Each summer, a select group of educators are chosen to attend SEED (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)SM New Leaders Week. This immersive experience is designed to train leaders to facilitate conversations that drive personal, organizational, and societal change toward social justice. Interim Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Gemma Halfi had the opportunity to attend SEED New Leaders Week this summer and returned equipped and excited to facilitate the first SEED Project at Emma Willard School.
During Morning Reports, members of the Emma Willard School community have a chance to share inspirational thoughts from their own life experience. In a recent talk, recent graduate Effie Levenson ‘21 shared her story of a hobby that became art that became a business, with lessons to help “navigate my way through college and life beyond”.
GirlSummer, Emma’s signature summer program, offers girls ages 7-14 enriching, personalized, and fun summer experiences. Summer 2021 saw the return of our in-person GirlSummer day program, with the final day of summer camp last Friday.
Emma Willard School students are captivated by computer science. In 2020-21, Emma received honors for expanding young women’s access to advanced computer science classes, and our Emma Codes team excelled at the American Computer Science League competition.
During Morning Reports, members of the Emma Willard School community have a chance to share inspirational thoughts from their own life experience. In a recent talk, Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Gemma Halfi shared a powerful message about beauty and body positivity through a letter she wrote to her daughter.
June is Pride Month, a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, and queer (LGBTQ+) social and self-acceptance, achievements, legal rights, and pride. As the month draws to a close, we’re looking at how Emma Willard School celebrated Pride month, even though the school year ended on June 4.
Over the last 15 months, the world collectively awaited their reunions with loved ones, friends, classmates, and more. One year ago, we made a difficult announcement that a return to campus for Reunion 2020 would not be possible. While we hoped to welcome classes back to Mount Ida for celebrations in 2021, the health and safety of our community remained as our top priority. Ultimately, we made the determination that an in-person reunion in June 2021 would not be possible and charged forward with a robust virtual platform.
Every year our various teaching departments gather to honor students who have gone above and beyond in a particular discipline. During Morning Reports, teachers award ‘Kudos’ to these students and offer some insight into their exceptional progress over the academic year. We celebrate the hard work and determination that these kudos represent in English, Arts, Languages, and History.
Every year our various teaching departments gather to honor students who have gone above and beyond in a particular discipline. During Morning Reports, teachers award ‘Kudos’ to these students and offer some insight into their exceptional progress over the academic year. We celebrate the hard work and determination that these kudos represent in Math, Science, Computer Science, and the Signature program.
One thing is abundantly clear to anyone who has experienced Revels at Emma Willard School: the magic can’t be explained, it must be felt. For 106 years, Emma seniors have taken on the same roles (with some new ones), performed the same songs, dance steps, and script (mostly) in December. The Class of 2021 however, would present a different Revels. They were making a movie.
The 207th Commencement exercises presented an opportunity to finally bring together the Emma Willard School community—students, families, and faculty—to joyfully celebrate the Class of 2021 at the completion of their high school journey.
After a year like no other, the Emma Willard School Class of 2021 celebrated the slightly-modified tradition of Baccalaureate on Saturday, June 5. Students had the opportunity to share a final moment together with faculty and staff.
At Emma Willard School, our mission statement addresses the attributes that we want to foster in our students: a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership necessary to serve and shape their worlds. In accordance with this vision, we recently celebrated members of the Emma community who show outstanding qualities in these areas and who are intrinsically motivated to succeed.
The Spring 2021 edition of Emma Willard School’s Signature magazine is centered around the impact that the arts have had in our lives. In the past year, we have discovered anew that music, painting, drawing, dancing, acting, designing, and writing sustain us through the toughest of times. They are food for the mind and the soul.
This semester, Emma’s Signature and STEAM 9 programs converged when Chelsea Y. ’22 set out to teach ninth graders what she’s learned about Processing, a language for coding within the context of the arts. This exciting part of Chelsea’s Signature project is a wonderful example of student becoming teacher.
Last week, the Asian Student Union (ASU) hosted a special assembly in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. The Asian Student Union (ASU) works to raise awareness of stereotypes and injustices inflicted upon Asian communities by initiating conversations through weekly discussions, school activities, as well as community service to support Asians both in the United States and in Asia.
We’re closing out our One of 360 series for the 2020-2021 year with a member of the class of 2021! Anna D. ‘21 tells us about the many places she can call home, her path towards and in music, her favorite tradition, and looking beyond to college. Read on for Anna’s own words:
Rao Rumbles is an opportunity for students to submit their questions to be answered during Morning Reports, either by Head of School Jenny Rao or by a special guest. Earlier this year, two special guests answered the question, “What do you miss most about being a student?”
