by Bernie Noe, head of school
It may be because this is my last year as head of school at Lakeside, but we are almost at the halfway point of the school year and, to me, it feels like school just started. Most fortunately, we have been able to successfully navigate the shifting circumstances of COVID-19. It is so joyful to see teams playing, performances happening, and students hanging out together on the Quad and in the corridors. This is how school is meant to be!
By design, we are not launching major new initiatives this year and instead are focusing on making our current educational program the best it can possibly be for all of our students, all of the time. Middle and Upper school faculty are working hard to transition competencies and mindsets into their classes successfully and to ensure these changes enhance our students’ critical thinking and interpersonal skills, thereby preparing them to thrive in the world of the future. I don’t know if the metaverse will actually happen, but certainly artificial intelligence is already reshaping the world, and with this work emerging from our recent re-envisioning, Lakeside graduates will be prepared to know what to do when they don’t know what to do in whatever context.
Given our move to blend teaching content, competencies, and mindsets, we are also spending time this year looking at how we assess student learning. How does one measure resilience or effective communication and listening, and what is the relationship of those assessments to more traditional methods of assessment such as quizzes, tests, and papers? This is fascinating work, and work that will greatly benefit our students now and in the future.
We are also spending time and energy examining our curriculum to identify where it can be more inclusive of the voices and experiences of all our students. For students to have a profound sense of belonging in their school community, it is important for them to see themselves reflected in the course material in the classes they are taking. The academic departments are looking at both what they are teaching and how they are teaching it to make sure all voices are included. This work has been ongoing and will have immediate benefits for all of our students.
Finally, we are working on anti-bias education with our students — part of the Our Work Together initiative. Consideration for others has been part of the Lakeside School mission since its inception, and we are called upon to review what consideration means in each period of the school’s history. Right now, for us, consideration means that all of our students and adults consider the impact of their words and actions on others. We are now a very diverse school community but too often someone still makes a biased remark, such as “Getting into college was easy for you because of your race,” thereby reducing the achievement of another to a matter of their race. We are making progress, for sure, but we need to continue our education efforts to eliminate these and other bias incidents. You’ll be hearing more about this in the coming months.
In summary, we are spending a reflective year at school focused on making sure the experience of our students is as good as possible in every regard.
It has been a lot of fun being back with one another every day. I feel so fortunate that we can be!
Take good care, everyone. I will see you in person at games and performances!
Bernie Noe is Lakeside’s head of school. You can reach him at Head'sOffice@lakesideschool.org and 206-440-2714.