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Brief Word

September 16, 2021

chris_garten_headshot

After 43 years in education, I am still staggered by how skillfully teachers use the rituals associated with the opening of school, to foster a warm, inclusive, and purposeful classroom culture.

At its simplest, this involves establishing classroom protocols and expectations, developed, most often here at Seven Hills, through discussion and negotiation.

More subtly, it involves decisions about how classrooms are set up: how desks are arranged and how students move from one group to the next.  It involves decisions aligning on how discourse is conducted, who will speak when. And perhaps most importantly is established by the tone a teacher sets, what kinds of interactions he or she models for students, day after day.

Each year, I watch, with great pride, the work our teachers do, in classrooms all over our campuses, to bring to life the values of this school. They set up routines to ensure that all their students feel valued and included and that students treat each other with respect and dignity, and take an active interest in what others have to say.

Our curriculum, what our students study and learn is, of course, a crucial part of the Seven Hills experience, but our “secret sauce” is the way that our teachers — and our student leaders — work together to build this warm and inclusive culture.

I’ve seen it here, year after year, and it excites me every time!

Christopher Garten
Head of School

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