Rowland Hall parents/caregivers are our partners in education. The more tools we can give adults to help their students, the better the outcome for all of us.
When we use the phrase "community of learners" to describe our school, we truly mean it. We strive to offer adults at Rowland Hall—teachers, administrators, trustees, and parents and caregivers—opportunities for growth and development, just as we do for our students.
Parenting is hard. Teaching is hard. But both are a little bit easier when done in partnership. Join princiPALS Emma Wellman and Jij (pronounced “Jay”) de Jesus as they examine some of the most common questions and concerns about the preschool and elementary school years, and share methods on how to raise children who thrive.
When you enroll your student at Rowland Hall, your family joins a caring community that values your participation—at the classroom level, in our parent-school organization, in parent/caregiver education opportunities, supporting the arts and sports, and in helping to make the “extras” in “extraordinary” possible for every student.
Listen below or on Stitcher.
In the first episode of princiPALS, we’re discussing resilience—that essential life skill that empowers kids to bounce back from challenges and stressors. Join Emma and Jij as they chat about what resilience in children looks and sounds like, and share ways that caregivers and educators can work together to build this skill.
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth, co-founder and CEO of Character Lab and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania
- The Gardener and the Carpenter, by Alison Gopnick, professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley
- The Price of Privilege, by Madeline Levine, psychologist and co-founder of Challenge Success at the Stanford Graduate School of Education
Rowland Hall is excited to announce the release of our first podcast: princiPALS. Featuring Beginning School Principal Emma Wellman and Lower School Principal Jij de Jesus, princiPALS tackles big questions and ideas about how to raise children who thrive, and was created as an educational resource for our community.
When Rowland Hall uses the phrase 'community of learners' to describe our school, we mean it. We strive to offer adults at Rowland Hall, including parents and caretakers, opportunities for growth and development, just as we do for our students.—Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund
“When Rowland Hall uses the phrase community of learners to describe our school, we mean it,” said Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund. “We strive to offer adults at Rowland Hall, including parents and caretakers, opportunities for growth and development, just as we do for our students.” These opportunities—which also include lectures, discussions, readings, student panels, and film screenings—set the stage for school-wide success.
Director of Marketing and Communications Stephanie Orfanakis, who helped produce princiPALS, added, “The more tools we can access together, the better the outcome for children.” Stephanie also noted that a podcast is an ideal tool for those whose schedules may not allow much room for in-person gatherings. “Not all caregiving adults are available to attend education events,” she said. “A podcast is another option for engagement—parents can tune in when it’s convenient.”
PrinciPALS host, alumnus Conor Bentley ’01, agreed. "The work Jij and Emma do at Rowland Hall and the resources the school provides to families are important, and a podcast is an effective way to present that,” he said.
Those who listen to princiPALS can expect to not only benefit from Emma’s and Jij’s expertise, but to walk away with ideas they can immediately implement. The podcast’s first episode focuses on how to build children's resilience—a topic, Emma said, chosen for its continual relevance. "The research is clear: resilience is at least as important as talent in terms of long-term success," she explained. "We see the positive impact of helping kids develop resilience from a young age." Knowing this, she and Jij offer proven methods on building resilience that parents and caregivers can try out. This feature of princiPALS is important to the team, who want to use their positions to help make raising children easier. As Jij stated in the podcast’s introduction: “Parenting is hard. Teaching is hard. But both are a little bit easier when done in partnership.”
Top photo, from left: Emma Wellman, Conor Bentley, and Jij de Jesus recording the first episode of princiPALS.
In Q&A, Dr. Bone Still Credits Rowland Hall for his Sense of Community and Strong Critical-Thinking Skills
Dr. Jonathan Bone '94 and Dr. Amy De La Garza from Equilibrium Clinic dropped by the Lincoln Street Campus Café December 7 for a Coffee and Conversation with Rowland Hall parents on the physiology of addiction. The chat revolved around how addiction operates in the brain and how to help our children avoid this all-too-common disease.
The event echoed a November 7 Freedom from Chemical Dependency Parent Forum, as well as ongoing school efforts to educate middle and upper schoolers on addiction.
Listen to event audio, and read some paraphrased nuggets of wisdom from both experts followed by a Q&A with Dr. Bone.
