Intersections: Improving Kids’ Middle School Experience

September 17, 2019 by Bill Ivey

The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) recently shared the article “Seven ways parents and educators can improve kids’ middle school experience” by Phyllis Fagell, the author of Middle School Matters. I immediately clicked on it, and found a series of thoughtful suggestions and examples, each of which in fact does relate well to our own middle school program. Her seven suggestions (in boldface), and a few examples of how they have been playing out in our school:

Filed Under: Middle School, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Middle Level Education, Intersections

Intersections: Book Review of "Brave, Not Perfect"

April 13, 2019 by Bill Ivey

(with thanks to MiddleWeb for originally publishing this review)


As a teacher in a girls school, I’m acutely aware that my students (girls and non-binary kids alike) often feel trapped between two opposing yet interlocking ideals our culture sets for them – to be their true authentic selves, and to please other people.

Filed Under: Middle School, MIddleWeb, girls' education, educating girls, Girls Schools, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, girls' school, girls psychology, Reshma Saujani

Intersections: The Roots of Democracy

September 04, 2018 by Bill Ivey

Humanities 7 is, by design, a democratic classroom. I provide the overall structure - independent writing, independent reading, and unit work, plus the skill list on which we focus - and they make all the decisions about what they write independently, what they read independently, and what the theme questions and individual (personally chosen) Focus Questions are for each unit.

Filed Under: Middle School, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Democratic classroom, Democracy, Constructivism

2018 Eighth Grade Moving Up Ceremony: Address

May 24, 2018 by Guest Student Author

Written and delivered by Jacqueline (Jax) Morgan '19, the Head-Elect of the Student Body.

Filed Under: Middle School, student voice, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Moving Up

What a Good Teacher Does

September 07, 2015 by Bill Ivey

Today was our first day of classes, and the beginnings of this year's 2015-2016 Humanities 7 class coming together as a community. As always, we began with Jonathan London's wonderful jazz poem "Hip Cat" with its theme of "Do what you love to do and do it well." These kids, at least some of them, have definitely figured out already that learning is a process, something at which you might steadily improve but also something that involves challenges and roadblocks and stuckness. Equally important, they view that kind of attitude as fundamental to who our school is.

Filed Under: Middle School, social justice, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Middle Level Education, Education, Democratic classroom

What is the point of an education?

February 20, 2015 by Bill Ivey

My Humanities 7 class is studying education now. We're continuing with Firegirl by Tony Abbott as a read-aloud book, since much of the action takes place in a school, and the students voted for I Am Malala as a group read. As always, they are researching individually chosen questions as they prepare to write essays and make a presentation, and the questions range from comparing and contrasting different groups or systems of schools (public vs. private, U.K. vs. U.S., mixed gender vs. single gender, etc.) to tracing the evolution of education over time to looking at the relative benefits and importance of a spiritual vs. a traditional education, and more.

Filed Under: Middle School, On Education, Girls Schools, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Middle Level Education, IB School, This We Believe

Ending Well, part 2

November 28, 2014 by Bill Ivey

On the last of classes in the middle school, I made the following post to Facebook:

Filed Under: Teaching, All-Girls, On Education, Beautifully different, Girls Schools, community, All Girls Education, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, girls' school, Uniquely Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Education

Ending well

November 28, 2014 by Bill Ivey

written Wednesday evening, Nov. 19, 2014, the night before the last day of Fall Trimester classes in the middle school.

Filed Under: School Happenings, community, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, The Faculty Perspective, Education

At the Heart of It

November 24, 2014 by Bill Ivey

Alfie Kohn is most definitely one of my educational heroes. Controversial as he may be, the controversy often stems from his relentless focus on what research tells us about what is best for students even when it flies in the face of common sense. And anyone who is all about figuring out what is best for students, and who has the courage to follow through on those principles (even if they differ from my own), earns my respect.

Filed Under: Middle School, Teaching, On Education, social justice, alfie kohn, classroom management, community, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Education

One Mind at a Time

September 15, 2014 by Bill Ivey

I try to be on the lookout for chances to react to blogs, knowing (as Bill Ferriter has pointed out on more than one occasion) that one of the highest compliments I can pay a blogger is to leave a comment or even write a whole new blog in reaction, thus showing how much of an impression they’ve left on me. So when Brianna Crowley opened one of her blogs at the Center for Teaching Quality with a writing prompt from a 30-day blogging challenge for teachers, the temptation to write my own blog based on the same prompt was strong.

Until I really absorbed the prompt: “Write about one of your biggest accomplishments in your teaching that no one knows about (or may not care).”

Filed Under: Teaching, gender, On Education, social justice, Parenting, gender equity, Girls Schools, On Parenting, Feminism, In the Classroom, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, Education