Leadership Seminar #1 Effective Leaders

Saturday, September 22nd, the first leadership seminar was held in the Hall of Peace from 9-12. Around 30 students gathered to learn more about effective leaders and to study the traits of effective leaders. Students participated in a couple of activities, including the Helium Hoop activity designed to get them thinking about their role in group decision-making and the role of the other team members. Students were charged with placing one finger under a yardstick and then lowering the yardstick together as a team, then repeating the same activity with a hula hoop. Seems easy. But chaos can ensue when everyone has a different idea about how to lower the stick or the hoop!!  A great activity and a fun way to learn about our leadership strengths and the leadership strengths of the others in the group.  We continued our morning identifying leaders we admire and noting their traits, watching a video on leaders bringing people together with one goal in mind and keeping ourselves healthy with a good snack!

We ended our seminar talking about leadership through service learning and participating in an activity for the upcoming Air Quality Mela. It was a great morning, with lots of learning and fun. A big thanks to all of the adults who made it possible! Mr. Webster, Ms. Lockwood, Ms. Cullen, Mr. de Oliveira, Ms. Elkins and Ms. Cornwell were all on hand for the seminar. Our next seminar will be in December! Hope to see you all there.


Leadership Seminar #3: Leadership through Team-Building

On Saturday February 24th, around 40 students gathered in the Hall of Peace for our third Leadership Seminar. This time the focus was on inclusion activities and team building. We demonstrated the importance of team building by experiencing it ourselves and analyzing the elements of the activities. We stacked cups, found groups, dropped cardboard rolls into baskets as a team and had a rousing game of “4 on a couch”.The take-aways were wonderful and everyone had a great time. It was great to have Arjun P visiting from his new school in Thailand and we were so happy that he could join us. A special thank you to Ms. Kehe, Ms. Dunmire, Ms. Lockwood, Ms. Cullen and Mr. Webster for organizing the event. And, of course, thanks to Ms. Lockwood for her awesome photos that capture the fun!

Leadership Seminar #2

This past Saturday after a night of dancing, ping pong, movies, food and winterland fun, around 60 students gathered in the Hall of Peace for our second leadership seminar of the year. This Leadership Seminar focused on servant leadership. Students discussed the role leaders take to serve others and how their efforts start with empathy. They engaged in many activities throughout the morning. A big thanks to our Leadership Seminar planners, Mr. Webster and Ms. Lockwood and our chaperones Ms. Takizawa, Ms. Hatten, Ms. Dunmire and Ms. Gamette. A great morning of learning and fun!

Leadership Seminar #1 – The Language of Leadership

70 students, lead by faculty facilitators Ms. Cullen, Ms. Lockwood and Mr. Webster came to the Middle School HOP on Saturday from 9-12 to learn more about the language of leadership.  Students participated in a variety of activities around the power of verbal and non-verbal communication in leadership roles. Students were engaged in a variety of activities including role-plays and team building games that allowed their leadership skills to shine. Students reflected on the communication characteristics of a good leader and also debriefed one new thing they learned, one thing they reviewed and one hope of something they could continue to work on. This feedback will be used to inform future leadership seminars.  Good learning and good fun!



Mr. McDavitt and Ms. Minkley recently travelled with many middle school students to Shanghai for a MUN Conference. Students held themselves maturely, dressed like diplomats and debated complex issues, such as the militarization of the Global Commons and the political transition of Northern Africa. At SHASMUN, the quality of debate is particularly high because the conference is open to both MS and HS delegates. Despite being in large committees with older students, our students did exceptionally well, debating with authority and passion. Several other teachers and committee Chairs commented about how prepared, diplomatic, and well-spoken they were.
Every student should be commended for their preparation, collaborative spirit, and proactive participation.
Thanks to Tanush and Ahaan for making a video of our trip.

Leadership Seminar #4

Leadership Seminar #4: Building bridges among cultures and thinking!

On Saturday, April 25 from 9:00-12:00, we held our fourth and final leadership seminar for the year, and it brought us some special guests! Our AES students had an opportunity to get to know a group of female students from a local school. Through a variety of icebreaker and team building games, AES students had an opportunity to team with these students to work together on a design-thinking challenge. This seminar provided multiple opportunities for social interactions, creative thinking and hands on activities.

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No Cussing Challenge

At assembly this week, the Middle School student Climate Committee presented the No Cussing Challenge. Check out their presentation and the accompanying video that provided the inspiration. (Please note: the video was created in affiliation with a religious group, however the message and ideas are relevant no matter your belief system.)

Climate Reality Leadership Training

The Climate reality leadership training was run by Al Gore- Nobel laureate and ex US vice president of United States. This leadership program is organized three times a year in different parts of the world. At this training, there were about 450 participants from approximately 40 different countries. The participants included educators, students, journalists, NGO’s working with renewable energy solutions, curriculum creators and so on. The main goal of the training program was to raise awareness about the urgency of climate change and the options for renewable energy.  This is a crucial time especially in the run-up to COP21 in Paris in Dec 2015.

AES was fortunate to have 2 participants in this training: Mrs. Gulati and Sam Scheutz. Congratulations!

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“Intentionally Practicing Kindness to Get Better at It Week” at AES

Cultivating Kindness at AES – content taken from Karin Lockwood’s Blog

On Tuesday, January 27, Ms. Lockwood created an “Acts of Kindness” Bulletin Board on the 2nd Floor in the Middle School, and health students in grade 6 and 8 began adding post-its with kind deeds they had done or had observed being done.



At the Middle School assembly on Wednesday, January 28, we shared the Kindness Boomerang Video by Life Vest Inside and invited all students and staff to ‘pay it forward’ through acts of kindness and name and note these acts on the Kindness Bulletin Board. This was a warm up for International Random Acts of Kindness Week 2015.


On Wednesday, February 4, the Middle School Student Climate Committee, led by MS Counselor, Colleen Coady, and MS Principal, Beth Coyle, met and brainstormed ways to generate more enthusiasm and participation in the Random Acts of Kindness Week and ways to extend the initiative beyond one week.


By Friday, February 6, the Acts of Kindness Bulletin Board was almost filled up!



At a special Middle School assembly on Monday, February 9, Jonah Rosenfield (MS science teacher and Team 8 Lead Teacher), launched the “Intentionally Practicing to Get Better at It Week 2015″ with a short presentation and invitation to participate in more acts of kindness to fill metaphorical buckets on each floor of the middle school building.



On Monday, February 9, in advisory, all grade 6 students participated in a holding a stone activity (an adaption of cultivating forgiveness). They selected a stone to represent an unforgiven hurt and decorated it to identify it as their own. Then they carried the stone in their non-dominant hand for the rest of the school day (5 hours).


On Tuesday, February 10, during ET, the grade 6 students reflected in writing on the holding stone / unforgiven hurt activity, symbolically ‘forgave’ by letting go of the hurt while Toby Mac’s song “Forgiveness” played, and many voluntarily shared with their peers how they felt holding the stone for five hours, how it felt to release the stone, and ways in which this activity connects with Kindness week and the Grade 6 Beliefs.

The plan is for the stones to be made into cement stepping stones that will be placed in the Middle School rock garden.


On Wednesday, February 11, during assembly, three Girl Scouts students shared a video called Opening Doors and Hearts as part of a bullying-prevention project and in support of Kindness Week. After the video, the students asked for a moment of silence to remember those who have been targeted by bullies.



Students adding cards to the Kindness Buckets!