Kids don't respond well to 'should' or 'shouldn't.' I have kids and young adults ask themselves the question, 'How's this behavior going to help me, and how's it going to hurt me?'—Dr. Jonathan Bone ’94
Highlights from the doctors:
- "Kids don't respond well to 'should' or 'shouldn't.' I have kids and young adults ask themselves the question, 'How's this behavior going to help me, and how's it going to hurt me?' Get them to pause for two seconds to ask that question and to think about it. If they can get that integrated into their thinking—how it will help versus how it will hurt—it lets them feel like they're making that choice for themselves."—Dr. Bone
- "Addiction is a disease of the brain. Kids' brains are so plastic and dynamic: think about how fast they can learn language, skiing, or math. They could learn addiction just that fast."—Dr. De La Garza
- "Kids that use substances before they're 21 have a 20% greater chance of developing a substance abuse disorder when they're older."—Dr. De La Garza
- Both doctors agreed parents should start teaching kids at a young age about addiction—around fourth grade.
On assessing the situation after discovering substance use:
- "We don't want to be alarmist about it. If you look at it diagnostically, you look at the different domains of life: health, relationships, education, occupation, legal, financial—how is use impacting each of those domains? That's how we differentiate between mild, moderate, and severe substance-abuse disorder. We can take that approach with our kids: how are they doing socially, how are they doing academically? Are they sticking with their sports team? Do they give stuff up? You take an inventory of what is going on with them globally. And if you find a joint, that's different than finding a bottle of oxycodone. You're also looking at the risk of the substance."—Dr. Bone
- "Emergency rooms, detox centers—those are really scary places for kids and it stigmatizes them. You have to do a good risk assessment, and if you can't do that yourself, call someone: your pediatrician, your family practice doctor, one of us."—Dr. De La Garza
- "We want to keep kids at the lowest level of care possible for as long as possible. I'm very conservative with raising that level, and it's really well-contemplated. If kids have a plan to hurt themselves, for example, that's when they go to the hospital."—Dr. Bone
Q&A with Dr. Jonathan Bone ’94
Dr. Bone, a 1994 Rowland Hall graduate, holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Denver, and he's worked with substance-use disorder patients since his medical internship. Following the Coffee and Conversation, we talked to him about what his job is like, and how his time at Rowland Hall left an impression on him. Q&A lightly edited for style and context.
I chose a career that fosters my continued development of relationships and I think this foundation emerged during my time at Rowland Hall. —Dr. Jonathan Bone ’94
How did Rowland Hall impact you and your career path?
Rowland Hall impacted my career by shining a light on the importance of community. I formed bonds with people at the school—teachers, coaches, peers, administration—that have lasted until today, and I hope they continue to thrive. I began to learn about and appreciate the interconnectedness of humanity while a student, although I certainly was not cognizant of that as a teenager. I chose a career that fosters my continued development of relationships and I think this foundation emerged during my time at Rowland Hall.
During my undergraduate, graduate, and internship, my training professors, supervisors, and colleagues often spontaneously commented on how well-developed my writing skills are. I think that one of the most impactful aspects of Rowland Hall is the importance placed on thinking critically and being able to synthesize data from multiple sources in a cogent essay, thesis, etc.
What is it like working and treating patients here in Utah, where the opioid epidemic has hit especially hard?
It is frustrating and rewarding, on a daily basis. Opioid dependence is a brutal condition that changes how people behave in such drastic ways it is difficult to describe. When I lose a patient to overdose or suicide, or they simply fall out of treatment, I am pained beyond words. However, when I have a patient with six months sobriety who is interpersonally, emotionally, and physically healthy again it is incredibly rewarding. Utah has a significant problem at present. It is time we no longer hide the disease so we can treat it aggressively.
Top photo: From left, Dr. Jonathan Bone '94 and Dr. Amy De La Garza from Equilibrium Clinic on December 7 led a Lincoln Street Campus Coffee and Conversation on the physiology of addiction.
