A Loving Legacy
On Saturday, November 6, the School held an event to officially dedicate the Denault Library Courtyard, the most recent gift in the notable commitment of the Denault family to Nashoba Brooks School.
The story begins more than 40 years ago when Dorothy Denault helped to create a library on campus. “At the time,” she remembers, “there were books stacked up in the School hallways and overflowing on shelves. There was nowhere to put them all.” For Dorothy, building the library was not only to create a place to house the School’s collection of books, it was also about creating a quiet, reflective, communal space where students could enjoy reading together. When Dorothy learned about the School’s interest in adding the Library courtyard, she was thrilled to help: “I love being outdoors and working in the garden, and I thought it would be amazing to have an outdoor space for the library.” Her son, Charles Denault adds “the library is central to any school’s community and educational process. This outdoor courtyard is very exciting because it extends the library into the beauty of the natural environment, and provides teachers with an outdoor space where they can teach. There's nothing more powerful than that on multiple levels.”
Charles and his family have also played a significant role in the development and stewardship of the library through the Dorothy and Elliot Denault Library Fund, an endowed fund dedicated to maintaining the library and its collections. The fund has grown steadily over more than 20 years. Charles reflects passionately on his family’s steadfast commitment: “There’s an old saying that ‘I warmed at a fire that I did not build and I drank from a well that I did not dig.’ Schools like Nashoba Brooks exist because of the largesse of people that came before us, and I think we have a responsibility to those who come after us to keep reaching into the woodpile to throw another log on the fire so that the fire never goes out.”
Head of School, Danielle Heard reflects on the powerful impact the Denault family has had: “They made it possible to envision, create, sustain, and expand our cherished library—a space that stands at the center, both literally and figuratively, of learning at Nashoba Brooks. Their visionary philanthropic leadership has inspired generations of students to fall in love with literature and learning, build confidence, create connections, and expand their imaginations. These are gifts beyond measure!”
The Denualt family’s dedication to keeping the library’s fire burning for future generations is an inspiration. It underscores the significant impact campaigns and endowed funds have in helping our School thrive. The library courtyard is one of the campus improvements that marks the completion of the second phase of The Campaign for Our Future, which is focused on transforming campus spaces to better serve the School’s vibrant program. We look forward to Phase 3, which will enhance and reconfigure the arts platform, communal spaces in the Middle School, and the main entrance. All with the goal of creating safe, welcoming, and inspiring facilities that reflect the strength of our program as we begin a new chapter for Nashoba Brooks School.
Alongside the book fair and poetry month, April has been a wonderful time for literature at Nashoba Brooks School. Sharon Draper and Jen Campbell, two celebrated authors, left their mark on the community over the past few weeks.
More than 75 parents responded to this year’s annual School survey and numbers were well balanced across all grade levels. The results of the survey are impressive and the feedback the parents offer to the School is glowing.
As Black History Month comes to a close, students and faculty alike celebrate diversity, acknowledging that a school is not only classrooms, gymnasiums, and fields, but also the people within these walls. Each year and at every grade level our students contemplate the presence and importance of different backgrounds, experiences and beliefs. And this month provides community members with an opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Black in America.
Rachel Adams graduated from Nashoba Brooks School in 2001. She went on to study at Lawrence Academy followed by Maine College of Art and Design. Now living in Portland as a successful artist, textile designer, entrepreneur, wife and mother of two, Rachel shares her journey from student to full time artist.
Guida Mattison, Nashoba Brooks School's director of secondary school placement, wants to remove as much stress as possible from the high school application process that Grade 8 students go through each year.
Nashoba Brooks' school counselor, Liz Joyce, was accepted as a 2021-2022 fellow by The National Coalition of Girls' Schools' Global Action Research Collaborative. NCGS is an advocacy group that helps connect schools and organizations that educate and empower girls.
On Wednesday, October 20, the School held a dedication event to officially name the Sureau Family Discovery Barn. While the pandemic limited the size of the event, the community looks forward to a larger spring celebration of this compelling new addition to our campus facilities.
This year our students celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by investigating a myriad of Hispanic and Latinx scholars, writers, and activists. In the first half of the month, students explored fifteen impactful individuals and events, selected by the Inclusivity Leadership Team (ILT).
To start the school year, Grade 8 students traveled up into Maine's cooler weather. Almost three hours north, Camp Chewonki is a staple of the Grade 8 experience at Nashoba Brooks, and after a hiatus last year, students and teachers alike were happy to return. For years, Camp Chewonki has provided a place for the leaders of the student-body, the new Grade 8 class, to come together, bond, and think about the year ahead of them.
In August, our Middle School Latin Teacher Maritere Mix was invited to present at the OER conference for Social Studies educators. The conference is run by the Open Educational Resources Project, “a coalition of educators and historians solely focused on boosting student engagement and achievement through transformational social studies programs.” The project is dedicated to providing teachers with high quality curriculum and engaging content to help bring history to life for students. Ms. Mix presented in the track focused on “arguments with evidence.” Her track talk considered ways teachers can help students connect more meaningfully with the past.
Ms. Mix explores how to structure activities that support student investigations of primary sources, and helps them to think critically about the past with empathy for the people who lived through it. Ms. Mix’s goal is to empower students to make informed claims and to enable them to relay captivating historical accounts. In addition to her track talk, Ms. Mix participated in a live panel discussion with Bob Bain from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Nate Otey, a fellow in Philosophy at Harvard. She says she found the live discussion “a great opportunity for us to delve deeper into our topic and address some of the questions from the more than 200 conference attendees.” This was Ms. Mix’s first time presenting in this forum and she admits to feeling outside of her comfort zone. Her risk taking is a great model for her students and she hopes for the opportunity to do it again in the future. You can view Ms. Mix’s track talk on the OER website.
Are you ready for a design challenge? This week’s Nashoba Brooks Notion invites you to practice the iterative process of design thinking by participating in a STEAM building activity! The challenge is to build multiple versions of a tin foil boat and then test the buoyancy and strength of your boat by adding pennies progressively. Here is a document that explains the challenge and lists the necessary supplies. There is also an optional chart for recording your data and an optional set of reflection questions. We encourage you to work together with your family to build your boats. Good luck!
Situated on a beautiful 30-acre campus in historic Concord, Massachusetts, Nashoba Brooks School enrolls all genders in Preschool through Grade 3, and students identifying as girls in Grades 4 through 8. Nashoba Brooks is an independent school designed to build community, character, and confidence in its students.