Beaver Country Day School Research + Design Center / NADAA
A new Research + Design facility was commissioned to reflect the ambition of the faculty and students to expand the nature of their school. The project involved the transformation of an existing library and a new addition that created a connected campus, placing the new R+D Center at the heart of it. Read more.
This Brookline Teen Is Building a Tiny House in the Name of Minimalism
Boston Magazine, 7/26/18
At 16, most kids dream of living in a huge house with a pool, bowling alley, and three sports cars in rotation. But the house in Brookline native Duncan Jurayj’s dreams isn’t a mansion. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: a 7 by 12-foot home skinny enough to fit in a driveway. And it’s not just in his dreams. He’s building it. Read more.
Private School Students Around Massachusetts Stage Gun Control Walkouts
“We are fortunate enough to go to a school that has not been impacted by gun violence, and we want to stand in solidarity and support those high schoolers, high schoolers who are our age, who have been affected by this,” said Beaver Country Day School Senior Zoe Carlson. She said they hope to educate fellow students about gun violence in schools. “To be compassionate, we have to know more about what the victims are going through, and we have to equip ourselves with knowledge.” Read more.
Creating Personalized Virtual Experiences
Tech Trends, 4/11/18
As more people start using the technologies like VR, we will see it become an increasingly personalized tool. And that is exactly how a group of 3 students at Beaver Country Day School – Mila Contreras, Samantha Shapiro and Annika Hardy – used the InstaVR platform to create an experience that showcased their research in a unique way to their entire class. The key difference in using VR, they explain, is that their audience was able to engage with the experience on their own terms, choosing the path they liked best as they experienced the topics. Read more.
Las Tractoradas shows how Catalonia is trying to escape the reins of Spain
Las Tractoradas is a tower defense game with a political influence: the ongoing crisis in Catalonia. And it stars what’s become a populist symbol of the Catalan Independence Movement: tractors. A group of six high school students participating in the NuVu Studio program created the game in only 11 weeks. Though it isn’t available yet for download, a video of in-game footage and a design document is available online. “The entire game was based on the news,” said Amanda Brown, Las Tractoradas’s project manager. Read more.
One school’s advice for building and bolstering innovative STEM programs
In light of the Trump administration’s recent directive to spend $200 million annually on STEM and computer science programming, districts across the country are looking to establish — and strengthen — schoolwide STEM and coding programs that aren’t too burdensome on their budgets. Beaver Country Day School can offer more than a success story; the innovative Massachusetts school can provide insights for others looking to develop a computer science-based curriculum. Read more.
Private schools try out new ways to teach, grade
The Boston Globe, 8/25/17
Melissa Alkire had always devoted her 11th-grade history course to preparing students for their one-on-one debate finals. The Beaver Country Day School juniors would spend nearly every class period refining their public speaking skills. But when the school year wound down last spring, Alkire’s students asked instead for the freedom to show other skills they had learned. “I took a deep breath as a teacher,” she recalled, “and said, ‘ . . . I believe that my students can do even better than what my original expectation is.’” Read more.
5 For Good: High school students develop devices for people with disabilities
NuVu, an innovation school in Cambridge, recently served as an incubator for high school students developing solutions for people with special needs. The school hosted a learning session, called a studio, to create products for Lee Cusack, who has cerebral palsy. Julia Frangioni and Katrina Rojas, seniors at Beaver Country Day in Newton, spent an entire trimester at NuVu. They were part of a group coached by Cusack, who is a professional design consultant. “You have this end goal and this person to impress,” Frangioni said. “I don’t know, (to) improve their lifestyle even in the smallest to us was really important to both of us.” Read more.
Why ‘Unlearning’ Old Habits Is An Essential Step for Innovation
MindShift | KQED News, 6/23/17
Teachers are increasingly being asked to embrace new ideas and styles of teaching, but schools don’t always give their educators time or the mental space to absorb and apply those concepts. That’s why the idea of “unlearning” was worth exploring for Beaver Country Day School, a private 6-12 school in Massachusetts, which serves as something of a lab for unlearning in practice. For head of school Peter Hutton, unlearning means “new ways to think in the face of established practices.” Read more.
5 Ways Educators Can Strengthen Their Hiring Process
The Huffington Post, 5/16/17
Column by Head of School Peter Hutton: Hiring is not an exact science, and all of us have hired people who turn out to be a bad fit, but we at Beaver adhere to five strategies that have proven effective. Read more.