In 2011, Rowland Hall's Board of Trustees approved a diversity mission that affirmed the school's commitment to building cultural awareness, cultivating an inclusive environment, and appreciating how our differences create a stronger community. The school's Inclusion and Equity Committee—first created in 2008, and strengthened with the board mandate in 2011—has been hard at work implementing an action plan to bring the values of this diversity mission to the forefront. According to Upper School English teacher Kate Taylor, who co-chairs the committee with Lower School Principal Jij de Jesus, a significant long-term goal is "to provide more consistent and across-the-board training opportunities in inclusion and equity topics for our faculty and staff."
Enter Rosetta Lee, a Seattle-based educator, diversity consultant, and nationally recognized speaker on issues of inclusion and equity in schools. Rosetta visited Rowland Hall August 16–17 as the Julie Ashton Barrett Teaching and Learning Fellow, an endowed award which funds an annual visit from a master teacher or learning consultant. For two days, Rosetta led workshops for faculty and staff on issues of cultural competence, identity development, and inclusive classroom practices. With a mixture of humor, compassion, and conviction, she brought home the message that developing cultural competence is an educational imperative for the 21st century.
What does it mean to have cultural competence? Rosetta shared the definition written by subject expert and long-time researcher Terry Cross: "Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, institution, or individual, and enable that system, institution, or individual to work effectively in cross-cultural situations." Rosetta advocated that teachers demonstrate cultural competence by embracing anti-bias frameworks in their curriculum and ensuring that physical learning spaces reflect the needs and identities of all students. She stressed the difference between equality and equity: equitable treatment eliminates "barriers that prevent the full participation of all peoples," she said. While giving every adult in the room a shirt to wear might demonstrate equality, giving everyone a shirt that fits is an example of equity.
Rosetta advocated that teachers demonstrate cultural competence by embracing anti-bias frameworks in their curriculum and ensuring that physical learning spaces reflect the needs and identities of all students.
All faculty and staff attended a Wednesday session on cultural competence, and on Thursday, faculty separated into morning and afternoon groups in order for Rosetta to provide age-appropriate material to teachers in specific divisions. Lower School and Beginning School teachers learned about supporting positive identity development in our youngest students. This includes allowing curiosity-based questions, and answering those questions in a way that offers gentle guidance while expanding a child's definition of what is possible in the world. Rosetta spoke to Middle School and Upper School educators about the distinctions between feeling safe and comfortable: while the former is critical for everyone in a school environment, there is room for discomfort when dealing with sensitive topics related to identity and culture.
During one workshop, Rosetta told teachers "we need to create a loving, accepting—safe and wonderful and welcoming—environment for children, and also prepare them to engage with folks who are not as intentional about creating this type of environment." She spoke of teaching and practicing curiosity, something Ryan Hoglund, director of ethical education, affirmed. "I want students to develop a cross-cultural sense of curiosity and empathy, a disposition where judgment is not their first response to each other," he said.
Along with offering strategies for inclusive classroom practices and recommending online resources, Rosetta answered an array of faculty and staff questions, including how best to represent student diversity in school publications, and how to partner with parents on their children's identity-development journeys.
We need to create a loving, accepting—safe and wonderful and welcoming—environment for children, and also prepare them to engage with folks who are not as intentional about creating this type of environment. —Rosetta Lee
Rosetta's advice resonated with teachers and administrators, and in the weeks that followed her visit, many spoke of heightened awareness regarding the language they use and how it impacts students. Lower School physical education (PE) teacher Anna Ernst and her colleagues implemented Rosetta's "Bug and a Wish" framework for conflict resolution in their classes. Anna refreshed a peace corner where students air out their feelings: now, instead of simply complaining in the corner, students use props and phrase their discussions as, "It bugs me when you..." and, "I wish you would..." Anna believes this seemingly minor adjustment requires students to be more thoughtful and open. She also encourages them to extend their palms while speaking to each other, a body language that invites collaboration and empathy.
Rowland Hall's work to increase cultural competence is right in line—if not slightly ahead of—national trends. A recent Independent School magazine article on the importance of hiring for cultural competence echoes Rosetta and similarly describes the subject as an imperative for our modern, multicultural society.
Ryan and Kate see Rosetta Lee's teachings as part of an ongoing goal that we might never fully achieve, but can continuously strive for. Ryan added that he hopes increasing cultural competence in adults will create an environment where, for students, a "good day" at school doesn't just mean nothing bad happened. Rather, it means students "saw themselves positively represented in the curriculum and in the community."