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Introducing Derryfield's Academic Vision

Over the next two weeks, we will be sharing the Derryfield Academic Vision through three evening presentations for parents and families. We invite you to join us to share your thoughts and questions as we provide an overview of our faculty’s exciting commitment to redesign the student experience for the 21st century.

Innovations in Academic Programs
Wednesday, May 2; 5:30 p.m., Lyceum AND Thursday, May 10, 5:30 p.m., Lyceum
Join Dr. Mary Halpin Carter and our academic deans, Lindley Shutz and Brent Powell, to learn more about Derryfield’s academic program vision. The talk will be followed by a Q&A session and survey.

Curricular Choices and Selective College Admission
Tuesday, May 15, 5:30 p.m., Lyceum
Debra Johns is the Associate Director of Admission at Yale University where she has worked with students from New Hampshire for the past decade. She will join us to discuss curricular choices as they relate to selective college admission. Come learn about what colleges are looking for and how this aligns with Derryfield's Academic Vision.

What follows is an excerpt from Dr. Carter’s introduction to our presentation. You can download notes on the Academic Vision here. Please join us for one of the evenings and/or contact us, the Deans of Academic Program. We can’t wait to share with you the complex and rich ideas and experiences that shape each of the recommendations.

“Derryfield faculty and staff know that best practice in learning looks different in the twenty-first century than the twentieth. The ability to watch a brain learn and the resulting neuroscience has changed the way that we understand memory, skill development, and creativity. It has pointed the way to teaching in a way that calls upon students to apply knowledge as they acquire knowledge, to do more relevant research, analysis, and problem-solving than when we were in school.

The faculty has thought a lot about Derryfield graduates in the 21st century . . . What must they be able to do? How must they be able to think?

In an era of globalization, automation, and artificial intelligence, our children need to become the colleagues who look to make systems, products, and practices ever better and have the ability to effectively lead teams and organizations. They need to be people of initiative who iterate- these are valuable to every company and organization--and people with ethical clarity who can lead teams and groups.

For two years, faculty and staff have been sharing and studying teaching methods based on brain research and re-envisioning the program. The result at this point is a vision of a Derryfield experience that reflects these four principles:
  • Student wellness
  • Teaching that prioritizes student engagement, choice, and individual challenge using research-backed methods
  • Curriculum that is enhanced by instruction in aesthetic design, STEM-X, design thinking
  • Character and leadership skill development
Many teachers are already teaching with open-ended questions, multidisciplinary projects, embedded tech skills, and in a collaborative, iterative way. Many students are doing project-based work that calls upon collaboration, multimedia, and addresses real world problems like Environmental Science’s aquaponics project. We are taking these gains and making them coordinated and consistent.”

We look forward to your feedback, which is so important, as we develop this exciting new program. We are eager to learn what you are most excited about, what you would like to see us do first, and if you think there are components not worth pursuing.

Lindley Shutz and Brent Powell
Deans of Academic Programs
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