On January 30th, Boulder Country Day middle school students participated in the annual Model United Nations exercise. In teams, students represented a member country by researching it, writing resolutions on current issues it faces, and defending those resolutions at a gathering called the MUN General Assembly. Through this process, students learned about international relations, developed empathy, and gained a better understanding of how issues across the world affect us all. As an authorized IB Middle Years Program (MYP), BCD uses this curricular enhancement to support the IB goal of developing globally minded students.
‘It helps you to be more aware of the world around you so that you know more than just what’s happening the U.S. - you know about the entire world. It also teaches you that history effects everything and it’s not just something you learn because you have to.’
On February 25 from 6:30pm - 8:00pm, Jenny Hecht will speak at BCD. Based on the work of Dan Peters, Jenny will lead a convesration through which we will explore the twelve primary causes of anxiety in gifted individuals, including those specifically connected to correlating overexcitabilities and will offer ideas and skills to support those struggling with them. This will be a talk however you are welcome to bring your child along so that s/he can learn tips to manage their anxieties and advocate for themselves more effectively. This event is brought to BCD by the Boulder Valley Gifted and Talented organization (BVGT.)
About Jenny: Jenny Hecht is a local Licensed Clinical Social Worker who specializes in the area of gifted children, among others. She has a passion for supporting the specific social-emotional needs of gifted individuals, particularly the existential dilemma so many face beginning at a very young age. She is also a certified yoga instructor.
During the week of January 7th – 10th, all BCD middle school students participated in the BCD Seminar. The BCD Seminar is modeled after the Aspen Institute Seminar and is intended as an opportunity for BCD students to stretch their intellectual thinking. With over 60 years of experience, the Aspen Institute Seminar is designed to help people of all ages and walks of life to reflect upon the most important questions facing us as human beings and as leaders.
Each night, BCD students were assigned texts by various authors, both ancient (including Aristotle) and current (including J.K. Rowling). The texts were used to prompt students to think about complex human issues such as: Is goodness something that is in humans or is it something that needs to be taught and learned? Is it something we as humans are born with or must choose to act on? In-school discussion were then led by guest moderators, Todd Breyfogle, Director of Seminars for the Aspen Institute, and Allyson Sudbourough, Teacher Effectiveness Coach for Denver Public Schools.
As you can see, the texts present some really big concepts. Students were advised that while the texts are difficult, to not be discouraged because Seminar is intended to be a laboratory in which—together—they will try to figure out what the texts say and mean, both on their own terms and for us as humans today. They were also reminded that seminar discussions thrive on questions. So, very often it is the seemingly simplest questions that can provoke the most meaningful discussions.
Students began the seminar by examining the painting of “Icarus” who is seen plunging into the water after his wings have melted. The bystanders seem unfazed by Icarus’ fall and do not appear to be making any effort to rescue him. An open discussion of human nature then began on whether or not Icarus should be saved. The conversations remained lively from there on out.
Moderator Todd Breyfogle shared that his discussion of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (on friendship) with the BCD 7th grade students was one of the best he had ever had, with students OR adults! This is quite a compliment coming from the Director of Seminars at the Aspen Institute. There seemed to be a sense of pride in our students as they realized they could read, understand, and discuss Aristotle. Another thing our moderators and Mr. Welch noticed was how BCD students appreciated the opportunity to discuss big topics that do not necessarily have a right or wrong answer are not designed to lead to any particular conclusion, by rather serves to stretch themselves intellectually and challenge them personally.
“BCD students are remarkably capable. They devoured a dense selection from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and were ready to engage in conversation, armed with questions and opinions. It was one of the best conversations I’ve had on Aristotle’s understanding of friendship, whether with adults or younger people.”
–Todd Breyfogle, PhD, Managing Director, Seminars, The Aspen Institute
At the end of the week, students created personal mission statements or wrote letters to their future selves about some of the important things they had learned about themselves from the process.
We hope the seminar experience of deep learning through community discussion will remain a meaningful touchstone for these students for many years to come. We would also like to extend special thanks to alumni parent former board member, Jay Orris of Peak to Peak Management, for bringing this opportunity to BCD many years ago and for his ongoing support of the program.
Personal experience statement by Mills, 7th grade.
