The Power of an All-Girls School

Our senior leaders reflected on what an all-girls education means to them during our All School Opening Assembly in September.  Click to watch our compilation and read below to enjoy each girl’s individual speech.

 

Zoya Siddiqui ’19, Senior Class President
“When I was four and my parents were parading me around schools, trying to decide which one I would attend in the fall, the question was never whether or not I should go to an all-girls school, the question was which one? Fourteen years ago, my parents already knew something I have only recently had the joy in discovering, which is that all-girl schools are magical. Right now, we are in a land where we can be whatever we want, not despite the fact we’re girls, but because of it. We can be scientists, and musicians, and athletes, and even president. That isn’t true everywhere, but it is true at Baldwin.”  Click to watch her full speech.

Alexa Diecidue ’19, Student Senate Head
“I’ve been a part of the Baldwin community since I was just 4 years old in Pre-K. I’ve grown up in the hallways and classrooms of our school, so I am the direct product of an all-girls education. My parents decided to send me here as opposed to a coed institution because of the unique supportive environment that an all-female community creates.  They loved that I would be able to succeed and push myself without any boys dominating my classes or distracting me from my education. To them, the Baldwin experience would show their daughter that she can be an independent woman and never have to rely on anyone in her future. Her dreams would be more than possible to accomplish, and not one person would be able to step in her way. Now in my 14th year at Baldwin, I can attest that my parents’ wishes came true 100%, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.”  Click to watch her full speech.

Juliet Paiva ’19, Service League
“Some things can go wrong, but we always can work together to solve the problem and have fun doing so. The all-girls environment at Baldwin allows us to be fearless when faced with adversity. We have the self-confidence to strive for success even when it seems pretty improbable. We are unafraid to share ideas, experiment, and create.”  Click to watch her full speech.

 

Lauren Bracken ’19, Athletics Association
“When I first came to Baldwin in 7th grade, coming from a co-ed environment, I honestly was a little hesitant to enter an all-girls school. Now, I feel that coming here is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Being a part of an all-girls environment has allowed me to grow to my full potential in and outside of the classroom. The atmosphere in the classrooms at Baldwin are incomparable. You gain the confidence and capability to do anything. You are able to voice your opinions without the fear of being shut down. And you have countless opportunities to create your own path based on who you are.

An all-girls environment in the Athletics has definitely been a plus with my time at Baldwin. It puts all the attention and focus on girls’ sports. There are no Friday Night Lights here where everyone supports the boys football team. Instead everyone comes to watch the swim meet at winter spirit night or the tennis and field hockey games at homecoming.”  Click to watch her full speech.

Alissa Liu ’19, Arts League
“I joined this family as a freshman seedling. Growing up, I was surrounded by the general stigma that visual thinkers, especially visual artists, cannot thrive in this society; that visual thinkers are only able become good drawers, and are unable to excel in other fields. I heard jokes such as females can pursue art “only if they marry rich businessmen!”. It was as if the elements that made me “me” were the weights hindering my growth. But being a part of an institution where girls are celebrated to become leaders, speak their minds, and live up to their differences made me realize that my potential can only be as great as I allow it to become. I’m here today because this community gave me the incentive to continuously challenge, try, and discover how I can translate my creative visions into reality through leadership.” Click to watch her full speech.

Mathematics and Feminism

DSC_0264Mathematics teacher Cynthia Schmalzried received the Reed Fellowship, endowed by Marjorie Reed ’39, honoring Excellence in Teaching.  During spring break she traveled to England to study the history of women in Mathematics at the University of Cambridge and Bletchley Park. 

“Well, to tell the truth, ladies are of no use in these cases, “ he began.  It was just the sort of statement sure to rouse my ire in the ‘70s, when I was a young college student, convinced that feminism had been invented by the women of my generation.

Actually, the comment is from the ‘70s—the 1870s, that is, when two students from Girton College outside Cambridge, England, approached Captain Shaw, the chief of the London Fire Brigade, for advice on organizing their own fire brigade at Girton.  The captain was won over fairly quickly and agreed to train the “girls” of Girton, “after one of us had climbed a ladder just to show what we could do.”

