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Ready For Their Closeup

Rutgers Prep often has graduates who have participated in our ceramics program for their entire Upper School career, and we participate in the NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts).  A separate but related entity, the National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition Foundation, annually juries a national exhibition which is displayed and held in conjunction with the international NCECA conference.

The call for submissions for this year’s National Exhibition resulted in 1079 separate entries from 117 schools. As the Exhibition home page states, “The 16th Annual National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition is the premier juried ceramic competition for Kindergarten through Grade 12 (K-12) students in the United States. Designed to showcase the best K12 ceramic work made in the country, the exhibition takes place in a different city each year in conjunction with the annual conference of The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA). The NCECA conference is the preeminent ceramic event in the US annually, gathering professionals from universities, colleges, museums, art galleries and the ceramic arts world to a host city to view exhibitions, demonstrations, talks and other ceramic events. For that week, the host city is the world capital of ceramics.”

The Rutgers Prep community would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Sabatino Ciatti ’15, Aida Kaleb ’15, and Paul Nemergut ’13 on having been awarded an honorable mention for their work. This year’s NCECA conference is slated to take place from March 20-22nd in Houston, TX, and we are pleased and proud to report that both Jonathan Ferro ’14 and Elizabeth Mulvey ’13 will have work included in the exhibition! Let’s hope that these beautiful works of art arrive in Houston safe and sound! Congratulations again to our talented and dedicated artists and a warm “thank you” to the teachers who help support the development of their talents.

Jonathan Ferro

Elizabeth Mulvey

Designing A Dream

This winter we’ve seen  our middle school students hard at work designing their dream homes. With the help of consulting architect Ms. Kathryn Gibbs, and under the guidance of their teacher, Ms. Leslee Atiram, each student worked through a complex process which included multiple drafts, lots of math, and many pages of graph paper.

Students began the project by looking at existing architectural examples for inspiration, and were then introduced to the real-world constraints that they would need to operate within, including the need to purchase land, the necessity of hallways, doors and kitchens, and the realities of working within a budget.

Once the students had completed initial drafts of their blueprints, Ms. Gibbs, who is the parent of three Rutgers Prep “lifers” and an industrial engineer by profession, spoke with the students about her work and then went around the room looking at blueprints, giving individualized feedback as well as advice about real-life extras (e.g. heating systems, water and plumbing, enhanced structural support for specialized rooms, etc.). Finally students mounted their blueprints as well as their detailed budget updates for display. “I liked designing a place that I would actually like to live in if I could,” said one student. When asked about the work involved, another student shared, “Well, it does take a lot of math to build a dream house, of course, but that’s true in real life, too.”

During a walk-through of their final projects, students were most excited about the ways in which they had personalized their imagined homes. One student explained that visitors to his dream apartment would be pleased to discover that the guest bedroom is directly across from his in-home arcade. One house has a refrigerated cheese room, another a fireman’s pole for quick access to the lower level. One student’s home has its own bowling lane, while another dedicated some financial reserves to a “woman cave,” a petting pig area, and a tropical fish tank. Each student was quite persuasive about the merits of their own design, while also clearly admiring the creativity of their classmates. They could each demonstrate that they had learned about perimeter, area, budgeting, and so much more. Their level of engagement was evident, and it was easy to imagine these Middle School students in a few more years, happily taking on even more complex architectural projects as students in our Upper School Architectural Design courses.

We are fortunate to have a community which is full of such lively and intelligent young learners, and grateful for the ways in which their teacher and special parent partner are able to support them in their dreaming.

We encourage all of our students to “dream big”

Connection & Communication

If you had been able to stop by a Rutgers Prep Junior Kindergarten class recently, in a little less than an hour you might have gotten a feeling for how dramatically the resources now available to our teachers have transformed the learning experience for some of our youngest students.

Our Junior Kindergarten has a long-standing tradition of inviting family members in to the classroom, as a way of keeping the lines of communication between class and family open, and offering a chance for adults to share a favorite story with a class full of eager listeners. These visits also give the children yet another opportunity to work on their communication skills as they explain to their visitors what they’ve been learning and working on.

Of course it’s not always possible for parents and other loved ones to get away in the midst of their day and take the time to visit here on campus. And some folks – Zachary’s grandmother, for example, who lives in Faversham, about 50 miles outside of London – are just too far away for a campus visit to ever be feasible. But in these connected times, no one is every truly out of reach. And so it was that Zachary’s grandmother, Mrs. Pat Green, was invited to sign up for a spot on the Junior Kindergarten visitor schedule. And when her Friday rolled around, Rutgers Prep teachers used Facetime on an iPad to give Mrs. Green her chance to see what her grandson and his classmates were up to. The students listened to her story and happily asked their questions as if she were right there in the room with them.

Later that morning found our students taking advantage of the iPads in a more individualized way, as the children used an application to work on their capital letter formation. One of the advantages of the Rutgers Prep experience is our faculty’s continuing commitment to curricular innovation. This in turn means that as as our students develop a foundational understanding of the power of connection and communication, they are prepared to take advantage of every opportunity… and they’ll have lots of them in the years ahead!

If you’re curious about what learning in the enriched and engaged environment of Rutgers Prep could mean for your child, please consider joining us at one of our Open House opportunities.