I thought the Middle School Seminar would be an interesting way to learn about morals and ethics, but also learn about my classmates’ opinions and ideology. I ended up learning those things in addition to learning about human inclinations when someone is in trouble. It was interesting to hear what my classmates thought about whether humans are by nature good or bad. We read a very moving autobiographical piece by George Orwell, called “Shooting an Elephant”. It ignited an hour-long conversation about whether shooting the elephant in the story was morally right, even if Orwell feared for his life if he didn’t kill the elephant. We also discussed a painting portraying Icarus flailing and drowning in the Aegean Sea, as onlookers refused to help. This initiated a conversation about whether humans are born good or bad, or whether it’s a learned behavior. I found this conversation interesting and was intrigued by my classmates’ thoughts.
I was positively impacted by the experience of sharing our thoughts. The Middle School Seminar was inspiring and gave me lasting insights into my peers, human nature, history and the world as a whole.
Texted used in 2020 BCD Seminar
6th grade: Risk and Reflection
Session 1: What is our nature?
Intro, Painting (Icarus)
Plato, “Ring of Gyges” (shortened version)
Session 2: What is success?
Ayyappa Paniker, "Horse Play" (Poem)
Sandra Cisneros “Eleven”
Session 3: What is resilience?
J.K. Rowling "The Fringe Benefits of Failure"
“An Unlucky Man?” A Tale from Nigeria
7th grade: Commitment and Community
Session 1: What is our nature?
Intro, Painting (Icarus)
Mencius, On Human Nature (short excerpt)
Session 2: What do we commit to?
“Story of Fire” A Sufi Tale
George Orwell “Shooting an Elephant”
Session 3: How do we live together?
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (on Friendship)
Luther Standing Bear, “Indian Wisdom”
8th grade: Courage and Purpose
Session 1: What is our nature?
Intro, Painting (Icarus)
Chuang Tzu, “Woodcarver”
Session 2: What gives us Purpose?
“Seneca: On the Shortness of Life” Translated by John W. Basore
Chimamanda Adichie, “Danger of a Single Story”
Session 3: What gives us Courage?
“The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” Ursula K. Le Guin
BCD’s Kindergarten program stands apart in its breadth of offerings and student support. Students are known and nurtured everyday by a faculty of many including their classroom teachers, their teachers in world language, science, innovation, music, art, physical education, and library, as well as, school counselors, literacy specialists from the BCD Learning Center, the Head of Elementary, and our Head of School. At BCD, every member of our faculty seen in this picture will be involved in the education of your student. Contact us to schedule a tour at (303) 516-4148.
What does it mean to be Highly Sensitive? Is that even a real term? What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)? Are the two related? What do I need to know if I'm parenting a sensitive child?
Using neuroscience as her guide, Sarah will explain Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), the Highly Sensitive "diagnosis", and most importantly offer some parenting strategies and tips to employ with sensitive kiddos. Sarah is passionate about helping parents create authentic and reflective relationships with their kids. For over 15 years, she has worked with parents to help them define and rewrite their parenting "roadmaps".
About Sarah K. Ahn, MBA, MSW, LSCW: Sarah is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist who is passionate about coaching parents to have authentic, attached, and reflective relationships with their kids. For over 15 years, Sarah has worked with children, parents, and adults at the Kempe Center, Boulder Institute of Psychotherapy and Research (BIPR), Harvard Graduate School of Business, and in private practice.
Artwork made by our 3rd graders will be on display at Tod's Espresso Cafe for the month of December. BCD family and friends are invited to join us for a Viewing Party on Saturday, December 7th from 1:30-3pm. Come grab a cocoa or coffee and support our young artists. Special thanks to Tod's for this fun opportunity.
On Friday, November 15th, students, teachers and faculty came together for a Bulldog Families Assembly focusing on gratitude and giving. We started out altogether in the gym to talk about gratitude and the benefits of ‘practicing’ gratitude. Then we spent time with our Bulldog Families to share, write and illustrate specific examples of things we’re grateful for and things we do for others, with the goal was of keeping the focus on actions and personality traits rather than gifts and possessions. In closing, we highlighted a couple of upcoming opportunities to engage in community service, including participation in the current toy drive for Head Start Boulder County. As a grand finale, a few teachers led a community sing-along of Natalie Merchant’s Kind and Generous. When you have a chance, do take a moment to check out our gratitude and giving banners, which are hanging outside of classrooms throughout the campus!
BCD partners with Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) for all our athletic coach training becuase we believe their values align well with ours. The Positive Coaching Alliance mission is to transform the youth sports culture into a Development Zone® where all youth and high school athletes have a positive, character-building experience that results in Better Athletes. Better People.
