“Participating in the National History Day competition is the difference between studying history and being a historian,” explained Chris Weaver, Director of Curriculum and Faculty Development at The Peck School. “Through NHD, students are historians. They select a topic, use primary sources, develop a perspective, and communicate their work to an outside audience. They also develop a deep love of history.”
For the past few years, mandatory participation in the National History Day (NHD) competition has been a big component of the Upper School humanities curriculum. This year, though, Peck is taking that commitment to a higher level. Instead of dedicating a day or two each week towards preparing for the competition, the Upper School history department is now dedicating the entire first six weeks of the semester, for grades 6-8, to NHD.
What is the difference between a scientist and an engineer? Should there be a distinction? If not, how might the two disciplines be infused? At Peck, we have just the right expert to address these questions and to push our integrated STEAM curriculum to even greater heights.
Peck’s Lower School Science Specialist, Dr. Katheryn Kennedy, recently co-authored a trailblazing textbook for high school science teachers entitled Engineering in the Life Sciences. It is the first and only resource on the subject, and is particularly exciting because it addresses a charge put forward by the National Science Foundation’s “Project Infuse” in 2012, and then further requested in the Next Generation Science Standards established by a multi-state education consortium in 2013. That charge was to address the lack of knowledge and curriculum available to teachers to infuse engineering concepts into the science curriculum.
A rite of passage is a ceremony and marks the transition from one phase of life to another. In essence, it is both a tradition and a transformation.
How appropriate then, that our Upper School students, have participated for decades in an annual rite of passage at the beginning of each school year – they come back to school, only to be whisked away a day or two later on a series of class bonding field trips.
Head of School Andy Delinsky and Board Chair Jaime Foley presented the Disciplina ad Vivendum Award for teaching excellence to Amy Papandreou at the Welcome Back Dinner on Sept. 7. Begun in 2005, the Disciplina ad Vivendum Award is the most distinguished award at Peck for a faculty member.
The Peck School was pleased to host a visitor from across the globe last week. Jaddon Park, Director of Curriculum and Faculty Development for Blink Now - the US foundation that supports the Kopila Valley School in Nepal – spent an afternoon touring our campus, interviewing faculty and staff, and delving into Peck’s curriculum, library “learning commons,” and the Idea and Design Lab.
Park traveled to the U.S. to observe the high-quality Peck program: everything from how our classrooms are set up and organized to promote dynamic learning to our Agency By Design framework which supports students in looking closely, exploring complexity, and finding opportunities. In many ways, Park and his colleagues at Kopila Valley view Peck as a model for the kind of elementary and middle school program they aspire to be.
One of Peck’s timeless traditions is the celebratory welcome we offer everyone in the community on the first day of school. As we entered our 126th year this week, that welcome continued to epitomize the school’s credo, “Consideration of Others.”
This week, Peck students came back from summer vacation to commence Peck's 126th year as a school. A Peck tradition during the first all-school assembly is to invite the new Student Council President to address the crowd. Eighth Grader Franklin Mau took to the podium and offered these remarks:
Peck's success is predicated on the continued strength of our faculty and staff. Delivering a meaningful and dynamic program requires creative teachers who are inspired to innovate and who model the best pedagogical practices in their fields. We're very excited to welcome an excellent cohort of new teachers, associate teachers, and staff members for the 2018-2019 year, and congratulate those who have moved to different positions at Peck for the coming year!
While Peck students turn the pages on their required summer reading, back on The Peck School campus, the beloved Higgins Library is turning a page of its own. In keeping with The Peck School’s commitment to honoring “timeless traditions” while fostering “timely transformation,” the library will undergo some impressive alterations over the coming weeks.
As we announced in an earlier news item, two students from Peck were chosen as the New Jersey state winners in the National History Day Contest. Along with faculty members Sue Longenecker and Jason Guss, they ventured to the national competition two weeks ago.
We are very happy to announce that Maria Vieira and Aitalia Sharpe were honored at the national competition with an “Outstanding Junior Entry for the state of New Jersey.” This means their project earned the highest judging score in New Jersey that did not earn a national medal. In addition, they were listed as a top-10 finalist (runner-up) in their category for the nation. The Peck community is proud of their hard work and determination.
In their traditional white dresses and navy blazers, The Peck School's Eighth Grade Class of 2018 accepted their diplomas with handshakes and congratulations from the Head of School and President of the Board of Trustees. Forty-one students from towns across several northern New Jersey counties participated in the commencement, as they formally graduated from Morristown’s historic K-8 independent school.
