Hewitt News

Faculty Summer Grant Program 2017
Hewitt News

In 2017, Hewitt’s summer grant program supported faculty experiences that align with the school’s four academic pillars - presence, empathy, research, and purpose. Made possible by Hewitt's professional development fund and by our Parents' Association, summer grants are just one of the many professional development opportunities offered to members of the Hewitt community throughout the year. Read on to learn how this year’s summer grant recipients engaged in mindful interactions, expanded their perspectives, fostered their own growth mindset, and affirmed their purpose as educators and individuals.  

Kemy Wahpepah, Middle School History Teacher
Though I have studied and read much about the Maya and Aztec, I have never witnessed firsthand any ancient sites or artifacts created by these civilizations. I was thrilled when a Hewitt summer grant made it possible for me to spend ten days traveling in Mexico, first in the Yucatan Peninsula, visiting key Mayan sites such as Chichen Itza, Palenque, Uxmal, and Tulum, and later in Mexico City, visiting the archaeological site of Teotihuacan, the Templo Mayor Museum, and the National Anthropology Museum. Throughout my trip, I gained important insights into the social structures, religious beliefs, and engineering accomplishments of the Maya and Aztec civilizations. I even learned how to pronounce a few words in Nahuatl! I am excited to use what I have learned and experienced over the summer to bring these ancient civilizations to life for Hewitt’s fifth graders.

Samia Soodi, Lower School Head Teacher
This summer I experienced a life-changing journey as I trekked several sections of the Camino trail across Northern Spain on the pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. This experience supported me in my growth and offered me a sense of renewal as a faculty member at Hewitt. Hiking the Santiago de Compostela was an opportunity to be in nature, sometimes alone and sometimes in the company of people from around the world. During my solo time, I had the chance to reflect and think deeply about my past, present, and future. On other stretches, I met and spoke with people from all walks of life, listening to their varied perspectives. The time I spent hiking the Camino helped me reflect on many aspects of my personal and professional life.

Edward Goodall, Lower and Middle School Science Teacher 
I look forward to traveling to Costa Rica this spring with the support of a grant from the Parents’ Association. As a fourth and fifth grade science teacher who has taught volcanism for many years, I am excited to undertake field research on Mount Arenal. The rainforest is easily accessible from the Arenal volcano, and time studying conservation in the animal- and plant-rich humidity will round out my trip. I plan to bring my learning straight back to Hewitt’s lower and middle school students and especially look forward to seeing how it enhances the fifth grade geology curriculum. 

Leila Kaady, Middle and Upper School Spanish Teacher 
This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Spain to research the lives of women who lived in the country during the medieval period, when Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures coexisted under Muslim rule in Al-Andalus. During my trip, I visited the Biblioteca Nacional de España and Librería de Mujeres, as well the Casa Arabe, a cultural center that connects Spain and the Arab world. I also visited Valencia and Palma, two Spanish cities that were transformed by the sophistication of Muslim and Arab agriculture, math, science, architecture, literature, art, and of course, cuisine. My passion for this extraordinary era of Spanish history was enriched by approaching it through a feminist lens. I look forward to incorporating the dynamic identities of Spanish women from medieval to modern times into my language curriculum. 
Jon Sabol, Chair, English Department

This summer, in the spirit of Henry David Thoreau, I spent a week in the Maine woods adjacent to Baxter State Park. Like Thoreau, I stayed in a cabin, though this one sat on the shores of Millinocket Lake rather than Walden Pond. While my lodgings were not as sparse as the “cottage in the woods” described in Walden, it offered easy access to the outdoors and the opportunity to explore a region of New England that Thoreau documents in his 1864 book The Maine Woods. In addition to coming into contact with what Thoreau called the “rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! The solid earth! The actual world,” I hiked to the summit of Mount Katahdin and across a narrow ridge called Knife Edge. I appreciate the generous funding of the Parents’ Association, which allowed me to escape the hectic life of the city and the distractions of technology for a short time and find, if not the transcendence that Thoreau, Emerson, and others sought, some spiritual uplift as a result of this journey. 
Elise Figa, Middle and Upper School Music Teacher
My Hewitt summer grant helped me connect with Colombian musicians and choir directors and bring authentic Colombian folk music arrangements to the students at Hewitt. I spent the month of July in Bogotá, Colombia observing music classes and working with music students and youth choirs around the capital city. I spoke to many choir directors working with students in Bogotá and partnered with the Director of Choral Activities for the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá, Cantus Albus ensemble, CLAN (Centro Local de Artes para Niñez), and ¡Canta Bogotá Canta! In addition to learning about the local music culture, I also had the opportunity to help Colombian students refine their pronunciation of songs sung in English. In the spirit of the continuing work that Hewitt is doing to build diversity and inclusivity, I brought back traditional Colombian folk songs to incorporate into my music curriculum. 

