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From the Blog

The Class of 2022… In Their Own Words
  • Curriculum
  • Division: Middle School
  • News
  • Parents and Guardians
  • Student Life

On June 17, the Stevens community gathered to hear members of the Class of 2002 reflect on their years behind the purple doors. Here's what they had to say.

On June 17, the Stevens community gathered to hear members of the Class of 2002 reflect on their years behind the purple doors. The graduates, many of whom arrived at Stevens in preschool, recounted treasured memories, contemplated their growth both as individuals and community members, and expressed excitement and confidence as they begin a new chapter of their educational journeys.

Here are some highlights of what they had to say:

“2013 was a big year for me. I started playing the piano. I was learning how to read. It was also the year when I started going to Stevens. Since then, my life has improved exponentially. Stevens presented me with lots of opportunities and helped me grow as a person. A quote by Joseph Addison summarizes this perfectly. “What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human soul.” Stevens made me who I am. – Anna E.

“I would like to talk about how much I appreciate the sense of community that Stevens cultivates. The small class sizes have allowed me and my peers to create strong bonds between ourselves that I wouldn’t have been able to create at any other school. These bonds will continue to grow even as we stop seeing each other in school. This sense of community is what I have to thank for all of my friends at Stevens.” – Aaron A.

“All of the memories I have made at Stevens, all of the things I have learned during my time here, I will take with me to high school. These things include, but are not limited to, always thinking about the community and other people’s perspectives, as well as coming up with new ways to incite change in society, and these are qualities I will never forget. Stevens has taught me how to be an actively engaged citizen of the world and for that I will be forever grateful.” – Sophie B.

“Going into high school, it’s important to have that balance between your own success, and success through collaboration. I believe that real success in life is a mix of both. Stevens taught us that not only do we have to advocate for ourselves, but we also have to collaborate and work together in order to achieve great things.” – Kimaya D.

“The first thing that I loved about this school were the teachers. I remember from my first day in Kindergarten and throughout my entire time at Stevens, all the teachers really focused on each student and helped them when they needed individual attention. Stevens supports students in the way they think by empowering them to learn at their own pace, and not focus on how other people think,  but to do it in a way that works for them. Eddie Van Halen once said, “You only have 12 notes, do what you want with them.” To me, this is representative of how Stevens supports its students.” – Tyler W.

“I’m nervous about the journey ahead but knowing that this school has prepared me makes me more enthusiastic about starting something new. I’m ending this year on a high note reminding myself of all of the concepts Stevens has taught me and helped me become. Starting today, I know I will be forever grateful for how I have flourished in this school and the memories I have made.” - Maeve K.

Congratulations to the Class of 2022! Journey on!

  • Arts
  • Curriculum
  • Division: Lower School
  • Faculty and Staff
  • Humanities
  • Social Studies

How interdisciplinary learning melds Art and Humanities to help students "build on their expanding knowledge."

Stevens art teacher Ed Lu loves when students arrive to his class on the heels of a social studies lesson. He doesn’t demand their undivided attention. Because the school’s arts and humanities curricula are purposefully interwoven, he doesn’t need or want to.

“It helps me to build on their expanding knowledge,” said Ed, who teaches at the Hoboken campus. “Whatever is fresh in their mind, if I can tap into that, they are going to bring so much more to what they do here, and it makes their art much more meaningful.”

The interdisciplinary relationship between art and humanities
is especially on display in the lower school, where 4th graders undertake art projects that complement their study of American migrations. This year, students collaborated on a massive triptych depicting the Trail of Tears and central figures involved in the forced expulsion of Native Americans to the West.

“The triptych was a good form for the art to take because each student was thinking about how their contribution fits with the entire artwork and how it relates to the bigger story,” said Ed. “So within the process, there’s a lot of learning that’s happening that builds on the historical context.”

Scott Fairchild, who teaches art at the Jersey City campus, takes
a similar approach to complementing a Social Studies unit on the Great Migration and Harlem Renaissance by studying the subject matter and practicing the techniques of artists like Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden.

Students are already accustomed to interdisciplinary undertakings by the time they arrive in 4th grade.

In 2nd grade, the Permanent City project draws on math, science, and technology as well as art, plus an early interaction with urban planning when students plan the green spaces, transit systems, and social services they want to include in their community.

“It’s an opportunity for them to learn about cities and their really essential components,” said Kenyett Olds, who teaches 2nd grade in Hoboken. “We hone in on what the cities need to function versus what we may want to put there.”

Second graders also produce a series of shadow puppet plays, which place an emphasis on storytelling and performance. Inspired by fables from different cultures, they collaborate on characters and storylines. Technology is incorporated when they type their scripts in Google Docs and record voiceovers and sound effects for the live performance.

“It’s an entirely new way for them to present their writing,” says Kaitlin Healey, a 2nd grade teacher at Newport, “but they’re also doing so many other things along the way.”

This story appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of SCOOP.

Earning Their Spots
  • Arts
  • Curriculum
  • Division: Lower School
  • Student Life

Lower School students collaborated across grade levels on costumes, set design and choreography to bring the musical production of 101 Dalmatians to life.

Throughout the winter and spring, it was all hands on deck to set the stage for our 3rd and 4th grade musical. After two years of virtual performances, this year’s production of 101 Dalmatians Kids provided an exciting opportunity for our students to explore musical theater and collaborate across grade levels.

Each year, the 3rd graders act as the ensemble cast, while the 4th graders have the opportunity to audition for larger roles. “The kids are loving it,” explained music director Holly Hampton. “The music is nice, there are a lot of lead speaking roles, and all of the 3rd graders are playing Dalmatian puppies.”