These quotes are from an article in the Daily Sketch, July 26, 1919, written by Hertha Ayrton, at that time the only woman member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, recalling her college days (1876 – 1880) at Girton.  I found the article in the Girton Archives, during my research trip this spring break to London and the University of Cambridge.   Ayrton goes on to say:  “The heroine of our time was Miss Charlotte Angas Scott, the first woman Wrangler, who was Eighth Wrangler in 1880.  She came up to Cambridge with almost no mathematical preparation, and what mathematical knowledge she had was practically self-taught, but from the first she was miles ahead of us all.  I remember thinking that the very way she turned over the leaves of a mathematical book showed a sort of mastery.”

At Cambridge, students were ranked according to their performance on end-of-term exams, with the Senior Wrangler placing first and others falling in line.  Scott was the first woman even allowed to take the exams, and although her score was the eighth-highest, she was not given the title or allowed to attend the awards ceremony.  Her accomplishment was celebrated, however.  The hand-written letters and notes I was able to view at Girton contain these excerpts:

Great triumph at Girton over Miss Scott being equal to 8th Wrangler.
Aunts Carry and E. D. are in rapture. 

A little before 6 we assembled in Hall and cheer after cheer resounded thro’ the room.  At nine we formed an avenue in Hall up which Miss Scott was conducted by Miss Welsh whilst we sang ‘See the conquering hero comes.’  Then followed hurrahs and cheers.  Miss Herschel mounted a platform and recited some verses composed for the occasion by Miss Welsh, at the close of which Miss Scott was crowned with laurel.  We next sang college songs.  Our Wrangler bore all her honour remarkably well.  I’m sure some of us were near crying.

It was wonderful, and I mean that literally, to see letters written at the time and to be fully steeped in the life of the students at Girton, which was founded in 1869 as the first residential college for women in Britain.   My interest in the project originated two years ago, when four Baldwin students and four Baldwin teachers formed a math/history collaboration to add “herstory” to the history-of-mathematics timeline.   We gave an evening presentation as part of the Consortium Dinner Seminars involving Baldwin, Agnes Irwin, Haverford, and Shipley.  There was some skepticism in the beginning—were there enough women mathematicians to merit an entire evening?!?—but of course our biggest issue turned out be narrowing down the field from the hundreds of women pioneers in math to the 20 for 20 (twenty women working in the twentieth century) whom we researched.

This is how we discovered the role of three important colleges for women: Cambridge Colleges Girton and Newnham (Mrs. Powell’s alma mater, established in 1871) and our own Bryn Mawr College, the first college in the United States granting graduate degrees to women.  In the first half of the twentieth century, these were home base for the most important women mathematicians, and in many cases, for women who came to be known as the most important mathematicians, period, of the 20th century.

The common link was Charlotte Angas Scott.  Scott was a pioneer in every sense.  In spite of her considerable achievement on the Mathematics exams, she was unable to obtain a degree at Cambridge (which did not grant membership or degrees to women until 1948!).  Undeterred, in 1885 she became the first British woman to obtain a doctoral degree in mathematics, which she earned at the University of London.  She returned to Girton as a lecturer but, dissatisfied with the salary arrangements, she left in 1885 and traveled alone across the ocean to the United States, where she was a founding faculty member of Bryn Mawr College.  She chaired the Mathematics Department there, teaching undergraduates and advising doctoral students over the next forty years, before retiring at last to her beloved Cambridge.

In the meantime, Bryn Mawr flourished as a center of Mathematics, and the World Wars provided occasions for women to excel, as we see in the currently popular shows and movies about Bletchley Park.  Still, it was only in 2014 that the first woman, Maryam Mirzakhani, was awarded the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in Mathematics.  As Baldwin senior Madison Dawkins has pointed out in her speaker series, we are “not equal yet.”   I thoroughly enjoyed my days at Girton this spring, in spite of the cold and rainy weather and Girton’s relatively remote location (it was built outside of Cambridge city center to keep the girls sheltered from bad influences), and I am grateful to Mrs. Reed for the Fellowship and to Hannah Westall, Archivist at Girton, who did an outstanding job providing me with materials.   I am hopeful that our students will profit from the determination and grit of these early math pioneers.  They did it, and so can we!