Aaron Shapiro, Upper School English, History, and Latin Teacher
This summer I enjoyed two weeks of research and language immersion in sunny Rome. Each morning I bypassed the line of pilgrims in St. Peter's square, flashed my library card to the Swiss guards at the Porta Sant'Anna, and entered the secret city of the popes. In the Vatican Library, I conducted research on education and scholarship during the early Renaissance. I focused on the Latin manuscripts of Gasparino Barzizza, one of the most important schoolmasters and editors of the fifteenth century. Toward the end of my stay, I turned my attention to the living tradition when I visited the Accademia Vivarium Novum, a school where all of the teaching is done in Latin and Greek. Gratissimum erat. It was a pleasure. I returned from my trip refreshed, energized by my research, and eager to share new ideas with my students and colleagues. I am deeply grateful to the Parents’ Association and The Hewitt School for their generous support.

Erica Linderholm, Director of Lower School Learning Services
Thanks to a summer grant from our Parents’ Association, I had the opportunity to spend a very special week totally immersed in my life-long passion for photography. I was a student in a digital nature photography workshop held at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.  There were 10 participants, all were educators, and all shared a love of both nature and photography.  The week was intense as well as completely energizing and whether in the field or the lab, I was a student who was actively learning. I felt confused and overwhelmed at times, and I often needed clarification or support from my teacher. I leaned on my classmates to help me and I also made a lot of mistakes. As a result of my experiences in Maine this summer, I am reminded that making sense is an active process as well as a personal one, and I returned to Hewitt with a new sense of empathy for the student experience. 

More News

Tim Clare, Science Teacher and Middle School Coordinator of Sustainability

As Hewitt guides girls to become the bold leaders of tomorrow, we have been expanding sustainability and environmental literacy as a core component of our curriculum and community practices. Our middle school girls have great concern for the health of the planet and are discovering a genuine sense of purpose by actively working to implement sustainability initiatives throughout their school community.

Daniel Denver, Performing Arts Department Chair

Hewitt's seventh and eighth grade Shakespeare Workshop offers a unique opportunity for small but mighty groups of young actors to gain confidence by experiencing all the steps necessary to give life to the Bard's 400 year old plays. The students wrestle with the meanings of the texts, but even more importantly they wrestle with a deeper understanding of metaphors present in Shakespeare's writing.

Chris Leaver and James Oates, Physical Education Teachers

Hewitt’s physical education program provides students with the tools they need to live a healthy and active lifestyle while instilling a passion for physical activity and movement that goes beyond school hours and lasts a lifetime. With classes that center around movement and fitness, sports technique and strategy, and yoga and dance instruction, Hewitt girls learn early on that they all have something to offer and gain from their physical education classes. 

Hewitt News

Hewitt’s summer grant program supports faculty experiences that align with the school’s four academic pillars - presence, empathy, research, and purpose. Read on to learn how this year’s summer grant recipients engaged in mindful interactions, expanded their perspectives, fostered their own growth mindset, and affirmed their purpose as educators and as individuals.

Mary Anne Sacco, Lower School Literacy Specialist

This September, second graders did the important work of setting up and organizing their classroom libraries. During the first few days of school the girls explored their libraries with excitement, their curiosity and enthusiasm contagious. Collaboratively, they began to investigate bins of books, having conversations about what types of books were in each and what they noticed about the books they were reading.