Student Video Opens Conversations About Race
Sahlu Loulseged and Dylan Curran, students at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, discuss the surprising impact of their video project looking into racial segregation and stereotyping in Boston. Watch the segment.
Student artists create gorgeous wearable sculptures for dancers with disabilities
A new art series is highlighting the importance of body diversity through a set of striking wearable sculptures, all designed for dancers and performance artists with disabilities. The impressive and unapologetic sculptures were created by students at NuVu Studio in Massachusetts, which runs a three-month long design program for middle school and high school students. Read more.
Why this 16-year old went to Trump’s Inauguration, even though she wanted Hillary Clinton to win
It was last fall when Joddy Nwankwo, a high school junior in Massachusetts, found out that she had the chance to attend a student leadership conference taking place in D.C. over Inauguration weekend. The conference offered a chance to actually witness the inauguration, and she was thrilled at the opportunity to see the transfer of presidential power firsthand. After Trump’s surprising victory, however, the 16-year-old was no longer sure if she wanted to attend. Read more.
Why We Should Be Designing Our Schools The Same Way We Design Today’s Offices
The Huffington Post, 12/20/16
Column by Head of School Peter Hutton: One afternoon about six years ago, I was entering the school (Beaver Country Day School) and passing some Middle School (grades 6-8) classrooms.For some reason, for the first time, I asked myself, “Every adult in the school sits in a chair that is on wheels. Why aren’t student chairs on wheels?” If chairs on wheels are more comfortable for adults and make them more productive, it seems reasonable they would have the same effect for students. Read more.
Should students be learning or unlearning
The Boston Globe, 10/21/16
When you send your children off to school, you hope they’ll learn something new every day. At Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, students are doing the opposite. This year, the school has started to adopt a new curriculum focused on “unlearning.” While it may sound counterintuitive, unlearning is a method of problem solving used to find new solutions to problems. Read more.
Boston area school embraces ‘unlearning’ strategies for students, teachers
Education Dive, 8/24/16
The Research and Design Center at Beaver Country Day School, just outside of Boston, is being framed as a Library 2.0. As construction workers focused on the physical space outside, a group of teacher leaders grappled indoors with the concept of unlearning. The school is embarking on a one-year quest to rethink teaching and learning strategies in advance of the opening of the “RaD.” Read more.
Want to keep more kids in school? Design a smarter classroom
At Beaver Country Day School, an independent school in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, chairs and tables on wheels allow for a more flexible classroom space that can be easily adapted for various modes of learning including discussion, collaboration, and presentation. “The messier [a classroom is] at the end of the day, the happier I am,” says Peter Hutton, head of school at Beaver. “They don’t get messy when kids are falling asleep at their desks.” Read more.
Teaching the creative process: Think, Make, Share
Story problems have been a teaching staple since ancient times, but now they’re ancient history at Beaver Country Day School. “The answer to every story problem is the same: who cares?! There are enough real world problems out there in the world. We don’t have to make them up,” says Peter Hutton, head of the Boston area, sixth-to-twelfth grade school. “Creativity develops by doing real work rather than realistic work.” Read more.
Education innovation: Tailored approaches driving outcomes
Huffington Post, 6/6/16
Beaver Country Day School and Bunker Hill Community College have leaders that are rewriting the rules and exploring how to improve the educational experiences and outcomes for their students … At first glance, these institutions would seem like polar opposites. In reality, however, their approaches to innovation and the questions they ask to get there make them very similar. Read more.
Cambridge ‘innovation school’ teaches hands-on creativity with a twist of social justice/a>
In Cambridge’s Central Square, there’s a school of sorts where the tools of the classroom aren’t textbooks or iPads. The place is called NuVu Studio. It’s big and bright with high ceilings, and it’s busy. Its goal is to get kids out of traditional classrooms and stretch their brains through hands-on creation. Some of the things the students create are meant to help people deal with weighty problems, such as being homeless. Read more.
A Chestnut Hill High School is Shaping Disruptors at Age 16
Leading up to the pitch contest, these high schools students have gone through all of the steps every startup goes through before they have a minimal viable product and start pitching to investors. “We run the course in a shark tank format,” said Lisa Trask, who co-teaches the entrepreneurship class with Kevin Bau. “For the first half of the term, students focus on idea-spotting, looking for problems to solve, and then choosing the most pressing problem pitch. For their midterm exam, we have them write an abbreviated business plan. As a class, we see which business plans are worth pursuing, and the three winners become our CEOs.” Read more.
