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Essentially Watkinson

Watkinson School’s blog about teaching and learning.

Recent Posts

Private school student uses scientific tools.

High-tech Water Bears

An interview with Dr. Heather York “I’m not a molecular biologist. My expertise is ecology—the study of relationships between living organisms and their environments. I get excited to bring my interest in birds, mammals, and bugs into my classes.” Zoologist and science teacher Dr. Heather York is passionate about bringing animal ecology into the classroom

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Private School Global Studies Students in NYC

Beyond the Classroom

Beyond the work we do in the classroom, the students in the Global Studies Diploma Program learn from experts off campus when we attend talks at universities,  the World Affairs Council, as well as local organizations. Our annual New York City trip with CAP provides the students with the opportunity to expand their connections with

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8th-grade private school student presents information on the history of Slavery in Hartford

Unhidden History

This winter, special guests from Hidden History joined our eighth-grade social studies classes to study the institution of slavery in colonial Hartford. Under the tutelage of these master teacher-historians, students conducted original primary source research of maps, wills, church baptismal and marriage records, and inventories to uncover the story of an 18th-century enslaved Hartford family. Through the study

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Private School Students Attend ADL Never Is Now Conference

Never Is Now Conference

Watkinson students attended the ADL’s Never is Now Summit in New York City for the sixth consecutive year (virtually in ’20 and ’21). 17 students from Chai (our Jewish affinity group), the Global Studies Diploma Program, and other interested Upper Schoolers attended workshops such as “Disinformation: How Social Media Shapes the 2024 Election” and “Voices Against

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Seniors Leave Campus for Two Weeks

A reflection from Upper School Head Ryan Reese We love our seniors, but if we are doing our jobs the right way throughout their time at Watkinson, we also want them to leave. We want them to have the skills, the desire, and the confidence to go out in the world and do all the

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Reflecting on the Success of David Hemingson ’82

It wasn’t exactly professional development, but we were there as professionals.  It wasn’t quite personal time, but it felt remarkably personal.  It wasn’t loud, showy or grand, but it was a big deal.  Late Wednesday afternoon, approximately forty or so colleagues and trustees traveled to Real Art Ways in Hartford, where our viewing of The Holdovers became

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Informed Citizenship: A Conversation with Dr. Bilal Sekou

On Wednesday, September 20, Dr. Bilal Sekou, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Hartford, visited our Global Studies Program Seminar to add to the discussion of their summer reading, The Bill of Obligations: 10 Habits of Good Citizens by Richard Haass and the role American citizenship plays in global citizenship. Dr. Sekou focused on our

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AI at private schools

Empowering Education: How Will AI Revolutionize Schools?

In the constantly evolving landscape of education, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a powerful tool that has the potential to revolutionize the way private schools operate and enhance the learning experience for students. With its ability to process vast amounts of data and perform complex analyses in real-time, AI can be a valuable asset

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Professional development at private school.

Making Progress On Your Mission

Watkinson’s Head of School Teri Schrader regularly asserts that the true definition of being a progressive school is that you regularly make progress on how you deliver on your mission. One way that Watkinson does this is by annually offering faculty the opportunity to apply for summer Curriculum Development Grants. Working in cooperation with and

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Private school leader visits China to recruit international students.

Making Friends For Life

A Reflection on Traveling to China with APEX International After traveling almost 24 hours, our small group of American travelers, sponsored by APEX International, arrived in Guangzhou, China. At the airport, I was excited, but also increasingly anxious about my ability to work with families and meet students in this new country. As we stepped

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Sixth Graders Make Connections at Duncaster

When students take the skills they are working on out into the world, powerful learning happens. At the end of the last school year, under the guidance of English teacher Lisa Roberts, Watkinson’s sixth graders collaborated on a creative writing assignment with residents of Duncaster, a retirement community in Bloomfield, CT, just down the road

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high school age private school students build 3D printer

Upper School Tech Club Prevails!

At the end of last week, the upper school tech club, including Ben S. ’23, Jack M. ’25, Nick K. ’23, finished construction of a new 3D printer. When the previous Watkinson 3D printer stopped working, the club (under the leadership of Science Department Chair and Club Advisor Jean Kracke) looked into ways to repair

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The Bard

A deep exploration into the language of Shakespeare is important to Watkinson’s eighth graders. It’s a tradition, a rite of passage in fact. For almost thirty years, the study and performance of Shakespeare’s plays on Shakespeare Day has been a hallmark of the Watkinson middle school experience. This year, students applied new and refined skills

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Watkinson Eighth-Grade Milestones & Important Dates

Eighth grade is an important year in the life of a young person, as preparation continues for making the transition from Middle to Upper School. It is an exciting and pivotal time for building the foundation for future educational experiences in Upper School, college, and beyond. Keeping this in mind, our private school curriculum has

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A Joyous Morning with Renbrook School

Just prior to Thanksgiving, Watkinson had some important visitors from our sister private independent school, Renbrook School. Our four guests included: Their day included attending our All-School Meeting, the centerpiece of Watkinson’s community and culture. Then, as good visits often include a reunion, our guests reconnected with the children they used to teach. Amidst choruses

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boy at mic

Why A Fringe Festival, You Ask?

Creative Arts Program Director Stacy Donovan has wanted to bring the Fringe Festival experience to Watkinson for a while. She wanted to create the festival feel for the benefit of both those making and seeing art. “Imagine you went to your favorite arts fair and all the artists were there! As a teacher, I want arts

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Student Foundation Leads Fundraiser for Ukraine Relief

Watkinson’s Student Foundation, a club formed in the early 2000s, recently ran an outstandingly successful fundraiser to support relief efforts in Ukraine. In just over two weeks time, the private school students and their advisor, Dr. Andy Aavatsmark raised $1130 for World Central Kitchen, a global nonprofit that provides meals in response to humanitarian, climate,

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Interdisciplinary and Relevant

Jeff Sigler has been teaching science for over a decade. In his 4th year at Watkinson, Dr. Sigler is excited about the prospect of teaching a new course to his high school students.  The working title for the course is “Global Climate Change”.  While the course name isn’t settled, the motivating factors driving the proposed

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Necessity + Inspiration = Idea

What happens when an idea is the product of both necessity and inspiration?  A win-win, that’s what. Recently, Music Director Rob Thomas decided to revise his Music 6 Curriculum.  He describes the need: “in sixth grade, students come to Watkinson from all different schools. They have had differing levels of preparation and instruction, so there’s

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