Tag Archives: Student Leadership

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.

Out and About with Inly Interns

Middle School internships at Inly School in Scituate MA

John and Laura interned in the Communications and Development departments at Inly School

Middle School students presented PowerPoint reports and reflections on their internships today, and audience members (including parents, faculty, and Upper Elementary students) were impressed with their level of self-confidence, self-knowledge and honesty!

We were able to catch up with a handful of Inly Middle School students for some quick feedback on their experiences during Internship Week.

John: Communications @ Inly School

The Communications department was lucky to have John Barthelmes on hand as a videographer and assistant during Internship Week. The 8th grader worked on shooting and editing an admissions video for the Toddler and Bridging program, as well as an animated logo sequence for use with other Inly School videos. He also assisted the Auction Committee with its digital slide show and volunteered extra time to help with Auction tasks.

An active member of the Middle School’s Communications Committee, John directed and edited the popular Inly Newsroom web series. A huge film enthusiast, John runs a multimedia production company called Warear Productions with his friend Evan and plans to pursue a career in the film industry.

Laura: Events @ Inly School

Laura did a stint in the Development office at Inly during the busiest week of the year! As an Event Planning intern for the Inly Auction, she was invaluable when it came to organizing materials and last-minute preparations. Laura worked on auction logistics from printing bid sheets and assembling packages to setting up at the venue and selling raffle tickets that evening.


Inly School intern at WATD in Marshfield MA

Ali interned at WATD Radio in Marshfield MA

Ali did her internship at WATD, the local radio station in Marshfield, where she learned about both news broadcasting and music programming. From observing the 6:00 a.m. program to helping with the evening news, she observed closely and “saw it all happening.” Ali says she’d like to get involved with radio in high school and college, and then maybe go into some sort of media or broadcast journalism. Listen to Ali’s on-air interview with Donna Milani Luther, head of school.

Inly School Expansion and Outdoor Classroom: Interview with Donna Milani Luther on WATD

Shaliyah: Thayer Academy Library

Shaliyah did her internship in the library at Thayer Academy. She was busy checking books—and laptops—in and out, and said it definitely put her organizational skills to the test. “I had to be very organized every day,” she said. Does she want to be a librarian? “Definitely not!” she said, and then laughed. It wasn’t too quiet, she explained, it was just a bit too sedentary. “I want a job where I can get up and move! I don’t think I want to just sit in one place.” On her last day there she did get away from her desk, to another part of campus. She was able to sit in on a history class, which her father was teaching. “Now that was fun,” she said.

Luke: Music Unlimited

Luke, a drummer and music fan, did his internship at Music Unlimited in Kingston. He enjoyed being in the music store atmosphere, surrounded by instruments and equipment. He liked dealing with customers on the floor (he wasn’t allowed to ring up sales because of their age requirement) and especially liked helping with inventory. “I wish there had been more inventory to help with, because I like doing that kind of work and I like to be busy.”

Alexa: Emerson Animal Hospital

Alexa, always an animal lover, did her internship at Emerson Animal Hospital. Although she admits to being nervous going into the experience, she emerged more enthusiastic than ever  and convinced that she wants to go into veterinary science. “I’ve always thought I’d live to be a vet some day, but the idea also kind of scared me. I didn’t know what it would be like but I really, really liked it. I think I definitely want to do this when I’m older.”

Cole: Loomis, Sayles and Company

Cole took a turn in a corporate setting in downtown Boston. Working at Loomis Sayles, an investment management firm, he assisted with customer service and organizational projects, which he enjoyed. Although he was not able to apply his math skills to global fund management, he was able to solve several problems.

So you engaged in problem-solving? “Yes.” Creative problem-solving? “Yes, I guess you could say that.” And did you enjoy this type of work? “Yes, I did.” Cole said that he liked working in a corporate office setting and would like to intern at a similar place in the future. (Don’t let the long hair fool you!)

Shaliyah interned in the Thayer Academy Library; Seynab was at the Somali Development Center

Thanks to our hosts for having Inly Middle School students!