March:  A Month of Endless Possibilities

Written by guest blogger and Director of College Counseling Sara Shapiro Harberson

harbinson 3 headshotMarch is a time of new beginnings and rebirth.  I still remember reading William Wordsworth’s poem, “Written in March,” during the spring of my senior year of high school.  It had been a trying year, and I clung to his words as a sign of hope and opportunity:

There’s joy in the mountains;
There’s life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;

I am reminded that our seniors are in a similarly apprehensive yet optimistic stage as many of them are waiting for college decisions to be released at the end of the month.  It is not uncommon for students to have doubts at this time just as adults get nervous right before a momentous event in their lives or careers.  Some students second guess their college lists right about now.   But I would encourage the girls to hold that list close to their heart; it is both deeply personal and aspirational.  I would tell girls that in many ways, it represents who you were, who you are, and who you want to be.  Do not ever be ashamed of the list or the final outcomes of each college on that list.  Let it guide you for this next stage of your life and beyond.

When the dust settles, and our girls have heard from all of the colleges, we then pounce on them.  We ask them, “Where are you going?”  It is a fair question.  Our society is focused on end results.  Part of my job is delivering those results.  However, I like to think that the end result is not the college a student gets into, but the person they become.  I once mentioned to my husband that even though I do not deal with life and death like he does as a physician, I feel like I play a pivotal role in my students’ experiences and future.  I admitted to him that it was a heavy responsibility at times.  He quickly responded that our professions of education and medicine had more in common than one would think.  He told me that when he started his medical training he thought too much about life and death—and death more than life because of the enormity of his role as a caregiver.  He mentioned that when we focus on end results, we miss the moments that define us.

As we come together as a community during challenging and trying times, I would ask us to reframe our questions to seniors, and frankly, to all of our girls looking towards the future.  Instead of asking them where they are going we could ask, “What will be your legacy?”  Because as much as we focus on the name of a college, it is what we take advantage of when we are there that matters most.  One of the most important things to remember about getting into college is that it is just the first step of this next phase of life.  We want our girls to be active, engaged, and impactful learners and leaders.  The name of a college won’t do that for them, but their engagement there will.

I am not unrealistic about the college process.  I know that name brands are important.  But results are shallow and uninspiring if there is not a story to go with it.  I challenge our girls to think more about what impact they will have in college rather than where that college ranks on any list.  I challenge them to write their own story of impact because that is proof of a life fulfilled.

March:  A Month of Endless Possibilities

Written by guest blogger and Director of College Counseling Sara Shapiro Harberson

harbinson 3 headshotMarch is a time of new beginnings and rebirth.  I still remember reading William Wordsworth’s poem, “Written in March,” during the spring of my senior year of high school.  It had been a trying year, and I clung to his words as a sign of hope and opportunity:

There’s joy in the mountains;
There’s life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;

I am reminded that our seniors are in a similarly apprehensive yet optimistic stage as many of them are waiting for college decisions to be released at the end of the month.  It is not uncommon for students to have doubts at this time just as adults get nervous right before a momentous event in their lives or careers.  Some students second guess their college lists right about now.   But I would encourage the girls to hold that list close to their heart; it is both deeply personal and aspirational.  I would tell girls that in many ways, it represents who you were, who you are, and who you want to be.  Do not ever be ashamed of the list or the final outcomes of each college on that list.  Let it guide you for this next stage of your life and beyond.

When the dust settles, and our girls have heard from all of the colleges, we then pounce on them.  We ask them, “Where are you going?”  It is a fair question.  Our society is focused on end results.  Part of my job is delivering those results.  However, I like to think that the end result is not the college a student gets into, but the person they become.  I once mentioned to my husband that even though I do not deal with life and death like he does as a physician, I feel like I play a pivotal role in my students’ experiences and future.  I admitted to him that it was a heavy responsibility at times.  He quickly responded that our professions of education and medicine had more in common than one would think.  He told me that when he started his medical training he thought too much about life and death—and death more than life because of the enormity of his role as a caregiver.  He mentioned that when we focus on end results, we miss the moments that define us.