Meet teen titans launching businesses (and still doing their homework)
The Boston Globe, 9/30/15
Beaver Country Day School, a private sixth- through 12th-grade school in Brookline, offers seniors the chance to take a semester-long entrepreneurship course as a math elective. It’s capped by a Shark Tank-style event with venture capitalists and others as judges. This year’s second-place finisher was Henry Hirshland, who hopes to turn his idea for a sleeping aid into a business. It’s a mask that records sleep data via a simplified electroencephalogram (EEG). Read more.
Teaching Coding To The Next Generation
Rob MacDonald, who with Beaver’s Head of School Peter Hutton was responsible for introducing the initiative explained to IProgrammer that rather than provide a formal introduction to a specific programming language the approach that had been adopted sets out to enable students to gain experience with the big ideas of coding: we want to expose students to algorithmic thinking and give them tools that would allow them to experiment. Read more.
Entrepreneurial Mindset: A TechCHAT With Boston-area Educators
Education World, 8/5/15
We believe that students need to develop essential new skills.We call them the “New Basics.” [They include] creative problem solving, collaboration, iteration, visual communication, empathy, tech and media literacy, [and] presentation skills. And we believe that the development of these skills needs to live everywhere in the classroom. In 7th grade math, in 11th grade English, in science; particularly in science! In art … everywhere. Read more.
5 Ways The Tech Industry Is Reshaping The Education System As We Know It
The Huffington Post, 7/24/15
Education is experiencing a tech revolution. Chalkboards have been replaced by smartboards and the teacher’s gradebook is published online for parents with a secure login. Tech has even infiltrated the classroom with tablets and video conferencing enhancing student engagement and creating more opportunities for remote learning. Read more.
Student project aids children with cerebral palsy
The Boston Globe, 7/22/15
For the last year and a half, Amit Nir has volunteered after school as a recreational aide for people with developmental disabilities, through the Charles River Center near her home in Needham. Last month, the 17-year-old traveled with classmates to Monterrey, Mexico to help another deserving population: children with cerebral palsy. Read more.
Sunday May 17, 2015: Making the Grade
Members of Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill took a trip to Cuba for a cross-cultural musical experience. Ana Norgaard organized this trip after an intensive year studying Cuban jazz music with her students. BCDS student, Gerlins Marcano joins Ana Norgaards to share his experience traveling to Cuba and learning Cuban beats. Watch the segment.
Two Young Cambridge Innovators Who Were At The White House Science Fair
At the NuVu innovation school in Cambridge, Mohammed Sayed and Kate Reed sought to reinvent the wheelchair one gadget at a time. Kate, along with her partner Nathaniel Tong, used a 3D printer to make an attachable lever that lets wheelchair users propel themselves with a rowing motion. Read more.
Elite Private Schools Tackle Ed Tech
Education Week, 03/24/15
“I like the fact that Beaver uses technology as a tool for research. I like the fact that they use technology as a platform for self-expression and collaborative work. It’s extraordinary how they build computer coding right into the classes.” Read more.
3-D Printing Helped These Teens Build A Smarter Wheelchair
Using cheap 3-D printed parts, Sayed and his classmates transformed a simple wheelchair into something very different—not to mention far more valuable—and they’re open sourcing their work, so that anyone can 3-D print the components themselves. Read more.
RELATED ARTICLES ON 3D PRINTING AT NUVU
- Teens take wheelchair innovations to Washington (Boston Globe, May 2015)
- High School Students Create 3D Printed Prosthetics For Children (Education Update, January 2015)
Class Uses ‘Shark Tank’ To Nurture Student Business Skills
After working on the blueprints for original startups all semester, the high school students in Beaver Country Day School’s entrepreneurship class got the chance for some real world business experience last Wednesday. Read more.
What Boston Would Look Like as an Olympic City
Mayor Marty Walsh isn’t the only one in favor of Boston’s 2024 Olympic bid. A group of juniors from Beaver Country Day School have shown their enthusiasm, as well. And if they were to have their way, beanbags would fill Harvard stadium, the Zakim Bridge would be transformed into a rollercoaster and Boston would be a lot more “fun.” Read more.
Eye On Education: Brookline School Incorporates Coding Into Every Class
CBS News, 10/20/14
Coding is not only called the language of tomorrow — it’s actually the language of today. It’s how we talk to computers to make them do the things we want. But many industry experts say too few students are learning it. Beaver Country Day School in Brookline is the first Massachusetts school that is incorporating it into every class. Watch the segment.
