New Library Hosts Area Independent School Parents
Posted 10/22/2013 12:00AM
The new Jafari Library is not only drawing throngs of Fenn boys who seek out its many cozy spots to read or do homework, but it is also hosting groups of adults for gatherings and lectures. One recent event was a meeting of the Parents’ Independent School Network, Inc. (PIN), drawing 47 representatives from area schools including Nashoba Brooks, the British School of Boston, Dedham Country Day, Fay, and Meadowbrook, and a number of Fenn parents.
The meeting featured a panel of school administrators who addressed the topic, “Nurturing Student Character, Fostering Innovative Learning, and Preserving School Community in the Digital Age.” Participants were Steve Farley, Academic Director at Fenn; Rob Gustafson, Head of School at Fay and former Assistant Headmaster at Fenn; Danielle Heard, Head of School at Nashoba Brooks; and Dan Scheibe, Head of School at Lawrence Academy.
Mr. Gustafson began by describing the “job” of schools as, among other tasks, “cultivating good habits and helping students develop enduring skills for a changing world.” All the panelists spoke of the necessity, as Ms. Heard said, of “fostering innovative learning with the use of technology,” while she acknowledged “the challenges of rearing and teaching children in the technological age” and advocated that parents “set parameters for screen time.”
After the meeting, Kristina Hatem, a Dedham Country Day parent, said “one great take- away for me was on the topic of how to keep our students and children safe in this new world of technology and social media.” Referring to Mr. Gustafson’s comment that “Technology has made it easier to do wrong things that can be permanent” and Mr. Farley’s observation that “Control is dead” when it comes to the information to which children are exposed and that a supportive environment is essential, she said that, “We may still have control of how our children respond to information if we act as a team, parents and schools together.”
Denise Sullivan, a Fay parent, felt that “one of the powerful uses of technology was pointed out when Mr. Farley said, ‘Because of technology, this is a time of empowerment for teachers’.” Students can thrive, Ms. Sullivan noted, “on teacher-student relationships while enjoying the skills they can build through technology with their teachers’ involvement.”
PIN, established to enable parents to share ideas and promote worthy programs at their schools, held its first meeting in 1986, and in 1994 it became a Massachusetts not-for-profit corporation. Membership, which is growing, includes one or two representatives from each of more than 68 schools and represents a cross-section of the independent school community: grades Pre-K to 12, day and boarding, single sex and coeducational in two divisions: Lower/Middle and Upper. PIN sponsors educational events and fosters community service programs at its member schools. For more information about PIN, go to www.pin-inc.org.