Above: Carson and HCHS members with KO’s history chair Anne Serow in the faculty lounge
Above: The history department building (house) at KO
After our initial visits to the Calhoun and Brooklyn-Friends School, my fellow colleagues and I spent Thursday on the very spacious campus of the Kingwoods-Oxford (KO) School, and the following day at Phillips Academy (PA). The first thing noticed upon our arrival to KO was its campus. Although a day school, KO felt like a boarding school. I suspect much of this had to do with the amount of down time between classes for both faculty and students. This was one of the more noted things about our visit to KO and PA; students did not feel rushed, and faculty members were comfortable in their transition from class meeting to class meeting. The function and highly utilized faculty lounge for teachers at KO and PA played a role in this feeling, as well as a strong sense of community. Students took advantage of the student center and the multiple student lounges.
Above: Student Center & Dinning Hall at KO
Above: Temporary dinning hall at PA. Their new one is set to open soon.
Above: Sivils, Malouf, and Phenicie
The faculty at both KO and PA were much like the ones I met at the Calhoun School; they were energetic, passionate, academic, scholarly, and just plain old nice. Both schools stressed an emphasis on student motivation, hence the level of engagement coupled with their academic prowess proved to be highly stimulating. We found the curriculum of both KO and PA to be very challenging. PA’s history teacher, Emma Frey, stated that the academic work for students is quite rigorous because of the amount of weight and accountability placed on their shoulders. Moreover, students’ expectations of themselves and their peers promoted a high level of academic pressure to engage in class activities and discussions. Why? Because as one student noted: We are supposed to be the brightest.
Above: Meeting in the faculty lounge at KO. It was here that we discussed the academic culture of the department. HCHS department chair Christine Metoyer conversing with KO’s members about the function of technology and faculty autonomy
Above: On of the student lounges at KO; I love the picture of Martin Luther King Jr. framed.
Above: Kevin Sivils observing PA’s history department’s lounge and faculty offices and library. I was impressed with the types of journals and academic news letters on the conference table.
Above: Carson in front of PA’s Oliver Wendell Holmes’ Library
In the end, we were thoroughly impressed with the unpretentious nature of all four schools we visited. New England Schools have been amply misrepresented by Hollywood; I have visited a few of the nation’s most prestigious schools while working on my research about race and independent schools. You can read about that here. Kevin Sivils will draft a post on the Brooklyn-Friends School with some reflection, and Suzan Phenicie has drafted a post on our overall experience as well. I am looking forward to meeting a few teachers I met at future conferences, such as Emma Frey – a dynamic teacher and scholar at Andover. I hope to chat with her again this summer at the World History Association Conference in Salem, Massachusetts.
Left: A classroom/office of the KO history department. love the pictures of Malcolm X and MLK Jr. I found the schools we visited to place a high value on diversity.
Below: As you drive down the main street of Andover, this is what you see as you enter its campus.