An optional course for ninth grade Upland Country Day School students, the independent study project presents a one-on-one learning opportunity according to school head David Suter, who oversees the projects with the students.
For independent study, students put forth a written project proposal in the spring of their eighth grade year, which they will complete through independent study, work and weekly meetings with the head of school during their ninth grade year.
In the spring of their ninth grade year, students display the results of their work for parents, teachers and friends in a public exposition.
The goal, Suter
said, is for the student to explore a personal interest that falls outside of the regular school curriculum.
The project completes a year-long course of study in collaboration with Suter
and comes in addition to the rest of the full ninth grade schedule.
"It's a really neat thing for our kids that differentiates it from a normal ninth grade year," Suter
"While academic excellence is central to what we do at Upland, so is teaching young people how to be service-oriented and active in their communities," said head of school David Suter.
Upland Head of School David Suter said even the pre-kindergarten class believed one penny could make a difference.
Although the $10,000 mark may have been feasible in the students' minds, Suter
, McKay and Wells admitted that at first, they didn't think that sum of money could be raised.
"10,000 was sort of a magical number in the book in that that was the cost that was needed to build a school in Afghanistan or in Pakistan," Suter
A new chapter in the Upland story is the recent arrival of new Head of School David Suter who comes from St. Luke's School in New Canaan, Connecticut.
Suter, who is excited about joining the Upland faculty, is drawn to Upland because of its focus on providing a relevant education that will serve students not only in high school and college, but their adult lives, as well.
says, "This school has a great history, a great culture, and most importantly great people working with kids."
The educational philosophy at Upland is structured around the "Four A's," a concept which permeates the school's curriculum.
This alchemy of Academics, Arts, Athletics and Attitude helps students discover talents, strengths and ultimately, identity.
"Watching young people learn something about themselves through the work they do in and out of the classroom speaks to the joy of participation and the joy of creativity and teamwork," Suter
"It's about being open-minded, not judgmental," explains Suter
never thought he
wanted to be head of school.
But, here he is, quite delighted to be the new head of Upland Country Day School.
had been building a resume well suited to the position, it was not at all his
But, when the position opened up and word reached him in Connecticut that there was a school in Kennett Square, Pa. whose head of school was retiring, he
decided to check it out.
mission and philosophy are very similar to the schools where he
had worked previously.
wife Liza moved to Kennett Square with their three small children from Connecticut.
Much like the students, staff members at many independent schools wear numerous hats and Suter
was no exception.
At St. Luke's School In New Canaan he was director of admissions and financial aid, a coach of various sports and an English teacher.
Before that he
worked at two boarding schools, Oxford Academy and Cheshire Academy
, where he
adapted the educational philosophy of educating the whole child.
He explained that small academic communities such as Upland and his previous schools afford faculty and staff "the luxury" of truly knowing their students, beyond the 40 minutes they spend in class every day.
They get to see them on the playing fields, on the stage, on field trips, in the classroom and with their families.
"By getting to know who that whole child is, you're not just teaching a class, you're teaching the child," Suter
arrival as head he
sent out an appeal to alumni from the almost 40-year-old school, asking them to write him with their fondest memories and any input they were willing to share.
has received "a flood" of responses and they keep coming.
said the majority expressed sincere gratitude not only for the great education, but also for the positive mentoring of teachers who helped them grow up and become good people.
When assessing the school Suter said he
found it in good shape and knew he
had big shoes to fill.
Suter said he tried to slip right into MacMullan's footprints and had no intention of being "an agent of change," nor did he find big changes in need of making.
"The school has solid traditions, good financial health and a solid faculty," Suter
started breaking the news to his
Connecticut friends and colleagues that he
would be moving to Pennsylvania to take the head job at a school there, Upland's
reputation had preceded him.
As it turned out the Upland
was everything Suter