Category Archives: Events

Celebrating Imagination and a Library for the Future

A look inside the Grealish Family Pavilion (Part Two)

Inly School Library Stained Glass

Book-themed door panel by the creative hands at Coastal Art Glass in Norwell MA

We’re all still in awe of this amazing new space, and it’s hard to chronicle all of the magical moments happening here every day. Books are discovered and rediscovered, read silently and read aloud; ideas and imagination are sparked and stirred; thoughtful research is conducted in an environment that’s at once stimulating and serene.

Students and teachers tend to linger here, finding their favorite spot on a couch or at a table where they can look out the windows at the changing view. Trust me, it’s hard to leave!

Here are more photos from the official building opening this fall, including those from the Going Places book signing with authors and keynote speakers Peter and Paul Reynolds. Stay tuned for more photos and moments as each chapter unfolds…

Inly School Library Scituate MA

Author Peter H. Reynolds and Donna Milani Luther greet Inly Library visitors

Montessori School Library Scituate MA

Rooted in the Imagination Station one floor below, the Library Tree is graced with glass leaves that sparkle in the sunlight

For more on the Inly Library and Going Places book signing, check out these two posts by Shelley Sommer on Sommer Reading: A Book About Blogs:

A Photo Tour of the New Inly Library 


More Pictures and Authors Peter & Paul Reynolds

Also see Part One: Print and Digital Find the Perfect Home

CEF: Why K12 Schools Need To Embrace Creative Problem-Solving

The Creative Education Foundation on John Hunter, brainstorming techniques, and hope for future generations of creative thinkers and innovators.

The Creative Education Foundation (CEF), co-sponsors of Inly’s Omran ♦ Nelson Speaker Series event with John Hunter on April 9th, have trained thousands of people in creative problem-solving and brainstorming over the years. In fact, the founder of the foundation “invented” both brainstorming and creative problem-solving, techniques that have become the foundation of creative processes around the world. CEF clients include Visa, Stanley Black & Decker, HP, Microsoft, Hershey, Boeing, Staples and Ocean Spray. The group has a wide reach, having conducted Visioning Workshops at Disney World’s Epcot Center and CEF YouthWise programs in South Africa. Current projects include a brain science research study with Dartmouth College and consulting in Dubai to help educators use creativity in their work.

The Inly connection? Donna Milani Luther, Inly’s Head of School, has served as a designated leader and consultant for the CEF since 1984. She and John Hunter both presented talks at the CEF’s annual Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) Conference in 2012 (sparking the idea to bring Hunter to speak at Inly). In 2013, the CEF moved its headquarters to the Inly School campus.

We recently had a chance to chat with both Stephen Brand and Kitty Heusner of the CEF about their work with school administrators and educators and their philosophy on the importance of creativity in K–12 education.

Stephen Brand, Director of Programming, CEF

You help adults in organizations tackle complex business problems. How does this work apply to K–12 education?
Over the years we’ve trained thousands of people in creative problem-solving and brainstorming, helping them uncover ideas and solutions to daily or long-term challenges. Whether you’re in a business or a nonprofit organization or running a K–12 school, many of the principles are the same.

For instance, we now offer a course called “Creativity in the 21st Century Classroom.”
We bring together teachers and principals, professional development staff and curriculum directors and we show them how to apply these proven methods in the classroom. We show them how to actively use creativity, brain-based learning research (i.e. multiple intelligence theory), and learning styles to accelerate learning and help them prepare for the Common Core State Standards with foundational skills that integrate creativity, collaboration, and action on ideas generated.

How does this tie into your overall mission?
Our mission is about “engaging and developing the next generation of creative thinkers and innovators.” Part of the CEF vision is enable educators to initiate change in their schools, revitalize communities and enhance methods and systems with new, yielding results that reflect the very problems identified to resolve. We’re most interested in helping administrators realize the power of using creativity in schools in developing a culture of innovation, creative approaches to student engagement and building the creative thinking skills of their students Independent, magnet and charter schools are initially investing much more in creativity in their schools. What we offer is fits more easily in independent, charter and magnet schools as they seek to differentiate their learning experiences from the typical public school. International schools seem to be quite intrigued with infusing creative thinking in their schools as well.

