5.14.16 Weekend Update


David Brooks wrote an op/ed piece in last week's New York Times about grit and GPAs that we felt we had to begin this Weekend Update. Many people sent it for inclusion and it has already had wide circulation, but if you haven't read it yet, you should. "Putting Grit In It's Place."

"Success is about being passionately good at one or two things, but students who want to get close to that 4.0 have to be prudentially balanced about every subject. In life we want independent thinking and risk-taking, but the G.P.A. system encourages students to be deferential and risk averse, giving their teachers what they want.

"Creative people are good at asking new questions, but the G.P.A. rewards those who can answer other people’s questions. The modern economy rewards those who can think in ways computers can’t, but the G.P.A. rewards people who can grind away at mental tasks they find boring. People are happiest when motivated intrinsically, but the G.P.A. is the mother of all extrinsic motivations.

"The G.P.A. ethos takes spirited children and pushes them to be hard working but complaisant. The G.P.A. mentality means tremendous emphasis has now been placed on grit, the ability to trudge through long stretches of difficulty. Influenced by this culture, schools across America are busy teaching their students to be gritty and to have 'character' — by which they mean skills like self-discipline and resilience that contribute to career success."


UPENN/SPS Institute

Still some spaces left. Many of our new hires will attend - it would be great if we could get a few more returning teachers to attend, both for their own PD as well as to work with some of our new colleagues before they start in the fall. See Lawrence if you have questions or would like to attend

Symposium on Intimacy, Empathy, and Technology

Still a few spaces left here as well. See Chad if you have questions or would like to attend


Because other students will be attending classes on Friday and due to the unique nature (and late timing) of Senior Skip Day, the homework and assessment expectations different from other holidays. They are as follows:

1) For classes that meet Friday and Saturday seniors CAN be expected to complete homework on BOTH Thursday and Friday nights

2) Any assessments scheduled for Friday should be pushed off one day.

3) All homework AND assessments due Saturday are still due on Saturday

Seniors have been informed of this and should not be asking for exceptions.


Revised end of the year final assessment period:

Tuesday, May 31

8:00 – 9:00 End of the year Chapel Awards Ceremony

9:05-9:55 C Block

10:00-10:50 A Block

10:55-11:20 Hum Flex

11:25-12:15 F Block


1:15-2:35 B Block

2:40-3:30 Department Meetings

Wednesday, June 1 (as published in the calendar)

Thursday, June 2 (Note: Only Arts, Humanities and Language Classes can give/ collect final assessments during these blocks; Math and Science classes may meet at the teachers’ discretion for review/ extra help.)

Chapel 8-8:30

A Block 8:45-10:15

B Block 10:45-12:15

C Block 1:30-3:00

Friday, June 3 (Note: Only Arts, Humanities and Language Classes can give/ collect final assessments during these blocks; Math and Science classes may meet at the teachers’ discretion for review/ extra help.)

Chapel 8-8:30

D Block 8:45-10:15

E Block 10:45-12:15

F Block 1:30-3:00

Monday, June 6

Chapel 9-9:30

9:45 - Science exams

Tuesday, June 7

Chapel 9-9:30

9:45 - Math exams


The Prize Committee will meet on Monday morning at 11:00 to consider student prizes to be awarded at the end of the year. Pat Plante sent out a more detailed list than what is below, but if you would like to suggest a student for one of these awards please send their names to Alisa before 11:00 AM Monday, May 16:

The Benjamin Rush Toland Prize

Ben Toland, best scholar and athlete of the Form of 1938, was killed in action,…he had a remarkable degree, united intellectual achievement, athletic ability, and a gallant spirit. This prize is awarded to the Sixth Former who best combines these qualities.

The George W. Chase Award

Established in 1997, the George W. Chase award is given to the student, irrespective of Form, who through his or her cheerful, thoughtful, and enthusiastic leadership in the house has set an example of selfless inspiration to others.

The Charles Knox Cup

The Knox Memorial Cup is awarded to the student of the graduating Form who has attained the greatest distinction in scholarship during his or her years at St. Paul’s School.

(The awarded is decided by the Testimonial Committee).

Awards we assist the Rector in determining

The Clifford J. Gillespie Medal

It is awarded to the student who best embodies the qualities which characterized the career of Mr. Gillespie: honesty, integrity, and an eagerness to undertake the tasks great and small which make the School a better place.

The Reverend Doctor Everett P. Smith Prize Fund

This prize,…is awarded to the student who has contributed conspicuously to the morale and well-being of the School, its students, or the community.

The Schlager Prize for Valor

This prize is awarded to the student who, during his or her years at the School, has exhibited courage, strength of character, and a determination to succeed.

The Rector’s Awards

This award is made at the Rector’s discretion to graduating Sixth Formers who, through selfless devotion to School activities, have enhanced our lives and improved the community shared by all at St. Paul’s School.

The Rector’s Medal

The Rector’s Medal is awarded at the Rector’s discretion to a graduating Sixth Former who deserves special recognition for service to the School.

The School Medal

This medal is awarded for excellence in the performance of School duties.

Fifth Form Awards and Prizes

The Spencer-Chapin Award

Given by the Form of 1980 to the student in the Fifth Form who has shown the selfless devotion and School spirit exemplified by Raymond P. Spencer and Coolidge M. Chapin.

The Harvard Book Award

The Harvard Prize Book …is awarded to the outstanding student in the next to graduating class who “displays excellence in scholarship and high character, combined with achievement in other fields.” The winners of this award, through their intelligence and variety of achievement, exemplify Harvard’s concern for excellence.

The Smith Book Award

The Smith Book Award to an outstanding junior who exemplifies the academic achievement, leadership qualities, and concern for others that characterizes the thousands of women who have graduated from Smith College.