As we come together as a community during challenging and trying times, I would ask us to reframe our questions to seniors, and frankly, to all of our girls looking towards the future.  Instead of asking them where they are going we could ask, “What will be your legacy?”  Because as much as we focus on the name of a college, it is what we take advantage of when we are there that matters most.  One of the most important things to remember about getting into college is that it is just the first step of this next phase of life.  We want our girls to be active, engaged, and impactful learners and leaders.  The name of a college won’t do that for them, but their engagement there will.

I am not unrealistic about the college process.  I know that name brands are important.  But results are shallow and uninspiring if there is not a story to go with it.  I challenge our girls to think more about what impact they will have in college rather than where that college ranks on any list.  I challenge them to write their own story of impact because that is proof of a life fulfilled.

MS Diversity Conference: Removing Our Masks

Written by guest blogger Celia Page ’19

Celia PageOn March 11, I had the amazing opportunity to attend the MS Diversity Conference.  Schools from the Northeast region gathered in The Haverford School’s theatre, excited for the day ahead.  Reading through the itinerary, I became more and more curious about the day’s activities.  Introductions and welcomes were made by the Diversity Coordinators of various schools and it was finally time to start the day.

One of the most notable parts of the day was listening to the keynote speaker, Doctor Michael Fowlin.  While he had many interesting points, the recurring theme was “wearing masks”.   During his presentation he slipped in and out of many, seemingly different characters. The reality is, they were very similar; they all wore some sort of mask.  All of the characters Dr. Fowlin portrayed were afraid to show their friends and family who they really were.  They did not want to show their differences. In today’s society being different is sometimes frowned upon. He suggests there is a cloud of “expectations” that hangs over our heads. Dr. Fowlin challenged the concept of living up to people’s expectations.  Why should there even be standards or expectations for how people live?  This was a very relevant question during Dr. Fowlin’s presentation.  Dr. Fowlin’s presentation was intriguing, enjoyable and very important to our conversations on diversity in the world today.

Following Dr. Fowlin’s presentation, the students were divided into small groups to begin discussions relating to his performance. I was eager to hear the different opinions in my group as well as voice my own. My group was quiet but thoughtful.  After discussions, we had lunch and then went to watch a video.  The video was of three girls who challenged gender inequality, racial inequality and the idea of thinking differently.  Following the short video, we met up with our discussion groups to talk about the main concepts from the video.  Once again, I enjoyed giving my opinions and seeing how they differed from others in the group.  Overall, I had an amazing time at the Diversity Conference.  Not only was the MS Diversity Conference a fun experience but it was a learning experience as well.

I never really thought about wearing a “mask” to hide my differences.  It made me think of who I really am and I how I portray myself.  Also, I learned that something needs to be done about gender inequality, racial inequality and bullying.  That change starts with us.  People are judged by the color of their skin,religion, gender and often by their thoughts.  People are bullied for being different when the fact of the matter is, every single person is different.  It’s ok to be different, it would be quite boring if we were all the same. In addition, a simple smile and kindness can change a person’s life.  We need to be advocates for changing the way people judge others.  I plan to take the information I learned at the MS Diversity Conference and bring it back to Baldwin.  We have a great Baldwin community that is very welcoming, but there is always room for growth.  Next year, I want to be a facilitator at the MS Diversity Conference because of the knowledge it has provided me with and the experiences I had there.

The Privilege and Responsibility of the Athletic Educational Partnership

deb_4_webWritten by guest blogger and Director of Athletics, Deb Surgi

Many years ago, I saw a film called ‘7Up’, a British documentary which focused on the lives of several children who were all seven years old. A second documentary focused on the same children at age 14. Seven years later, the filmmaker released a third documentary which featured the same children, now as twenty-one year old adults. In all, there were six documentaries, each focusing on the incremental changes of the children’s lives, as measured by seven year spans, until they were 42 years old.

The film series revealed that the unique personality and character of each child, evident at age seven, formed the basis of the adult each became. The child who was empathetic at seven became an adult in a service profession; the child who suffered anger and fear at seven became an adult who manifested hatred and bigotry. It’s as if the filmmaker brought to life a line from a Wordsworth’s poem, “The child is father of the man,” an observation that I’ve kept in front of me during my career as an administrator, teacher and coach.