With both 7th and 8th graders participating in Internship Week, the list of hosting organizations, institutions and businesses is long! This year’s hosts include:

Branson Airport, CT Outfitters, Celtic Paws, Duxbury Art Association, Emerson Veterinarian Clinic, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Holly Hill Farm, Loomis Sayles, Mass. Gymnastics Center, Music Unlimited, Osprey Builders, Pilgrim Area Collaborative, Puopolo’s Candies, Red Mango, R & C Farms, Sally Weston Assoc Architects, Salvation Army Kroc Center, The Shed Outlet, The Somali Development Center, South Shore Baseball Club, South Shore Conservatory of Music, South Shore YMCA Mill Pond, Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Thayer Academy, Twist Creative Group, WATD, W. B. Mason, Weir River Farm

For more information on internships at Inly School, see:

Middle School Internship Program at Inly: Authentic experiential learning in action

Inly School Represents Nigeria at Montessori Model UN

Inly_School_Montessori_Model_UNTwo weeks after returning from their three-day trip to New York City, members of the Inly Middle School’s Model UN team still talk excitedly about their experience.

As student ambassadors representing Nigeria at the Montessori Model United Nations, the Inly team worked with other Montessori students from across North America to study complex problems and find workable solutions to real-world problems.  Collaboration was key as they prepared positions and draft resolutions, negotiated with allies and adversaries, and resolved conflicts with professionalism.

Process and Preparation

At Inly, the Model UN team is a four-month commitment. Beginning in January, students meet weekly in an after-school program to research, prepare and write position papers on the needs, goals and foreign policies of the country they’ll represent. An optional program, Model UN is designed for students who are looking for an extra academic challenge and enjoy delving into a collaborative exercise in global thinking.

It also fits well with the Inly Middle School curriculum and its emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, as students explore history, geography, culture, economics and science. Research topics including peace and security, human rights, the rights of the child, child labor, the environment, food and hunger, economic development and globalization.

Tschol Slade, director of the Inly Middle School, commented that this year’s team was one of the most independent groups he’s ever had at Model UN. “They were organized, got everywhere on time, and didn’t require a lot of adult supervision.”

“The Inly students were really central to each committee. They were well prepared and comfortable with public speaking, and ended up assuming leadership roles. Lucy [Knox] spoke to an audience of a thousand people at the final meeting of the UN Security Council, presenting her committee’s resolution. Every one of the students did a really good job.”

Students were assigned to the following committees:

Daphne: Eco-Finance

Collette & Zack: Human Rights Council

Gabby: Committee on the Rights of the Child

Ellen & Jeremy: IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)

Ali & Lucy: Security Council

Quick Takeaways

We had a chance to catch up with most of the team members during their lunch break this week, and asked them a few questions about their experiences. As you can see, this was not lightweight stuff!

What was the main focus of your committee?

Collette: We were working on two main things: assisting Somalia with human rights and also the elimination of modern slavery.

Ellen: The fallout of Fukushima.

Lucy: We were focusing on reform of the Security Council and also on the situation in Libya. Then, since we finished the first two early, they gave us a third: Ending the violence in Syria.

What did you find most interesting?

Collette: How everyone had different perspectives – not just because of their topics, but also because of the countries they were representing.

Lucy: It was really interesting to be around so many students from other Montessori schools… to see what we have in common and how we work in a certain way.

Ellen: That there are people whose arguments are so flawed and yet they still manage to influence so many other people. Both of our resolutions failed even though the arguments of the other side were disproved. There are people who are very good at convincing other people to think the way they think, despite the facts.

What did you find most shocking?

Gabby: That they start recruiting child soldiers when they’re 10 years old.

How do you think this experience might help you in high school?

Zack: It was a good experience to connect with people we didn’t know. We had 60 kids on our committee so we ended up collaborating closely with people we’d never met before… We learned how to work well together to get things done.

Ellen: It definitely helped me with public speaking. I haven’t had that much experience in front of such a large group, so this was a good experience.

What was the most memorable thing you ate in NYC?

Gabby: Jellyfish and pig’s knuckles (in Chinatown), and a 1,000-calorie cupcake from Crumbs.

What was the best part about the experience?

Zack: Making new friends. We now have friends in London, Ontario, Canada and in Santa Barbara, California. (And some crazy acquaintances from Texas.)