With the public schools, it’s going to take early adopters to jump on this. It really takes a forward-thinking superintendent or principal in a public school to embrace creativity as a core component in their efforts. Our hope is to get more and more schools, public, private, urban, suburban, to embrace this creative approach to education and find better ways of motivating students and allowing the ideas of students to drive their learning.

Does your research focus on adults or students?
Both. We’re currently working with Dartmouth College on a study to see whether learning creative thinking and creative problem-solving skills would change the actual brain structure of middle school students. This involves taking functional MRIs and analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data. In our academic journal, the Journal of Creative Behavior and at our annual conference we address creativity in education as well as creativity in business, organizations and even governments. Right now we see the K–12 education space as critical. Our world is becoming increasingly complex and we want to help schools and administrators focus on preparing future leaders to brainstorm creative solutions to complex problems in whatever fields they explore.

Katherine O. (Kitty) Heusner, Ph.D., Chair of the Board of Trustees, CEF

What do students need to succeed in this century? In the future?
They need critical thinking and problem-solving skills to navigate the changing world around them. One of our hopes is that CEF can reach out to schools that are often underserved to develop programs that promote creativity as a necessary skill for success. One of the ironies in education is that the ones who need help with creative problem-solving the most often receive the least.

Is this type of teaching and learning possible in traditional schools?
Yes, I think it is. When I hear people say, ‘We can’t do anything with creative thinking because we have to focus on the curriculum content,’ I think, ‘Wait a minute. It’s not about stopping to teach creativity as a new subject, it’s about infusing strategies into your teaching that foster creative thinking and present the content in creative ways.’

The reality is that most people have not experienced this type of learning themselves, and so it’s difficult to really see the possibilities. That’s why it’s important to work with the total school community—to work with administrators to help them model and support the change, to work with teachers to develop the skill set and mind set, and to involve parents to understand the importance.

What do you think is most important take-away from Hunter’s film and talks?
That one person in one classroom can truly make a significant difference in children, one at a time. John Hunter is an inspiring example of a teacher who did not in any way abandon what his students needed to learn—but rather saw a way to do it that would create enthusiasm and interest and, more importantly, develop critical in-depth learning and skill development that goes far beyond the content area that he may have originally been planning to teach. By allowing students to imagine themselves and play the roles Prime Ministers, Secretaries of State and even Arms Dealers, they became more engaged and motivated to understand the content as they lived the content.

How would you describe John Hunter’s approach to creative problem-solving?
What John has come up with is adaptable and adoptable for this changing population. It facilitates effective creative-thinking techniques—the key principle being that you do the divergent “open gathering” ideas separate from the “choosing among” ideas. We observe his students engaged in this type of learning in the film (World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements). They were encouraged not to jump early to conclusions but to jump thoughtfully to conclusions after they had gathered a variety of ideas and listened to each other in wonderful ways. It is creative thinking and problem-solving in action at its finest!

Further Reading:

John Hunter and His Montessori Message: An interview with Inly’s head of school

John Hunter Presents “World Peace Game” Film and Talk on Experiential Education

Culture of Creativity at Inly School


Inly Parent Education Talk: Joe Ehrmann on “Transforming the Culture of Sports”

Be A Man: Joe Ehrmann at TEDxBaltimore 2013

Who’s sports educator Joe Ehrmann and what’s he all about? Watch this video clip to hear his compelling message at a recent TED talk. Then read the following news story to learn more about his upcoming talk for parents, teachers and coaches:

Transforming the Culture of Sports: Former NFL player, named “The Most Important Coach in America,” speaks at Inly School Oct 23

Co-sponsored by the South Shore YMCA, this talk is open to the public. Tickets are $20 and available online at the Inly Speaker Series page. Bring your friends and spread the word!

