BHS 21st Century Fund Newsletter
Quarterly Issue # 1October, 2014


Upcoming on the Calendar

October 21: Back to School Night

November 3: Board of Directors Meeting 6:30 pm

November 15: 21st Century Fund Gala

Dear Friends,
Welcome to our October Newsletter.This past month BHS welcomed a new freshman class while our entire student body reoriented to a new school year having taken one large step closer to graduation and beyond. Within that one large step is the vast potential of what our students will accomplish. At the Fund we are focused on that leap forward.
Please read our 2014 Report on Philanthropy (check out the mushroom!). This report describes our impact through the work of our students. Their creativity and tenacity is the reason we are honored to be the innovation fund for the school. From Innovation Summits to exciting new teacher-led proposals to our annual Gala on November 15th the Fund is ecstatic to be your partner in our big leap forward.

Andrew Wise
Executive Director

Have a cookie (or two):
Take a break during the wonderfully chaotic event otherwise known as Back to School Night! Come visit us on the third floor during Back to School Night for coffee and snacks and chat with parents and 21st Fund supporters. 

Inside the Newsletter quote:
"(Our students) are thinkers and doers outside the walls of our school, and wouldn't it be great if our classrooms could honor and support those interests."
 -Stephanie McCallister discussing a Senior Year Alternative

You're Invited to Brookline's Biggest Party 
of the Year! 
Join us on November 15th!
 Join us for a Join festive evening of dance, drink, food, raffles and live auction! Support the Fund!  Purchase Gala Tickets Now!

Gala 2013

Q & A with Stephanie McCallister, 
Teacher-Leader for a Senior Year Alternative

Breaking news!  An initiative is forming at BHS that proposes to cure the pesky bug that afflicts twelfth graders every spring: senioritis.  Still in its research and development phase, the Senior Year Alternatives program (SYA) aims to provide interested BHS seniors with a unique opportunity to pursue a passion within the framework of their high school experience.  Last week, we sat down with Stephanie McAllister, the initiative's teacher-leader, to talk with her about this evolving program.  


Q: Why is a Senior Year Alternative program needed now?

Stephanie: A lot of schools are using performance-based assessments of student learning and growth.  This initiative is an opportunity to explore that model of education for seniors at Brookline High.  We recognize that kids leave high here and enter a complex world.  We want our students to move into that world as active thinkers, as doers, as agents of change. 

Q: A senior might ask, "I was accepted early admission to college.  I mean, really, how important are the final five months of school for me?"  What's your response?

Stephanie:  If school doesn't feel valid, then school needs to change.  The SYA program's essential question is: How can we make senior spring feel important and vigorous to students so that it's not just waiting time before starting the rest of their lives?

Q: Have you talked with students about the kinds of experience they want to explore but are unable to in the current classroom structure?

Stephanie:  The educators behind this initiative have hundreds of years of experience under their collective belt-experience with generations of students and their frustrations and dissatisfactions in the boundaries of the regular school day.  We are drawing upon that experience to form a framework for the program.  Additionally, part of our process this year is to work with student focus groups to articulate the kinds of things they'd be interested in doing.  

Q: Why are your particularly interested in this project?

Stephanie:  I have had lots of conversations with seniors about the things they're exploring outside of school-things like film making, robotics, choreography, skateboarding, instrument making, and so much more.  They are thinkers and doers outside the walls of our school, and wouldn't it be great if our classrooms could honor and support those interests, if we could translate those passions into projects they pursue in more depth and with the support of the school?

 What is really terrific about this initiative is how it pulls together people from across disciplines-from every department in the school-to think collectively about change.  That is really exciting.



Innovatapalooza 2014!


The 21st Century Fund sponsored its second Innovation Summit for Brookline High faculty last July 1 and 2 at the Brookline Teen Center.  

Nearly forty BHS faculty members, representing every department and program in the school, came together for two days of thinking creatively and collaboratively about the current and future needs of BHS students.  Topics discussed ranged from managing stress to teaching "habits of mind" (making invisible learning qualities visible) to "exploding" BHS's schedule in order to accommodate more experiential and project-based learning circumstances for students.  There were also discussions about how to better harness and coordinate the incredible resources in and around the Brookline community to enrich BHS students' learning opportunities. 


Big Ideas on Big Sticky Notes: Gaelen Harrington Leads the Teachers

The summit afforded BHS staff the space and time - both in such short supply these days! - to think ambitiously and deeply about what is best for the high school as it charges into the future and receives an ever-growing and diversified student body.  

John Warner, Keynote Speaker
John Werner: A Visual Keynote Performance

Keeping the Conversation Going: To propel Innovatapalooza's energy and ambitious thinking forward, the 21st CF is releasing funds to provide two $1,000 stipends to BHS faculty members interested in conducting further research & development into any of the topics discussed at the summit or into a "wild card" idea-an idea that was not raised at the Summit but that a teacher is passionate about exploring as a potential new initiative at BHS. 

The stipends will be awarded by early November.  We're looking forward to seeing where the imagination and resourcefulness of BHS faculty takes us.  Stay tuned!