Educators hold a great privilege and a great responsibility. They meet children at an early age, acknowledge young talent and character, and begin the process of assisting to create the person each child will become. Clearly, teachers provide students with an academic education, but they also, and more importantly, provide a moral and ethical education. Teachers bring their own personhood to their students; they communicate values; and they model adulthood. They, indeed, exert a profound influence on the yet unformed adults even when most are unaware. And how does this happen? How does an educator make so profound an impact sometime between seven and 42, or, as we do in independent schools, between three and 18 years of age?

Unlike Michael Apted’s documentaries, educators do not usually see the final unfolding of students’ lives. They do not witness the young mathematician become chairman of the Federal Reserve nor the young actor become a Shakespearean legend nor the young athlete become a record-breaking champion. Instead, they see the day-to-day formation of personality, the slow unfolding of character and the mere foundation of adulthood. They see today’s conflict resolution take root for tomorrow’s solutions. They see today’s small act of service lay the groundwork for tomorrow’s wider commitment to generosity. They see only incremental glimmers of the adult-to-be. Yet, herein lies the passion.

I believe educational athletics is a rich learning field and mimics many of our societal structures.  Athletic programs provide those opportunities for the unfolding of character. In athletics our communities not just our student athletes are tested. Athletics is part business, part education and part sport.

I have found the most rewarding moments of my career in education to be those when students experienced uncertainty, anxiety, fear or frustration but were challenged to overcome these by drawing on the skills, support and training their school provided. These are moments when “credible” teachers, coaches and administrators challenge, instruct, listen, inspire and create classrooms, fields, courts and environments where young people may succeed or fail safely. These are moments that take time and which form the slow emergence of talent and character that I referenced above. When I consider new coaches my goal is to hire coaches who are character based, competent, committed, caring, confidence builders, communicators and consistent, as referenced in ‘The Seven Secrets of Successful Coaches’ by Jeff Janssen M.S. and Greg Dale, Ph.D.

I believe athletic programs should also provide a wide variety of athletic experiences, but to also help each student athlete and each team reach a high level of success. Student athletes should be given opportunities to develop their personal management and leadership skills, self-esteem, cooperation and team work, values, coping skills, sportsmanship, and physical fitness while being well instructed and motivated to strive for excellence.
I believe Athletic Programs should be a locus:

  • Of Play
  • Of Recreation
  • Of Training for life long fitness and competition
  • Of Cross divisional interaction
  • Of Volunteerism and outreach
  • A Place where athletes and the school community can experience hard losses and unforgettable victories
  • A Place to compete at a high level
  • A Place to learn about strengths and weaknesses
  • A Place of history and pride
  • A Place to make new friends and socialize

I believe as many do, that athletic programs can unite a community and transcend, race, socioeconomic background, religious differences, political differences and gender to name a few.  This was certainly evidenced in the national bestseller, ‘How Soccer Explains the World’ by Franklin Foer.

The experience of a student athlete in sport depends on all three parties, the athlete, the coach, and the athlete’s parent, all living out their part effectively. While athletics certainly can bring out the best and worst behavior with all groups, we need to work for the best even during times of disagreement or through a student athlete’s disappointment.

One of the choices student athletes and parents are often faced with is “specializing” or “concentrating” on one sport. I acknowledge that the three sport athlete may be a thing of the past but I do encourage cross training, this allows for an even deeper understanding of team concept and commitment. It is the one time in a young person’s life to enjoy diverse activities and working with their school peer group. There will be plenty of time to specialize at the collegiate level if that is an option.

The responsibility that leaders in athletics partnered with their school communities and parents of student athletes have is enormous and powerful. I believe that coaching is teaching and it is a mission driven field. The respect of young people is primary and secondary to that is the method of athletic instruction. Athletics is still an effective life learning model and I remain energized by all of the educational and outreach opportunities that are possible in a bold, student centered athletic program. So what place does athletics have in an academic institution? “And his ways of contending are intellectual, and they’re strategic, and they’re political and they’re athletic. And so it seems to me that that would actually be at the foundation of it-it’s the image of excellence” The Odyssey, Homer.