Whether it’s creating a fuel cell from mud or performing a complex musical masterpiece, Emma Willard School students rise to the challenge. In this year’s Spring Showcase, the Emma community had the opportunity to learn about and celebrate the work that has been done this year in the Signature and Emma Artists programs.
The Identity, Othering, and Belonging Assembly was created and facilitated by four Emma Willard School students (Oluchi A. ’21, Annabelle M. ’21, Michaela W. ’21, and Gabby P. ’23) who attended the NAIS Online Student Diversity Leadership Conference (SDLC) this December.
Last Thursday, Emma Willard School was delighted to sponsor Girls Ink: A Bold Expression of Art, an event presented by Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region. The evening of art and inspiration featured visual art and dance presentations by girls who participate in Girls Inc. programming, as well as readings by women writers. One such writer was our own Cassandra C. ’22, who read from her first book, Adeline.
In a year brimming with historic athletic firsts, Emma Willard School has officially joined the action. After dominating the competition by nearly 30 points last Saturday, the Jesters Swimming and Diving team has captured the Colonial Council Championship, the first in school history.
The Emma Willard School Science Department recently hosted a screening of the award-winning film Picture a Scientist, followed by a panel discussion with local female scientists. The film features a variety of renowned female scientists, including a molecular biologist, analytical chemist, geomorphologist, and cardiologist, as they navigate their workplaces.
April 2021 marked the 25th annual celebration of Poetry Month. At Emma Willard School, Director of Library Resources and Research Caroline Buinicky and Assistant Librarian Freya Gibbon provided activities throughout the month in celebration of poets and poetry, starting with a kick-off party on Friday, April 2 and followed by creative celebrations throughout the month
Although Earth Day was observed last Thursday, the celebration has not stopped on Mount Ida. Through community engagement opportunities (CEOs) and local environmental programming, the Emma Willard School community demonstrated their commitment to continuing the conversation on sustainable practices and finding ways to take action in the fight against environmental injustices in our community.
Our one of 360 series continues with another member of the class of 2024! Ninth grader Sofia T. ‘24 joined the Emma Willard School community in the fall as a day student, but has experienced boarding this spring. Read on for Sofia’s favorite classes, filmmaking experience, and more.
Eunice Newton Foote, one of Emma’s earliest alumnae (Troy Female Seminary, which later became Emma Willard School), exemplifies the school’s mission to serve and shape the world. She attended the school in 1836-38 and credited her time in Troy as influential to her later work. Her 1856 paper “Circumstances Affecting the Heat of the Sun’s Rays” was the first to detail how increased levels of carbon dioxide make the earth warmer. Her discovery about greenhouse gases greatly contributed to modern climate science. In honor of Earth Day, Emma Willard School invited four alumnae to share their knowledge on climate science in the inaugural Eunice Newton Foote Climate Talk held on April 21, 2021.
The following letter from Head of School Jenny Rao was sent to Emma Willard School parents, students, and EMployees in the wake of the verdict holding a Minneapolis police officer accountable in the death of George Floyd.
This Poetry Month, we sat down with History Instructor, Archivist, and poet Nancy Iannucci about becoming and being a poet. Her first book of poetry, Temptation of Wood (Nixes Mate Review), was published in 2018, and her second volume of poetry is forthcoming.
During Morning Reports, members of the Emma Willard School community have a chance to share inspirational thoughts from their own life experience. In a recent talk, Helen S. ’21 shared the powerful lessons she has learned during this particularly difficult season of life.
Musical Synergy, a student run ensemble, integrates Western classical instruments with traditional Eastern instruments. Last month, Musical Synergy shared their first piece, “Jasmine Flower (茉莉花),” with the Emma Willard School community.
Finding the best fit for your high school years takes discovery, contemplation, and a considerable investigation. Emma Willard School has shared "Best Fit Days" with prospective students and their families in these past few days. We were delighted to offer many the chance to be on-campus to meet members of the current community and to have their final questions answered before choosing their new school.
Two historic Troy institutions are teaming up to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Weekly surveillance testing of all Emma Willard School students, faculty, and staff is now being conducted by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
As we passed the one-year milestone since the beginning of COVID-related restrictions, the Emma Willard School Theatre Department presented their second virtual production: 10 Ways to Survive Life in a Quarantine. Appropriately, our boarding students were watching from their own post-Spring Break quarantine.
Our “One in 360” series springs forward as we learn about ninth grader Lucia B. ‘24. Lucia is a boarding student who started her first year at Emma as a day student and the transition has been an experience unique to the 2020-2021 school year! Read below the jump for Lucia’s own words on art history, piano, poetry, and her favorite Emma tradition so far...
