Summer Reading

Joshua Neudel, Head of Upper School

Last spring, we had a March Madness-style bracket to choose the summer reading books for the Middle and Upper Schools. In this battle of the books, students narrowed down the choices to 4 books, I am
Malala, The Distance Between Us, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, and One Life. Students chose at least one book from the list to read this summer with the school goal of doing combined summer reading activities for grades 6-12. 
Student facilitators from our AP English classes helped lead book-based discussion groups using a common protocol. Through this intergrade activity, all of our students engaged in group discussions about each book. Students considered and shared out on the following statements: 

  • Share an example of a moment from the summer reading where a character imagined a better circumstance.
  • Share an idea about what the characters needed to do to make those circumstances happen. 
  • Share the word describing a characteristic that you think/feel is needed to create those better circumstances.
  • Where might your personal “best interest” enhance the community and where might it conflict with the community? How do we reconcile these conflicts? 
We will come together again in groups to complete an installation that is being planned by Kathryn Lee, Director of Innovation and Design. *Update* see the installation here.
In many ways, the summer reading activities are a representation of some of the best aspects of being in a PK-12 school. Through this interdivisional work, not only were students engaged in curricular ideas, but it also highlighted several of the benefits of being in a community such as Brimmer.  

  • Our eldest students had an opportunity to practice facilitating group discussions, empowering them to lead in our community. 
  • Our Upper School students were able to model what academic dialogue looks like, while also making it accessible for learners of different ages. 
  • Our middle school students provided perspectives that many high schoolers were not considering. 
  • All our students had an opportunity to practice active listening skills, while also having the space to share their thoughts.  

During the year, we have many opportunities to gather as an entire school or engage in cross-divisional work which is often identified by our graduating class as a highlight of their Brimmer experience. I am looking forward to the second round of activities later in the Fall as the collaborative process continues. 
As an inclusive private school community, Brimmer welcomes students who will increase the diversity of our school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or any other characteristic protected from discrimination under state or federal law, in the administration of our educational policies, admissions practices, financial aid decisions, and athletic and other school-administered programs.