The Big Picture in Youth Sports
A Second-Goal Parent recognizes that there is a Little Picture and a Big Picture in youth sports. The Little Picture concerns things like whether the child is playing the right position, the team is winning, etc. The Big Picture, which often gets drowned out by the Little Pictures, is about what the child is learning from youth sports.
There are two broad goals in youth sports: striving to win and building character so kids develop into successful, contributing members of society. As important as winning may seem, Second-Goal Parents let coaches and athletes worry about the first goal of scoreboard results. Second-Goal Parents have a much more important role to play: ensuring their children take away from sports lessons that will help them be successful in life. That is the Big Picture.
Endless Procession of Teachable Moments
If you embrace your role as a Second-Goal Parent, it will transform the way you see youth sports. It will help you seize the endless procession of teachable moments that will come your way again and again when you are looking for them.
What might have seemed like a disappointing loss or a failure by your child becomes an opportunity to reinforce resiliency. A tough competition in forbiddingly hot, cold, or nasty weather can prompt a conversation with your child about learning to enjoy challenges. Whether your child succeeds or fails on the playing field, you will be able to use the experiences to reinforce the kind of person you want him or her to be.
A Second-Goal Parent focuses relentlessly on the Big Picture – helping their child take away the lessons that will help them be successful, contributing members of society. And, in the process a Second-Goal Parent is able to better enjoy their child’s youth sports experience, which will end all too quickly.
Boulder Country Day School is proud to partner with Positive Coaching Alliance for our athletic coaching training and we are excited to welcome PCA on campus to present to parents.
Second-Goal Parent Workshop - presented by Positive Coaching Alliance
Wednesday, November 6th from 6:00pm - 7:00pm
This event is free and open to the public, see please feel free to bring a friend. Register here.
When I was walking through the woods during our Outdoor Ed trip, I could hear the indistinct shouts that Middle Schoolers make when they are outside and allowed to use "outside voices". I was heading towards the climbing wall, a triangular pyramid 25 feet in the air. This climbing wall was one of the many activities available for our Middle School students at Outdoor Education at the foot of the Rocky Mountain National forest. Students also had the opportunity to do other activities, including archery, mountain formation, and team building activities.
Over the course of this past summer I spent a great deal of time reflecting on the concept at BCD that I find most difficult to quantify: the power of our community. Time and time again, from graduating 8th graders to current families, folks mention the strength of the BCD community as a key component of the education we offer. It’s hard to grasp an objective data point or metric when trying to describe what I’ve come to know and love, so I usually rely on experience to tell our story.
The 2019 BCD Gala will be held on October 19th at the Embassy Suites in Boulder. The theme will be the Wizarding World of Harry Potter collides with BCD. We are super excited and hope that you are as well. So Save the Date for this fantastical event!
In honor of our 30th anniversary we thought it wise to document our history in print and video. In the Fall issue of the BCD Magazine, we recognized those on whose shoulders we now stand and provided a timeline that traces our school’s development from its founding in 1988 to present day. Below please find a link to the video we showed at our 30th Anniversary Celebration last month. In it, you will see and hear from many of our families, faculty, and alumni –past and present – who reflect on the inspiring history of Boulder Country Day. The level of effort and commitment it took to get us where we are today is remarkable, and we thank all of you for helping to carry our school forward into our next 30 years.
On Wednesday, April 17th, we held our 30th Anniversary Celebration at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder. The event included performances by alumni musicians Foxman James, senior faculty member at the Boston School of Music Arts, and Henry Dickhoff, professional pianist currently touring with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. As well as performances by Travis and Christine LaBerge, owners of Parlando School of Musical Arts and the BCD Spotlight Singers. It was an elegant evening with 30 years of teachers, parents, grandparents, trustees and alumni joining together to reminisce about the grassroots years, envision a bright future, and celebrate the community that is BCD. Thank you again to all those whose shoulders we stand on.
“I wish I had been here from the beginning”, said my older son half-way through 7th grade at BCD a couple of years ago. When I asked him why, he gave me several reasons: The teachers, the students, the community, the opportunities to explore new interest areas, the leadership opportunities, the service projects, the trips, and last but not least “I am finally getting how to balance academics and the rest of my interests- and I don’t have to choose one or the other- I can just be me”. I liked his answers and with our second son saying to me just the other day that he too wishes he had been at BCD “for more time than I will have here in middle school”, I decided to see how much their comments may be more than a personal story. As a trained education researcher, looking further, deeper and more closely is what I am passionate about; -and when personal experience matches with solid data, I am calling that a “Great Day!”