Posts by msclafani

  1. Day 122: Andrew, Ninth Grader

    [ By on April 17, 2013 ]

    Nothing pleases me more than seeing my English teacher’s eyes lighting up along with my entire class. We were listening to another student’s short story about what the term normal really means. The story discussed a man and his wife who live in the “ideal American suburbia”. They live in a ranch-house, and the man drives to a “cubical” job every day of the week.  The couple always seems to be in a quandary, but come up with a solution to them; they can’t have children, so they get a dog. One day, the man loses his job and the couple gets divorced (sad ending, I know). Today I really discovered what normal really means, and that by no means, is ...

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  2. Day 120: Peter, Art Teacher & Chair of the Visual Art Department

    [ By on April 12, 2013 ]

    Today is One World Day. It has always been one of the most exciting things we do at Riverdale. I remember organizing the first One World Day. It seemed like a controversial and dangerous thing to do. We met with all kinds of resistance for students, and faculty. All it takes is one administrator to take a risk. It ended up being two days and a rousing success. People still talk about it. Now OWD has become an institution, and we take it for granted. It’s still a good idea. For one day all the business and demands of our daily lives are set aside, and we as a collective community take some time to examine some aspect of what it means to be human. There are no ...

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  3. Day 86: Lisa, Tenth Grade

    [ By on February 05, 2013 ]

    Today I learned about imaginary numbers. When I first heard the term “imaginary numbers” at my old school, I thought my math teacher had earned an imaginary degree. Did she have an imaginary friend too? Much to my surprise, imaginary numbers are very real. In fact, they are really challenging to work with. Imaginary, or complex, numbers are numbers in the form a+bi where i equals the square root of -1. Since there is no solution to the square root of a negative number, these numbers aren’t “real”. Although imaginary numbers are hard to find in real life situations, they are useful in amps for guitars. Something about the equation involved in playing the guitar loudly, but making sure to not destroy the amp uses imaginary numbers. Although I ...

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  4. Day 63: Mike, Dean of Students — Grade Eight

    [ By on December 18, 2012 ]

    Today was my first day back at work since the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, and I wish I could say it was a solemn event.  The fact is that it was Monday, like every other, only sadder.  I thought a little about what it meant to have the safety of eighty-nine Eighth graders in my hands, but mostly I thought about how I was going to fit in the next week’s worth of lesson plans. Moving on is not unique to the job – most of us cannot take off from work just because we are disillusioned, hurt, or profoundly sad.  The difference is that going back to work for us means performing.  It means standing up in front of a ...

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  5. Day 60: Elon, Six Grader

    [ By on December 12, 2012 ]

    Today I learned the true meaning of grit. That instead of measuring a person by their book smarts (GPA, SAT, tests & quizzes, etc.), to measure them by their character. This to me sounded like a huge breakthrough for education. For schools who are solely known for being completely about books, to start looking at their kids for their character is amazing, and actually gives the kid more of a chance to succeed. Riverdale is already doing this and I appreciate that so much, because when children see themselves as a grade, it can really bring them down. This is especially true when the kid next to them is now ‘so smart’, because they scored a higher grade. That child ...

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  6. Day 47: Taina, Twelfth Grader

    [ By on November 21, 2012 ]

    This year, I've been trying very hard to branch out and get to know the people who have been surrounding me for the past four years. During the past week, I've realized that I should have started this process a very long time ago. In September, I (much to my surprise) was lucky enough to be cast as Chris in Riverdale's fall play, Dancing at Lughnasa. The play consisted of a ten person cast, so once I was given the part, I was pretty sure I'd be getting to know the other nine people pretty well. Before I continue, I should say that I in no way was expecting to get a role, let alone a main one. It was my first time ...

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  7. Day 45: Carmen, Lower School World Language Teacher

    [ By on November 16, 2012 ]

    I often find that students and teachers and friends ask me questions that suddenly cast into doubt something I had take unequivocally to be true. While I relish these moments, depending on the context, it can be trying too. "My self imposed rule is to retain the courage of one's doubts as well as one's convictions, in this world of dangerously passionate certainties." - Eric Sevareid This week I learned the importance of doubt coupled with courage. I learned that to engage, communicate, dialogue commit to each other and our projects requires a courageous acceptance of doubts and convictions and at no point can we rest assured with certainty. Though it some much easier to say, I've taught this for x number of years and x ...

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  8. Day 36: Sheila, Director of Financial Aid and Admission Associate

    [ By on November 06, 2012 ]

    In the last few days A.S. (After Sandy) I've learned how ingenious my fellow Riverdale administrators are. Faced with many challenges - a week of learning lost after the storm, several students and teachers without all of their utilities at home, a River Campus still dark a week after the hurricane, dozens and dozens of postponed prospective student and parent visits to be rescheduled, and a Nor’easter literally "on the radar"- we've been communicating and thinking and planning with each other nearly non-stop to make the best of a bad situation. As someone who hopes to head a school of her own someday, it's invigorating to see the many different ways that my colleagues are combating an array of logistical ...

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  9. Day 1: Dominic, Head of School

    [ By on September 04, 2012 ]

    Today, I learned several things about myself and how I cope with change. Even though I have been going to or working in schools for most of my life, I still feel nervous on the first official day of school. Once it gets going, I feel better, but waiting to start school is not easy for me. At the same time, I love the start of school and the way that we can all start with a blank slate. It is as though one can begin again one's life, one's habits, and renew oneself. The transition from summer to work has not been easy, but it has been a great day. I also learned more about learning today. I spoke with ...

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