Faculty Blog

What gets measured, gets managed

“What gets measured, gets managed” is a quote I’m sure many of you who are in business, finance, and management have heard before (and quite possibly to the point of nausea).  As trite and too oft-used as some of us may hold this phrase, we must admit there is a large element of truth to it.  Sure, there are complex concepts that really can’t be quantified - such as love or a zeal for learning - but hard numbers and comprehensive benchmarking are one of the most effective starts to understanding how a person or organization is grappling with a new initiative …

Posted by in Cameren Cousins on Wednesday February 25, 2015
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Boys and Shorts

For years  I’ve wondered, Why do boys  insist on wearing shorts when it's freezing outside? Just the other day, as snow and ice covered the ground, I saw a boy trudging through the snow in shorts on the way to his van.

Is there something going on internally that makes them warmer than the rest of us? Technically, yes. Males tend to have a steady and more complete distribution of body heat than women. On the other hand, they may be trying to be their own person; a show of independence from the adults in their lives.

It drives teachers and parents crazy, though it probably …

Posted by in Jen Waldeck on Tuesday January 20, 2015
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Boys Learn Best From Each Other

Whether it's on the sports field, in the classroom, at recess, or somewhere in between, boys often learn best from each other. While this may seem obvious, it often is hard not to get involved when there is an argument, when a situation looks like it is getting out of hand, or when you feel you need to provide some sort of moral support or comfort.  As adults, we are the "frontal lobes" for the boys and we teach and guide them in every way possible, yet it is through their experience and interaction with their peers that boys apply and test out what they have learned. I was reminded of …

Posted by in Jon Byrd on Wednesday October 15, 2014
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Riding the Wave of Our Children’s Transitions

You would think it gets easier each year—sending off children to summer camp and the new school year, especially when they are returning to familiar settings. I am struck by how hard transitions are for all of us and yet how often we ask children to make them in the course of a day, a week, a year. And, particularly with boys, I sometimes think that we forget how vulnerable they can be as they jump into new situations and how often they hold themselves up to standards of toughness that deep in our hearts we know are quite difficult for them to uphold as they take on new challenges. It&…

Posted by in Lorraine Ward on Tuesday September 9, 2014
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The Bus Ride Home

The bus is eerily quiet as we make our way home. These seventh grade Fenn boys are exhausted, and they should be; we have had an eventful few days. They have had a chance to walk all over D.C. They have been inquisitive, informative, impulsive, empathic, and exhilarated (and some even a little homesick), so they have come by these "bus naps" honestly and earnestly.  

They have asked questions about and offered impromptu presentations on the monuments, museums, and memorials that came about through some class work research and mini-presentations. In fact, our tour guide, Tracy, …

The Love of a Son

How often have I pondered the question about how a perfectionist “good girl” like me could have ended up with three spirited, independent-minded sons and no daughters?  How often have I asked out loud—sometimes in sheer frustration, sometimes in absolute wonder—how I, of all people, ended up with three boys who rarely saw the importance of the attention to detail about the upkeep of the house, of their homework, of remembering that it was trash or recycling day, of how much time it would take to make out college applications and what the due dates were, and at 11:…

The Joy of Boys Learning

I recently attended the annual conference of the National Council of Teachers of English.  I was able to take in several informative and useful presentations. I attended an afternoon session titled From Blocks to Social Media:  Boys’ Play Based Composing of Self and Story. The presentation was an examination of case studies of a preschool play model, a high school virtual communication model and college level Role Playing Game model, all intended to help boys construct meaning and establish identity.  The conference itself was quite fascinating – especially to me as …

Posted by in Patricia McCarthy on Monday December 9, 2013
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Allowing Boys Tenderness

I am always grateful for the Friday afternoon sessions at my home with the senior class at Fenn—our Pen to Paper Club.  Started three years ago by a member of the Class of 2011 to answer a longing to do something different in the afternoon, we set up a voluntary ninth grade club to read poetry and to write and draw in response to it.  My offer was guidance and a place to gather away from the school with appealing food and drinks: think salt and sugar.

It quickly became clear that all of the ninth graders wanted to be part of the club and that while poetry was the supposed main…

Posted by in Lorraine Ward on Sunday November 10, 2013
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Peer Advocates at Fenn: Choosing to Step Up Rather than Stand Back

The new Jafari Library often has a very lively feel to it bright and early in the day as more than three dozen boys gather there after they are arrive at Fenn and before they report to their advisors. The 7:30-8:20 time slot in the library is a buzz of activity as friends meet friends to hang out, boys are studying alone or in groups, foursomes are playing cards, boys are using computers, and avid readers are choosing new books. It’s a real hub of activity and a center of campus, and to a librarian, it is a thrill to see. On a recent Saturday this same level of activity filled the …

Posted by in Susan Fisher on Monday October 14, 2013
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Making the Most of the Moment

It may be unexpected to reference a blog post titled “Are You Living Your Eulogy or Resume” when beginning a reflection about the opening of a school year, a time when a teacher’s thoughts typically turn to considering possibilities and aspirations for his students. Yet, I would suggest that this is precisely the time of year to think about the mark we are going to make as teachers (and parents) and for us to encourage our students to think about the mark they want to make as individuals, as members of a class and as members of a community like Fenn. It is in these opening …

Posted by in Steve Farley on Friday October 4, 2013
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E Pluribus Unum

Standing at the front of Fenn's meeting hall just thirty minutes into the brand-new school year last Friday morning, I looked out at the faces of our 333 Fenn boys gathered with our teachers and staff. It was our first All School Meeting of the year. The time ahead of us as a school community lay before us with such clean promise—like the dew on the Meeting Hall green on that late summer morning beckoning us to the start of an unspoiled day. A buzz of conversation ran throughout the hall, enveloping the fifty new fourth grade boys seated in the front rows, our twenty-six ninth graders in…

Posted by in Jerry Ward on Sunday September 15, 2013
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Teaching Boys

Years ago, when I first began teaching at Fenn, I happened across a tremendous resource developed by the International Boys’ School Coalition (IBSC) titled "Teaching Boys: A Global Study of Effective Practices". The authors of the study, Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley, spent years researching the many ways teachers of boys crafted and delivered lessons, and they also spent years interviewing boys about what parts of that teaching resonated with them. Reichert and Hawley then endeavored to identify patterns within the research that would indicate specific skills or methodologies …

Posted by in George Scott on Friday September 13, 2013
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An Independent Day School
for Boys Grades 4-9

516 Monument Street, Concord, MA 01742

Tel: (978) 369-5800 Email:  info@fenn.org

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