Head of School | Tower Digest

Everyone Has a Job
Timothy Delehaunty

I love the spirit of Tower's all-school assemblies on Friday mornings. How exciting to have a forum where we hear from our youngest students to our most veteran adults and everyone in between. From the front of the Performing Arts Center stage we see some of the best examples of students applying their learning. Reciting, performing, reflecting, singing. What is learned in the classroom finds a transformative meaning when it is applied in a public space. It can affect our lives.

But plenty of Tower students apply their learning beyond the PAC and even beyond the walls of the school. Last Friday, we saw an example of a focused group of our oldest students who used the skills they have learned in debate, research, public speaking and leadership to rally around the cause of safety in schools. I watched their protest. It was a powerful moment, timed with the National Walkout, which featured original writing, recitation and silence to draw attention to the lives lost due to school violence and to call for action that results in safer schools for all children. 

I am proud of how these students...

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Tim Delehaunty

I always find the several days before a break compressed with activity as the school year comes to one of its crescendos. Let me touch on a few of those events. On Monday, I introduced the parent coffee with a quote from a 1980's magazine article in which a Tower graduate, looking back on the early days of the school, said, "We lived our school, whether in it or at home." Emily Lopez '88, parent and President of the Tower School Parent Association, then led us in a conversation about how Tower all these years later continues to connect families to the school, and how we can do more to encourage this relationship.

Fast forward to Thursday night. I found myself sitting alongside the bleachers at the Upper School drama performance of Mary Poppins, the handiest spot to help usher people to seats. From this vantage, I experienced a unique version of the performance: I could see the actors' faces just before they made their entrances from the side and back doors of the PAC. I could peer over the shoulder of Fred Shepard at the piano and watch his wordless interactions with the cast. I could also look easily to the balcony where the light and sound crew was relentlessly in motion to create the settings for the action on stage. From my seat, I enjoyed not just the performance but the mechanics of how the performance went together.

And then on Friday morning, I

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Invent Yourself
Tim Delehaunty

Earlier this fall, I wrote how students at all ages practice imagination here at Tower. I ended that piece, The Imagination Business, explaining how our oldest students picture themselves at the next place in their lives. Let’s look at that a little more closely. 

This fall I helped “mock” interview eighth graders as they prepared to meet with secondary schools. Several students from the class of 2018 came into my office and, over peppermint Life Savers, discussed the questions admissions officers might ask them.  

Looking back at my notes from those conversations, I can confirm our eighth graders have plenty to talk about. They report that they love English or math or art or drama, but they also talk more deeply about themselves as students. They say things like, “It was the challenge of the project in that class that helped me learn how to...

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Tim Delehaunty

I always enjoy turning the calendar page to the second month of school. Everyone feels invigorated in October! The habits and routines of the classroom are in place. The cooler weather suggests change and new ways of thinking about ourselves. The building, playgrounds, performance spaces, art studios and fields are full of fresh energy. 

I have been struck, in my first days at Tower, by how much of this energy is used for imagining. I saw it on the first day of school when students at Lower School recess ran across the athletic field to the tree line at the back of campus. In that space—created by children using sticks and branches to suggest two or three distinct "rooms" and covered by foliage overhead—imaginations are at work. I watched third and fourth graders create scenes and interact with each other in make-believe roles: teachers, front desk workers, cooks, caregivers. I couldn't follow the story the students were enacting, but that wasn't the point. The students were experimenting in essential ways that aid classroom and personal growth... 

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