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

Perspectives on Coding: A Conversation with Ms. Laura Dixon, Technology and Innovation Teacher

What exactly is the “Hour of Code?”

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code,” to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with one-hour coding activities and expanding to all sorts of community efforts.

The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week, which is typically the first week of December. The Hour of Code has now become a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Langley students of all ages have participated in the Hour of Code each year since 2014. To learn more, visit https://hourofcode.com.

 

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How Do I Know If My Child Is Ready for a Cell Phone? (and Much More)

by Kristi Graninger, Langley parent and PALS (Parents Association of Langley) Speakers Committee Member

This is just one of many questions parents are asking themselves these days. As parents of digital natives, technology has introduced so many “firsts” for us to navigate as our children get older and gain independence.

As part of the The Langley School’s commitment to parent education and partnering together as we raise children, we were fortunate to have Dr. Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World and founder of Raising Digital Natives, speak to parents last week. Dr. Heitner talked about how digital habits are formed when children are young and what we can do as parents to ensure healthy behaviors now and into adulthood. Below are just a few of Dr. Heitner’s tips from the session that we wanted to share.

Tips from PALS Speaker Dr. Devorah Heitner (excerpted from her recent newsletter)

  1. Set respectful rules of engagement.

Sharing pictures of your kids takes control away from them. The same goes for updates about them in your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feed. Luckily, there’s a simple rule: Ask their permission! Asking your kids before sharing teaches them that you respect them and their privacy. What’s more, this practice brings up the opportunity to discuss boundaries with your children. Set up some rules. Every single member of the family should be on the same page about posting or sharing images of other family members.  

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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

Summer Is Like Childhood

By Dr. Elinor Scully, Head of School

“Summer is like childhood. It passes too fast. But if you’re lucky, it gives you warm memories from which you take strength in the cold days ahead. Summer is also like childhood, in that you may not think what you are doing matters very much while you are doing it, but later you realize it mattered far more than you knew.” -from The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness by Edward Hallowell

I was blessed early in my educational career to hear Dr. Ned Hallowell speak on the topic of childhood and raising authentically engaged, happy, and healthy young adults. I certainly didn’t know it at the time, but Dr. Hallowell put me on an educational journey as a teacher that ultimately resulted in my coming to lead The Langley School, a place with a mission at the heart of what I believe is most essential in education, and frankly, in life. Continue reading

Can We Make More Hours in a Day?

by Phil Petru, Assistant Head of School

I am sure you have thought to yourself, maybe more than once, “I wish I had more hours in the day.” I know I have. While balancing both personal and professional responsibilities, many times I find myself wondering, “Where has this day gone?”

I wish I had more hours in the day

I can tell you from personal experience that teachers are always trying to find new and innovative ways to maximize the instructional minutes during the school day. Excellent schools, like The Langley School, look for ways to balance the academic program (math, language arts, social studies, science, and specials) with our students’ well-being (structured and unstructured times for student interactions such as lunch, breaks, and recess). Though school schedules might look simple, they are really complex road maps that truly impact teachers’ decisions about their instruction. The length of the class period, the time of the class during the day (morning or afternoon), and the sequence of classes (does it come before or after lunch or recess?) during the day are just some of the considerations that teachers think about when planning lessons.

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Third-Graders Discover the “Real” America by Mail

by Shari Bozorgzad, Grade 3 Teacher

In February, we asked our third-grade students, “How can we research the unique qualities of each state in our nation?” We got the typical responses such as, “We could check out books from the library or look up information on the Internet.” I love that our students know where to find information, but I was looking for something a little more unusual.

Before coming to Langley, I had witnessed a project that I thought would be perfect for our third-graders. I explained to our students that the best way to learn about a city, town, or state is to get firsthand information from the residents. In order to solicit this firsthand feedback, our third-graders sent letters to several small-town newspapers in each state, asking residents to help them learn more about their state by sending postcards, maps, photos, souvenirs, and other useful information.

 Just one week later, I returned to my classroom after lunch to find my chair full of packages.

We received various items from across the country, including an original painting from an 83-year-old Mississippi man that depicted the Natchez Trace Parkway and a sample of cotton from a Mississippi woman’s family farm with a note telling of the fond memories she had of picking cotton as a little girl.

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