It is with great excitement that Katey, our GI team, and I announce our partnership with the National Center for The Development of Boys.
What began as a passionate conversation of thought leaders regarding public purpose has become a new institution housed at the McCallie School for Boys in Chattanooga, Tennessee. School Administrators Lee Burns, Kenny Sholl, Thomas Hayes, and Troy Kemp, as well as their allies throughout the country, understood the growing needs of boys, young men, and their families and communities; they came together to form a Board of Directors for the National Center and then the Center itself.
The history of the McCallie School for Boys dates back 108 years. Their marquis reads “Honor, Truth, Duty" and their principles are deeply embedded in the work they do with boys of grades 6-12. Troy Kemp, Executive Director of the National Center, has held many roles on the McCallie campus: first as a teacher and coach, then as the Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, and most recently as Associate Headmaster for Enrollment and Marketing. When the position of Executive Director opened for the Center, Troy was a natural fit. He is not only a passionate and visionary advocate for children but also an accomplished networker, collaborator, and community organizer.
The Gurian Institute came into the picture first, many years ago, when I visited McCallie in the 1990s, then this last year as the boards of our respective organizations began to discuss ways in which the Center and the Gurian Institute could join forces. Because GI has formed a grass roots network and organization so closely related to boys’ issues already, we offered to consult with the Center as it grows its strategic imperatives and mission. Beginning in October of this year, we came on board as consultants and feel very excited to assist the Center in that capacity.
Our partnership extends also to training and professional development. As the Center develops and delivers resources, pilot programs, and other support to communities worldwide, the Gurian Institute will act as training partner, assisting the Center in delivering science-based resources and programs within the Southeastern U.S. and then fanning out from there. The Center believes in the importance of scientific rigor both in the study of boys’ needs and in the delivery of research-based and successful interventions. GI and the Center are powerfully aligned in these principles and this public purpose.
Please take a moment to visit www.understandingboys.org and get to know the National Center. Troy Kemp would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will also be one of our keynote speakers at our Winter Institute in Tampa, FL on January 22 when he will discuss best practices he has learned in his quarter century of working with boys and young men. He is one of the most powerful speakers I have heard. I know you will enjoy his keynote.
Thank you all for doing what you are doing in your communities. Many thanks also to Katey McPherson, our own executive director, for making this partnership happen; Troy at the Center and the Center’s Board for believing in the power of partnership; and the support teams in GI and at the Center who make everything work smoothly. We are all, truly, in this journey together as we advocate for our children, their schools, and their families.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours,
In a world full of digital devices and human interface that is starting to be limited, movement is essential. For the past 10 months I have been traveling with the Gurian team training schools, agencies, parents, and communities on how to incorporate more movement into the lives of our children and young adults.
It has been a fascinating journey to be on the "other side" of the desk so to speak. After many years in teaching and administration, my view has changed. What I used to look for during classroom walkthroughs was intentional excellence in teaching, use of curriculum and depth of knowledge in a subject area, transfer of content that was engaging and dynamic yet full of breadth and "meaty".
When I enter a classroom now, I look for intentional movement. I look for non-resting neural states. I look for kids engaged in a task that is juicy, and noisy, and sometimes louder than some teachers enjoy.
Some see movement and noise as not clean.
Some actually start to twitch when they think of a classroom where students are not sitting still.
You see, what they don't understand about movement is that it can be content driven, it can breed data, and it allows the brain to expand and grow by leaps and bounds. It allows the brain to be more alert, and through movement, relationships form and also take flight.
One year many years ago, our motto at my school was " Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships". To this day, it is part of an evaluation rubric in many places.
I remember shaking my head even then and thinking "We have it all wrong. You cannot achieve rigor without relationships. And you can't form a relationship by sitting still and being quiet".
After 20 years of observing teens ages 11-14 either in a classroom, in conflict, or at play, I can confidently say that they and their younger counterparts love to wiggle and move, and that the opportunities to do so seem to be shrinking due to the demands of a system that forgets that their brains are still developing.
So I thought, how can I begin the journey of bringing movement into the classroom alongside of the Gurian methodologies full throttle? I reached out to two companies. I wanted to see how we at Gurian could more readily provide others with tools that align with our core mission. I connected with KORE STOOL and Stand2Learn. A "wobbly stool" and desk company that allows our kids to MOVE their limbs, and expand their minds.
The Gurian Institute is proud to be partnering with both of these entities and offering significant discounts to schools and families interested in exploring this type of flexible seating for their students. If you are interested, please e-mail me at email@example.com for further information.
Several of our Gurian Model Schools utilize these seating options, namely Franklin Boys' Preparatory and Ferrell Girl's Preparatory in Hillsborough County Schools, and they will both be on display during our Winter Institute. I highly encourage you to check them out while in Tampa/St. Pete's January 20th-23rd.
Even my Mom got in on the fun as my test pilot of the "wobbly" stools. Never too old to have fun. 73 and stilettos, still moving!
Turn your R's around. Our kids are depending on you.
By Katey McPherson