More than 200 years ago, the bold and courageous Emma Hart Willard founded a school where girls would experience the same opportunities available to their brothers—to learn, to lead, to invent, and discover! Each year during Women’s History Month, we become acutely aware of contributions to women’s history all around us.
During Morning Reports, members of the Emma Willard School community have a chance to share inspirational thoughts from their own life experience. In a recent talk, Ava S. '22 energetically and humorously shared her thoughts on perfectionism and how she “recovered from third grade.”
The Fall 2020 edition of Signature magazine celebrated the visionary leadership of Emma Willard School alumnae across the decades since the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. One piece of this leadership came in the form of participation in the League of Women Voters. This Women's History Month, we honor the women who taught generations how to leverage the right to vote through the League of Women Voters.
At Morning Reports on March 1, 2021, our community was treated to a selection of student works from the visual arts. In addition to the Winter Student Gallery we are honored to be represented by the work of students who received Scholastic Art Awards. Read on to explore the soundscapes, collages, paintings, and other examples of art from our current students.
Last month, Emma Willard School welcomed Natalie Gillard, founder and facilitator of FACTUALITY, a crash course and interactive experience simulating structural inequality in the United States using data and statistics.
When Leah Friedman ’02 announced that she was going to be on JEOPARDY!™ in February 2021, she joined a distinctive group of Emma Willard School alums who have put their trivia knowledge to the test. The first Emma alumna to appear on the famous game show was Jane Erskine ’75 back in 1986. Since then, Liz Reardon ’73, Ann Doyle Thurlow ’74, Amelia Hershberger ’01, and now Leah have experienced the adrenaline rush of appearing on “America’s Favorite Quiz Show.”™
During the 2020-2021 academic year, Emma Willard School faculty have been invited to participate in sessions designed to strengthen their teaching practices. These colleague-to-colleague events, “Sharpening the Saw” and “Critical Friends,” provide a space for faculty to share and learn from a greater collective of institutional knowledge.
Each year, the Black Latinx Student Union (BLSU) hosts a packed assembly for Black History Month (BHM) to share important pieces of Black history and commentary on the experience of being a Black student at Emma Willard School. This year’s theme, ‘Celebrating Black Joy,” was woven through all of the skits, speeches, poems, and visual art presented over two days of celebration.
Each of the 360 students at Emma Willard School has a unique story. They are truly one-of-a-kind. The Emma Willard community has students from 24 states and 36 foreign countries. Some are interested in technology and robotics, others are entrepreneurs and artists, musicians, writers, and athletes, historians and social justice advocates. We love hearing their voices and think you will enjoy meeting some of our unique students who are serving and shaping their world. This series of “One of 360” stories features these students and explores what makes them unique.
Head of School Jenny Rao learned early in her tenure at Emma Willard School how inquisitive students can be. They were curious about the then-new head of school and had all sorts of questions. Ms. Rao took their interest to heart and instituted Rao Rumbles, an opportunity for students to submit their questions to be answered (either by Ms. Rao or by a special guest) during Morning Reports. In a recent edition of Rao Rumbles, Ms. Rao answered the question, “What do you do when you feel like you’re unqualified?”
Doing justice to Black History takes more than a month-long celebration. In the latest issue of Signature magazine, Sarah Foster '17 shared the story of how she advocated for Black History curriculum at Emma Willard School during her time here.
Gemma Halfi came to Emma Willard School in 2004 and has been making an impact ever since she stepped on campus. From houseparent to running the peer educator program to helping create a program known as Inner Journey to her current role as interim assistant director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Gemma has been working with students and employees modeling the values of community and connection.
This past Monday, Emma Willard School welcomed alumna Sierra Crane Murdoch ‘05 for a virtual Speaker Series event. Sierra is a journalist and essayist whose work concerns, primarily, communities in the American West: “I write about power and powerlessness and I write about the ways in which people resist or reclaim power then they have been denied it.”
Last month, Eddie Moore, Jr., PhD brought a spark of inspiration to Emma Willard School with his virtual keynote, “Why Keep Dreaming,” honoring the life of MLK and the ongoing battle for social change. Over the next three weeks, our internal community practiced effective social justice habits by participating in Dr. Moore’s 21-Day Equity Challenge.
Recently, alumna Cynthia “Cindy” Abizaid-Rush '76 joined the current Emma community during Morning Reports to share inspiration from her own life experience. She encouraged us all to reflect on the impact that our actions make on those around us and recognized that what is within us is greater than our circumstances.
Emma Willard School marked the start of the Spring 2021 semester with Academic Convocation on Tuesday, February 2. The virtual ceremony opened with a musical performance from senior Bella B. ‘21, playing Frédéric Chopin’s “Revolutionary Etude, Op. 10, No. 12.”