Inly Celebrates 40 Years in Style

Inly School celebrated its 40th Anniversary in style on Saturday, May 11, 2013 with a Gala and Silent Auction held on the campus. The Meehan Family Artsbarn was transformed for the evening with sweeping sheets of gossamer and an elegant, pinterest-inspired chandelier crafted from colorful coffee filters. Inly’s logo was brightly projected onto the floor of the entrance for all to see while Inly alum, Bob Sommer (’09), played jazz with his trio on the stage. Over 250 guests strolled through the space and placed bids on the nearly 100 enticing auction items. The 40th Anniversary Co-Chairs, Muffy Antico and Maureen Sheehan, both agreed, “This year is a very special year for Inly and we wanted this celebration to reflect that.” Inly’s Auction Chair, Sarah Adamson, said, “The money we raise tonight will support Inly by helping to fund the academic, enrichment, and experiential programs that make our school such a special place.”

Charles Terranova and Donna Milani Luther

Overall, the evening was a huge success. The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was local on-air broadcasting veteran, Scott Wahle. During dinner, Wahle welcomed Inly’s Head of School, Donna Milani Luther, to the stage to speak about the growth of the school over the past 40 years. Milani Luther noted how Inly has remained true to its core. “Over the years, while other educational philosophies have come and gone, Montessori continues to be relevant and amazingly effective,” she said, “Inly remains committed to combining the philosophies and methods of Dr. Maria Montessori with other compatible and innovative practices that help to inspire and nurture our children and prepare them for global citizenship.” Milani Luther invited Charles Terranova, founder of the Inly School (then called The Montessori Community School), to the stage to share stories of the school’s history. Terranova applauded Milani Luther for her work over the past 17 years and the entire audience echoed this sentiment with a standing ovation.

Donna Milani Luther announced that the school will continue the very successful speaker series launched in 2012 with a slight name-change to commemorate two former Inly teachers who passed away from cancer, Sue Omran and Brien Nelson. Going forward, the series will be known as the “Omran • Nelson Speaker Series.” This past year, the series welcomed well-known speakers including Deepak Chopra and Richard Louv to the South Shore. Thanks to a generous $10,000 donation from the Nelson family, the series will continue to bring speakers to Inly who will explore a range of parent education topics and philosophies.

Additionally, the school announced the launch of an Endowment Fund, which it hopes will help the school continue to grow and thrive over the next 40 years and beyond. In a video that aired on large screens during dinner, parents, students, teachers and alumni shared the many reasons they love Inly and their collective hope for it to continue to thrive in the future. “More people’s kids will go here someday,” one Inly lower elementary student remarked, “I know mine will.” Another middle school student noted, “Someday, I want people all over the world to know Inly and know it like it’s Harvard.”

Inly Says Goodbye to Ned DiGregorio

The Inly community is deeply saddened to say goodbye to beloved father, husband, friend, Inly School teacher and soccer player, Ned DiGregorio. Born on December 27, 1966, Edward “Ned” DiGregorio, Jr. died suddenly on April 12, 2013, playing soccer, the sport he loved his entire life.

Ned brought love and magic to the lives of many, including his wife Jennifer and two daughters, Abby and Tess, of Scituate; his parents Edward and Maureen DiGregorio of Dennis; his in-laws and second parents Ronald and Donna “Foxy”” Katz of Shelton, CT, and Scituate; his brother Jonathan DiGregorio and his wife Tamela of Norton; his sister Meredith Techiera and her husband John of Westwood; his brother-in-law Timothy Katz and his wife Ana-Maria of Miami, FL; his sister-in-law Heather Katz and her friend John Prieser of Jacksonville, FL; lifelong friends Charles and Laurie Withington of Acton; Richard Webber and Ellie Lane of Norwell; Joseph Krall of Wellfleet; and special nieces and nephews, Ryan and Alyssa DiGregorio; John, Thomas, and Matthew Techiera; Olivia Katz (whom he looked forward to meeting this summer); Simon and Lucy Webber; and Grace, Matthew and George Withington. He also leaves many cherished aunts, uncles and their families in Connecticut, Massachusetts and North Carolina, along with the close friends of Abby and Tess whom he truly loved as his own. His godparents are Nancy Petrucci of Westwood and William Marshall of Dedham.

