Head's Blog

Jim Eagen

 

I've never felt entirely at ease during holidays. When I was a younger man, early in my teaching career, I would travel, often choosing to fly on Christmas Day. Going home brought up difficult emotions for me, and I didn't yet have the skills to handle the tension and my reactions. Thankfully, through practice, patience, and an abundance of compassion from my family, it's now my turn to extend that compassion, and to be of service to my kids and my wife.

 

I'm with my wife and kids in Upstate NY right now. I arrived late last night after four days of driving, self-contained and self-resourced, in order to isolate myself in my car. Interstate 5, to Interstate 40, to Interstate 81. SoCal, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York. Only stops for gas, for quick one mile runs around truck stops or frontage roads, and to sleep in isolated, rural cabins. Not exactly the great American road trip.

 

But in some ways maybe it was.

Read more about SHARE YOUR BEST THIS HOLIDAY
Jim Eagen

 

This morning I re-read an article on unschooling by Molly Worthen titled, "When You Get Into Unschooling, It's Almost Like a Religion: The movement might help us deal with the problems posed by remote learning," from The New York Times.  

 

Core values of unschooling include following children's natural curiosity and questions, doing away with textbooks and tests, and stripping away even the school building itself. If this sounds like Synapse it is no coincidence. The belief of the movement, and of our school, is that students don't need to be externally motivated to learn. As a school without grades or standard assessments, we know this to be true and see this at Synapse every day.

Read more about OUR ROOTS: SCHOOL, KIDS AND WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO
Jim Eagen

 

"All of these exceptional young people are about to step up and step out into a world that has become more complex and more uncertain than any of us could have imagined. But these kids are now equipped to be change makers, using their minds and their hearts like super powers - which they have learned and earned - in order to make positive change in a world that desperately needs it right now. These students have arrived just in time."

 

Read more about Synapse School 8th Grade Graduation: June 3, 2020
Jim Eagen

 

Each day over the past two months, I have felt like we are in a slow moving fire drill. Like all drills, we take them seriously, but we know there is very little threat in the moment. That's why, when doing drills on our campus, it's hard to keep all the kids quiet and some of the staff from lapsing into complacency. It's a drill after all, not the real thing. 

 

But this isn't a drill - we are in the real thing. 

Read more about LEARNING AND LEADING: A MOUNTAIN EXPERIENCE
Jim Eagen

 

An email penned to our faculty and staff: 

 

In the op-ed piece today by Thomas Friedman, "Finding the 'Common Good' in a Pandemic," the author engages Harvard political philosopher Michael Sandel in a conversation about what it means to be a society and individual thrust into the very real and troubling ethical dilemma we face today. Sandel believes what we are all doing is assessing the "unarticulated ethical position about how we as individuals, communities and a nation define what is best for the most people." In other words - the common good.

Read more about FOR THE COMMON GOOD