Published : Thursday, September 11, 2014 | 7:30 PM
On Tuesday, September 2, the first-day hustle and bustle was different than at other schools. Book Day, a tradition at Flintridge Prep, is the day new students go through an orientation with their peer counselors. As they do every year, they joined returning students to find their lockers and receive their books, starting at the heart of campus, the Chandramohan Library. By about 10:30, everyone was ready for a fun day of dunk tanks and moon bounces—and plenty of food—hosted by the school’s Student Senate, who had arrived at 5:30 am to get things set up.
While music played in the background, the students will talked about their summers, which included activities as diverse as internships sponsored by the school, sports clinics, writing and art programs and hackathons. A few found themselves at St. Albans School of Public Service in Washington, DC, while others stayed on campus to solve math problems as part of a teacher’s curriculum revision project. The Athletic Council on Leadership hosted a unique summer camp for the Boys & Girls Club of Pasadena while 13 students went to Nicaragua, staying with host families, working at a sister school and a children’s cancer hospital and bringing diplomacia deportiva from the US. In addition to emphatic administrative support, this annual trip has found international recognition (the students participated in a press conference at the US Embassy in Managua) and Ford Foundation funding.
Returning, angst at bay, on Wednesday for classes, students had their first glimpse of eight freshly remodeled classrooms and a world languages lab. Along with enhanced interactive technology already in the classroom, students will begin to experience benefits of an 18-month technology project.
Throughout the year, an endowment from the David SK and Katherine Lee family will support class trips, peer counseling programs and other student leadership opportunities. The student body is returning to find a whole host of self-directed learning opportunities and incredible classroom moments with their teachers. Seniors will complete a college counseling process that emphasizes fit over placement at the same time that they’re experiencing increased independence through electives, the senior Identity course and independent studies. Of course, students will find time for performances, athletics, laughter on the plaza and all the other things that make up more than a yearbook’s worth of memories.
And there will be moments of quiet and reflection, an essential aspect of Flintridge Prep’s liberal arts ethos. This fall, the administration, led by Co-Dean of Faculty Sarah Cooper, will kick off a year of self-study activities as part of the school’s accreditation process that will include all faculty and staff, as well as representatives from all school constituencies. With diverse groups reflecting on subjects like “The Student Learning Experience” and “Climate and Community,” the self-study will be the first step in a collaborative process that will emphasize the school’s strengths while also determining a course for change. The school also plans to finalize a strategic plan this year.
“The school’s mission to nurture knowledge, critical skills, community values and creativity essential for an engaged, balanced and responsible life are inextricably linked to every step we take,” says Flintridge Prep headmaster Peter Bachmann. “Great schools become and remain great through a deliberate and delicate balance. Our strategic plan will preserve the traditions that provide ongoing cultural and educational integrity while experimenting with and investing in new and creative visions for the future.”
Flintridge Preparatory School, 4543 Crown Avenue, La Cañada Flintridge, (818) 790-1178 or visit www.flintridgeprep.org.