Why I Came, Why I Stay

November 13, 2014 by Bill Ivey

The other day at Open House, one of the attendees, a public school teacher, asked each of us present on a faculty panel to talk about how we ended up at Stoneleigh-Burnham, and why we stay. Our stories were as individual as we are. My own begins the summer I was getting married…

It was the summer of 2004, and my fiancée and I had just graduated from the M.A.T. program in the French and Italian Department of the University of Massachusetts. Each of us had completed all the requirements for Massachusetts State certification except for the French proficiency exam. My fiancée called up to find out details, and was told that there was a non-refundable fee of $75 and it would be given on one of three possible Saturdays in August, one of which was to be our wedding day. The exact date, she was told, would not be given out until no more than three weeks ahead of time, “for security reasons.” We were about to spend a year living in France anyway, so we elected not to register for the exam. That meant, when it came time to apply for teaching positions, we had no choice but to apply at independent schools. And that’s how I ended up at Stoneleigh-Burnham.

Filed Under: Teaching, gender, All-Girls, On Education, Girls Schools, All Girls Education, Feminism, The Faculty Perspective, girls' school, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, Admissions

Thank You, Public Schools

April 08, 2013 by Bill Ivey

Thanks to John Norton of MiddleWeb for publishing this article by Bill Ivey and for granting us the right to publish a portion of it and link to the original.

Filed Under: Middle School, MIddleWeb, Teaching, On Education, Bill Ivey, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, Admissions

To Infinity... and Beyond

August 06, 2012 by Bill Ivey

"Is algebra necessary?" Andrew Hacker, in a recent op-ed piece for the New York Times, argued that it isn't, provoking a storm of reaction from math teachers in particular and educators in general. To be fair, once you read past the attention-g rabbing headline, Hacker points out that his "... question extends beyond algebra and applies more broadly to the usual mathematics sequence, from geometry through calculus." His main points seemed to be that a misplaced focus on rigor leads to kids dropping out and that math taught in schools has little relation to skills needed for success in the workforce. (Hacker) He closes by stating "I want to end on a positive note" and calling for the creation of exciting new courses such as "Citizen Statistics."

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Grades 7-12 and PG, gender, Science, Algebra, On Education, Math, Bill Ivey, Boarding and Day, College Prep, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, STEM, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Women in Technology, Education, Admissions

Small School, Big World - One Mission

May 03, 2012 by Bill Ivey

Family Weekend this year was inspiring in many ways. Developing student voice is a fundamentally important aspect of the core mission of our school, and there was evidence of that everywhere you looked. My Humanities 7 students took turns standing up and reading their poetry to probably the largest assembled group of parents and family members seen in any classroom over the weekend, perhaps a little softly on the first poem, but always more loudly and clearly on all the rest once the warm supportive applause of their peers and families washed over them. Each poem was absolutely unique to that student and yet, taken as a whole, they revealed truths about who the class is as a whole and for that matter what it is like to be a 7th grader in today's world.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Grades 7-12 and PG, School Happenings, gender, Family Weekend, On Education, Bill Ivey, Boarding and Day, Parenting, On Parenting, community, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, Admissions

Room For Change

March 29, 2012 by Bill Ivey

I glance up and notice the little plastic clasp screwed into the underside of the shelf of our TV stand. The pointy part, that stuck into the clasp and prevented the door from being opened without extreme intellectual and physical effort, has long since been removed. Not so the memories of putting it on in the first place, which my wife and I did around the same time we added the gadgets to every cabinet door in our apartment above the library, plugged plastic shields into all the outlets, stuck soft protectors on every furniture corner we owned, and generally ensured everything was as safe as possible for the imminent arrival of the child that turned out to be our son. Long before he thought or even knew about crawling, we had done everything we could think of to protect him from any dangers we could imagine.

As our children grow up, of course, we continually and deliberately work to ensure they can eventually take care of themselves. It may be bittersweet at times, but if our true goal is that our kids grow up to be happy and confident, balancing self-reliance and connectedness, we really have no choice. Yet, the same instinct that leads us to prepare our apartments months ahead of when we really need to is never far from the surface, as my parents periodically remind me whenever my brothers, my sisters, or I are going through hard times in one way or another.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Grades 7-12 and PG, On Education, Boarding and Day, Parenting, Girls Schools, On Parenting, College Prep, All Girls Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Graduation, College Acceptances, Admissions

Pride in My Work

January 24, 2012 by Bill Ivey

For a little while, it seemed as though the freak Halloween snowstorm was going to be the extent of winter in New England this year, but as January is progressing, winter seems to be asserting itself more and more strongly. Last Monday was a cold one even though only a few inches of snow had fallen overnight, but somehow it served to energize the middle schoolers. And so it was that I was surrounded at the beginning of advisory by swarms of students buzzing in random directions, all asking me if they could go outside. My advisory group, in fact, had asked just the previous Friday if we could have a middle school snowball fight some day, so after checking in quickly with the other advisors who were nearby, I told all our advisees to get their coats.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Grades 7-12 and PG, School Happenings, On Education, Boarding and Day, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Snowball Fights, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, Admissions

Biscuits and Gravy

January 11, 2012 by Guest Faculty Bloggers

I, like many of our students, left home as a young adolescent for a boarding school. I, like many of our students will, then continued this educational journey away from home as I went on to college. However, unlike many of our students, I never actually left home.