RELATED ARTICLES ON CODING AT BEAVER
- How to Implement a Coded Curriculum into Your School (The Huffington Post, 5/19/15)
- This Is How An Innovative School Integrated Coding Into All Of Its Courses (TechTimes, 01/05/15)
STEM’s newest darling: Robotics
The Boston Globe, 10/2/14
At Brookline’s Beaver Country Day, a private school for grades 6 through 12, teachers are working to integrate programming into all of their subjects. The message Andrew Brooks wants to share — he’s the school’s mohawked innovator-in-residence, with a PhD from MIT in electrical engineering and computer science — is that robotics is not about building real-life C-3POs, quasi-humans. Read more.
How Skype in the classroom is helping teachers
AOL Jobs, 8/6/14
Wendy Norman, Head of Skype Social Good at Microsoft, discusses how Skype in the classroom is improving the way teachers engage with their students, and uses Beaver Global History Department Head Kader Adjout as one example. “[Adjout] emphasizes the importance of exploring history from multiple perspective by using Skype with people from areas around the globe including Afghanistan, Germany, Israel, Egypt and more.” Read more.
A “maker” education
MIT news, 7/8/14
NuVu Studio takes high school students out of the classroom and into a design space to invent and create. “We walk students through a rigorous process to get to this real, final product,” says Saeed Arida PhD, who modeled NuVu after design studios in MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning. Read more.
These Amazing Prosthetic Hands Were Built By High School Students
Fast Company, 3/10/14
High school students at the NuVu Studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, don’t go to classes and aren’t graded on a curve. Their only real job, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day, is to create something new–and thus learn in a different way. Read more.
Learning from Zappos: Why Every School Needs an Organizational Mindset
The Huffington Post, 2/19/14
In many ways, being the head of a school is like being the CEO of a company. Over my 20+ years as the head of Beaver Country Day School, I’ve frequently looked to the business world — not just the education system — for inspiration on how to innovate the way my school is structured. Read more.
Social Media Goes to School
Scholastic Administrator, Winter 2014
In Kader Adjout’s global history classes at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, students don’t just discuss multiple perspectives in the abstract; thanks to Skype, they learn about it firsthand with peers from other countries. And those discussions, says Adjout, are not always easy. Years ago, when they started connecting with students in Afghanistan, things got tense because Adjout had students with family members in the Army. Read more.
At NuVu, students tackle building everything from robots to their own footwear
Boston.com, Inside the Hive, 12/10/2013
I don’t have kids yet, but after spending a morning at the NuVu innovation center in Cambridge, I can suddenly empathize with all the parents who feel old and clueless when they realize their teens know way more about technology than they do. At one point, I received a brief lesson in robot construction. From an eighth-grader. NuVu is like a school, except it’s not. By that I mean it has students (about 35 at a time) and operates during schooltime hours, but there are no classes, no subjects and no grades.Read more.
Exploring Cuba Firsthand
JAZZed, November/December 2013
Ana Norgaard leads a Massachusetts High School Jazz Ensemble to Havana. The streets of Havana can make for an eye-opening experience for anyone not familiar with Cuba’s bustling lifestyle. The noise, sounds, smells, and action demand that visitors think fast and adapt quickly, while the culture’s tendency fro improvisation can keep the best trip planners on their toes. It’s a long way from Massachusetts, home to one small group of high school students who recently traveled to Cuba for a life-changing musical exchange. Read more.
Young entrepreneurs get real
The Boston Herald, 11/17/13
A group of entrepreneurs, armed with business plans, prototypes and mock-ups, pitched their start-ups to a panel of potential investors, and then got back to work on college applications. High school seniors taking an entrepreneurship class at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, presented business plans Wednesday for companies ranging from a recipe website that links with grocery delivery companies to a running-shoe sole that tells the wearer when shoes need to be replaced. Read more.
Integrating Programming with Core Curriculum
THE Journal, 10/3/13
Beaver Country Day School (BCDS), a private school for students in grades 6-12 located just outside Boston, launched a school-wide coding initiative this academic year to help prepare their students for a new world of work and to, they hope, encourage more students to study computer science in college. Read more.
Coding the Curriculum: How High Schools Are Reprogramming Their Classes
The private school, for grades six through twelve, sits in a quiet nook of Chestnut Hill, Mass. — a suburb sandwiched a few miles between, and directly below, Cambridge and downtown Boston. It’s not far from where Mark Zuckerberg built a world-changing social network from his Harvard University dorm room just nine years ago. Two weeks ago, Beaver became the first school in the United States to implement computer coding into each of its classes. Read more.
