Setting Off the “Light Bulbs:” A Collaborative Two-Week Mini-Mester

By Shannon Eagan, Langley Middle School Social Studies Teacher

When offered the opportunity to engage our eighth-graders in a two-week, cross-curricular program requiring working with my amazing colleagues and incorporating field trips, outside speakers, math, art, technology, engineering, writing, and my specific discipline, social studies, my answer was a resounding “yes!” In my four years at Langley, one of a multitude of favorite aspects about the community here is the connectedness between the faculty and our collaborative efforts. It is all in the tireless endeavor to have each student achieve that proverbial “light bulb” moment. These moments happen when their excitement about learning consumes their conversations at home, in the lunchroom, and at recess. It seems to occur suddenly and independently the moment that they make powerful and intricate connections between a To Kill a Mockingbird quote and the persecution of the Rohingya peoples. The moment when they connect the study of genetic mutations and the need for design thinking. It is both exhilarating and motivating to collaborate with colleagues who all have the same vision to “set off the light bulbs!” Continue reading

Spread “Love” This Holiday Season

By Leni G., Seventh-Grade Student at The Langley School

Langley Students Support Love, Not Hate” is a campaign I started with two Langley friends after the inspiring words of a teacher. On Monday, October 29, Mr. McKinney, my former science teacher, gave a speech at our Monday morning meeting. Each Monday morning, our Middle School sits as a group and discusses upcoming events or goals for the week. As it was two days after the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, not everyone was as cheerful as usual. Mr. McKinney addressed this, and explained to all of us how lucky we are to all be so fortunate and the amount of gratitude we should have every single day.

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“Put Her Yardstick on My Tab”

By Dr. Elinor Scully, Head of The Langley School

On Saturday, I was in an ACE Hardware store purchasing an old-fashioned yardstick. I decided that I needed this yardstick because I was preparing to hang some curtains (rods, brackets, rings, panels, etc.) completely on my own. My drill was charged, my supplies marshaled, my spirits high. At the checkout line, the guy ahead of me said to the cashier, “Put her yardstick on my tab.” I protested that his gesture was unnecessary and far too generous, but he looked me in the eye and said, “I try to do one random act of kindness every single day. Today, you’re it.”  Continue reading

Advice to Incoming New Students (especially new fifth-graders)

By Lucas F., Langley Sixth-Grade Student

My name is Lucas. I came to Langley in fifth grade. If you’re coming to Langley as a new student, and are nervous, I can help you by sharing my story.

I was nervous when I came into fifth grade. I didn’t know what to expect from everyone. I had only met a handful of people before my first day. I was scared to leave my old friends. When I came to Langley, that all changed. Continue reading

What Can You Say in 65 Seconds?

Ayesha Flaherty, Head of Enrollment and Communications and Langley Parent

It’s hard to sum up a school’s curriculum in just 65 seconds, but this is a great start. Take a listen…

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Easing the Transition Back to School: Tips & Strategies for Students Across the Arc of Development

By Dr. Sarah Sumwalt, Director of Social & Emotional Learning and Counselor at The Langley School

It’s always amazing how, in a blink of an eye, August is upon us and we are gearing up for the transition back to school. Of course, the start of school brings excitement as children look forward to seeing their friends, meeting their teachers, and beginning a new adventure. However, this transition can also yield a great deal of anxiety for children, adolescents, and parents alike. The transition to early mornings, structure, separation from home, new friends, and homework can all elicit feelings of anxiety, frustration, and even dread. Importantly, these feelings are very typical and are experienced by many students across the Arc of Development. In an effort to ease the transition and begin to prepare our students (and ourselves!) for the return to school, below are some helpful tips and strategies for students and families. Continue reading

Benefit for Tuition-Paying Parents in 2017 Tax Reform

By Greg Bokman, Chief Financial Officer, The Langley School

Exciting news from the CFO’s desk! I’m Greg Bokman, and I joined The Langley School’s administrative team about a year ago as the CFO following four years at Washington International School and a number of years in the for-profit world.

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Thank You to a Remarkable Community with a History of Giving

by Jennifer Graham, Co-Chair of Langley’s Day of Giving and Parent of Langley Students in Grades 6 and 8

There are several phrases that are often used to describe The Langley School: great community, motivated and poised students, commitment to service learning. As I have worked on the planning and execution of Langley’s first-ever Week of Giving and Day of Giving, I have had the privilege of seeing all these phrases come to life, and this has served as a great reminder of the special place Langley is.

Almost one year ago, Langley’s 75th Anniversary Committee began brainstorming how to best celebrate this milestone birthday year. As the conversation unfolded, the committee began reflecting on the rich tradition of service that has been woven throughout Langley’s history. This led to the decision that a celebratory event focused on service had to be on the calendar. And so, the Week of Giving, culminating in a Day of Giving, was born. We had big dreams for creating a way for our community to serve together, and at every turn, every sector of our community has far exceeded those expectations. Continue reading

The Arc of Musical Development at Langley

By Chuck Schmidt, Instrumental Music Teacher and Band Director

In November, I had a moment when it really hit me how fortunate I am to be part of the music program at The Langley School. I started to write some recommendation letters for eighth-graders and updated my typical opening sentence to: “In this, my 25th year at The Langley School….” For 25 years, I have been part of a wonderful team of performing arts teachers, helping students of every age have fun making music. Because I also set up sound and lights for most of our performances, I also get to see and hear students younger than the ones I typically teach share their music in performances as well.

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You Should Expect More Than a Well-Constructed Writing Assignment from Your Kindergartner

By Stephie Meadows, Kindergarten Teacher at The Langley School

Writer’s Workshop publishing parties are among the most exciting milestones for our kindergartners. Our classrooms buzz with excitement as students eagerly await their turn to wiggle onto the share stool and proudly present their published book to the class. The writing they share has been carefully selected after weeks of brainstorming, peer editing, re-reading, and “fancying up” for this anticipated event. Our kindergartners are guided through the true writing process and learn to successfully plan, edit, and prepare an original piece of work that is then bound into their very own book.

I’m always struck by the growth I see from one publishing celebration to the next. Students begin the year sharing a simple story with scarce letters on a page and transform within just a few short months into confident, capable authors. Our end-of-the-year party reveals five- and six-page “how-to” manuals that students have thoughtfully constructed to serve as a teaching guide for their friends. Students listen carefully as their classmates’ books teach topics such as how to make a pizza or how to be a sneaky little brother. These stories elicit many oohs, ahhs, and laughs from teachers and peers alike. Continue reading