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December 15, 2023


Rick Tate named New Upper School Head

On Dec. 1, Head of School Chris Garten announced that Rick Tate will be the next Head of Upper School. Tate has had a 27-year career in education and is currently the assistant director of Upper School for teaching and learning for Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio. Tate will be replacing Matt Bolton, who was named Head of School-elect and will be taking over when Garten retires on June 30, 2024.

“Rick brings to the role of Head of Upper deep prior experience, boundless energy, a passion for teaching and learning, and a gift for relating to and inspiring others,” Bolton said.

Tate has a B.A. and M.A. in Spanish teaching from Brigham Young University and has taught Spanish at schools and learning centers in Utah, Missouri, and Ohio. Tate has been at Hawken for 14 years and has served as a Spanish teacher, chair of the modern and classical languages department, and a global studies coordinator before moving into his current role. He has led study abroad programs in Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, Nicaragua, and Cuba.


Winter Spirit Week

The Upper School was filled with winter spirit in the week gearing up to exams. On Monday, holiday movies and TV shows were played on the screen in the Hillsdale Commons all day. The entrepreneurship class brought Brew-Dolph Café, the winter-themed version of their pop-up café, to the Commons. Student government offered peer tutoring in the Young Family Library throughout the week. Wednesday through Friday were dress up days featuring holiday pajamas, ugly sweaters, and an appearance by Santa.


Computer Science Codes with Lower Schoolers

Upper School computer science teacher Marcus Twyford and his students visited Doherty and Lotspeich to teach the Lower School students the basics of coding. The Upper School students acted out the attempts by the Lower Schoolers to “code” a robot, played by an Upper Schooler, to make a sandwich to show the importance of writing specific, small instructions. After the demonstration, the Upper School helped the Lower School complete games and activities as part of the Hour of Code, a worldwide effect to celebrate computer science and broaden participation in the field.

Instructional Coaching at Upper

The Upper School faculty is displaying its commitment to pedagogical development with the help of Instructional Coach Laura Dombek-Crain.

On English teacher Mark Beyreis’ invitation, Dombek-Crain sat in on his British and postcolonial literature honors class as they talked about analyzing “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf using different theories.

“This is in support of our commitment to developing pedagogy as well as strengthening instructional practices, student outcomes, and student experiences,” said Dombek-Crain, who is new to Seven Hills this year.

Dombek-Crain conducted a general observation in Beyreis’ class and then debriefed with him about what went well and made suggestions for adjustments to enhance his lesson. 


Testing cars in AP Physics

Students in Lenore Horner’s AP Physics class tested the cars they built in teams to see if they were able to successfully convert gravitational potential energy into enough motion to get their cars to move down the science hallway.

The students built the cars out of wood and used weights on a pulley and string to propel the cars. They had to consider the stability of their cars, the friction between the wheels and the floor, and how the diameter of the pulley is related to the wheels.

“The important aspect of any building project is to highlight the gap between simple models we teach that make for nice calculations and reality, as well as the gap between the way you imagined something being built and how accurately you can accomplish that,” Horner said.

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