Chris Chapman called the meeting to order at 12:55pm. Ted Goins offered the invocation and offered the opportunity for 2 other slots to offer in vocations later this month.
Greg Keener gave the Sargent at arms report.
Chris Chapman announced with sorrow that Jim Smith’s wife, Sue, passed away.
Hill Stockton introduced Gardner Barrier as the new head master at Forsyth Country Day School. Mr. Barrier comes to FCDS after having taught and worked in school administration for 16 years, including some time at Summit. He worked at Wake Forest as an adjunct professor as well.
He spoke about failure and a book called The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey which the faculty studied. He referred to “Bloom’s Taxonomy” which shows levels of thinking from “remember” at the lower level to “create” at the more advanced levels.
At FCDS, they want to focus on creation, a higher level of thought and shaping their physical environment to encourage creative thought. They are developing a stand-alone engineering center which will be used at Middle & High Schools. In addition, they are developing an “Arts on Main” center. They are adding a collaboration space too where students can work together on various projects.
The idea is to focus on creation with practical application and hands on learning. Students are getting an opportunity to manage part of their endowment as part of an investment club. They also have a partnership with a company in San Francisco focused on innovation or entrepreneurship. This partnership includes some staff training this summer.
Mr. Barrier spoke about changing attitudes and a lag in education that has held on to traditional methods when students are asked to do new and innovative things in their work lives. These new things often experience failure and changing attitudes toward failure he felt was important in adapting to the new reality.
Questions were asked about how many international students study at FCDS. He said the only international students were some exchange students. Also, someone asked about applying these learning techniques in younger students. They asked about basics and he confirmed their curriculum does focus on basics of reading, writing and arithmetic in the younger grades.
Kim Stogner asked with whom they are collaborating, and he mentioned they have a relationship with Wake Forest, as well as Summit. He has a desire to have “sister schools” where they could send students for specific experiences, be it virtually or in person.
Frank James asked about access to the school given the tuition, and he answered that they have merit scholarships and financial aid. Mr. Barrier believes this would be helped with better marketing of the school. Making families believe the school is affordable is important in expanding access.
He was also asked about the challenges of smart phones in the hands of students. He mentioned a communication the school sent regarding electronic cigarettes that appeared like USB devices. They are attempting to model a policy of “digital citizenship” adopted by Providence Day in Charlotte for an overall approach to using technology wisely.
Chris closed with a story on success & failure. In the first ten years of the twentieth century, indoor lightning was done via gas, which was inefficient and dangerous. Thomas Edison embraced this challenged in developing the electric light bulb resulting in many failures along the way and said “I have not failed. I have discovered 10,000 ways that did not work.” The lesson to persist is available to all of us.