Ned will be especially missed by his students, their parents and his colleagues at Inly School in Scituate where he brought humor and joy to learning each day. Ned taught Inly’s Upper Elementary students for 6 years and also coached soccer in the after school program and at Summer at Inly camp. He had many friends in his neighborhood and through both his soccer coaching for the Town of Scituate and his own soccer teams with The Busy Bee Pub and Hingham Sports Center on Friday nights.

Ned met Jennifer in 1991 through mutual friends at the Falmouth Road Race and shyly called her two months later to begin their twenty-two year romance. He was a loving, patient and remarkable dad who came to believe in fairies, unicorns and all things glitter. While not a true gamer, Ned could hold his own in Scrabble against the pro-plays of game devotees, and he always would abandon his own work to play with Abby and Tess.

Affectionately known to many as “The Chief” and as “Nedro,” Ned and his family loved their time at their vacation home in Harwich where they planned to retire. He was a creative grill-master, and he showed no fear of driving on the left side of the road in St. John where he cherished “sundazing” and snorkeling with all three of his girls. He always took the overnight shifts on long road trips to The Outer Banks each summer, another family tradition.

Ned and Jennifer experienced many adventures together, including her graduation from law school, three job changes, one inspiring career overhaul, which led him to Inly School, two babies in nineteen months, four different houses, one pool construction (in which he was too chicken to swim when it was done last December), one household flood, four delightful dogs, one guinea pig, countless hours of interpretive dance and dress-up parties, two wild and crazy extended families, and his favorite chore: stick-pick-up.

Ned leaves a huge hole in the collective heart of those who knew and loved him. His family expresses deep sincere appreciation to his Friday Night Soccer Team, the staff at Hingham Sports Center, the Hingham EMTs, and the medical providers at South Shore Hospital who gave so much in trying to save his too short life and who cared so much when it could not happen.

On Monday evening, April 15, a Sunset Vigil was held on Inly’s Sunflower Hill, an outdoor classroom set on one of the highest points in Scituate with distant views of the ocean. Members of Inly’s community gathered to honor Ned’s legacy by sharing words and stories that best exemplified Ned. A number of boxed soccer balls were collected for donation to a soccer charity, which Ned’s students plan to choose in the coming days. As the sun set behind the hill, the crowd gathered together, linking arms and raising candles to the sky. They listened to poetry and sang the song, “Imagine,” by John Lennon. It was a lovely tribute to a wonderful man.

Inly’s Head of School, Donna Milani Luther, said, “It has been heart-warming to see how our community has come together to support one another and Ned’s family through such a difficult time.” Inly plans to continue to support students, faculty members and families by offering age-appropriate grief counseling and opportunities in the coming days, weeks and months to honor Ned.

A memorial gathering of family and friends will be held on Tuesday, April 16 from 4-8PM at Richardson-Gaffey Funeral Home, 382 First Parish Rd, Scituate. A Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday at 10AM in St. Mary of the Nativity Church, 1 Kent St, Scituate.

At the family’s request, in lieu of flowers, donations will be graciously accepted for an educational fund for Abby and Tess. Checks may be payable to: Fidelity Investments, and sent to 100 Greenfield Ln, Scituate, MA 02066.

To read past Inside Inly blog posts about Ned and his contributions to the Inly community, please see below:

Forging New Montessori Relationships

Inly School vs. Teachers Soccer Game 2010

An Interview with Coach Ned

Inly School Returns to Life is good Festival

Is a box just a box? You may think so at first glance. Visitors to the Montessori tent at the Life is good® Festival last weekend learned otherwise with the help of Montessori folks from Inly School, Cambridge Montessori School, Lexington Monessori School, Newton Montessori School, and Oakmeadow Montessori School, who showed them that a box can be made into anything you want it to be with a little creativity and imagination. Take a look at photos from the festival.