Experiencing the Culture of Puerto Rico

Written by guest blogger and Grade VIII student Alexandra Phelan ’19

IMG_4604As a middle schooler, I love taking every opportunity I can to spend time with my friends.  As a  Baldwin middle schooler, however, I’d love to be able to learn something while doing that. That’s where the Puerto Rico trip comes in. Every February, spanish students in seventh and eighth grade have the opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico to practice their spanish and get a feel for the culture.  When I found out about it as a Lower Schooler, I absolutely couldn’t wait until I could participate, because it sounded like the best trip ever. I can safely say after two years of going on the best trip ever that I was not disappointed.

On Thursday, February 12 at around 6 in the morning, we pulled out of our driveway on the way to Philadelphia International Airport. We arrived and I joined my friends and classmates as we eagerly waited for everyone to arrive so we could go through security.  Our School Ids were collected and our tickets passed out, so we made our way to the gate. One three-hour plane ride later, and we were in sunny and warm Puerto Rico. We quickly changed into shorts and t-shirts, and went to meet our tour guide, Christian.  When he gave us instructions, he would say them half in spanish, so we used the words we already knew and some context clues to figure it out.  We boarded the bus and got on our way immediately, since we had a busy weekend ahead of us.  We drove from San Juan to the second largest city, Ponce, which is in the south.  When we arrived, we went to straight to a salsa lesson, where we all had a great time trying to follow our instructor’s fast feet. After checking into the hotel and changing for dinner, Christian told us that Carnival was a big deal in Ponce, and that it would be in full swing tonight. We walked out of the hotel to be greeted by people in masks, lots of food vendors, and people singing and dancing on a huge stage in the middle of the town square.  We took the long way to and from the restaurant so that we could take it all in.  We also had an opportunity to practice our spanish while ordering ice cream for dessert. We all fell asleep that night to the music still playing at Carnival, exhausted but excited for the next day.

The next morning, we boarded the bus early and headed towards Boquerón, the beach where we would be spending the morning.  We jumped into the warm water, a welcome change from the freezing temperatures in Philadelphia.  After three hours of swimming away from seaweed, listening to music, and playing with a beach ball, we walked around the town before finding the restaurant where we would be eating lunch. We finished the delicious meal and departed for our second hotel. That night, we got on a boat and headed off for what everyone was really waiting for, the bioluminescent bay. On our way there, we stopped in a small little bay where Tito, a fisherman, showed us a bunch of the animals he encounters every day.  There were so many different animals, some we had never heard of, and some that we knew and loved (like the octopus that is now infamous among the eighth graders for inking on one of us last year). After that, it was significantly darker, so we got back on the boat and went into the bay.  There are only 5 bioluminescent bays in the world, and three of them are in Puerto Rico. We put on our life jackets and jumped into the water. It had to be really dark to see the glow, so we swam into an opening under the boat. When we moved our arms and legs the water glowed.  It looked like someone poured glitter into the water. We were completely in awe of how incredible nature could be.  We climbed back onto the boat, still shimmering from the glowing organisms. On the way back, we all sat on the top deck stargazing, still too amazed to speak. When we docked, the night wasn’t over yet. While we got to participate in Salsa the night before, it was now our turn to watch other people dance.  We were shown many different dances that were drawn from many different influences and all of them were a big part of Puerto Rican culture and history.  It was very fun to watch and we learned a lot without even realizing it. We went to sleep once again exhausted, but there was even more to come.

The next morning, it was time for us to go to the rainforest El Yunque. We had to switch buses because our original one was too big to go into the forest. We went to the visitor’s center and read all about the forest and Christian told us about some of the animals and plants we could find there. Later, when we went hiking, we saw some of them in person! During our hike we went to a waterfall, which we all took turns swimming under.  It was freezing cold but its definitely something I’ll never forget.  By that time, it was around noon and we had lunch in the rainforest.  We enjoyed our meal with smoothies while sitting at a counter that overlooked the entire rainforest.  We could see all the way to the ocean and it was absolutely breathtaking.  While we were eating, it started pouring rain, which was expected since we were in the rain forest, but we were a little shocked when we arrived at our hotel and it was still raining.  Because of that, we couldn’t go to the beach or pool like we had planned but instead we got to spend time with our friends inside the hotel. During dinner later that night, we took time to think about all that we had learned over the past few days.  Our spanish speaking had gotten a lot better, we learned about traditions and the culture of Puerto Rico, and we got to form even stronger friendships with our classmates.

