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The beginning of the academic year is always an exciting time; this week, was even more so, as Dwight ushered in a new era in IB education for eleventh grade students interested in career-related learning in digital media. They are the first group of Dwight students to enroll in the two-year IBCC (International Baccalaureate Career-related Certificate), the innovative program designed to integrate IB courses with those focusing on a particular interest or potential career path.

Over a celebratory breakfast, Chancellor Stephen Spahn and faculty raised a glass of orange juice toasting IBCC students who are paving the way for others to follow. They are undertaking a challenging curriculum that includes working on real-world projects with professional game designers, graphic designers, and owners of technology start-ups in Mr. Al Doyle’s Advanced Digital Media class. “We are delighted to extend the classroom into New York City’s vibrant and ever-evolving world of design and technology, where we can introduce our students to professionals who are developing and launching new products every day,” says Mr. Doyle. “Our students will learn through first-hand experience and gain marketable skills. They will also participate in product beta-testing, and provide developers with important user feedback that can help refine products on their way to market.” With topics ranging from typography, graphic design, and graphic novels, to stop-motion animation, virtual reality technology, and game design, the class will enable students to pursue their interests and prepare them to excel in exciting careers.”

With the addition of the IBCC, Dwight became the first school in the Americas to offer all four IB programs for students from preschool through grade 12 (the Primary Years, Middle Years, Diploma, and IBCC programs). “We are proud to be on the forefront of innovation and IB education, reflecting Dwight’s commitment to educating the next generation of global leaders,” says Chancellor Spahn. “We are working closely with the IB and industry leaders to chart a course for innovation in international education that will provide students with an advantage when competing for jobs in their careers of choice. The IBCC offers the kind of unique skill preparation that promises to be a game-changer.”

Dwight looks forward to introducing additional IBCC courses as student interest is expressed. Already underway on the West Coast is another arm of this program in filmmaking. “Dwight is thrilled to be collaborating with leading Hollywood movie studio, Relativity,” reports Kirk Spahn, Chairman of The Dwight Schools. “This is an exciting new venture in which Dwight and Relativity Education are connecting high school students with Dwight IB online courses, film studies, and on-the-lot experience in Los Angeles. It’s a unique opportunity to customize the learning experience in Dwight’s tradition of personalized learning for those whose spark of genius is acting, directing, or working in the world of film, to fast-track their success, and to bring an IB education to the next generation of Oscar winners.”

Jaya Bhavnani, Dwight’s IBCC Coordinator and Director of Online Education, says, “Last spring, we were delighted to receive word that we were authorized to offer the IBCC, opening the door for our students to participate in enriching internships and gain practical insights from leading professionals. After much anticipation and summer preparation, now that day is finally here ― and we look forward to an amazing inaugural year for our students!”

Hear from students about why they chose the IBCC by clicking here.
This past Monday, Dwight first and fifth graders celebrated International Dot Day to accompany their "Who We Are" unit! In conjunction with reading The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, students open-mindedly used their iPads to craft creative dots that expressed their individuality and knowledge. Their dots turned out to be quite the masterpieces and truly reflect our inspiring vision at Dwight.

International Dot Day, tells the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark." What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe. This year, 1,848,599 individuals participated in International Dot Day in a total of 82 countries. We're proud that our students were able to participate!

To read more about International Dot Day, please click here.
As cars rolled up to the entrance of Dwight School at the end of another busy school day, doors opened and, instead of picking up students, parents exited and walked inside. Many with the same look as their children; excited, engaged, inquisitive, and anxious for the night ahead.

This feeling is quite the norm for parents at Dwight at the annual Back to School Night. A role reversal for parents. A real life version of Disney’s Freaky Friday!

Back to School Night is a chance for parents to experience their children’s daily schedule first-hand at Dwight. A condensed class schedule allows parents to visit each classroom, meet the teachers, and play the role of student. In many cases, parents weren’t just listening to the teacher and absorbing information, they were participating in class discussions, engaging in small group work, and doing math problems or conjugating verbs! Over the next six weeks, this Back to School Night model will be offered on nine different occasions to parents, organized by grade level and will include Dwight’s Early Childhood Division.