At Peck, we honor the past, while preparing for the future. And each year, our students continue to showcase their appreciation for the humanities by distinguishing themselves in the highest levels of the National History Day Competition. This year, Grade 8 students Maria Vieira and Aitalia Sharpe sailed past the state competition with their Jr. Group Exhibit entitled, The Cotton Club. They were elevated to the nationals by judges at the New Jersey state finals, held on the William Paterson campus in Wayne, NJ on May5th.
For her near perfect attendance at this year’s Girls Who Code club gatherings, Avery Santomassimo ’20 was invited by volunteer instructor, Serena Peirson, to take a field trip to Prudential in Newark, NJ for a special evening highlighting women in technology.
Avery had the opportunity to learn from a panel of empowering female technologists about careers in Information Technology and the role of IT at Prudential. She also worked with Girls Who Code club members from other areas in the region to brainstorm and present ideas that would not only encourage other girls to code, but raise awareness of Prudential’s commitment to women in the field.
Public speaking skills, one could argue, are perhaps the most valuable of all business assets. Consider the late Steve Jobs, speaking confidently and persuasively as he rolls out the newest iPhone. Contemplate the potential success or failure of a young entrepreneur pitching a make or break business plan to a boardroom full of angel investors. The medium is the message – which in this case means the presentation skills of the messenger are evaluated equally on par with the content.
At Peck, we recognize the imperative of public speaking prowess and we look to our students to challenge themselves and develop the talents needed to become not only more eloquent public speakers but also more confident in their ability to communicate thoughts, opinions, and dreams. For this reason, every Peck student takes a Public Speaking class during their sixth grade year.
In the real world, people come together from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives in order to solve problems and innovate. Often, solutions are not easy to come by, and in addition to tackling an issue from a variety of angles, those who are tasked with problem solving must be persistent and resilient.
As an example of real-world research and innovation, Grade 5 students have been participating in a yearlong interdisciplinary endeavor that is gaining a good bit of attention, both within the Peck community and by other schools in the area.
“PE can be an amazing learning environment for almost any academic concept,” says Sue Sweeney, Assistant Athletic Director at Peck. Sue and her students proved this when they took to the Idea and Design Lab for a constructive learning experience about competitive athletics earlier in the semester.
Once of the most “suspenseful” gatherings at The Peck school is the annual Bridge Breaking Assembly. Every year, students in Grade 8 Physics are challenged with constructing the best possible bridge from an allotment of materials. The design constraints are tweaked slightly each year, so that students work from original designs and compete not only amongst themselves to build the strongest span, but test their designs against concepts created under slightly different circumstances in previous years.
On Monday, March 26th, Google Pioneer Program Facilitator, Edward Dovlatyan, spent the day at The Peck School sharing Google's new Expedition AR technology with our community. Students in grades 5, 6, and 7 had the opportunity to explore the surface of Mars, investigate the mechanics and workings of one of the Mars rovers, and explore the depths of a Martian crater.
On Saturday, March 3rd, 16 Peck students from Grades 6 to 8 travelled with members of their families and Peck faculty advisors to the Rutgers campus in Camden, NJ to showcase their National History Day projects at the regional NHD competition. These students were hand picked to exhibit in the regional event from the whole of their respective classes that created a wide variety of projects for the annual Peck NHD competition earlier in the year. (Watch a video and read more here about the National History Day Competition at Peck, and the students who were selected to advance to regionals.)
Throughout the month of March, The North Gallery of the Morris Museum highlighted a range of student work showcasing the arts program at The Peck School in Morristown. The exhibit, entitled “Step into Spring: Budding Artists of The Peck School,” included painting, sculpture and woodworking from students in Peck’s K to 8 program.
Morristown, NJ. – January 29, 2018 – On Friday, January 26, The Peck School hosted a colorful and eclectic event to showcase elements of the school’s transformative educational curriculum. The event was followed by a grand celebration to announce an ambitious $12 million fundraising goal. “The Peck Promise: The Campaign for Excellence Elevated”, is the school’s first major fundraising endeavor in over a decade, and the dollars raised will further actualize the K-8 school’s Strategic Master Plan.
On Friday, January 19, the third annual celebration of National History Day (NHD) at The Peck School was marked by a display of websites, exhibits, documentaries, performances and research papers created by Peck Upper School students. Each year, students in Grade 6 through 8, work diligently to create entries that will potentially be judged against submissions from students around the globe.
Local news media have announced the list of finalists for the 11th Annual Morristown Onstage 2018 contest at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on February 28th, 2018. Among the contestants are The Peck School’s favorite sibling piano duet – Franklin and Austin Mau. The Mau brothers have performed individually and as a duet on a variety of occasions, including appearances at young talent showcases at Carnegie Hall. At the Morristown Onstage competition, they will give a four-handed rendition of Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Brahms.