Parent Education: Deborah Roffman Kicks off Sue Omran Speaker Series October 4

Deborah Roffman, best-selling author, educator and consultant on sexuality education, will speak at Inly School on Thursday night, October 4 at 7:00 p.m. In addition to discussing her latest book, Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids’ “Go-To” Person about Sex, Roffman will lead a Q & A session and sign books (available for purchase at the event). Open to the public, this talk is ideal for parents of children and teens, as well as educators interested in professional development. This event is free to Inly families and $10 for community members, payable at the door. Please RSVP by Wednesday, October 3 to

The Sue Omran Speaker Series: Innovative Parent Education for All

Roffman’s talk kicks off the new Sue Omran Speaker Series at Inly School. Open to the public, this series features highly acclaimed authors and speakers (including Deepak Chopra, Rudy Tanzi and Richard Louv) and explores a range of innovative topics and philosophies. It seeks to provide opportunities for parents, educators and the community at large to practice life-long learning.

Thanks to the outpouring of generosity from donors, the Sue Omran Speaker Series has been established in memory of Sue, an Inly teacher and dedicated parent and educator, who passed away after a battle with breast cancer in 2011. For more information, please see the “Speaker Series” web page.

With financial support from this fund, we intend to bring outstanding thought leaders to the South Shore, who—in the tradition of Maria Montessori and Sue Omran—challenge, inspire and guide us to become the best educators and parents we can be.

More About Roffman and “Talk to Me First”

Deborah Roffman has been interviewed on national television and radio shows, including the CBS Early Show, Nightline, 20/20 and NPR. Her work has been featured in the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Washington Times.

What drives her is a single vision: “that one day it will be families and schools―not media, merchandisers, entertainers, peers, and popular culture―who become the primary, as in first and most important, resources for young people about a topic so essential to life, health, and happiness.”

Like her earlier best-seller Sex and Sensibility, Roffman’s latest book is highly relevant to today’s youth. Having taught sexuality education in grades 4-12 for over 30 years, she knows what children need to know and has a wealth of useful advice for parents.

“We live in a time when kids of all ages are bombarded with age-sensitive material wherever they turn,” states the Philadelphia Tribune. “‘Sexting’ and bullying are on the rise at an increasingly younger age, and teen moms are ‘celebrified.’ What is a concerned — and embarrassed — parent to do?

“With wit, wisdom, and savvy, Deborah Roffman translates her experiences gleaned from decades of teaching kids and parents, and as a mom, into strategies to help parents navigate this tricky terrain. “Talk to Me First” is for any parent who wants to become and remain the most credible and influential resource about sexuality in their children’s lives.”

Next Speakers: Deepak Chopra, Dr. Rudy Tanzi (Dec. 4) and Richard Louv (Apr. 3)

On December 4 at 7:00 p.m., Deepak Chopra and Dr. Rudy Tanzi will speak at Inly School about their highly anticipated book Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being (publish date: Nov 6, 2012). Chopra, an internationally popular author of 65 books, and Tanzi, a professor of neurology at Harvard University and co-discoverer of the first Alzheimer’s disease gene, will discuss the latest findings in brain research and how everyone from toddlers to parents to seniors can maximize their potential brain power.

On April 3, 2013 at 7:00 p.m., well known author and naturalist Richard Louv will speak about his book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Louv, who has written for The New York Times, The WashingtonPost, The Times of London and other major publications, coined the term Nature-Deficit Disorder™ which has become the defining phrase of this important issue.

Online ticketing for upcoming talks will be available November 1st. See the Speaker Series web page for more information.

Toddlers, Kindergarteners, Third and Sixth Graders Find Their Wings

Toddlers get ready for Montessori preschool at Inly.

Toddlers "fly up" to their new classes at Inly School

The “Flying Up” Ceremony: Celebrating transitions and soaring to new levels at Inly

On the last day of school each year, Inly honors children who are moving up to a new level: from Toddler to Preschool, from Kindergarten to Lower Elementary, from Lower to Upper Elementary and on up to Middle School. The entire preK-8 school community, including teachers, staff, family and friends, gathers in the Inly Artsbarn for the annual event.

“The ceremony is a tangible representation of their growth as they move on to the next step in their education,” explains Liz Knox, director of admission. “It’s a way for older children to practice leadership and welcome these new members into their community.”

It’s also a bit of a tear-jerker. Note for next year: Bring your hankies.

