Back-to-School Night 101

Back-to-School Night (BTSN) is an exciting event for parents and teachers. And, in this day and age, it can provoke undue anxiety as well. Over the years, I have spoken with many independent and public school parents about BTSN. When I have asked them what they hoped to get out of the evening, their answers have ranged from “I want to know what my child does every day” to “I want to understand my child’s curriculum and the teacher’s methodology” to “I just want to meet my child’s teachers and get to know them a little.”

At The Philadelphia School we believe that Back-to-School Night is an opportunity to meet a little of each of those expectations. We aim to outline some of the big picture curriculum and methodology children will experience, help parents get to know the core classroom and specialist teachers (as much as you can get to know anyone in one evening), and instill confidence in parents that we care deeply about the experience each and every child has each and every day.

Parents are important partners/co-contributors in the success of Back-to-School Night. Here are a few tips for making the most out of this year's experience.

Announcing Intensives!

We are so excited to launch a new component of the middle school program, Intensives. These electives are an opportunity for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in mixed-age groups to deeply explore an area of interest they might otherwise have limited or no exposure to. From ancient survival skills to computer coding to introduction to sculpture, these 10-week courses will meet twice each week for an hour at a time. 

Here are this fall's Middle School Intensives.

All-School Theme Revealed

In a gymnasium packed with exited students and teachers, you could hear a pin drop. Everyone wanted to hear what the all-school theme for 2016-17 was going to be!

The Class of 2017 revealed the theme in a skit they wrote about a new student named Jumbalaya who needed to be prepared for entry into the TPS City Country Classroom. Equipped by fellow students with all he would need to survive and thrive – a map of Philadelphia, a book about Philadelphia history, a SEPTA pass, a water bottle, a pencil, some paper – Jumbalaya was ready!

"From Surviving to Thriving in the City, the Country, and the Classroom" will be our all-school thematic focus this year!  

Wondering how all-school themes are decided? 


Edcamp at TPS

On Thursday, August 11, The Philadelphia School played host to Edcamp Delaware Valley Independent Schools (DVIS) . Edcamp is an increasingly popular "unconference" model that promotes educator exchanges of school-related ideas and issues by way of attendee-led debates, presentations, and discussions. 

The free event, sponsored primarily by The Philadelphia School, Edu-Tech Academic Solutions, and Air Squirrels, started with a complimentary breakfast and networking hour during which participants proposed breakout session topics.  A wide variety of concepts found there way on the "Big Board" (a makeshift matrix of session times and rooms made of painter's tape and large sticky notes as seen both on the wall in MPR and on this Google Doc). They included "Pokémon Go in the Classroom?! Augmented Reality's Impact on Lesson Planning," "Technology & Mindfulness: When to Plug In and When to Unplug," and "Integrating Design Thinking into Your Classroom."

The World We Hope to See

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.
~Mother Teresa

Dear TPS Community Members,

The tragic events of the last few weeks in the United States and abroad have left us questioning how we can make the world we hope to see. More than ever, our school and our community must reaffirm our shared responsibility to work toward a better, more just society.

In these uncertain, troubling times, as we guide students along the paths to their futures, we can take solace and find optimism in the work that our teachers and students do each day. In their classrooms, children learn to consider multiple perspectives and to think deeply and critically about issues – habits of mind that foster empathy, respect, and social engagement. Curricular work on social justice, issues of race, and the challenges of making, as our third graders would say, a more fair United States promotes an awareness and appreciation of the complexity and diversity of the world around us.

Alumna Appointed Trustee of British Science Museum Group

In what appears to be one of his final acts before Thursday's Brexit vote, Prime Minister David Cameron appointed TPS alumna Sara Dry as one of three new trustees to the Board of the Science Museum Group. Her term runs from June 2016 to May 31, 2020.

The Science Museum Group is devoted to the history and contemporary practice of science, medicine, technology, industry and media. With 5 million visitors each year, it consists of Great Britain's Science Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, National Railway Museum, National Media Museum, and National Railway Museum.

Sarah is a writer and historian of science. She received a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.Sc. from Imperial College London, and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, where she was a Gates Cambridge Scholar.