The Shipley School is proud to announce Rafhia Foster has been selected as the next Director of Enrollment. Rafhia will begin her work at Shipley on July 1, 2021. Read more about Rafhia in a letter from Head of School Michael Turner.
“Shipley was life-changing for me. It opened up my world," says alumnus Hakiem Coles ’07. His belief in the power of education to positively impact the lives of other black students inspired him to join Shipley's Black Alumni Association and establish a named endowed fund, the Black Alumni Association Fund, to support the curricular and cultural needs of Shipley’s Black students and teachers.
Though Latin might have taken its place among other languages that history has left behind, Dr. Matt Wellenbach is using innovative learning methods to help shift that perspective and equip his students with the tools they need to read and understand Latin texts. Students increase their proficiency in Latin and along with it, they develop a willingness to take intellectual risks while learning the material.
Coaching students on their path to personal discovery is an essential part of Shipley’s multi-pronged approach to building individual and collective well-being. In Emma Gibson's public speaking class, students were asked: What do you care about? How does telling that story become a gift to your audience? They then delivered speeches to their classmates, sharing compelling personal stories with great aplomb, to their teacher's delight.
In the fifth grade’s social emotional learning SEED class at Shipley, teacher Betsy Leschinsky reads her students Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu. Mrs. L uses it as a springboard to inspire her fifth graders to think about how they might raise awareness about issues and topics that mean something to them for their capstone Think Care Act projects.
The Shipley School is proud to announce Justin Cooper has been selected as the next Director of Athletics and Physical Education. Justin will begin his work at Shipley on July 1, 2021. Read more about Justin in a letter from Head of School Michael Turner.
Upper School science teacher Elizabeth Zodda encourages her physics students to engage in scientific discourse and build curiosity through a dynamic framework called Ambitious Science Teaching. The approach helps students become independent learners who are unafraid to share and develop their own ideas, giving them the experience of working like actual scientists.
“I’m not teaching drawing, painting, or printmaking. I’m teaching creative problem-solving,” says Upper School art teacher Meredith Turner. “My students may never draw, paint, or make a print again, but they’ll have to represent themselves both visually and verbally in the workplace. They’ll have to be willing to take risks, try new things, and make mistakes along the way in order to solve problems.”
In her Gender Studies English elective course, teacher Kristin Jaffe provides students with a framework to explore potentially polarizing issues. By expanding their global understanding and honing their cultural fluency, students foster respect for diverse viewpoints. These essential skills will equip them to succeed in an ever-changing world once they move beyond Shipley’s walls.
In the Lower School, a lot of DEI work revolves around helping students learn about themselves and aspects of their identities, as well as encouraging them to learn about their classmates and communities. From first through fifth grade, many of our students devoted classroom time to important discussions about different identity markers, the concept of community, and how we can support one another.
In the Middle School, students focus on DEI work at all levels and in every subject area. From rewriting textbook problems to be more inclusive in math, to examining the role and ramifications of institutionalized racism, White privilege, and allyship in their study of To Kill a Mockingbird in English, our Middle School students are engaged in meaningful DEI-focused learning experiences.
Upper School students have engaged in a variety of learning experiences designed to widen their perspectives, build their cultural awareness, and help them understand the historical and current context of socio-political issues impacting life across the world. From gender inequities in pay and civil rights, to the impact of European imperialism on native tribes and racial violence aimed at Asians, DEI learning is happening in a multitude of ways and subject areas.
We all know about March Madness, but have you heard about Locura de Marzo? Instead of NCAA basketball teams, students in Shipley’s Upper School Spanish classes filled their brackets with popular songs by Spanish-speaking artists from around the world. Find out how international music videos help students build their strengths and expand their worldviews while building fluency.
In Profesora Maria Antoine’s Honors V Spanish class, students engage in high-level conversations about important social issues. Through debates in class, a pen pal conversation exchange with teenagers in Spain, and other immersive experiences, students develop fluency while gaining a wider worldview.
When he was a student, Middle School science teacher Sean Legnini ’07 appreciated the fact that “Shipley let me be the many different things that I wanted to be.” That sense of intellectual curiosity and exploration was a driving force as he pursued multiple degrees and jobs, even launching a tech startup before returning to Shipley to teach.
As Vice Principal at KIPP DC, a community of high-performing public schools committed to excellence, equity, and justice, Alisha Fairfax '09 relies on her relationship-building skills to drive change and get things done. Relationships have also been at the heart of her efforts in helping to bring together over 100 Black alumni to form Shipley's first alumni affinity group, the Black Alumni Association.
Anna Dejdar ’04 has spent more than half of her life at The Shipley School. First as a middle and upper school student, and now, as Dean of Students and Associate Head of Upper School for Student Life. Over the years she has held many professional positions at the School, but she has remained committed to always learning more. “Shipley’s really been a special place to allow me to do that. I’m so grateful," she says. Learn more about Ms. Dejdar.
