Advocacy Club. Next week, students will find out the results of the ballot.
A reminder that the next
Tea With Dee will take place this Wednesday morning, January 29, at 8:30 am
in the Laurel Lounge. We will discuss the book,
The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed
, by Jessica Lahey. Please respond to the evite that was sent. Even if you are unable to attend, I hope you will put this book on your reading list. I look forward to discussing what resonates with you when you read it.
We have begun to review our phone policy for Upper School students in light of ongoing difficulty maintaining boundaries for appropriate use of technology during the school day. Many students are unable to resist the temptation to use them, and they are especially unable to ignore incoming texts from parents or friends during instruction. Often, students have difficulty remembering that cell phone use in school is permissible only at the discretion of the teacher, for approved applications. We have noticed that requests by teachers or administrators to stow a phone or ignore an incoming message are often greeted by too much discussion that is wasting class time.
Starting Monday, we are instituting a student cell phone hiatus for at least the next two weeks, while we revamp our policies in regard to this issue.
Upper School students will not be permitted to use phones during the school day. During homeroom, students will turn in any phones to their homeroom teachers. Phones will be placed in a locked area of the main office until afternoon homeroom, when they will be retrieved for dismissal by the homeroom teacher and passed back to the students. Phones should not be left in lockers, backpacks, or pockets. If a student is found to have a phone during the school day, it will be confiscated. Parents may have to come in to recover the phone from an administrator. We encourage students to leave phones home if this policy will be too difficult for them. Our original intent was to develop digital citizenship among our Upper School students, however, our students are not yet displaying the necessary maturity for successful implementation of this approach. We hope you will support us in this.