While Lower School students were busy learning their lines and lyrics, several veteran performers in 6th grade applied to help direct and stage-manage the production. The students assisted with every rehearsal and helped design the show’s set.

When thinking through the various production elements, Stevens art teachers contributed in distinct ways. Scott Fairchild ran a costume-making elective for middle school students at the Jersey City campus, while Hoboken art teacher Ed Lu oversaw set design in Hoboken.

Ed described the challenges involved with creating portable and collapsible set pieces that are easily transported between campuses. Creatively solved by using three bi-fold panels, the crew created six unique backdrops that are supported by 3D props created from recycled materials.

They also created a television, a central prop for this production, but instead of simply painting a scene on its screen, the crew chose to run lights through the prop like a real television. The set design team also created some Easter eggs from other Disney stories to weave into the set, helping further develop the story and its characters.

“The students partner really well with each other across grade levels,” Ed shared. “There is always a side project different students can focus on. Everyone just feels so happy with the work they’re doing when they leave... it’s a really nice extra element on top of the normal curriculum.”

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of SCOOP.

Getting to Know Our New Director of Equity and Student Engagement
  • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
  • Division: Early Childhood
  • Division: Lower School
  • Division: Middle School
  • Faculty and Staff

A recent chat about cycling, crime novels and banana bread with Dr. Reginald "Reggie" Davenport, our new Director of Equity and Community Engagement.

We recently sat down with Reginald “Reggie” Davenport Ed.D., our new Director of Equity and Community Engagement, for the latest conversation in our “Getting to Know You…” series, where we highlight new faces and voices in the Stevens community.

Make sure to say hello to Reggie in the fall!

Tell us about someone in your career who influenced your approach to education.

There was a middle school principal named Richard Gardner who was my mentor when I was going through the certification process to move into administration. He was an old-fashioned kind of guy who loved people and taught me not to worry too much about the little things and just to make sure you’re taking care of the people. Take care of the teachers and they’ll take care of the kids.

You’re an ordained minister in addition to an educator and equity advocate. How did you come to have that experience?

When I met my wife in the nineties, she was attending a church in Scotch Plains. I grew up Baptist and she had grown up Episcopalian but joined the Baptist church as an adult. At that point in my life I was playing in quite a few softball leagues on Sunday, but she asked me to go to church with her, so I went. We got married in that church and years later I was looking for something to keep me grounded when the pastor, who was a family friend, told me that he wanted to train me to be a minister. So I continued on that path and I was ordained in 1997. I get to perform weddings once in a while. That’s cool.

How do you like to spend your weekends?

If I have a free couple of hours, not even just on the weekends, I want to get on my bike. I started cycling about 10 years ago and it’s just become my obsession. I like to get up early and get it done. A few years ago I joined the Major Taylor Cycling Club of New Jersey, named after the famous Black cyclist from the early 1900s. I don’t ride with them every weekend, but every weekend it's not raining I’m out there on the bike.

Do you have a dream travel destination?

I've never been to Europe and I want to go. My wife is presently pushing for an Alaskan cruise. God has been really good to us that we're able to be looking at a couple of destinations. But I’d really like to go to Spain and see the Spanish history of the Moors, where algebra was created. And I do want to get on that Alaskan cruise.

What are some of your favorite books?

I’m a big fan of the author Walter Mosely, who writes the Easy Rawlins mysteries. I also generally go for stuff that makes me laugh. My kids recently gave me a book called “God is Disappointed In You,” which was a comedic retelling of the Bible. I used to really like John Grisham’s books. They were pretty good before every one became a movie, right?

What’s your favorite thing to make in the kitchen?

At home, I’m the breakfast king. When it comes to the waffles or pancakes, I’m pretty good. But the single best thing I make… you know when the bananas are really going bad? I make banana bread with cranberries, raisins and nuts.

Return of Helping Parent/Guardian Days!
  • Division: Early Childhood
  • Division: Lower School
  • Parents and Guardians
  • Student Life

After two years, families are celebrating the revival of a classic Stevens tradition.

For Stevens families, COVID-19 has meant sacrificing certain cornerstone experiences, none of which is more special or synonymous with the school as Helping Parent/ Guardian Days.

Even those who have already been part of the community for a few years may only now be participating in their first Helping Parent/Guardian Day, which was revived in early Spring as part of the school’s ongoing efforts to safely loosen pandemic restrictions. For Faye, who recently spent a day in her child’s first grade class, the experience was worth the wait.

“We joined Stevens during the very beginning of the pandemic, so we’ve never really been inside properly,” she said. “So to be able to come and be in the classroom today is very exciting. My daughter has been so excited. My youngest loved it and talked about it for weeks after.”

Seeing the class in action makes real what she’s heard about, she said, and helps to bridge the gap between her child’s experience at home with their experience at school.

“It helps them communicate more about their day-to-day lives and enables more sharing and bonding, which I think is really important,” said Faye. “And as a parent, it enables us to support our children more because we know and understand better what’s going on in the classroom.”

Helping Parent/Guardian Days are energetic, often involving reading the class a book from home, sharing a special snack, or giving a presentation about something important to the family.

But the best part, says longtime parent Caroline Simon, is when you can steal a moment to yourself, step back, and enjoy watching the classroom in motion.

“It’s so special to get to just be in on your child’s day,” Caroline said. “Fading into the background and watching what goes on in the classroom, how the kids interact with each other, how the teacher sets things up. I think it’s so awesome.”

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of SCOOP.