More Massachusetts Schools Integrate Computer Coding in Lessons
Education News, 9/14/13
Schools and businesses are pushing to have children introduced to programming earlier as demand is increasing for computer programmers nationwide. From software programming to mobile application development, companies are looking for software experts both now and for the future. Read more.
Helping students crack computer science code
The Boston Globe, 9/8/13
Rob MacDonald scrawled an equation on a whiteboard, graphed it, then asked the students in his advanced calculus class to write a formula to calculate slope at any point on the curve. It was just the third day of school, and the seniors at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill furiously went to work, with most punching numbers into calculators and scribbling in notebooks. But one student, Lucas Cassels, turned to his laptop and a programming language called Python, which he has used to write a basic software application that can complete the assignment for him. All he had to do was input MacDonald’s equation, pick a point, and the app spit out the slope. Read more.
From Chestnut Hill via MIT: A robot shopping aide that carries 50lbs
Mass High Tech, 6/26/13
A group of high school students from Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill got $10,000 from the Lemelson-MIT program to build JARVIS (Just Another Robotic Vehicular Independence System – a nod to the “Iron Man” movies), a robot that assists people by carrying heavy loads and wirelessly following its user. Read more.
7 Ways Screen Time Can Improve Learning
We’ve all been cautioned against the dangers of too much screen time. But could time spent on the computer actually improve your child’s grades? If recent studies are any indication, it seems it can. Read more.
Computer Classes for Kids: Why Programming Is (and Should Be) Taught Earlier
The words “computer programming” and “coding” may bring to mind an image of young men with wild hair and thick glasses glued to a bright computer screen, furiously typing in a strange language. But that image is quickly becoming an antiquated stereotype, and that strange language is quickly becoming the cornerstone of careers across the country. Read more.
Teaching the Modern Renaissance: A School Based on the Startup Mindset
Upstart Business Journal, 4/1/13
Now that 16-year-olds are raising $15 million rounds, and 17-year-olds are selling their startups for $30 million, Beaver Country Day School based in Brookline, Massachusetts, wants to standardize entrepreneurial success by embracing the startup mentality. Read more.
Innovating K-12 Education for the New Economy
The Huffington Post, 3/6/13
Column by Head of School Peter Hutton
If there’s one subject nearly every American has considered of late, it’s our nation’s future. From rising unemployment rates to growing concerns for future generations, we all fear the consequences of a weak economy. Read more.
Thoughts on 21st Century Skills and Tools Teachers and Students Require to Be Successful
Daily Edventures, 3/4/13
Peter Hutton has had an unusually long tenure as head of Beaver Country Day School – over 20 years – and that has given him a unique perspective on what it takes for a school to thrive in the 21st century. Read more.
How to Pitch a VC when you’re in High School
Boston Business Journal, 2/26/13
Human beings are dreamers. As a senior at Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, Mass., I know that high school students especially are dreamers, looking forward to the opportunities that life holds ahead while churning through the mundane. Read more.
5 K-12 Technology Trends to Watching in 2013
T.H.E. Journal, 1/15/13
It’s getting harder and harder to predict what the “next best thing” will be in K-12 technology. Is it a new piece of IT equipment? An innovative mobile device? A great new classroom app? As we look to what 2013 will bring the answer is likely: all of these things and more. Read more.
3 Ways One School Is Integrating Technology
Beaver Country Day School, a leading, independent school for grades 6-12 just outside of Boston, lists the top 3 ways the school utilizes technology to improve student learning experiences. Read more.
With the Web’s Help, Civics Lessons Run Deep
Educators have long embraced the transformative nature of online resources for their students, and one way educators are using online tools is to increase their students’ awareness of social and political issues. Read more.
Facebook for Teachers
Each social platform exhibits a preexisting tone or atmosphere, and Facebook has a large focus on personal, one-on-one interactions. This is one of the main reasons why teachers engaging students (and vice versa) can be problematic. Read more.
Lemelson-MIT Program Salutes High School Inventors
The Lemelson-MIT Program said Wednesday that it has invited 16 teams of high school inventors to its EurekaFest event, where students will have a chance to showcase their inventions. Read more.
NuVu: Where High School Students Aren’t’ Taught Algebra or Statistics, But Creativity and Innovation
At the NuVu Studio, “every student has the ability to create something,” or so says Chief Creative Officer Saba Ghole. And not only do they have the ability to create something, but they’re able to teach themselves, far away from the traditional lecture halls where, instead of engaging with their work, students are fidgeting, disinterested and distracted. Read more.