April 3, 2020

You Are All Amazing
At this unprecedented time, the entire RHCD community has shown incredible resilience, flexibility, and unity as we regroup and respond to unforeseen challenges. Take a bow, you are all amazing! #RHCDStrong
Distance Learning – Home Truths!
As everyone gets into the groove of distance learning, we are also discovering the unique setups of each individual home office. This fun gallery gives a peek behind the scenes at homes across the RHCD community!

? Got some fun distance learning experiences? Share them with us – you might appear in the next edition of eCurrents! Email social@rockyhill.org

Campus Deep Clean
While we live in the present, RHCD always has one eye on the future. This week, the entire campus was professionally deep cleaned so we are ready when the Governor allows schools to return. The white contraption with a nozzle is actually a spray disinfectant that was used in addition to the hand cleaning that occurred! All materials and chemicals used have been approved for school disinfectant cleaning. Huge thanks to TAJ Contract Cleaning and our favorite janitor Jorge for their thorough and professional service!

Caring for our Community

Many thanks to everyone who supported RHCD and the non-profit organizations of Rhode Island on 401Gives Day. Sponsored by the United Way, the day brought together the spirit of Rhode Islanders, raising over $1.3 million for 365 non-profits. RHCD received $3,610 in donations which included a $975 matching gift from the Rhode Island Foundation for our early bird donors! Thank you to everyone who supported this important initiative.

A Song for Strength and Unity

Before the break, the RHCD Wuhan Donation Committee worked together to raise funds to support the city of Wuhan, China, where the COVID-19 pandemic originated. As a result of their efforts, we were able to donate $905 to Wuhan#3 Hospital. In addition, the students created this RHCD Cares video that accompanied the gift. Since the recording, the situation has evolved and the song is now dedicated to all communities dealing with the pandemic across the world.

A Global Perspective
As part of 401Gives, many of our international families joined together to make a gift to support the Rhode Island Community Food Bank in appreciation for the donation we sent over to a hospital in Wuhan. They were eager to share their support as we all manage the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you to the families of seniors Astoria W., Heyuan M., and Michael M.; juniors Bessie Y., John L., Leo Z., and Lucy Y.; sophomores Cynthia H., Finn Y., and Tom X.; and freshmen Adele S., Grace O., and Thomas Z.

International Program Coordinator, Ming Shen commented, “Even though coronavirus isolates us, it brings us together in the RHCD community by helping each other when needed.”

Virtual PTL Meetings
Thank you to PTL President Kristen Connell for convening parents, faculty, and administrators in virtual PTL meetings this week. We will host these casual meet ups weekly to allow us to stay close while we practice social distancing. Check your email or calendars for the Google Hangout link. Meetings will be at 4:00 with LS on Monday, MS on Wednesday, and US on Thursday.

LEEP Week – Full Report
When the previous edition of eCurrents went to press, the second annual Middle School LEEP week was still in full swing. This report not only explains the what, the why, and the how, but also illustrates one of the many ways that RHCD students were already utilizing, and refining, distance learning as part of their on-campus curriculum.

Held the week before Spring Break, LEEP stands for Learn, Explore, Envision, and Present, and challenged groups of mixed-aged students to address the driving question, “What would be a solution to address a pressing issue facing the residents of a specific location in the world?”

Students were grouped by areas of strength, combining those who were proficient in a variety of disciplines with the intention that the groups would lean into shared areas of competence in a new and effective manner.

This year, LEEP encompassed ten countries (USA, Portugal, Italy, Japan, Uruguay, Mexico, Dominican Republic, US Virgin Islands, France, and Brazil). Via video conferencing, the students met with peers their age from each of these nations and held conversations based upon their group research and findings.

By taking this “walk in their shoes” approach to international experiences, students were able to explore life from someone else’s perspective, uncovering more similarities than differences. Being student-driven also meant that the students were responsible for the direction of their group’s investigation.