Marking growth, development… and transformation

In Toddler House, teachers “raise” butterflies in the classrooms each spring so that toddlers can observe their transformation up close. The children are fascinated as each chrysalis slowly changes and finally breaks out into the world as a magnificent butterfly. During the Flying Up ceremony, in an especially poignant moment, the butterflies are released and flutter out into the world.

Transitions ceremony for toddlers going to preschool at Inly School

Montessori student "flying up" from Toddler House to Children's House preschool at Inly School

Toddlers and Bridging students proudly don butterfly wings as they cross from one side of the room to the other, holding hands with older preschool students who welcome them to Children’s House with big hugs and handshakes.

First graders escort kindergartners next, welcoming them to their mixed-age classrooms (comprising grades 1, 2 and 3) in Lower Elementary. On the following day, kindergarten students also take part in the Inly graduation ceremony.

At Inly, Montessori students “fly up” to the following levels:

Montessori kindergarten student moves to first grade

Kindergarten student escorted by her brother and another Lower Elementary classmate

“The most amazing thing to me is the Middle School students flapping their wings,” remarked Lisa Crist, head of parent and alumni relations. “I expect it from the preschool kids, but to see 7th and 8th grade students — teenagers — flapping their wings as they bring the 6th graders up into their world… that just gets me every time.”

See Life and Events for more about Inly School traditions.

Inly Players Theater: Local TV Celebrity, Students Learn About Working Well With Others

Family theater events with a professional twist

The Inly Players are pleased to bring Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the story of the legendary candy maker, to the stage for their sixth annual musical theater production. There are six shows over two weekends: Saturday, February 25 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm, Sunday, February 26 at 2:00 pm; Saturday, March 3 at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm and Sunday, March 4 at 2:00 pm.

The Inly Players is a troupe of students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff of Inly School and includes professional actors and stage crew. Since 2007, the Inly Players Theater troupe has continued to grow, and this year’s Willy Wonka cast includes 75 people!

Veteran WBZ-TV news anchor Scott Wahle as Willy Wonka

Leading the cast is Scott Wahle, who plays the part of Willy Wonka. Best known for his 10-year run as morning news anchor for Boston’s WBZ-TV, the multi-talented Wahle has been involved in theater for many years and performs regularly with the Reagle Music Theater of Greater Boston. His role of Harold Hill in the “Music Man” earned him an IRNE (Independent Reviewers of New England) award for Best Actor.

Wahle made his motion picture debut in the Tom Cruise film Knight and Day. He was a featured guest on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show,” has performed twice with Keith Lockhart and The Boston Pops, and has sung the National Anthem at Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Patriots games. His Inly Players debut as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast last year was very well received by all. Head of School Donna Milani Luther said, “Scott is a truly talented actor and great friend of Inly. I am thrilled to work with him again this year.”

What cast members learn from the performing arts experience

Wahle says he’s looking forward to another big performance with the Inly Players. “It’s an interesting model that Donna has created,” he commented, “and it works for the benefit of everyone involved. She picks shows that are a good fit for the students and then brings in professionals like [Inly music teacher] Meri-Lee Mafera from the Wang Theater and Martha Sawyer, who’s also a real pro, to direct. They hire a real pit orchestra and scene designer and crew, and so the whole experience has a professional feel.”

“It’s a great experience for the kids to learn how to speak well in public, to be a member of a team and to take responsibility for playing a role,” said Wahle. “It’s a great experience for us all, really. You learn a lot about yourself and what it really means to ‘work well with others!’”

Back for her fourth year as guest director of Inly Players Theater is professional director and Scituate native Martha Sawyer. Sawyer studied directing with Helena Dreyfus of the Yale Drama School and David Wheeler of Harvard and the American Repertory Theatre. She is a long-term member of the board of directors for Curtain Call Theatre of Braintree.

“I enjoy working on the Inly Player productions because the support team that Donna puts in place provides a wonderfully creative and visionary environment,” said Sawyer. “It encourages everyone to exercise their imagination and creativity to their limits. We work in a very compressed rehearsal schedule—this time only five weeks—but that short timeline seems to focus everyone. And the results have been very rewarding.”

For more information and tickets, visit the Inly web site.