Our DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) silent reading program just got a little louder. All students now have the option of joining one of seven honors groups and talking is encouraged. Lead organizer and humanities department chair Henry Seton believes the new groups will spark students’ interest in reading as well as sharpen their comprehension and discussion skills. Students can earn a GPA bump on their humanities grade based on their participation in the student-led discussions and the annotations they make in the texts (not literally in the books but on stickies!).
Over 100 students opted into this fall’s honors groups, which meet once a week and are themed to touch on topics outside the regular curriculum. For instance, Mr. Seton is leading a group on books about food and cooking, and the group’s first text is a memoir entitled, “Yes, Chef” by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson. Head of School Caleb Hurst-Hiller, a former humanities teacher, is leading a group on sports in society. The students in Spanish teacher Laura Efron’s group on gender are reading a graphic novel “Fun Home” by Allison Bechdel. Math teacher Tabitha Schober is facilitating a group on race, and history teacher Eva Lam’s group will delve into readings on current events like the Ebola epidemic and same sex marriage. There are two middle school sections, each led by Katie Rieser, formerly a humanities teacher and now dean of curriculum and instruction. Both Ms. Rieser and Mr. Hurst-Hiller are excited at the chance to take off their administrator hats and get back in the classroom during DEAR.