Student Perspective on Being Head of School

Experiential learning (or “learning by doing” “) permeates every part of the Inly curriculum, at all levels. It is part of our educational approach, in which students actively engage in relevant, authentic experiences that reinforce academic lessons or teach skills. It is also part of the environment outside the classroom. One Inly tradition that blends a fun twist to learning by doing is letting a student be in charge of the school for a day.

This year, eighth grader Chris G. had the opportunity to take over for Inly Head of School, Donna Milani Luther. From leading the all-school Morning Share, meeting with each department, granting extra recess time to all levels, and working in Alumni Relations, Chris got to experience a wide range of leadership roles.

Afterwards, Chris shared his thoughts on being Head of School for the day:

Being principal for the day at Inly School is a lot like being the captain of a ship. The captain oversees the operation of a hardworking, dedicated crew. During my day as Head of School, I saw firsthand how much the School and those who run it rely on their leader.  I believe that having an encouraging, reliable, and adventurous principal is a gift. Leading a school is a big job and not many can run it the superb way Donna does.  I enjoyed walking in Donna’s shoes. Serving as Head of School for a day made me really appreciate the effort our great teachers put into making sure we have a thorough and vigorous education.  We have a great faculty and are very lucky that our teachers care so much about us. Throughout the day, I was reminded of some quotes I’ve read. I thought I might share some:

  • “The best confidence builder is experience.”
  • “Most powerful is he who controls his own power.”
  • “A great student is what a teacher hopes to be.”
  • “A plan is only as good as those who see it through.”

The chance to be Head of School for the day is a small opportunity to gain insight into leadership at Inly. Providing all students with leadership education is an important part of the Inly experience. Read about the Student Leadership Summit to learn more.

Student Leadership Summit 2011

While many schools may not look at kindergarten students as leaders, Inly provides five-year-olds with a unique opportunity to be leaders and explore what that it means to them. On the day before school begins, Inly invites incoming kindergarten students to join the incoming third, sixth, and eighth graders for a Student Leadership Summit. This year, approximately 50 students attended the September 6 event, where the oldest students in each level come together to learn and discuss what it means to be a good leader, both inside and outside the classroom.

The mix of students is a critical piece of the Summit’s success. Younger students not only get the chance to spend time with older counterparts, but they gain confidence from being in a peer group together. Older students have a chance to flex their leadership muscles and mentor the younger ones. This type of multi-age learning is a foundation of the Montessori philosophy and an important aspect of Inly’s community.

The Summit began with a pizza lunch in the Meehan Family Artsbarn. Head of School Donna Milani Luther welcomed the group and explained, “Many of you have been in your classrooms for quite a while. We are expecting you to be leaders and to help the other children in your classroom. We are expecting that you are going to help them in a respectful way.”

Students worked in multi-age groups to discuss what makes a good leader. Each group outlined one of its members on a large piece of paper, and then wrote or drew their interpretation of the qualities of a good leader on the inside of the body outline. Common qualities were responsibility, caring, and listening. Other traits included: reliability, honor, empathy, compassion, and creativity.

Later, students worked in groups split by age level with a focus on more practical, day-to-day scenarios. The kindergarteners talked about how they would work together in different situations, like when other students are disruptive in class, and then they acted out how they would deal with the situations. Third graders used role plays and discussion to explore the “right” and “wrong” situations and how to manage different personalities. The sixth and eighth graders worked in teams to determine, by consensus, the most important items they would need if they were stranded in a desert. At the end of the day, everyone came back together and shared insight on their small group work.

Valery Billings, a Children’s House teacher who helped lead the Summit, was impressed with the student interaction. One participant told her that being a good leader needs “to listen, to listen to what the other person has said to you, and not to respond right away…but to listen to their ideas, and to take those ideas into consideration and build on them.”

Defining and practicing leadership skills now is an important step Inly students take in their educational journeys toward becoming “global citizens” who are responsible, caring, and creative.

Inly Middle School Student Attends World Leadership Program in DC

Three days after she finished seventh grade at Inly School, Lucy Knox boarded a plane for a week-long World Leadership Forum with People to People in Washington, DC. Lucy was nominated by her history teacher, Tschol Slade, who qualified her as an “outstanding student.” The focus of this particular forum was to develop a greater understanding of the role that leaders, both past and present, have played in developing our nation, while learning leadership skills to bring home.