In 2020, the United States celebrated the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, advancing women’s right to vote. With that milestone in mind, Emma Willard School dedicated this edition of Signature magazine to the recognition of those in the Emma community who have continued to provide visionary leadership over the past 10 decades since that landmark event.
Our “One of 360” series continues into 2021 as we learn about Trinity M. '23. Trinity is a tenth-grade boarding student who returned to campus for in-person learning this January. Read more in Trinity’s own words on her classes and favorite Emma traditions:
One value that is treasured at Emma Willard School is being yourself -- your full self. Whether a student or an employee, the freedom to be oneself creates a rich and robust community. Often the people who see this the best are parents. They can see their child thriving. They witness happiness, comfort, growth, effort, and often joy. One father, Hans, shares two reflections on how his daughter, Olivia M. '22 is experiencing Emma.
Last Monday, Emma Willard School virtually gathered for the celebration of the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. in accordance with Dr. King’s dual emphasis on global and local issues. Students, faculty, and staff participated in a day of presentations designed to create awareness of injustices facing not only our immediate community, but our shared world.
We continue to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are pleased to share our final faculty reflection. Archivist/History Instructor Nancy Iannucci shared her reflection about Dr. King during an all-school assembly on MLK Day. Ms. Iannucci’s reflection quotes from his "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" and discusses some of the connections that Emma Willard School had with Dr. King and others during the Civil Rights movement, thanks to then Head of School Bill Dietel.
We continue to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We are pleased to share another faculty reflection. History Instructor Carol Bendall shared her reflection about Dr. King during an all-school assembly on MLK Day. Ms. Bendall’s reflection focuses on his "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" and discusses the legal and moral responsibility of obeying laws.
Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Emma Willard School started with a series of reflections and conversations that took place before the “official day.” Interim Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Gemma Halfi created a robust schedule that included Capital Region women activists, faculty reflections (Peter Hatala, Katie Holt, Bob Naeher, Drew Levy, Carol Bendall, and Nancy Iannucci) as well as a visit with Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr., the founder and director of the White Privilege Conference (WPC). Dr. Moore, with a PhD in Educational Leadership, is also the founder of the Privilege Institute. The Institute offers research, education, and other resources including a peer-reviewed journal, “Understanding and Dismantling Privilege.” Dr. Moore spent the virtual day providing a workshop for faculty/staff and two for students before presenting his keynote presentation that is detailed in this post. Additional information about MLK Day itself will be shared in a subsequent post.
As we continue to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are pleased to share faculty reflections. History Instructor Drew Levy shared his reflection on Dr. King during an all-school assembly affectionately known as Morning Reports. Mr. Levy’s reflection focuses on a central theme that Dr. King discussed regarding how we live in our world.
Robert Naeher, PhD, History Instructor and Albert P. Newell Chair of Humanities
As we continue to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are pleased to share faculty reflections. History Instructor Albert P. and Newell Chair of Humanities Robert Naeher, PhD shared his reflection on Dr. King during an all-school assembly affectionately known as Morning Reports. Dr. Naeher’s reflection focuses on one of Dr. King’s last sermon’s “The Drum Major Instinct.”
In celebration of the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Emma Willard School hosted an intimate four-night symposium highlighting Women of Color who have made invaluable contributions to the Capital Region through their work as activists, artists, and authors in the fight for civil rights, equity, and justice. This programming was one of several events curated for the school wide observance.
Katharine Holt, PhD, Chair, History Department Chair
As we continue to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are pleased to share faculty reflections. History Department Chair Katharine Holt, PhD shared her reflection on Dr. King during an all-school assembly affectionately known as Morning Reports. Dr. Holt's reflection focuses on hope in dark times and has meaning for today as well as 1968.
Peter Hatala, Director of Curriculum and Innovation
This week and next, Emma Willard School is featuring a series of events and conversations in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Director of Curriculum and Innovation Peter Hatala shared a reflection on Dr. King during an all-school assembly affectionately known as Morning Reports. This reflection focuses on what has become known as the Poor People's Campaign.
As a part of the Emma Willard School Signature program, students have an experiential learning opportunity to deeply explore ideas and interests beyond the classroom. For her project, Lia R. ’21 is in the second year of a two-year effort to create a documentary film focused on the art of storytelling.
Emma Willard School is pleased to have a student-run newspaper, The Clock. From time to time, we are honored to feature articles from the digital newspaper on our blog. Section Editor Eleanor A. '21 writes about what happens behind the screens in a digital teaching and learning experience.
As we step into a brand new year, we find ourselves reflecting on lessons we learned last year. During Morning Reports one morning last fall, Ivyann S. ’23 shared with our school community about some lessons she learned during her family’s COVID quarantine.