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.
For over a decade, Peck has maintained close and supportive ties with the Kopila Valley School in Nepal. This connection began in 2008, when Kopila’s founder Maggie Doyne, a Mendham native, was selected to receive Peck’s annual Award for Community Service.
Maggie’s inspiring story of working to improving education in Nepal began with her gap year after graduation from high school. While interning at an orphanage in India, she learned of the terrible plight of children and refugees in Nepal. She asked her parents to wire her $5000 in babysitting earnings and soon after, purchased land in Nepal to build a small hostel for misplaced children. Over those critical early years and Maggie’s subsequent foundation of the Kopila Valley Primary School, Peck embraced Maggie’s efforts with a school-wide zeal.
In 2011, Lower School Head Nina Sharma and then Technology Coordinator Suzy Becker travelled to Nepal to provide in-service teacher training. In 2012, two teachers from Nepal travelled to Morristown to learn methodologies from Peck instructors. The Peck School also hosted a Nepali student for a semester of eighth grade in 2014. A second student joined the eighth grade class for a semester in 2017. In both cases, Peck families lovingly hosted the students and maintain close relationships today. Peck students also became Maggie’s personal army of champions when she was nominated and ultimately won CNN’s 2015 Hero of the Year Award.
Prior to Jaddon Park’s visit, in the summer of 2018, a member of the Kopila Valley School faculty joined Peck faculty members for a professional development workshop here at the school, to learn the Harvard School of Education’s “Agency by Design” pedagogy.
For more information on the Kopila Valley School and Maggie’s ongoing work in Nepal, please visit blinknow.org.