CHS Music Instructor, Evan Haller, was featured in the November 16th issue of the Needham Times. Evan performed at the Mitchell Elementary School as they celebrated its first annual “Mitchell Day”. All students, faculty, staff, and parents participated in a sing- and dance-along in the school’s courtyard accompanied by CHS’ own Evan Haller on the guitar.
The CHS community gathered together on Monday to enjoy a bowl of soup, learn about a collaborative bowl-making project, celebrate the Kindergarten and Grade 6 learning partners, and support Common Art, a local organization that provides space and materials for artists who are unhoused.
The Art Soup evening opened with a slideshow showcasing the students’ process - from a combined field trip, to collaborative art making activities, to event planning and setup. The community enjoyed a simple soup supper donated by Whole Foods and Baker's Best and music from Chris Eastburn and his son, Quinn.
At the end of the event, community members were invited to rinse and wrap their bowls so they could take them home. On a cold December night, it was a celebration of joy and community.
From Queen and Maroon 5 to Beethoven and Mozart, CHS School for Music students performed at their Winter Recital this month. From Pre-K to Grade 6, students demonstrated their talents and the hard work necessary to play the violin
jam on the drums
or strum the guitar
.A special treat at Wednesday night's performance was Club Glee!, an ensemble of 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders singing Sly and the Family Stone's classic, Dance to the Music.
Special thanks to music teachers Eli Roberts, Alexandra Lutkevich, Dillon Zahner, Evan Haller, Rose Drucker, Kathleen O'Boyle, Shooka Afshar, and Bryan Tyler, and all their students for three evenings of musical delight.
National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place each year from September 15th through October 15th. This timeframe was chosen because so many Latin American countries celebrate their Independence Day during this time. On Friday, CHS observed National Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting Sol y Canto, an award winning Pan-Latin ensemble. Sol y Canto is known for composing music that appeals to both Spanish and non-Spanish speaking audiences. Their mission is to play music that moves, delights, excites, and connects people to the richness of Latin American culture.
Bongo player Rosi Amador, and guitarist and composer Brian Amador, performed songs from their CD El Double de Amigos, encouraging CHS students, faculty and staff to sing and clap along with the verse El Double de Amigos/Twice as many friends which calls attention to bilingual speakers in a positive way. Before beginning La Fiesta del Tran, Brian explained that he wrote the song because the commuter train to Fitchburg runs past the Amador house in North Cambridge. And, as it passes the pictures on the walls shake and the furniture dances as if they were at a fiesta.
One of the last songs of the set, Barquito de Papel, is a Cuban folksong, which emphasizes peace around the world. Rosi, who is of Argentinian and Puerto Rican descent, asked the audience to think about the people of Puerto Rico who are struggling with the devastation due to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The show closed with dancing the Chequi Morena, a Puerto Rican game song.
Gracias a Sol y Canto for starting the day at The Chestnut Hill School with music, dancing, and song.
This week The Chestnut Hill School hosted the Parents Independent School Network (PIN) in a lively and informative discussion on the State of Diversity Education and Enrichment in our Schools. Dr. Carlos Hoyt, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advocate at CHS, invited participants to imagine shifting the discourse on diversity from identity politics silos to a comprehensive, inclusive, and collaborative understanding of social identity, social bias, and social justice.
The CHS DEI Curriculum Initiative was introduced as an example of efforts to create pedagogy that enables and empowers students to explore and embrace their whole “personhood”, while being aware of the ways in which personhood is assigned to social identity categories.
Dr. Hoyt highlighted the efforts of CHS teacher to infuse their teaching with material that provides mirrors for students of all backgrounds and windows into different ways of life. And he presented the seven strands of identity upon which the DEI Curriculum will focus:
Heritage, Physical Appearance, Ability, Gender and Sexual Orientation, Race, Socioeconomic Status, and Worldview.
The room buzzed with energy and excitement when Dr. Hoyt invited each table group to discuss the state of diversity education, and what parents hope their children are learning about this topic in this day and age.
Deb Bloomberg, a member of the CHS Support Team, summarized the meeting’s success. “Carlos highlighted the amazing work being done in our classrooms, and our ongoing commitment as a community to diversity, equity and justice. I felt really proud of CHS.”
Ms. Swartz visited the 6th grade classrooms this week to talk to students about the writing process, poetry, and her inspiration for the book.
Twelve- year-old Molly Nathan, the main character in Finding Perfect, is a very different person at home with her older sister and younger brother than she is with her BFF Hannah. That’s because she has a secret: Molly counts by 4s, sharpens her pencils, cleans, and organizes her glass figurine collection compulsively. She has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). According to the International OCD Institute over 500,000 children have some form of the disease (for reference, this is approximately the same number as kids who have diabetes). Ms. Swartz worked with a pediatric specialist to insure that the details of Molly’s symptoms and behaviors were accurate. "But most of the work behind the writing," Ms. Swartz told the class, "was getting to know her characters – Molly, her family, and friends."
