Teaching to the digital age at The Langley School

Ayesha K. Flaherty, head of enrollment and communications, and Dr. Elinor Scully, head of school, shares insights into what their school has to offer.

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Photo courtesy of The Langley School

What are some new course offerings or programs at your school that have been successful?

At The Langley School, we are evolving our more traditional life skills course and our digital citizenship course to respond to the more complex social environment in which kids are interacting. For example, social media has changed interpersonal relationships, and students need strategies on how to navigate this environment in healthier and more respectful ways. This year, we will launch this integrated class for our sixth- and seventh-graders that will be taught by our director of social-emotional learning, dean of students and director of instructional technology.

For our younger students, we will also have a dedicated science teacher pushing into our kindergarten classes to provide an even more hands-on and age-appropriate science curriculum. We are excited that our science teachers who specialize in this field will be inspiring the love of science/STEM in our youngest learners.

How has the school culture changed and evolved over the past 10 or so years?

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Photo courtesy of The Langley School

The Langley School has long been known for its vibrant and connected community. However, in the last decade we’ve seen families are being pulled in many directions, creating a hurried pace of life, thus making connections even harder. We now devote more time, resources and attention to extending, nurturing and sustaining our community relationships and bonds, such that all members of the community feel connected to our mission and shared values. These relationships are very important to us and our school culture.

How have the needs of students changed over the past decade?

The field of cognitive neuroscience has furnished educators with so much valuable information. Student needs haven’t changed that much, but what has changed more is our sophisticated understanding of how to teach and support students. We know so much more about how children learn than we did 10 years ago. With that, we can teach differently based on learning styles and cognitive needs. Our toolkit, repertoire and techniques have all become more sophisticated, so we are able to help a broader group of students become more successful.

That said, the one area where we have seen change is around an increase in anxiety in young children. This is reflective of the many social pressures on children today and [is] why we have created a pioneering social and emotional program at our school.

How does The Langley School uniquely serve its students?

At The Langley School, we have responded to the wealth of research that states that an excellent academic program is inextricably linked to developing the social, emotional and ethical capacity of young people. We are extremely intentional about how we nurture the development of children’s intellectual capacity alongside the social and emotional skills that will ensure their success once they leave our school. Our job as a school is to ensure balance so there is ambitious learning and engagement, but there are also moments of reflection and play. We call this balanced and age-appropriate approach Langley’s Arc of Development. When applied, Langley students are educated in a learning environment that is vibrant and challenging but also joyful, supportive and inclusive.

(November 2017)

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