The next day was our last and all of us were extremely sad to leave, but since our plane didn’t leave until seven, we still had the morning and afternoon.  We drove to San Juan, and we drove past a lot of beautiful murals which Christian told us about.  We stopped in Pińones, a village where the African influences in Puerto Rico are very strong.  We walked along the beach and took in the view on our way to our final lunch.  We got to try coconut water from coconuts that were sliced open right in front of us, which made it even more fun to drink. We went into San Juan and took a tour of Fort San Cristobal, which was an important military base for many years before it became the museum that it is today.  Going on this tour taught us about the military history of Puerto Rico, and taught us in a different way than the other parts of the trip have. When we finished the tour, we walked along the streets, shopping and taking in the warmth and pastel colored houses, since we would be whisked back to the cold in only a few hours.  Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and the time of our flight came.  We said our goodbyes to Christian and the others who helped him for the few days. Three hours later we were home in Pennsylvania.

This trip was without a doubt one of my favorite memories from my entire Baldwin experience.  We learned many things that we can use in all of our classrooms, not just spanish class. There was a little bit of culture shock at first, but the friendliness from everyone we met melted away our inhibitions. I’ll never forget those wonderful four days, and the things I’ve learned will stay with me forever.

Producing Baldwin's First Lower School Art opening

Written by guest blogger and Lower School Art Teacher Andre Teixeira

Baldwin2013_138It is quite simply an honor for me to have the opportunity to produce Baldwin’s first Lower School Art Opening featuring artworks from students in Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade. Creativity is a major building block of child development. As the Lower School art teacher at Baldwin, I am truly thrilled to help bring art education, in a safe and welcoming classroom atmosphere, to our young and talented students.

By molding Lower School Art into both an academic and a studio-based program, the curriculum allows our young girls to reinforce learning from a visual perspective as they develop a wide range of skills. Lower School Art focuses on helping Baldwin girls understand each other as well as building connections between art and other core subjects. From acquiring basic skills to engaging in advanced processes including scroll painting, printmaking, and sculpting, we work on building connections through understanding and making art inspired by different artists, styles, movements, and world cultures.

It is one of my primary objectives to teach students to acquire a range of necessary skills. As our Baldwin girls grow and develop through each grade level, I work on enhancing skills that contribute to the development of each girl, including developing personal interests and gaining leadership qualities.  Creativity is a form of leadership; and a well-developed art program supports Baldwin’s mission to teach our girls to become their own leaders. That is the beauty of Baldwin and the arts, and I am deeply honored to be a part of it.

Producing Baldwin’s First Lower School Art opening

Written by guest blogger and Lower School Art Teacher Andre Teixeira

Baldwin2013_138It is quite simply an honor for me to have the opportunity to produce Baldwin’s first Lower School Art Opening featuring artworks from students in Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade. Creativity is a major building block of child development. As the Lower School art teacher at Baldwin, I am truly thrilled to help bring art education, in a safe and welcoming classroom atmosphere, to our young and talented students.

By molding Lower School Art into both an academic and a studio-based program, the curriculum allows our young girls to reinforce learning from a visual perspective as they develop a wide range of skills. Lower School Art focuses on helping Baldwin girls understand each other as well as building connections between art and other core subjects. From acquiring basic skills to engaging in advanced processes including scroll painting, printmaking, and sculpting, we work on building connections through understanding and making art inspired by different artists, styles, movements, and world cultures.

It is one of my primary objectives to teach students to acquire a range of necessary skills. As our Baldwin girls grow and develop through each grade level, I work on enhancing skills that contribute to the development of each girl, including developing personal interests and gaining leadership qualities.  Creativity is a form of leadership; and a well-developed art program supports Baldwin’s mission to teach our girls to become their own leaders. That is the beauty of Baldwin and the arts, and I am deeply honored to be a part of it.