Lucy Knox (left) in front of the Lincoln Memorial

Before she headed to DC, one part of Lucy’s People to People homework was to articulate what she was looking forward to during her trip. She wrote, “As the end of the school year approached this spring, we started talking a lot about memorials in history class, specifically in terms of the Holocaust. We researched, learned about, and even created our own memorials, so I really look forward to seeing some of these memorials in person. I also look forward to seeing where some of the most important decisions for our country were made and how they are remembered today.”

Lucy (second from left) in Gettysburg, with members of her People to People Leadership Program

Some highlights of the week included:

  • A visit to the Library of Congress
  • A tour of the Capitol Building
  • A trip to Gettysburg
  • An exploration of the Eisenhower Farm, once the weekend retreat of People to People founder, Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Time at plenty of museums such as the Holocaust Memorial Museum, Newseum, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, the International Spy Museum, and more
  • Paying homage at several memorials including the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and others
  • Watching the changing of the guard at the Arlington National Cemetery
  • A viewing of the White House (Lucy reports that Bo, the First Dog, was on the lawn with the presidential dog walker)

Lucy in front of the White House

“Overall, this was an incredible experience,” Lucy said. “I had the opportunity to visit historic sites, meet many new people, try new things, and learn so much. I would highly recommend a People to People trip!”

Reflections on Reflecting

“Having gone to Inly, I have learned so many valuable transferable skills,” Lucy said upon her return, “including the ability to look at any given situation through various different lenses, to discuss themes on an in-depth level, to go through daily reflections on our contributions to the group and to ourselves, and possibly most importantly, to take time to reflect on what we have learned about ourselves and how we have grown through the experience.”

“Because of my ‘training’ at Inly, I was able to take the journaling at People to People to a deeper level. So instead of just documenting ‘what I did today’ it was natural for me to reflect and write about ‘what I learned about myself today’ or ‘ how I contributed to my community’ or ‘how I can apply my knowledge somewhere else.’

“At Inly, I have learned how to do this meaningful reflection, and most importantly, I have learned how to apply this skill set to other situations. I can proudly say that because of Inly, I gained so much more out of the People to People experience than I would have otherwise.”

2010 Student Leadership Summit

Roughly 50 students decided to forego their last day of summer vacation to attend Inly School’s 2010 Student Leadership Summit on September 7.

Students from kindergarten, third, sixth, and eighth grade came to learn what it means to be a good leader — both in and out of the classroom.

“Many of you have been in classrooms for quite a while and we are expecting you to be leaders,” Donna Milani Luther told the students before the Summit began. “We are expecting that you are going to help the other children in the classroom and we are expecting that you are going to help them in a very, very respectful way.”

When the students arrived for the afternoon they broke up into different groups with a member of the faculty to discuss what leadership meant to them. Many students used words like “caring” and “understanding” to describe good leadership qualities. The students also were asked to name some people that are leaders, and they answered with the president, their parents, and the faculty of Inly School.

After the discussion the students were put to work.

Each group had to outline one of its members on a large piece of white paper, and write or draw their interpretation of the qualities of a good leader on the inside of the body outline. Many of the groups mentioned that being a good listener was high up on the list, and that a good leader needed to be “responsible” and “caring.”

Kiko C., a sixth grader at Inly, said that having trust in others is a strong leadership quality.

“If you don’t trust people then you won’t get through with a lot of things,” he said.

The students then broke up into their respective age groups and performed a couple tasks.

The sixth and eighth graders were broken up into two groups and were asked to come to a consensus on what the most important items they would need if they were deserted in the desert.

The third graders were asked to role-play on how to deal with “right” and “wrong” situations and how to manage different personalities. While the kindergartners talked about how they would work together in different situations, like inviting a new student into class, and then they acted out how they would deal with the situations.

At the end of the day the original groups were formed and each group had to form a “spider web.” A ball of yarn was tossed back and forth between the students and each student had to explain how they were going to be a good leader this upcoming school year and beyond.

The day only lasted a few hours, but the lessons will hopefully last throughout the year and beyond for the students.

“I learned a lot of people’s different understandings of what a leader is,” Mac M., an eighth grade student, said after the Summit. “I’m going to bring more patience and I’m going to work to understand other people.”