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Reflections on Seminar-Learning

April 11, 2018

Dear CSS community,

I would like to extend a personal invitation to tonight’s Experience Centered Seminar (ECS) presentations. Whether you are a Kindergarten parent or an alum, a current Upper School parent or a prospective family, please join us in the Louisa Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, April 11th at 6:30 p.m. for Upper School ECS Presentations. Teams of students will present their research, insights, and answers to essential questions discovered during these in-depth experiences.
When it comes to these programs sometimes there’s too much to say and too much to think about. They’re highly academic, integrated with our mission, and have long-term benefits for students.

We know that:
  • Unplugging, whether you are in the Himalayas, Peru or the Colorado Rockies from regular habits, networks of friends, and from electronic devices is remarkably beneficial for students. We’re not suggesting that students become luddites but taking a step back from screen time and social media often bolsters student self-confidence and interpersonal skills.
  • Experiencing the way other world cultures and regions of the US travel, eat and socialize is both broadening and can create a deeper appreciation for one’s own way of life.
  • Becoming a producer of knowledge (scientific data on the Yellowstone ECS) or beauty (sculpture on the Iron Pour ECS) rather than being solely a consumer of knowledge and beauty is both empowering and difficult.
  • Good things take time. While many things in our culture can be judged immediately, education takes longer for its benefits to come into focus. Some of the things our students have been exposed to and done in these three weeks will pay dividends for a lifetime.
  • Lastly and somewha t in the spirit of the previous points, doing important things isn’t easy. An Upper School faculty member made a comment about type 2 fun while we were debriefing seminars. This is a term I had to look up. This concept is remarkably applicable to the concept of education and Experience Center Seminars in particular. Simply put, type 1 fun is fun all the time. It’s recreational. There’s no downside and we all need type 1 fun in our lives. Type 2 fun, however, is very different and just as important. Type 2 happens when things get hard! Hiking a mountain is type 2 fun. Canoeing a river. Smelting iron. Giving a presentation in front of 350 people as our students will do this evening. It isn’t fun at the time but it is immensely rewarding. We can’t learn how strong and smart we really are by doing easy and simple activities, exclusively.
Thank you to our parent body for supporting The Colorado Springs School and its ambitious and distinctive brand of education.

Thank you to our students for embracing the learning opportunities presented on ECSs.

Lastly, thank you to the faculty, who, year after year, dream up new ways to study big-picture questions and to immerse students in the thick of the action.

In the final quarter of the school year, our students will take to the fields, courts, and stages, they will sit for Advanced Placement exams, and seniors will tackle our inaugural capstone experience. Colorado Expeditions in Children’s School will launch some students for their first night away from home while others will spend 5-nights away confidently in a tent they set up themselves. Likewise, Middle School will be challenged by a variety of seminar topics, including Walkabout, a transformational, coming-of-age journey for our 8th graders on the river and in the desert of Utah. At every step, we are committed to your students and their academic, social, emotional, and personal growth.

Aaron Schubach
Head of School