Welcome to one of our newest schools in the Manhattan Debate League, The Birch Wathen Lenox School! Honor to have such an incredible school join the league! Awesome to meet such an incredible coach, Eileen Shiu Ching Wong of Columbia University! Thank you to Faculty Advisor, Rhonda Rigrodsky for making everything possible! Thank you to the entire school community! Can’t wait to meet you at your first debate tournament!
About the Birch Wathen Lenox School (http://www.bwl.org/)
From the Headmaster
Dear Members of the BWL Community:
While the summer is often a more relaxing season in the independent school, the BWL administration (familiarly known as ExComm) has been preparing for the new year, when we will welcome new families and faculty, and introduce a more enriched STEM curriculum. It has been a season of renewal and a wonderful time to generate new ideas.
At this time, I want to bring you up to date on an important aspect of our K through 12 curriculum that has been transformative for the entire community.
What began as an emphasis on Science several years ago has rapidly evolved to become our STEM Initiative, bringing several disciplines under one umbrella. It has become increasingly clear that STEM learning—which includes Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—paves the way for critical thinking in a variety of subjects. The focus on deductive reasoning fostered by STEM is crucial to making our students competitive in a global economy.
When you return to BWL in September, you will see a banner in the lobby displaying our STEM Mission Statement, which reads: With the STEM Initiative, BWL seeks to meet the evolving needs of 21st Century students. By emphasizing the fluent use of technology, expanding the curriculum (e.g. Robotics elective, Singapore Math) and enhancing lab opportunities, the School looks forward while reaffirming its traditional mission and commitment. In order to streamline the connections between STEM events, such as guest speakers and field trips, ongoing academic projects, and development opportunities, we are working with a consultant to develop a unique logo for this initiative. Look for the STEM logo on the website in the coming months.
The programmatic changes that follow this mission are extensive; this letter links to a list of the many ways that STEM continues to influence and interact with our traditional curriculum. For example, the Upper School will be entering its first Robotics competition this year; and Douglas Bailey, our first visiting lecturer in anthropology, will give an assembly on archeology and how science informs our understanding of history and evolution. The many programmatic innovations are being supported by key administrative changes. Over the summer, we have made a number of crucial improvements to the physical set-up of the building, in order to support the initiative. The library is now a centralized learning resource to meet the technology needs of all students and faculty.
New STEM Leadership
Max March-Steinman is now the Director of the STEM Initiative for all grades, and in this new capacity will overview instructional and programmatic developments for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Max has been a Math and Science teacher since 2011. He is a graduate of Goucher, and is now a graduate student at Hunter.
Meghan McGuinn, a head Kindergarten teacher, will assist Max by coordinating the STEM curriculum with the Humanities in the lower grades. Meghan has taught
at BWL since 2009. She is a graduate of Convent of the Sacred Heart and Middlebury College, and has a Master’s Degree from Hunter. Over the summer, she pursued additional training related to the STEM Initiative.
Beinner Information and Library Services
The library was recently endowed by Laura and Jonathan Beinner (parents of Matthew ’19, Benjamin ’21, Joshua ’23 and Sarah ’26). Through their generous donation, the library has undergone extensive remodeling. Housing more computer resources than ever before, the reconfigured space emphasizes technology in Library Science and will allow students to have a broader reach of inquiry beyond the walls of the School. The library will become an access point for students and faculty who need to request additional technology as learning tools, while providing resources for the Mobility Matters campaign. Mobility Matters was introduced at the Spring Gala; thanks to parents participating in the live auction, we were able to raise funds for new laptops and tablets for use in grades K through 12. Having the center of technology located in the library should create a seamless integration of mobile devices into the traditional curriculum. As a result, our students now have access to more abundant technological resources and a sophisticated level of wireless capability as we enter the new school year.
A new open forum for communication will launch this fall, as I will begin a series of breakfast meetings with parents in specific grades, providing the opportunity for parents to discuss topics that pertain to their child’s age group. These breakfasts should further enhance direct communication between parents and the administration.
After feedback from families, we are bringing back “The Wire”—BWL’s newsletter, which formerly existed only in print form. Now coming to families online, The Wire will feature athletic updates, student performances and accomplishments, as well as evening activities for parents. Through The Wire, our website, and weekly PA updates, we will strive to keep families apprised of important events during the school year.
I hope that you will read the list of STEM highlights. I look forward to greeting you personally soon.
Frank J. Carnabuci III