Aaron Cooper - Reflections upon the recent NJAIS Keynote Speakers

"Hearing these three speakers made me think, made me feel, that EMS, all the way back to its mission statement, is on the right track in terms of what's best for children." 
     ~ Aaron Cooper, Head of School 

AC-10-26 Speak by EMScommunications

On Friday, October 26, Aaron Cooper started off his first Head of School Coffee with his reflection upon three recent speakers at the NJAIS conference and how their presentations detailed much of what EMS already embraces.  (15 minutes)

Top 5 Tips To Plan Successful Play Dates

by Beth Anne Brennan
Lower School Head

I was in my office the other day, well beyond the hour I had intended on staying, when I got a call from my younger sister.  A nice surprise, for sure, but when we moved beyond casual conversation, she got to the heart of why she was calling.  She wanted to get my thoughts on a play date that went badly.  No need to go into the details, but being a parent of four children myself, the host of many play dates in my time (some successful, some not so much), along with having a career where I am surrounded by children, I did have a few thoughts on the matter.

Although in the moment, after a not-so-great play date, every parent’s first response is likely, “I will never have that child over again!”  An experienced parent, however, knows that probably won’t be the case.  Children love the idea of having play dates and honestly, as parents, we generally want to see our children having fun and enjoying the company of their peers, but sometimes tempers, impulses, and demeanors can get the best of any child during play.   Although there is no magic formula to make a play date great, there are steps you can take to help insure they go well.

At the recent NJAIS conference, I ran into Dr. David Lowry, former EMS Head and respected colleague; he reminded me in a conversation that parents love lists.  Here, then, is a quick list of play date tips; may your meetings with fellow friends be happy and successful experiences for all.

    Let your child have a say as to whom he/she wishes to play with. When they were younger we made our children play with our friends' kids.  As they grow, however, encourage them to choose their own friends, perhaps ones that have similar likes, interests or hobbies.

    Invite the other parent in.  Many parents want to get to know you better before leaving their child in your care.  Invite them to your home and talk to them about your expectations.  Get any contact information and special care information and ask them if they have any suggestions that may be helpful in setting the tone for successful play date.

    Set rules. Tell the children what the "do's" and "dont's" are for your home.  Keep the list short.  Suggest to your child, ahead of time, to put away any toys he/she is not willing to share.

    Prepare for the meltdown. Keep play dates short and be ready for the worst.  Some children will test limits, so be prepared as to how you will handle any and all situations. 

    End on a happy note.  Try to help the children achieve success in their play date by ending on a positive note. Should anything have happened during the visit, be open and honest with other parents.  

      Remember, we as parents host play dates so that our children can practice socializing with their peers.  Do not expect reciprocity and remember that you can say “no” if a day or situation does not work for your family.

For more detailed information planning great play dates read:
Jennifer Rodecki, M.Ed. and Deb Leach, Ed.D., BCBA:  http://bringingaba.blogspot.com/2012/05/5-tips-for-successful-play-dates.html

NJAIS Conference Features EMS Faculty Participants

Yesterday (October 15) the EMS faculty attended the annual New Jersey Association of Independent Schools Conference at the Ranney School in Tinton Falls.  The conference goal is professional development and networking: providing "speakers, workshops, seminars and sessions" focusing on all facets of independent school trends and activities.  Once again, this year featured EMS faculty (two current and one former) with active rolls in the conference.
Carol Toth

EMS Director of Auxilary programs Liza Jones Hards and Math teacher Carol Toth were asked to lead "affinity tables" in their area of expertise.  As Ms. Toth expains, "the idea (with hosting affinity tables) is that in an informal setting we could get together and talk about the issues that face us and hopefully help each other find solutions to common problems."  Ms. Toth planned to direct the table toward issues regarding groupings, acceleration, working with challenged math learners, and how much (if any) of the state's Common Core Curriculum Standards math departments could incorporate into their own programs.  

Liza Jones Hards presents at NJAIS Conference at the Ranney School 
Along with guiding a table on school auxiliary programs (camps, before-school and after-school programming), Mrs. Jones Hards, along with her colleague Cindy Wyatt from Gill St. Bernard's School, also presented a full session at the conference.  Titled Let The Sunshine In, Mrs. Jones Hards' and Mrs. Wyatt's presentation focused on "their success stories for building and maintaining summer activities that keep learning going, while at the same time adding marketing and financial value" to their respective schools.

Also presenting at this year's conference, former EMS Head of School, Dr. David Lowry spoke on the topic of administration and leadership – sharing "humor and truth" from his thirty years in independent schools.

Recent Accolades for EMS Director of Technology Sarah Rolle

In September, at the invitation of George Magdich, President of the New Jersey Educational Computing Cooperative (njecc.org), EMS Technology Director Sarah Rolle was appointed as an advisor to this state-wide organization, joining a select group with eight other educators.

The NJECC is a not for profit organization that provides member school districts with a wide range of services and professional development to meet many of their educational technology needs.  In his invitation to Ms. Rolle, Mr. Magdich said, "you have the experience and are in the forefront of Ed Tech.  I think you would be a great addition to the group."  In addition to regular monthly meetings the NJECC advisor group also helps organize the annual conference in March.

In addition to this, Ms. Rolle was appointed as a team leader for a recent Google Teacher Academy, held in New York City on October 3, 2012.

The Google Teacher Academy is a free professional development experience designed to help K-12 educational leaders get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google's products, learn about visionary instructional strategies, and receive resources to share with colleagues. Upon completion, Academy participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local regions and beyond.

Educators become Google Certified Teachers by attending Google Teacher Academies.  Ms. Rolle originally attended the GTA in 2007.

Ginny Smith Presents "Brain Exercises" at State Conference

EMS Physical Education Teacher Ginny Smith recently presented at the NJAHPERD* Lake Conference in Hardwick, New Jersey.  Entitled Brain Exercises, Mrs. Smith discussed how and why aerobic exercise and "cross-lateral movement challenges" stimulate brain function.  Neuroscience is revealing that exercise can elevate neurotransmitter levels in the brain, which in turn, may optimize focus and retention in children.  For this reason, Mrs. Smith advocates a regular "diet" of movement in the academic day. Her presentation also featured the demonstration of activities and exercises teachers may utilize in either a gym or classroom setting. 

* NJAHPERD: New Jersey Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance

"As I think about our children...two things come to mind."

Head of School Aaron Cooper's opening remarks for Back To School Night - 9/27/2012.

   Mr. Cooper notes two significant priorities for The Elisabeth Morrow School:
   1.  Care for and understanding of each student.
   2.  A program that supports the individual development of each student.

CooperAtLSnight by EMScommunications