Over the past few months, I’ve obviously been thinking a lot about how we can continue to improve our pedagogical program next year. Attending conferences, lectures, meetings, and discussions (and snooping online!) is a means of ensuring that The École is always up to speed with the latest innovations and approaches. Our expertise in bilingualism is well established; nonetheless, we relentlessly strive to ensure that we remain at the top of our game. It’s the same for our flexible classrooms–another area in which we excel, and the same can be said of our sports and arts programs.

I have to admit that I only recently realized just how exceptional our arts and sports programs are while I was searching for Middle School enrichment inspiration. It struck me as I was studying the Middle School electives proposed by other schools that they sometimes offer sport, art, music, or very, very occasionally theater–all things that feature in our regular school day (not to mention a third language, which is extremely rare in New York schools.) It’s not easy to squeeze all of these subjects into class schedules (Benoît and I could talk to you at length about our scheduling struggles), but we believe it would be a crying shame to pass over any of them.

On a personal level, theater has always held a special place in my heart. My mother was part of a troupe that toured the villages of the Ardèche. From rehearsals to shows, learning lines to stage fright, improv to friendships, I witnessed the world of theater firsthand, and for me, students learning it at school has always been important. The study of theater covers so many curriculum areas and gives students abundant opportunities to develop life skills–it’s a school unto itself.

As a lousy musician who sings out of tune in the shower, I have less of an affinity for music, even though my mother also sang in a choir for years and did her utmost to pass on her passion for music to my sister and me (with moderate success). Nonetheless, one of the first things I did when I arrived at The École was set up the chorus recess clubs because, for me, it’s a no-brainer: kids in my school should always have the chance to sing–even more so considering the incredible effects music has on academic scores, as you can read here and here.

If you add sport with coaches Soden and Way (how incredible were her cheerleaders this week?), art classes with Nathalie, and STEAM with Bridget (and her busy beaders!), alongside Rémy’s theater and Rudolph’s music classes, you realize just how uniquely rich and varied our students’ learning environment is–and I’m delighted to see them share their enthusiasm and talent for these subjects whenever they get the chance.

Now that the shows have come to an end and the curtain is gradually falling on the 2023-204 school year, and even though we’re looking forward to even better things next year, it feels good from time to time to sit back, take stock, and realize that what our kids and teachers do is already exceptional and that in all of these domains, The École hits a high note!