A Graduate’s Reflections for the Class of 2020

by Claire Coker ’19

While it is unfortunate we’ve had to make adjustments due to the present pandemic that include online school and modified end-of-year celebrations, I cannot express enough empathy for The Langley School’s graduating class of 2020. Continue reading

A Day in the Life of Three Langley Teachers During Distance Learning

A Special Thank You During Teacher Appreciation Week

During this time of distance learning, The Langley School’s students, parents, and teachers are balancing new ways of working, learning, and interacting as they partner to bring the Langley experience to life from home. In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, we salute our amazing faculty for their flexibility, creativity, and dedication as they adjust to this new method of teaching while providing our students with meaningful, engaging lessons. Continue reading

Reading: How It Shapes All of Us

By Jessica Robinson, Grade 3 Teacher and Language Arts Co-Department Chair at The Langley School, and Parent of Three Langley Students

“All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.” -E.B. White

Reading is not a chore, an obligation, or an assignment; it is a window into our understanding of the world.

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What Do Your Kids Do After School from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.?

By LaToya Needham, Director of Extended Day

I hear many parents evaluating and considering what is best for their child after school between the critical hours of 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. The end of the school day hits and parents consider things like: 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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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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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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What Is Social-Emotional Learning Anyway…and Why Does It Matter?

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

What’s all the buzz about SEL?

The term social-emotional learning (SEL) has become ubiquitous in the field of education. SEL also dominates the mainstream media, with articles peppering news sources about the role of SEL in the classroom. Just last week, the D.C. Schools chancellor, Antwan Wilson, argued that students need to feel “loved, challenged, and prepared” and shared his vision for bringing an increased focus on social-emotional learning into the District’s classrooms.

Despite the intense current interest in the topic, the term social-emotional learning is not new. In fact, it has been a widely used term since the late 1990s. Definitions of the term typically include references to intrapersonal (e.g., self-awareness and self-management) and interpersonal (e.g., social awareness and relationship skills) competence. However, there is not one agreed upon definition and many differ on exactly what skills SEL entails. Continue reading

A Different Kind of Conversation at My Parent/Teacher Conferences

by Devon Davidson, Grade 5 Teacher

This week, I’ll have the pleasure of meeting with the fifth-grade parents to discuss their children’s progress during parent/teacher conferences. Spring conferences are my favorite discussions, as they’re focused on the progress each student has made, and my hopes for their sixth-grade transition. The conferences also kick off the emotional unwinding of the end of a school year. Every school year is a fluctuation of progress, but teachers, students, and families begin to see the overall linear line of growth toward the end of the year. This is why at conferences I’ll be focusing on growth of character, independence, and resiliency, as opposed to growth in grades. Over the past month, my fifth-graders embarked on their greatest challenge of the year — an inquiry-based project on Egypt from our social studies class — and their success was not marked by a grade, but rather by an empowered sense of self.

Taking the First Step Toward Growth
I started our inquiry project by telling the students they might feel uncomfortable and frustrated, but that we needed to learn to embrace frustration in order to grow and build our problem-solving skills. From the perspective of a fifth-grader, an inquiry project can feel unsupported, unguided, and as if their teacher has abandoned them. Breaking from the structures of detailed rubrics, graphic organizers, and step-by-step directions can be overwhelming and scary.

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Performing with Joy

by Sheila Malcolm, Music Teacher

When it comes to my youngest students, musical performances are much more about showcasing their joyful exuberance than achieving a “perfect” show. And that joy is what parents saw last week during our Primary School spiral unit performance, “Let’s Go to the Zoo.” It was a true reflection of what the children learned in class, rather than a staged show. My aim was to create a safe and fun environment in which even the shyest of children felt comfortable.

Our performance reflected the culmination of a month-long study of age-appropriate, zoo-themed activities undertaken by each Primary School grade across subjects, including P.E., Spanish, technology, library, and of course, music. It represented a genuine team effort, not only from the faculty, but also from the children as they learned how important it was to work together, be considerate of others, and always strive to do their best in order to make their performance successful.

The songs and movement activities were chosen with great care to ensure they were age-appropriate and enjoyable for the children. There were lions roaring, kangaroos hopping, penguins waddling, elephants trumpeting, and monkeys playing, just to name a few. The songs were also linked to their classroom studies. For example, the junior kindergarten classes learned about how the welfare and well-being of the animals was important, so one of their songs was about the training requirements and work responsibilities of a zoo veterinarian. The kindergarten classes learned about how zoos help endangered species, so one of their songs was about the gorilla. They also learned how to differentiate between a monkey and an ape.

Musically, much of what was seen on stage was a direct reflection of skills the children had learned in music class. They played their instruments to a steady beat, used dynamics in the songs, learned about verse and refrain, focused on keeping together by listening to others, learned to recognize and listen for phrases in music, and learned how to count beats and listen to musical cues for their choreography and dances.

Performing in front of an audience, no matter how scary for some, helps build the confidence our students will need to flourish in the wider world. We’ll see this growing confidence on display on stage in the coming weeks as our first-graders take us Down Under to Australia, our second-graders give their “Coming to America” performance, and our Middle Schoolers present the musical, “Willy Wonka.”