News - January 2011 Archives
By Brandon Bennett, Academic Dean
The Value of Homework
At Waterford we believe in the value of homework. We assign homework at every grade level from Kindergarten through Class XII, with the amount of homework increasing steadily each year. Several studies with varying methodologies suggest a strong correlation between homework and academic achievement, especially as students move into the secondary grades. (For more detail, follow this link to a research brief on the value of homework from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics). Beyond the research, however, we rely on our philosophy of education in thinking about the value of homework. Our goal is to graduate students who possess the skills, motivation, and knowledge to enter demanding colleges as responsible, independent learners, who can successfully meet a wide range of academic and personal challenges. Assigning regular homework that has been thoughtfully designed is a crucial part of our strategy for moving students toward this goal.
Are we succeeding? A 2009 survey of alumni showed that 97% of 221 respondents said that Waterford had prepared them well to meet the academic challenges they found in college. In the written comments, graduates frequently noted that they felt they had a leg up because they already knew how to do research and write papers and work independently, while many of their fellow college students were forced to acquire these skills on the fly. These reports from our graduates are encouraging, but we need to be constantly monitoring our approach to homework to ensure that our successes from the past will continue.
A selection of recent images from our community:
From the Waterford Archive: young James Harris. Look for more about the Archive in future issues of the Newsletter.
The Waterford Educator Prize was created in 1995 to honor members of the Faculty for the quality of their teaching and for their professional contributions to their colleagues and the School. Faculty and Staff submit nominations in the Fall, and the winners are announced in December. Each receives a monetary gift toward the pursuit of an interest or a dream that is important to that individual. The winners are asked to speak at the April All Schools Faculty Meeting, reflecting on their teaching — how they came to it, how they keep it vital, and insights they have acquired along the way.
Congratulations to the 2010 winners, named below. We have included for each a snippet from the tribute by Head of School Nancy Heuston.
Marda Atwood: “The glue that holds us together in the Lower Schools.”
Susan Johnsen: “Direct and clear, optimistic and aspiring, she inspires by the quality of her teaching and mentoring, and the generosity of her support for fellow teachers.”
Brandon Bennett: “All are included in his devotion to Waterford’s common cause — to be ever better at teaching so that every child learns well and walks tall.”
by Sharon Spaulding, Waterford Parent and Scholarship Committee Chair
When a pebble is tossed into water, ripples emanate in every direction. This simple act changes the texture and shape of the environment in ways that reach well beyond the edges of our understanding and vision.
Like tossing a pebble in the water, supporting a student with a Waterford scholarship creates a ripple effect that reshapes the entire community. It begins, of course, with the student whose life is transformed. She will discover new strengths and interests, new friends and challenges, and grow in ways that would have been impossible otherwise.
Within the larger Waterford community the richness of a different perspective enters the classroom. Horizons shift and expand as students and faculty tune in to a deeper understanding of how different life experiences affect how we think as well as who we are and who we become.
So many of our students are doing great things that at times it is hard to keep up with them all. We wanted to pause to highlight five of our students who have recently received outstanding recognitions.
The multi-talented Portia Cao was recently the subject of a fantastic article in the Salt Lake Tribune. It starts with her achievements on the basketball court, but the writer was clearly impressed by her excellence in a variety of realms.
Ben Crosland has been “making noise” in the Mustang Challenge racing series, going up against much older and more experienced drivers, and winning the last race of the season. He was featured recently on Fox 13 News.
Laura Lee Judd ran the table on recognitions for her play this year on our Varsity Women’s Volleyball team. She was selected for the All-Region Team and the Coaches Association Senior All-Star Team, and was named First Team All-State by both the Tribune and the Deseret News. But she’s not just a great athelete: one of her photographs recently placed first in a statewide contest put on by the Kimball Arts Center.
Gifted cellist Steven Bennett will be playing at Carnegie Hall next month, after being selected for the 2011 American High School Honors Performance Series. More about Steven and this honor can be found in this Tribune article or read this KSL feature which includes video.
And for a late addition, and the only non-Senior on our list, Class VIII’s own Mufi Hunt was selected for the second year in a row to the Eastbay Youth All-American Bowl, and featured in a segment during the ABC 4 “Sports Zone.”
We’re proud of these five, and of all of our talented and dedicated students. These young people regularly leave us in awe of the things they do — in academics, the arts, athletics, and service to others.
By Nancy Heuston, Head of School
Beginning the new year at Waterford brings more than drifts of snow to the campus. As we come together to tell of holiday activities and family events, we share a sense of return rather than beginning. The first day is marked by startled looks as students wake up mid-morning wondering where they are, but they quickly slip back into uniform and become the students we know.
Once again among friends, embracing the cold and looking to the mountains to check out ski conditions, our young people settle comfortably into the familiar world of learning. It is good to be back together.
Behind the scenes, invisible except in its effects, ongoing review occurs as we observe and consider how the days unfold for our students. The world on campus does not change, as classes and activities frame the week and the term. But the world that surrounds is constantly in motion, impacting our families in significant ways. Hence, the continuing review.
Recently, we have focused on modes of assessment in Lower Schools and on the purpose and reality of homework and grades in Middle and Upper Schools. To include you in our discussions, we include this month a report from our Academic Dean; next month’s newsletter will feature a piece about student Progress Reports from our Lower Schools Director.
Gifted cellist Steven Bennett will be playing at Carnegie Hall next month, after being selected for the selected for the 2011 American High School Honors Performance Series. More about Steven and this honor can be found in this Tribune article or read this KSL feature which includes video.