Learning, Recovery, and Renewal for High School Students

By Assistant Head: Academics Dean VanDoleweerd Earlier this fall, LCS parents were invited to Lakefield College School for small group tours and to hear about some of our new program innovations. During a presentation about our academic program, a parent asked what we were doing to deal with the “learning loss” resulting from the pandemic. In a McKinsey article (“COVID 19 and Education: The Lingering Effects of Unfinished Learning”), learning is discussed in broad terms and they state, ”students could lose as much as five to ten months of learning in mathematics, and about half of that in reading.”  A lot has been written about what students have and have not learned under the circumstances of their unique situations. Much of the focus in these articles has been placed on young learners, and the establishment of fundamental skills in literacy and numeracy. The picture is even more varied for teenagers…

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Dressed for Success | LCS Uniforms Designed for Active, Engaged Learning

Before students arrive at Lakefield College School, they may have some preconceived notions about what an independent school uniform looks like. From movies to TV shows, there are countless popular culture representations of private school dress. For many years, independent schools across the country–including Lakefield College School–adopted a standard uniform comprised of slacks and a button-down for boys and a skirt or slacks with a blouse for girls. Though this uniform may have served a purpose at some point in time, in 2018, LCS began a process to review classroom dress with a survey of students and faculty to gauge what changes they would like to see. By spring of 2019, the school had struck a student-faculty team who worked collaboratively to identify a dress standard that would be more in line with our authentic learning and outdoors every day strategic priorities, that would promote choice regardless of gender and…

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Why We Use the Harkness Method

“When we arrive at the Harkness table, everyone’s voice is heard and this is what I love the most about Harkness.” - Caroline Chen ’21 At Lakefield, we have used the Harkness Method for years. Related to the Socratic Method, Harkness discussions involve loosely structured group conversations about course material and concepts. At Lakefield College School, our Grade 9 and 10 students are often led by their teachers, who provide questions to guide discussion and learning. By Grade 11 and 12, students create their own inferential and applied questions to drive the discussion. The Harkness Method is not focussed on a “right” or “wrong” way of learning or understanding material; it is a powerful exercise in collaboration and self-expression. During a Harkness discussion, our teachers take an observatory approach. Students lead the discussion themselves, asking each other questions, and prompting new avenues of inquiry.  The Harkness Method is a powerful…

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