Head of School's Message: June 4

“Don’t track your kid like a FedEx package,” read the headline of an article in last Friday’s L.A. Times in which columnist Patt Morrison interviewed Lenore Skenazy, the founder of the Free Range Kids movement.
 As summer arrives and parents fret about what liberties to allow their kids, Skenazy argues that freedom’s risks are exaggerated, and its advantages are incalculable.
 
Skenazy was asked what the difference was between a free-range kid and a neglected kid. She answered, “A free range kid is taught how to cross the street, knows they have to be home by a certain time, and then is given some freedom. A neglected kid is harmed by parents who are blatantly disregarding their welfare.”
 
She talked about the importance of getting away from screens and playing outside, “I am not against phones. But I know that when kids are outside there’s so much fun and social, emotional growth to be had through free play that they don’t get if they’re supervised. And I don’t think they get as much of it online.”
 
She recently asked some educators, “What’s something that you loved doing that you don’t let your own kids do?” Everyone told stories about the time this went wrong or that went wrong and they concluded with, “but we didn’t tell our parents.” Lenore Skenazy observed that these kinds of events are what grown-up life is based on, knowing that you’re the kid who handled that. “And we keep taking this out of our kids’ lives,” she said, “And saying, ‘Oh, honey, did you hurt yourself? Let me help you. I brought an entire bag of first aid, and a cast and a Medevac in my bag.’ She concludes that this is unfair to children because it takes away their childhood and gives it to us.
 
Two of my favorite memories from the school year involve conversations with students. The first was a discussion with a seventh grade girl in February who I have known since kindergarten. She was talking about measures that she believed the City of Pasadena should be taking to end homelessness. Her grasp of the facts, her compassion and the seriousness of her interest have developed over the seven years. She has the intellect and the drive to believe she can make a difference and Chandler has played a part in her evolving outlook.
 
Another conversation was with two kindergarten boys last week in my office who were able to read the words on a pillow on one of the chairs, “Chocolate isn’t a vegetable.” It’s a good conversation starter with the younger students. One of the boys said that at the beginning of the year, he had no idea what the jumble of letters on the pillow meant, but after a year in kindergarten, not only does he know that chocolate isn’t a vegetable, he can read that chocolate isn’t a vegetable.
 
What will you remember most from this school year? Was it an observation that a teacher shared about your child? A piece of work your child produced? Did something click with your child’s learning that had not clicked before? Did you see your child become more independent, more mature, more socially skilled than you expected, more academically skilled than you expected?
 
As the year concludes, I hope you feel that the sacrifices you make to invest in your child’s future
by sending him or her to Chandler are worth it. Thank you for choosing to send your child to Chandler.
 
HONG KONG
 
We are starting to plan for the 2019 Hong Kong exchange program. The goal of the program is to promote cross cultural understanding through a ten-day immersive school visit and home stay. During the exchange between Chandler and two schools in Hong Kong, students participate in school and family life. Students are accompanied by faculty and staff chaperones from their respective schools and stay with host families.
 
Chandler students will visit Hong Kong from Thursday, March 28 to Sunday, April 7. Students from Hong Kong will visit Chandler from July 12 to July 21.
 
We will be working with Diocesan Boys School and Diocesan Girls School in Hong Kong. This will be the third year of the exchange program with DBS and the second year with DGS. Two years ago we took twelve Chandler students to Hong Kong, six boys and six girls. We are planning to take no more than eight boys and eight girls in 2019.
 
Because the program involves a home stay, we ask that if you send your son or daughter to Hong Kong you will agree to host a student in July, 2019. The Hong Kong students and their hosts participate in Chandler’s summer program. Chandler students will be accompanied to Hong Kong by Chandler's Director of Technology Trevor Spicer, Human Resource Director Katherine Anastasia and a faculty member.
 
The program fee of $3,000 includes the round trip flight to Hong Kong.
 
If you have any interest whatsoever in having your son or daughter participate in the exchange, please let me know. I will organize an informational evening in late September.
 
7th AND 8th GRADE BOOJUM TRIPS
 
The seventh grade Boojum trip to the Colorado River and the eighth grade Boojum trip to the Sierras are among the most treasured memories of Chandler graduates. The trips take place in September shortly after the start of the school year. For the seventh grade, the trip to the river is an opportunity for returning students to get to know their new classmates. For the eighth grade, the backpacking trip is a chance to get together with classmates and teachers in the wilderness before the serious academic work begins.
 
Both trips are traditions that reflect the school’s values and mission. They are core requirements of Chandler’s program. It serves Chandler’s digital natives well to unplug and get away from lit screens and electronic devices. All students are expected to participate. If you have any questions, please contact Chandler’s Outdoor Education coordinator Pete Carlson pcarlson@chandlerschool.orgMiddle School Director Jill Bergeron jbergeron@chandlerschool.org, or me jfinch@chandlerschool.org.
 
 
Most sincerely,
John Finch
Head of School
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