Filed Under: Middle School, International Students, Grades 7-12 and PG, School Happenings, International Lunch, Road Trip, Boarding and Day, All Girls Education, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, International Week, Admissions

Esprit de basket

January 10, 2012 by Bill Ivey

I will never forget the look on Ramses Lonlack’s face when we first walked into the Mullins Center at UMass. Her jaw dropped, her eyes widened, her head tilted back, and as she gazed slowly around the arena, she said softly yet firmly, “Some day, I’m going to play in a place like this.” Along with several other fans from Stoneleigh-Burnham, we sat down near the small but enthusiastic cohort that seemed to be made up mostly of friends, roommates, and family members to cheer on the UMass women’s basketball team, Ramses’s voice rising with many others as she got caught up in her enthusiasm.

Women’s basketball fans are indeed enthusiastic about their sport, and many of us share a bond that goes far deeper than whatever team(s) we happen to support. Liz Feeley is a former women’s basketball coach in Divisions I and III, but although she undoubtedly sees more in five seconds than I see in five games, she loves to discuss the chances of UConn (a team I’ve followed since Rebecca Lobo went there out of Western Massachusetts) vs. Notre Dame (one of her former teams) with me, and a Diet Coke now rides on each match-up. Similarly, when I took Ramses and another girl from Africa to a professional Connecticut Sun game, they discovered the visiting Los Angeles Sparks had a player from Africa and began to root loudly for the opponents. Other fans turned around to gaze at them, but rather than incredulity or irritation, their faces showed a kind of bemused delight.

The following year, I learned a friend of mine (Melissa Sterry, a Sun fan and former WNBA blogger whom I had gotten to know simply by starting an email conversation in reaction to one of her blogs) kept six season tickets for the express purpose of bringing people to Sun games and getting them interested in women’s ball. She invited me to bring a cohort of students whom we took out to dinner after the game so she could talk to them a bit about basketball and about their lives. Ramses was originally supposed to go to that game too, but at the last minute had to cancel because a Division I school had offered her a tryout. She expressed profound disappointment at missing the Sun game, but knew this was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

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Historical Interlude

Women’s basketball began in 1892 when Sendra Berenson of Smith College adapted the rules of the year-old sport for women. Players could only bounce the ball once before passing, and the court was divided into three zones to minimize running. Three players per team were assigned to each zone – guard, center, or forward. The first known women’s basketball game opposed the classes of 1895 and 1896, with the freshmen winning 5-4.

In 1914, just two years after the college opened, West Tennessee State Normal School played their own first women’s basketball game, winning 24-0 over a local high school. The college would undergo a number of name changes through the years, settling on the University of Memphis in 1994. Despite their early advocacy of women’s sports, the college demoted all women’s athletics from varsity status in 1936. They would remain so until the passage of Title IX, and the women’s basketball team was reinstated for the 1972-1973 season.

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Ramses did end up at the University of Memphis, the school she missed the Sun game for, and made her mark quickly. She won the “Rookie of the Week” award her first week in the league, and has won numerous defensive awards. More recently, she approached a major milestone, her 1000th point. She has also grabbed more than 500 rebounds and had over 250 steals, and is only the 6th player in U. Memphis history to achieve at this level. As Ramses approached the milestone, an excited buzz rose up on the Internet in the spirit both of women’s basketball and of Stoneleigh-Burnham, and when she finally made it, friends and fans from all over joined in congratulations. We could not be happier for her or prouder of her, and wish her all the best as she continues through her senior season.

Photo credit: Joe Murphy

-Bill Ivey, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School Dean

Filed Under: Women's Basketball, Alumnae, Ramses Lonlack '08, University of Memphis, athletics, Boarding and Day, On Athletics, College Prep, All Girls Education, The Faculty Perspective, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, Admissions

I used to think... and now I think...

November 29, 2011 by Bill Ivey

Nancy Flanagan is one of the most thoughtful and respected edubloggers out there. Now a consultant, she spent 30 years in the classroom as a middle school music teacher. In an October entry for her blog “Teacher in a Strange Land” in “Education Week-Teacher,” she wrote about Richard Elmore’s new book in which he invited 20 well-respected educators to reflect on the prompt, “I used to think… and now I think…” Nancy’s entry detailed her complex and provocative reflections on the evolution of her own thinking. Nancy is a member of Teacher Leaders Network, and she posted a link to her blog on one of our discussion boards. Another member, Steve Owens (coincidently yet another music teacher!) proposed we all answer the question in that forum or on our blogs. Here then, is my own take on what I used to think and what I now think from my perspective as a long-term girls’ school teacher.

I used to think private education was a different world from public education. Then, I thought they were essentially similar. Now, I think the answer is both a) and b).

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, Grades 7-12 and PG, On Education, Boarding and Day, edublog, All Girls Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Teachers Leaders Network, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, Admissions

A Tale in Tweets, Posts and Photos.

November 10, 2011 by SBS Admissions

September 28, 2011:

@sbschoolorg

Filed Under: Grades 7-12 and PG, School Happenings, soccer, athletics, On Athletics, All Girls Education, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education, Admissions