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Rutgers Prep Student Receives Award

16-11_rps_langenfeld_arc_award Rutgers Prep is pleased and proud to congratulate John Langenfeld ‘17 on being named a 2016 “Angel Among Us” award winner by the Arc of Somerset County earlier this month. The Arc of Somerset provides services and advocacy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to support development and achievement at every stage of life; in a typical year, they offer support to approximately 1500 individuals. Their goal is to promote learning and independence in an integrated, community-basd setting, and they host an annual gala to both raise funds in support of their work and honor community members who have made significant contributions through service to their communities.

As a Co-President of our Tend To A Friend program, John has helped recruit new volunteers, plan activities, and just generally make sure that things are running smoothly.  (Tend-To-A-Friend provides parents raising a child with special needs some respite in an otherwise chaotic and challenging world, while at the same time offering special needs children and their siblings an exciting and fun “night out” here at Rutgers Prep.) John has also served as a “One on One” buddy for Hop, Skip, & Jump, a program for special needs children that helps teach social skills and motor development. “I am committed to continuing to work to support special needs young people,” says John of his many hours of service.

In addition to his significant service commitments, John has also been an honors student throughout his time with us; he has consistently sought to challenge himself as a learner, with impressive results. John has also been involved in music through our Men’s Choir and Madrigals group, business through our Entrepreneurship program, and athletics as a two-sport varsity athlete and starting second baseman for our 2016 Prep B. State Championship Baseball Team.

John’s devotion to helping make other young people’s journeys a little easier has been inspiring to witness, and we wish him every success as he prepares to study Engineering in college next year.

Ideas & Innovations Courses Offer Choice, Exploration

Rutgers Prep’s continuing commitment to student-centered learning is nowhere more evident than in our Middle School Ideas & Innovations courses. New to the curriculum this year, the Ideas & Innovations courses are available to all 6th through 8th graders at Rutgers Prep, and represent a broad range of topics which students engage with for about eight weeks before moving on to their next “I & I” course. The first courses offered through this program ranged from Coding to Financial Literacy; students were given a list of eight to choose from and the vast majority of this year’s participants received a course from among their top three choices. “Choice is part of the point of this program,” stated Middle School Principal Bob Marotto. “Students are heading into academic environments in which they will have more and more choice over their course selections, so we wanted to give our students a low-stakes way to get the feeling of making these kinds of choices.” Middle School Assistant Principal Stacy McMillen shared, “Another key benefit of the I & I courses is that they give students access to greater curricular diversity; in most cases, students will be engaging with a field of inquiry that they typically wouldn’t have access to in our regular curriculum.” The I & I courses are designed with an eye towards creating a collaborative, low-pressure environment; they are non-graded, hands-on, and project-based. The response from students and teachers has been gratifyingly enthusiastic; take a look at the photos below for some glimpses into the first curricular cycle’s worth of courses.

Visiting Artist at Rutgers Prep

Chic Streetman
Guitarist and singer Chic Streetman spent several days on the Rutgers Prep campus recently as an artist-in-residence, working primarily with our Middle School students. Streetman expressed his message of positivity and connection through both word and song, and noted that in his experience, the Rutgers Prep community is graced with an unusual degree of diversity and openness.

“A lot of my work,” he explained, “ is about trying to look at who you are, working towards learning about who you are, and then feeling good about who you are. Nobody can be ‘you’ as good as you can be you! As we get older, we become more concerned about what other people think. I love working with students, because they’re open to connecting and participating; part of what I try to do is help students re-focus on who they are.”

He was fun. — Gabriel F. ‘21

I liked his unusual ways of getting us involved. He really pulled us in. — Krithvi K. ‘22

It’s cool how a lot of kids sometimes think stuff that is supposed to be inspirational is boring, but he was really fun… and he remembered kid’s names! — Harrison S. ‘22

I liked how he wouldn’t explain things ahead of time, we would just jump in and start doing things… and then later he would go back tell us what we had done. He took things we already knew and then changed it up and made it new. — Siddhi P. ‘22

His speaking voice doesn’t sound all that strong, but when he sings and plays the guitar, it is beautiful. You can tell that he loves music. And he really understands how we learn, and the connections between music and rhythm and learning! — Jamie S. ’22

On his final day on campus, Streetman performed at the Upper School’s morning meeting; much to the delight of the assembled students and faculty, he welcomed Student Council President Gita Ganti ‘17 to join him for one song. Before heading back to the west coast – Streetman makes his home in Seattle – he shared one more thought about his work. “I understand that there are always going to be positive and negative forces at work. That’s just the way life is; there has to be a balance. It’s a little bit like a seesaw. And given that… I’ve taken it as my work to try to come down as heavily on the side of positivity as possible.”

Rutgers Prep is well-known for its culture of appreciative inclusion; as a learning community, we understand that everyone learns best when they feel able to bring their complete and unique selves to the challenges ahead. Visits from artists like Chic Streetman help reinforce and reinvigorate our core values; we hope that the students and staff with whom he connected during this recent visit will continue to resonate with the powerful perspective he so eloquently shared.
Chic Streetman crowd