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Archives

Letters from the Principal: Monthly Newsletters

 

September 2019

“Monsters are fascinating things, and I suppose that the serious study of monsters, be they trolls or dragons or sneakier beasts like goblins or imps, might yield real insights into the anxieties of an age. But today, one monster in particular invites our serious reflection - the zombie…”

 

May 2019

“It seems that this newsletter typically assumes the form of a lament about something in modern educational malpractice. There is, after all, much to discuss from that angle. At the end of the year,however, as we send our graduates off to their next adventures and as summer and the future beckon, I thought an entirely uplifting sentiment might better fit the mood of our community. And so, without further ado, I would like to share the Commencement Address...”

April 2019

“Our 5th Grade students just cracked open Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass , a particularly challenging book, especially in terms of the moral realities with which it confronts students. No one who reads that book can help coming away with a powerful hatred for slavery, and sometimes it isn’t the physical brutality or cruelty that really draws this out. Rather, it is the small details that deform the soul…”

March 2019

“School culture depends on many things - the layout of a building, what the teachers and administration honor, what teachers and students wear, the weight placed on standardized testing, and what takes time out of the day for special announcements or celebrations. But more than all of these is what teachers and students talk about and how they talk about it. Is conversation ennobling or base? Is there mutual respect in conversation or anger, yelling, and mockery?…”

February 2019

“I never thought I’d be writing a newsletter about sex, but given the potential passage of Colorado’s “comprehensive” law on sex and sexuality, it seems fitting. I know in our community there are families who agree and others who disagree with the law’s specific content, and it is not my place to weigh in on that too heavily, at least not here…one element in particular is worth questioning: how can a school actually live up to the law in good faith, as we hope to do with all laws under which we operate?…”

 

January 2019

“Most of the time, this newsletter concerns some topic in education or culture that bears upon what we do as a school. It turns out there is often a lot to discuss! This time around, however, I would like to take a different direction and share with you some of our school’s and students’ successes…”

December 2018

“Rumor has it that “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” has run afoul of certain moral censors, as if the lyrics of that totally prosaic holiday classic are more offensive than, say, virtually any song on the current top 50. Last year it was “Baby it’s Cold Outside,” a song which some radio stations have banned because some prominent voices declared the lyrics to be offensive…”

November 2018

“A typical and sadly misguided criticism of classical education, and really any education that is serious about civic knowledge, comes in the form of a question. Sarcastically, and with a superior air, the critic asks: “when are you ever going to need to know the date of that?” Whether that is the start of the Civil War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, or what have you, so long as you can look it up on Google, the argument goes, there is no need to know it for yourself…”

October 2018

“I found myself in a friendly conversation the other day about classical education with a parent who sends her child to a private school nearby. After discussing the standard things, like the fact that charter schools are public schools and therefore tuition-free, and that uniforms really do diminish distractions, we came to the heart of the matter - the difference in curriculum and culture…”