Thursday, February 14, 2019

More Important Start Time Info...

I hope that you have had the chance to follow the important work going on at Dover Sherborn related to examining our start times and the possible effect (according to the science and survey data) that they are having on our teenage students.  This is an important topic that is worthy of full study and consideration by our school community.  Come hear Dr. Czeisler's presentation and become fully informed of why these discussions are happening.

The Start Times Task Force is interested in and dependent on your feedback.  Please weigh in here:

DS School Start Time Task Force, DS Wellness Committee and
DS Challenge Success Present...

Sleep Matters: K-12 Students' Changing Sleep Clocks and School Start Times

Monday, March 4th
6:30 - 8:00pm
DSMS Choral Room, 2nd Floor Dover-Sherborn Middle School

Please join us for an informative evening with acclaimed sleep researcher and Sherborn resident, Dr. Chuck Czeisler, PhD, MD, FRCP. Dr. Czeisler will address the following topics:

  • The Science of Sleep
  • How the Sleep Cycle changes from elementary school to middle and high school
  • Sleep as it relates to health & wellness, academic & athletic performance, and student safety
  • Outcomes from schools that have adjusted start times

Immediately following Dr. Czeisler's presentation, there will be a School Start Time Q&A with DS Superintendent Dr. Andrew Keough and High School Headmaster John Smith.

About the Speaker
Dr. Czeisler is a Stanford MD/PhD and the Director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Additionally, he works as Chief of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He has spent over 30 years researching the relationship between human sleep and the physiology of the human circadian clock, and has earned numerous accolades and awards for his research in sleep medicine. For more information on Dr. Czeisler's work, please click on his Harvard Sleep Education link: .

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Dover Sherborn Regional Schools Examining School Start Times

School start times and particularly secondary school early start times have been receiving a great deal of attention in recent years.  This is primarily because there is now medical research which shows that lack of sleep for adolescents and especially waking up too early, can seriously impact their health and well being.  Given that our school system has committed to the health and wellbeing of our students, this information cannot be taken lightly.

To that end the Dover Sherborn Start Times Task Force has been investigating what exactly the research says, what other schools across the country and in this state are doing about it, and what if anything we can do about it for our school system.

This week I will be attending faculty meetings at each of the schools to discuss what's been happening in this regard and to hear from our teachers about how any changes might impact their lives and those of their students.  Below is a handout I have been sharing with them that details some of the key information the Start Times Task Force has gathered to date.  Check it out!  If you have feedback with regard to this topic, please feel free to share it with the Task Force at:

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Power of Art

Life is strange.  Just when you begin to feel that the problems of the world will overwhelm you, some event or experience will catch you by surprise and renew your hope.  Such was the case for me this past weekend.  On the heels of a month when I grappled internally with senseless bombing attempts/threats and vicious shootings of unarmed worshippers, I was in need of something inspirational.  I found it in the least likely of places, a movie theater.

When my wife proposed going to see a movie on Sunday afternoon, I immediately resisted the idea.  When she mentioned she wanted to see A Star is Born, I downright panicked.  I had visions of painfully sitting through a sappy love film and then having to talk about it afterward!  It’s happened before and I knew all too well, it was going to happen again.  Thankfully however, this was not the case this time.  Instead of dozing off ten minutes into the film I found myself fully engaged in the storyline.  A successful, yet unhappy and deeply flawed “rock star” (Bradley Cooper) falls for a musical artist wannabe (Lady Gaga) who has little chance of ever moving beyond the stage of the local bar.  As the story unfolded, I found I loved both of these characters.  They had personal histories, poor self-images, and flawed families but they also had something in common.  Music moved them and provided a desperately needed means for deep communication and connection.  The lyrics, the sound, and the telling of their stories allowed them to share who they really were at their core.  We all need the opportunity for this type of expression and connection and Cooper and Gaga captured why, perfectly. 

Naturally, being soft at heart, the film brought me to tears.  It spoke to me about the many challenges of life and how sad it can be at times, yet it also reminded me that there are people in the world who regardless of their issues can be incredibly thoughtful and giving.  It gave me hope and inspired me to keep working for the betterment of others.

If you are finding yourself discouraged by the incessant “noise” of life, try to find a book, movie, or artwork that speaks to you as well.  It cannot and will not remove the difficulties of the world around us, but it may renew your spirits and remind you again of the tremendous good all around us. 

This clip captures a moment that we all hope for in ourselves and our loved ones.  That is, that we will all one day find our calling and in so doing, find true happiness.  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Chance to Demonstrate DS Creativity!!

This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate our students ability to “think outside the box”!  All of the details are here!!  Let’s go DS!  Represent!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

What is School For?

Have you seen this video?  It raises some compelling questions about why we do what we do.  If nothing else, there is incredible food for thought here.  The innovation playlist mentioned at the end is fabulous too.  Check it out!!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Events in Pittsburgh...

I am writing regarding the recent senseless act of violence perpetrated at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this past weekend.  Like most Americans, I am appalled and saddened by what happened to these innocent people and am sickened by the thought that individuals gathered to worship would be targeted.  I am also disturbed by the clear indications that the attack was a premeditated act of anti-Semitism.  As an educator, student of history, and someone who has visited a concentration camp in Germany, I cannot fathom how this kind of hatred can still exist.  But clearly it does.

In fact, according to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic acts have increased by nearly 60% in the United States in 2017.  It is a statistic that should shake us all to our core.   As a nation built largely on religious freedom, we cannot and must not stand idle.  An attack on one segment of our population is an attack on us all.

This morning, I met with the Dover Sherborn Leadership Team and we collectively agreed that we wanted to let our stakeholders know that we are 100% united in decrying the acts of hatred percolating across our nation and assure you that our efforts with regard to #WEareDS and increasing cultural proficiency remain among our highest priorities.  We also want to express our deepest condolences to our Jewish community members.  We stand with you.

Please, as you gather with family in the coming weeks and months, take time to reiterate the significance of this loss, especially with your children.  When we are silent, we become part of the problem.

I leave you with a poem by Martin Niemöller, posted on the Anti-Defamation League website.  It captures the critical need to speak out against attacks on those with minority status.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

Friday, October 26, 2018

What Does Healthy Learning Look Like? It Is Not Always As It Seems...

I had the opportunity to stop by a school meeting in Sherborn today and was immediately sucked into an event that really captured the fun of what school can be...  Our Assistant Principal, Allison Gullingsrud hopped on the stage to teach the students how to dance to the classic Michael Jackson song Thriller (in the spirit of Halloween).  She taught the entire school how to take it step by step before hitting the music and the kids picked it up, almost instantly.  I am sure when their parents ask the proverbial question, "How was school today?" they undoubtedly will hear, "Fun!!"  I felt blessed to watch this unfold and found it lifted my spirits about the many great things happening in our schools today.  Kudos to Allison for being bold and never forgetting that learning can and should be fun!  :-)

Check it out!!