In one art class at the Middle School Back to School Night, parents were cutting and drawing while the art teacher led a discussion about medieval art. A few doors down in an English class, after a brief lecture from the teacher, parents broke up into small groups to discuss a topic. One parent commented, “It is so helpful to be able to picture where my daughter is each day and with whom she is interacting. Getting a first-hand sense for each teacher’s style and personality is fantastic.”

One father quietly confessed to another as they walked out of a middle school science class, “I had trouble keeping up with that. I don’t think we were doing that in seventh grade when I was in school!”

Besides the academic excellence that parents experienced, Back to School Night also afforded the nearly 150 parents a first-hand, or first-foot, sense of the physical rigor students experience at Dwight every day. The labyrinth that defines Manhattan private schools is not only horizontal in nature, it’s also vertical. Six stories of classrooms, hallways, and stairwells were filled with parents who, by the end of the night, were moving decidedly a bit slower!

At 7:30 pm, the student volunteers who had been deployed throughout the School in strategic locations, offering navigational support to parents, shook for one last time the blue cowbells each one of them had, bringing to a close the end of the condensed day, and the beginning of cocktails and appetizers in the Quad.

Head of School Dianne Drew addressed the assembled group in the Quad and capped the night by thanking parents for attending, and faculty for providing an inspiring glimpse into the innovative academic life at Dwight School.

For more photos from the evening, click here
The sound of shoes on the smooth stone steps. High fives and hugs in the foyer. Smiles and nervous laughter in the pews.

The School Year Kick-off Assembly for our Middle and Upper School students was about to begin at Central Baptist Church. Head of Middle and Upper School Eric Dale took the stage.

“I want you all to take your phones out and turn them on.”

Confusion. Bewilderment. Shock. A murmur passed through the crowd. Had Mr. Dale lost his mind?

“We’re going to use these devices today,” he announced.

Still confused, but now silent and interested, nearly every student had his or her phone in hand awaiting further instructions.

“I want you to have access to the site called Mentimeter.”

As students found the site and logged in, it became clear what Mr. Dale was up to. Mentimeter is a web-based program that allows large groups of people to participate in real time polls, or question and answer sessions. The results are tallied in real time and displayed in graph form. Mr. Dale guided the students through several questions and the large screen at the front of the church displayed the results in real time.

“This is a sample of the kind of creative techniques you will find being used in some of your classes this year,” said Mr. Dale.

Dwight faculty have always inspired and are imaginative when it comes to their craft, but this year, the faculty as a whole, have elected to intentionally focus on nurturing a culture of innovation at the School. Mr. Dale’s introductory exercise at the assembly provided students with a first-hand look at and experience with one-way innovation that could be introduced into the classroom at Dwight.

Students also heard briefly from Chancellor Steven Spahn and his son Blake, Vice Chancellor. They each reiterated the foundational qualities that make Dwight a unique school.

“You are part of a family. Your passion and your individual spark of genius is what we’re here to support,” said Chancellor Spahn.

“You are so fortunate,” said Vice Chancellor Spahn, “to be at a school where teachers truly care. They care about nurturing that spark, that passion in you. They are committed to being creative, innovated, and caring in the pursuit of finding every possible way to help each one of you reach your potential.”

As the hour-long assembly came to an end, students were visibly energized; ready to take on another year and excited about how the culture of innovation theme might impact their various activities and classes.

“I’m really looking forward to this year,” said one student as he bounded down the steps of the church onto the sun-filled sidewalk. “Dwight has really allowed me to pursue my artistic interests and I can’t wait to get to work on my portfolio again, and begin to think about what’s next for me.” As he walked away with a few of his senior class mates, it was clear that the spark of genius had been ignited in him and he had found a home, a family, at Dwight.
Dwight School   291 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-3002   Phone: 212.724.6360