Margaret Brown and Meredith Miller, Kindergarten Teachers

Whether student, faculty, or staff, all new members of our community are paired with a buddy who offers guidance, support, and friendship as they navigate their first year at a new school. As the youngest members of our community, kindergarteners are welcomed to Hewitt through a unique partnership with the senior class, allowing for a special relationship to grow between the oldest and youngest students at Hewitt. 

Benjamin Joffe, Middle and Upper School Latin Teacher 

Having spent much of the year applying their knowledge of Latin vocabulary to a systematic and rigorous study of English derivatives, Hewitt’s seventh and eighth grade Latinists devoted the final weeks of school to regaling their classmates with tales from ancient Pompeii. 

Stephanie Dore, Upper School Service Coordinator

Hewitt’s dedication to fostering empathy in our students makes our partnership with Riley’s Way Foundation a natural fit. Throughout the year, Hewitt upper school girls work with peers from the Young Women’s Leadership School - Astoria on the Riley’s Way Youth Council, a public and independent school partnership designed to develop kind and compassionate leaders. 

Joseph Iannacone, Middle School History Teacher

Each spring, a delegation of Hewitt’s middle and upper school students participate in the Packer Model Congress, where they engage in heated but civil debates about taxes, foreign aid, veterans’ affairs, and environmental policy. Delegates view the annual event as yet another opportunity to make their ideas known and their voices heard. 

Samantha S., Class of 2018

In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, “We know what we are, but we know not what we may be.” Well, I know something of what we are. We’re venturers and friends, students and sisters. Above all, we are Hewitt girls. As we walk out into the next stages of our lives as women, we do so with the immeasurable potential to become anything we want to be.  

Nancy Gallin

Good morning, families, students, colleagues, members of the Board of Trustees, and first among equals, good morning to the Hewitt Class of 2018. Look around you and memorize this moment, your classmates, your families, your teachers, this beautiful place, and the chance to sit quietly just for a little while so you can remember it. 

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This April, the Hewitt community gathered to celebrate the opening night of our student-curated art exhibition, Diversity and Identity: The Pieces of Your Puzzle. From thoughtful self-portraits to an interactive world map to a school-wide collaborative mural, each work of art spoke to the exhibition’s theme, recognizing the beauty of the Hewitt community’s diverse perspectives and experiences. 

Mia V., Class of 2018

As most people were just waking up and beginning their morning routines, the 14 members of Hewitt’s varsity tennis team were arriving at the courts ready to practice. The hardworking and passionate team grew incredibly close over the course of the season, making it all the way to the quarterfinals of the AAIS tournament, with an impressive 7-3 record the rest of the season. 

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This spring, faculty advisors focused the ninth grade advisory program on empathy skill-building and trained in council, a method of story sharing developed by the Ojai Foundation. Council provides a space where students can voice their opinions and share their stories, knowing they will be heard by their peers without comment or judgment. 

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Believing strongly that an artist must have empathy in order to tell and honor another human being’s story, Ms. Britt asks her seventh grade drama students to step into the shoes of a classmate through a project in which girls learn, reflect on, and ultimately perform another’s story. 

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Earlier this year, first graders noticed the chairlift at the front entrance to McKelvey Hall. When it came time for students to begin their study of Central Park, Ms. Hashim seized the opportunity to change the traditional curriculum, harnessing her students’ interest by learning about Central Park through the eyes of the elderly or disabled. 

Alexa Collingwood and Samia Soodi, Third Grade Teachers

This March, visitors to Hewitt’s third grade classrooms found themselves rubbing elbows with a myriad of famous and vibrant women from every era of history. Guests expecting an ordinary wax museum full of motionless figures were in for a treat as the third graders, dressed as historical figures, came to life to share their stories.

Jeremy Sambuca, Director of Technology

Whether building a robot from scratch or working alongside a teammate to troubleshoot a pesky programming glitch, students in Hewitt’s middle school robotics program are design-thinkers and problem-solvers who learn from their successes and challenges. 

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Estefania Suquilanda, Hewitt’s lower school tech support specialist, has always had a passion for repairing gadgets. “My goal is to pass on the repair bug to Hewitt students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Whether dealing with a cracked phone screen or an argument with a best friend, knowing how to repair things is an important skill to have.”