From this empathy-building PBL, students then created multi-medium 3D art using blank white sneakers—all part of a new-found understanding and leveraging of global connections for real-world learning.

 “It was through the global connections of our community, most notably Meg Stowe and Susan Fonseca, but also Helen Dembinski, Elaine Bernardino and Charlotte Buecheler that allowed us to connect with students in nine different countries. And it was the creative inspiration of Rachel Armentano that envisioned the structure of these three days and the use of white sneakers as an artistic canvas for the final products of this project. All of this allowed LEEP 2020 to come together in such a memorable fashion.  What a team!” –Mike Jedrey, Middle School Division Head 

Design Thinking in Lower School: Solutions That Build Empathy and Encourage Critical Thinking and Collaboration

RHCD’s Innovator-in-Residence (IIR) program is designed to impact all ages in our K-12 community. Ailsa Petrie, our spring IIR, worked in collaboration with Lower School faculty to explore how design thinking frameworks might help teachers and students identify problems, ideate, prototype, and test possible solutions. We wanted to know if our youngest students could understand the design thinking framework, reframe failure, and become more comfortable with ambiguity. The answer, as we can now see from recent developments, is very much yes!

This unique, immersive one-week experiment challenged students and faculty to develop the mindsets necessary for innovation and engage with adaptive challenges—those challenges which have no prescribed right or wrong answer. Students took on challenges close to home after empathizing to discover a problem like finding a better way to share the swings at recess, or through their “find my nurse app” using campus geolocation to ways to keep the playscape safer for younger kids!

RHCD Family Supporting the Community

On April 1, Governor Raimondo announced an initiative to supply food to quarantined Rhode Islanders as part of the RI Delivers campaign. Spearheading the service is Roch’s Fresh Food, a grocery store owned by RHCD legacy family the Roch’s: Charlotte ’18 and her parents Ray and Dawn, both from the class of 1983. Roch’s is delivering across the state, with orders taken by email or phone. For ease of access, the store is releasing a weekly inventory list of what’s on offer.

Colorwheel Challenge!
Lower School, Middle School, and even some Upper School art students are making color wheels this week out of items they find around their house. This time-lapse shows Art teacher Rachel Armentano, her daughter in PreK, and 2-year-old son making theirs. Stay tuned for RHCD student examples, #ComingSoon!

Think you’ve got the chops? ? Have a go and send us your time-lapse video for a chance to be featured in eCurrents and on the RHCD social media channels!

The Sharing Voices Exhibit Continues its Statewide Tour (But Waits Patiently)

Following the launch of the Sharing Voices Exhibition, the culminating project of Belinda Snyman’s English sophomores, the exhibit was installed at Barrington Books in Garden City, Cranston, and then made its way to the Statehouse. The Statehouse is currently closed, but the exhibit will be on display through the summer!

Instagram Workout Challenge!
Want to find easy ways to work out during the day? Then head over to the Mariners Instagram account and take part in their daily workout challenge! From the “booty burn” to the “burpee shuttle,” there are awesome challenges for all athletic goals!

Letter to Faculty and Staff from RHCD Board of Trustees President, Don McCaughey

RHCD Faculty and Staff,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your tireless efforts during this unprecedented event.  RHCD has made great progress toward distance learning as we maintain our unique sense of community.  While challenges will undoubtedly continue as this pandemic runs its course, the Board is confident that RHCD is well prepared to deliver a learning experience to our students that continues to differentiate us in a meaningful way.  As we think of our Competencies, and words like resiliency, effort, and pride, it is clear to the Board that those words are more than aspirational; they are being displayed each day by you for the benefit of our students, families, and wider community.

Each day the Board is reminded that we are very fortunate to have a tireless Head of School who thrives in times of uncertainty. As we continue  to work closely with Diane and her management team, we are confident that RHCD is prepared to successfully negotiate this uncertain environment.