A Slam Poetry Contest is an important part of Molly’s story. As part of her student workshop, Ms. Swartz had students write and share their own poetry. In the question and answer portion, students asked Ms. Swartz about the writing process. They were very surprised to hear that it took her eight years to write and revise, and revise, and revise, her book before it was finally published.
Teachers Dylan Gallegos and Diana Blazar capitalized on the themes found in Finding Perfect with an activity called the Unfolding Identity Project. Students built a paper fortune-teller on which were written words and phrases reflecting each identity layer, such as the person you are on social media, the person you are with your family, and the person you are when alone. The difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us generated a great deal of discussion.
After the Q&A, Ms. Swartz autographed books, pencils and rulers. “Once a kid asked me to sign his forehead, so I make it clear that I will sign anything except body parts,” she said.
CHS Congratulates the Class of 2017!
We wish you all the best as you move on to your next school.
Despite the cold temperatures, from November to March, 47 CHS students rose extra early to study and prepare with their coaches - Mr. Acosta, Ms. Giordano, and Mr. Gallegos. Over 3,000 teams participated and The Chestnut Hill School Math Olympiads Team was honored for Highest Team Achievement.
The Math Olympiads are designed to strengthen mathematical intuition, foster creativity and ingenuity, and develop strategies to solve unusual and particularly challenging math problems. A participating school team would need to score at least 164 points in order to place in the top 10% and earn a prize.
The dedication, commitment, and hard work of our Math Olympiads team paid off!
The CHS Community is very proud of our students. Let’s give a round of applause for our Math Masters:
Grade 4: Julia Bae, Scarlett Black, Julia Chang-Holt, Kate Drachman, Beckett Dubovik, Sammy Gallegos, Jayan Gandhi, Kate Gavin, Sam Gavin, Alex Giordano, Jordan Hayden, Josie Kelleher, Jai Malhotra, Mira Maniar, Lee Nevo, Axel Portnoy, Aleeza Riaz, Sofia Senunas, and Jolie Zink.
Grade 5: Mark Anderson, Caroline Bae, Evan Bardinelli, Nayan Brainerd-Ghosh, Eric Diop, Erik Duchnowski, Ellie Etemad-Gilbertson, Julia Feeney, Ben Guenther, Brooks Hawkins, Alexa Konstantopoulos, Eva Kravetz, Aidan Lin, Frankie Lavelle, Katie Martin, Chris Myers, Daniel Pushkarev, Toby Pyle, Alyssa Quarles, Aaron Stanger, Annika Walker
Grade 6: Jack Botein*, Ainsley Burr, Jamie Drachman, Timothy Hebard*, Alex Nahirny*, Olivia Stevo*, Aidan Yaphe
*Notes those students who participated for three consecutive years.
Will Van Dyke, Class of 1996, is the CHS Distinguished Alumni Award winner for 2017. Will works in New York City as a composer, singer, lyricist, and music director. He arranged the music for a couple of Disney productions including Winnie the Pooh, KIDS, and The Lion King Experience. He is currently the music director for the Tony award winning Broadway hit Kinky Boots.
During his visit, Will toured the school and marveled at how the buildings and grounds have changed since he was a 6th grader over 20 years ago. During a Q&A with the students, Will shared his favorite CHS memories and his favorite Broadway tunes and shows, as well as gave advice about how to find balance in one’s life as an artist and a person.
5th and 6th graders entertained Will and his guests with the following songs --“Imagine” by John Lennon, “Right Hand Man” from the musical Hamilton adapted with special birthday lyrics to honor the Head of School, Dr. Steven Tobolsky, and “Put on a Happy Face” from Bye, Bye Birdie. In 1996, Will’s 6th grade class also performed Bye, Bye Birdie. CHS surprised Will with a video clip from that production featuring him singing “Put on a Happy Face”; Will then posed with Aiden Yaphe and Jamie Drachman who also portrayed the role of Albert in the musical Bye, Bye Birdie.
By request, Will performed one of his compositions, The Snowman. Click here to listen on YouTube. The event concluded Dr. T presenting Will with his award, and 6th grade Class Agents, Emma Sanders and Aiden Yaphe, presenting Will with his CHS alumni pin.
Will is now working on the show The Man in the Ceiling. Performances are taking place at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, New York, through June 25. Will is also to be a part of the 2017 Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. His show with Jeff Talbott, Seven Broken Hearts, will be one of the nine shows developed at the retreat this summer.
To learn more about CHS alumnus, Will Van Dyke, ’96 visit his website at www.willvandyke.com
This past weekend both the 6th grade boys and girls basketball teams participated in the annual Meadowbrook Tournament at the Meadowbrook School in Weston, MA. The Chestnut Hill School, Fay School, The Park School, and The Meadowbrook School all competed for the championship. It was an exciting Saturday morning. The boys team, despite a gritty and persistent defense in every game, came in fourth place.
Following two dramatic overtime periods against the Fay School, the 6th grade girls won first place.