Jennifer Errico, Educational Technologist and Lindsey Brown and Maggie Turner, Kindergarten Teachers

Hewitt kindergarteners approach their role as Hewitt's newest community members with fresh eyes, deep curiosity, and lots of enthusiasm. Throughout their first year of school, kindergarteners focus on identity explorations, learning about their larger school community and their own role in that community. 

Tim Clare, Science Teacher and Middle School Coordinator of Sustainability

Hewitt’s commitment to sustainability spans divisions and disciplines. Between clubs, courses, and community service, faculty members are developing a variety of ways for students, teachers, and families to get involved with efforts to spread awareness and education about the environment. 

Elaine Schreger, Fourth Grade Teacher and Grade Level Coordinator 

Hewitt’s Sandwich Friday tradition goes back to 2005, when this service relationship originally began in our first, second, and third grade classrooms. Since then, it has expanded to fourth grade and kindergarten so that every member of the lower school shares in this empathy-building experience. 

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Hewitt fifth graders tapped into their skills as mathematicians, problem solvers, coders, researchers, and writers to plan road trips across the United States. With only a few specific guidelines about budget and mileage, students were encouraged to make independent decisions about routes, finances, food, and lodging as they planned elaborate trip itineraries.

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Each year, Hewitt’s world languages department offers opportunities for middle and upper school students to travel abroad to Spanish- and French-speaking countries. These trips, filled with new experiences and discoveries, provide students with the chance to immerse themselves in the language, culture, history, and culinary traditions of different cities. 

Stephanie Dore, Digital Arts and Photography Teacher and Coordinator of Experiential Initiatives 

This October, three upper school Graphic Design students attended the 12th annual Teen Design Fair, where they caught the attention of graphic designers from Sesame Workshop. 

Erik Nauman and Young Kim, Technology Integrators

On any given day, visitors to Hewitt’s O’Hara Family Innovation Lab might smell the burnt wood of the laser cutter, see traces of sawdust left over from a woodworking project, or hear the hum of a 3D printer bringing student designs to life. 

Carly S., Student Head of Athletics

This fall, Hewitt’s athletes hit the ground running in volleyball, soccer, and cross country. Our varsity and JV teams were complemented by a record number of middle school student athletes, and the season was characterized by talent, skill, determination, and teamwork. 

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In its second year, Hewitt’s summer grant program supported faculty experiences that align with the school’s four academic pillars - presence, empathy, research, and purpose. 

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This summer, several Hewitt faculty members participated in mindfulness training designed specifically for educators. Read their personal reflections to learn how they are incorporating mindfulness practices into their classrooms. 

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Spurred by questions based on both hypothetical and actual situations, fifth and sixth students utilize classical philosophies and political theories like those of Aristotle, Kant, and Rawls to guide their critical reasoning as they consider dilemmas in law and justice. 

Alicia Ferrill, First Grade Teacher

On the first day of school, the entire first grade participated in a team building activity designed to encourage planning, collaboration, problem-solving, and creative expression.

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Faculty member Erik Sommer discusses his summer art installation at Fastnet, an alternative exhibition space in Red Hook, Brooklyn. 

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The Hewitt School embraces the notion of teachers as learners and offers faculty several opportunities for professional development throughout the year.

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From the first day of rehearsals the cast of "The Cripple of Inishmaan" jumped at the chance to take on the challenges posed by this complex text.

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At Hewitt, we believe in empowering girls to establish a sense of self rooted in confidence, empathy, and hardiness through active, girl-centered academics and authentic connections to the world beyond our campus. 

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In December 2016, six upper school students and nine faculty and staff members attended the annual People of Color/Student Diversity Leadership Conference in Atlanta.

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At The Hewitt School, all middle school students are given the opportunity to learn robotics, and interested girls are encouraged to build on this foundation by participating in our Hawks Robotics elective. 

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This March, over 700 members of the Hewitt community, including students, current and incoming families, alumnae, faculty, staff, and Met Museum educators, gathered at The Vinegar Factory to celebrate the opening of Feminist Stance: What Do You Stand For?