Each of you are proving every day that during difficult times, vital organizations rise to the occasion.  Along with our students, we will all develop new skills and discover new strengths that will propel us to greater success as an organization.  We are on the right path and the Board has every confidence that together we will prevail. Thank you and keep up the great work.

Go Mariners!

RHCD alumna Hannah D. ’18 is beginning her journey as a startup entrepreneur at Brown University.

Time (Well) Spent
RHCD alumna Hannah D. ’18 is making a difference during social distancing. A Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship B-Lab participant at Brown University, Hannah co-developed Time Spent, a nonprofit startup that connects people who want to donate knowledge and time without payment. To keep the momentum going through the spring, Hannah and her partner repositioned Time Spent into a Zoom community. eCurrents spoke with Hannah and found out not only what motivates her, but how her alma mater helped to shape this aspiring entrepreneur of the future.

Rocky Hill Country Day: Tell us about your work at the Brown B-Lab. What was your motivation and what problems did you set out to solve with Time Spent? Is this your first venture?

Hannah D.: We live in a society with growing socioeconomic disparities and rates of isolation. Time Spent is a nonprofit startup that seeks to alleviate these issues by changing how we exchange services. Rather than involving money, the system utilizes something we all have: time. Time Spent operates on an hour-based barter system. People form new relationships and foster a strong community by using and earning “time credit” for each hour of work received and given.

Students at Brown benefit from complimentary services and knowledge via the Time Spent app.

Time Spent is my second venture. I am concurrently leading branding and graphic design on a one-year old startup, Token Gifts, also founded by Brown University students. I was able to apply much of what I had learned from my first venture to be a stronger co-founder for Time Spent.

RHCD: What are your academic areas of study. What are you passionate about? Why?

HD: I am majoring in Economics and Industrial Design in the Brown RISD Dual Degree Program. I am very passionate about design for humanity and inclusive design. In today’s world, hostile design is common and you can often see designs aiming to remove a certain portion of the community from a visible public space. Common examples are armrests in the middle of a park bench to prevent homeless people from sleeping in a place visible by passersby or spikes on a heating grate to prevent people sleeping on the streets from using the grate for warmth.

RHCD: Today at Rocky Hill Country Day, we are focused on specific competencies that transcend subject matter/content areas. We are interested in the intersection of multiple content areas and developing young people who are capable of navigating both content and context in order to address the challenges of tomorrow. Does this resonate with you as a college student working on real-world challenges?

HD: Being self aware. Coming from an affluent school such as RHCD, it is too easy to not think about the fact most people do not have access to similar services and educational opportunities. Time Spent seeks to alleviate access disparities by providing a platform to offer services outside of the traditional capitalist system where every hour of service exchange is considered equal regardless of the user’s educational background and skill level. We urge users to be cognizant in their interactions by recognizing that their experiences are not universal and being self aware of any privilege they hold.

RHCD: Tell us about your team, the support you are receiving at the B-Lab, and what you want to share about Time Spent. What’s your value-proposition? And your next steps?

Brown Breakthrough Lab moved into the new, state-of-the-art Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship in summer 2019.

HD: My team is made of myself and two other sophomores at Brown. Michelle Liu is double-concentrating in Statistics and Sociology and William Yang is double-concentrating in Computer Science and Applied Math. This summer we are participating in Brown Breakthrough Lab, an eight-week accelerator. B-Lab provides each of the founders with a $4,000 stipend, a co-working space, and an extensive network both within and outside the Brown community in addition to partnership with AWS activate and Google Cloud.

This semester we performed extensive bottom-up research into the community’s needs and demands for Time Spent. We surveyed 300 Brown students to determine what services the community needed and what services the community could provide, including sewing, cooking, lessons, and so on. We interviewed twelve organizations with similar value propositions in the United States and one in Europe to determine what worked in their model and what struggles they faced to learn from them. We launched our venture on Brown’s campus before engaging with the Providence community and see future scaling as jumping to new campuses which would be utilized as a hub for growth for the surrounding community.

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