Bipin Prakash, Shipley’s Director of Technology, loves sharing his Indian heritage with others—including the food, festivals, and cultural traditions. He believes that in order to be inclusive, we must take the time to get to know each other. “We might not all have the same beliefs or values, but there are virtues that uniquely bind us, and they add to the diversity of the Shipley family,” he says.
The Shipley Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is excited to welcome the authors and speakers of the podcast, “Demystifying Diversity”, Daralyse Lyons, AnnaMarie Jones, and Zack James to present a session on the importance of moving beyond allies to accomplices and how and why that increases our capacity for empathy and fosters our investment in each other.
What do recording artists and civil servants have in common? “They bring people together,” says Joy Styles ’92, Nashville's District 32 Councilwoman and one of the first Black female country artists to ever sign a record deal. “The time that I spent at Shipley prepared me to be a trailblazer for my community and society as a whole," she says. Learn more about Shipley Changemaker Joy Styles '92.
Lee Stuart ’71 has dedicated her life and career to improving the lives of others by providing access to food, housing, education, and a caring community. From the Bronx, NY, to Duluth, MN—she has lived Shipley’s motto, Courage for the Deed; Grace for the Doing. “I’ve been in some really challenging environments and situations, and it’s a good guidepost,” she says. Learn more about Shipley Changemaker, Lee Stuart ’71.
The Shipley School is proud to announce Kris Ryan has been selected as the next Head of Upper School. Kris will begin his work at Shipley on July 1, 2021. Read more about Kris in a letter from Head of School Michael Turner.
On Wednesday, March 10, Middle and Upper School caregivers and faculty convened on Zoom for a virtual Book Club meeting to discuss Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning. If you missed the meeting or are a Lower School parent, you can sign up to participate in the April 20 discussion that has been planned.
Take a Seat is a podcast about flourishing. It’s about the art of thriving, the science and practice of well-being, and people who are “crushing it.” Flourishing expert Dr. Nick Holton explores topics ranging from self-actualization, friendships, and transcendence, to optimal functioning, magnifying collective potential, and creating a better humanity.
In February, much of the DEI work in Lower School classrooms centered around Black History Month. From art to PE, PreK to fifth grade, all of our youngest students got a chance to learn about and celebrate the contributions of black artists, scientists, athletes, and world leaders. In third grade, students also completed a unit celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year.
Recent DEI work in the Middle School spans explorations of America’s first published African-American poet, the “Black is Beautiful” cultural movement in relation to eighth graders’ study of A Raisin in the Sun, and scientific debates over sustainable fishing practices in indigenous cultures and the equitable distribution of vaccines to people across the world. Teachers have also engaged in their own DEI learning through various Professional Development opportunities.
In Upper School classrooms, students have been engaged in deep and meaningful learning around the impacts of racism on people in the U.S. and around the world, questions of equity in our economic systems, the contributions of the first Black women in national politics, and social justice issues in STEM fields.
Shipley’s Technology Student Association (TSA) team recently competed at the Pennsylvania Technology Student Association Region 5 Conference and placed in three categories to advance to the State Conference.
Carlos Casilla is Shipley’s Director of Choirs, PreK- Grade 12 Performing Arts Department Chair, and Class of 2021 Co-Dean. As a Black Dominican man, he is proud of his heritage, but also acutely aware of how those identities impact others’ perceptions of him, especially when he speaks Spanish in public. Learn more about Carlos and his experience as a person of color in our new series, Centering BIPOC Voices at Shipley.
Five members of Shipley's DECA chapter placed in the top three of their respective categories at the 70th Annual State Career Development Conference and qualified for the International Conference in April.
Inspired by their reading of A Long Walk to Water in English class, sixth graders Lilla Tsvetkov ’27 and Adam Hornberger ’27 have organized a fundraiser aiming to raise $5,000 towards the cost of building a well with the organization, Water for South Sudan. "We aim to inspire our community that no challenge is too big to be resolved or fixed, as long as you try to make a difference, big or small," they say.
The racial reckoning of 2020 fast-tracked Shipley's efforts to draft a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategic Plan. Work on the plan was led by a Board of Trustees Task Force, and the plan's Preamble and Goals were approved by the Board in January of 2021.
As Social Studies Department Chair and Equity Liaison at Deer Park Middle Magnet School in Baltimore County, Maryland, Brianna Ross ’10 says, “I’m focused on interrupting teacher biases, beliefs, and practices that perpetuate inequities while working to build teacher capacity to create inclusive classrooms that reflect the strengths and interests of our students.” Learn more about Shipley Changemaker Brianna Ross ’10.
The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.