Faculty Blog

The 2015 D.C. Trip

On the way to The District with the Fenn 7th Graders

Well, we're in Maryland rolling down I-95 on our way to Washington, D.C. -- the epic "7th Grade D.C. Trip" which has made every yearbook as a cherished memory for decades. The boys are playing cards (one is learning solitaire from his buddy); they are sharing music, the are reading books and they are watching "Hoosiers" on bus video screens. They are hanging out and having fun.  We have already stopped at two food courts -- one for the boys to refuel, and one for the buses to.

Our next stop is to meet our guide at Country Hill …

Posted by in Patricia McCarthy on Thursday March 12, 2015
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The Beginning of a New Year

Unlike the exuberant celebrators of New Year’s Eve, I am often in the throes of taking stock at the start of the new year: What could I have done better in my life, what do I continue to leave unsaid and undone, what am I most afraid of leaving behind in my life? (A lot of things truthfully). These feelings are the inevitable and unenviable product of an over determined super ego (thanks, Ma and Dad) and living eight years with the vagaries of incurable, Stage 4 breast cancer. You’d think my longevity in the face of my cancer would make me see life in the most positive of terms. …

Posted by in Lorraine Ward on Thursday January 8, 2015
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Going Global: 9th Graders and the World That Awaits Them

On the wall of my 9th grade Global Studies classroom hang two essential questions that guide us each day in the course: first, “How does the past, with all of its complexities, shape the world we live in today?” And second, “What are my responsibilities as a global citizen?” The questions serve to remind us of two intersecting realities—that the problems in our world today sometimes emerge out of nuanced historical processes, and that, once we understand the problems, it is our obligation to do something about them.

This is heady stuff for a 9th grader. Sometimes…

Posted by in John Sharon on Wednesday December 10, 2014
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Moving for Manpower Month

Our boys love to move. If you’re here on campus during passing time between class periods,you will see the kiddos sprinting from one building to the next - not because they’re late to class, but because they love running full-tilt whenever they can. If you’re observing a class, you’ll notice that even the self-described non-athletes get into the learning activities that have them throwing, catching, and zipping about the room. Just last period, I noticed that most of my students did a funny dance or walk - subconsciously, I think - as they came up to the board to share …

Posted by in Cameren Cousins on Wednesday November 19, 2014
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Fenn has Many Makers in its Midst

One of the joys of Fenn is that there are as many different interests as there are boys. A Makerspace at Fenn is going to allow those with an interest in technology, engineering, and creativity to have more opportunities to explore, tinker, and develop their ideas in these areas. We have spent time in the last year exploring how to engage boys with these interests through a variety of after school and activity offerings. Ms. MacLellan and I have collaborated on all of it and have found that a lot of boys at Fenn are clamoring for more. Some examples are:

  • making an electronic piano from …
Posted by in Susan Fisher on Sunday October 19, 2014
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None of Us Looks Like His or Her Story

Recently, I attended the annual conference of the National Association of Independent Schools, where I listened to thoughtful and thought-provoking presentations about many aspects of independent school life and the opportunities and challenges before our students. One of the most compelling presentations occurred during the “Independent Matters: Dare to Explore” general session (NAIS’s version of TED Talks) when Steve Pemberton, Chief Diversity Officer and Divisional Vice-President for Walgreens, recounted his experience growing up in the Massachusetts foster care system, a …

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:…

Art, Imagination, Schools and the Human Spirit

Could it be that schools, more often than not, prove right Thoreau's lament by failing to honor Sodergran’s primary principle about the human spirit? There is indeed that danger for any school as ever-present and expanding standardized testing can restrict and diminish the vitality of curriculum, learning, and teaching. Add to that danger the common circumstance of school budget cutting of the “non-essential” arts programs and “enrichment” classes and activities that are seen as expendable when hard financial choices are made.


"What does education often do? It …

Posted by in Jerry Ward on Monday January 20, 2014
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Remember the Time

I don’t always practice what I preach, especially when it comes to the simple, unaffected and ordinary “journal entry.” Much of my reticence towards the casual journal entry is the public nature of posting our journal writing as blogs that are more or less “open” to the public. It is hard for me as a teacher of writing to post an entry that I know is trivial, mundane—and perhaps of no interest to my readers—but that is precisely what I need to do if I am to model the full spectrum of the writing process. Keeping a journal is more than a search for …

Posted by in John Fitzsimmons on Friday January 17, 2014
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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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