Mission
The Center for Mission & Academics

Mission Moments Blog

May 12, 2022

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  • Bringing History to Life

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    Last week, our Level 2 students arrived at morning assembly dressed in ethnic costumes depicting their families’ backgrounds. After reciting and singing about their trip through Ellis Island, students were able to experience what it was like to be new to America arriving in Manhattan and going through the process of inspection before entering the country. At the same time, our Level 3 students at Liberty Hall came dressed as men and women facing the hardships of the American West, heading to California to pan for gold and make their fortune. Happily, the gold they were able to find was actually chocolate, but still, it will be a memory not quickly forgotten. This week, our Level 4 students will conclude their study of Ancient Roman history by dressing in togas for assembly and presenting a dramatization of the assassination of Julius Caesar. The rest of the day is packed with adventures such as  ‘chariot races’ and Latin lessons and a buffet of Roman foodstuffs to name a few. Historical simulations, such as these, play an integral role in teaching the adventures of history along with the principles of freedom and character to our students. They experience authentic situations in which they make decisions based on the new knowledge acquired from class. This process instills in them the ideals of the American spirit, and self-reliance, and gives them an appreciation and empathy for the challenges of the courageous Americans that came before them.   The ultimate goal is to create meaningful, personal learning experiences for students that will make lasting impressions. As productive citizens in society, the background knowledge gained from these learning experiences proves to be indispensable.
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April 21, 2022

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  • Grandparents as Influencers

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    Last week Thursday was a special day at Brookfield Academy - we celebrated our grandparents. They joined us on campus for a beautiful day of learning, fun, music, and love.  It was a great day. Some might think that Grandparents Day is just a day to ‘show off’ all we have learned and look all ‘shiny and cheerful’ for our doting grandparents.
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March 31, 2022

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  • Form Your Own Opinion

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    We were fortunate to have Ms. Mary Anastasia O'Grady, Opinion Columnist from The Wall Street Journal visit our school this week and speak with Upper School students and parents. We had a great group in attendance and Ms. O’Grady shared some valuable insights and reflections on freedom, culture, and journalism.  
     
    I am sure you have all had the experience of reading or hearing an idea in one context and then, a day or two later, reading something else unrelated that comes to that same revelation from another perspective. Ideas align, perspectives come together and there is greater clarity.
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March 3, 2022

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  • Freedom: The Western Narrative

    Excerpts from the Classical Heritage Series talk, Freedom: The Western Narrative, with David Wacholz, Upper School English Chair and history teacher.

    The Center for Mission and Academics seeks to ask worthwhile questions and allow thoughtful reconsiderations of how certain topics align with our identity as an institution.

    As part of an ongoing examination of how curriculum aligns with mission, Mrs. Pryor asked us to explore how and why we teach history the way we do at Brookfield Academy. To consider, especially in light of so much of the controversy surrounding education recently, what it is we value in the teaching of history and how it serves our ultimate goal of educating the whole person in the skills, values, and heritage of responsible, constructive, free people.

    Whether we like it or not, schools and teachers don’t get to choose whether we teach values. Schools and teachers are always affecting values by what we decide to praise and punish, how we balance students’ differing needs, how we articulate students’ obligations to each other, how we teach the lessons of our past.  The question isn’t whether schools teach values, it’s whether we choose to be deliberate about it.

    In this regard, the over-arching question that confronts us is why study history? Perhaps another way of asking the question: why study history? Is: what story should we tell about the past?

    As a humanities teacher, I am sensitive to the fundamental way that narrative works in our lives both in and out of the classroom. Since narrative is intrinsic to humans, it is the most natural and potentially rewarding of studies. Reading narratives, both fictional and nonfictional, gives us intimate contact with the best and the worst in human nature, the honorable and dishonorable, and provides both mirror and lamp: a mirror for self-examination and a lamp for illumination.

    For this reader, the basic truth at the bottom of this conversation is that History begins with a sense of wonder. Why and how did that happen? What’s next? Clearly, there’s a positive relationship between curiosity and knowledge and it is cause and effect that power curiosity.
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February 10, 2022

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  • Achieving Happiness

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    Aristotle asserted that the purpose of life is to maximize, as much as possible, human happiness. His view of human happiness was not based on wealth, beauty, or popularity. He viewed happiness as living well, being your best, contributing in a positive way.

    On their own, young people may not often recognize these latter goals as the path toward happiness. The messages presented constantly by their surrounding environment - social media, pop culture, peers, consumerism - often overemphasize the value of wealth, beauty and popularity and can be confusing and even depressing at times. They may seem inviting and bring a sort of happy feeling for a while – but it is not lasting, not deep, not real. The most important question is how can we help young people come to understand the path to real happiness…the happiness Aristotle spoke of centuries ago.  
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January 20, 2022

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  • Junior College Class

    By Nick Spaeth, Director of College Counseling

    As the College Office gears up for a new semester and another round of Junior College Class (here we go, Class of 2023!), it seemed like an opportune time to reflect on one of the more interesting juxtapositions found within the college search process: time. Sometimes high school can feel like a never-ending slog. In other, more positive, words it might seem like there is all the time in the world before college. And rightfully so. Underclassmen have time to explore, to try new things, to get involved and take advantage of all that the Upper School has to offer. Then senior year hits. BA’s college placement program oftentimes shines a brighter than normal light on this shift in focus regarding time, when college-specific deadlines necessitate a literal focus on the calendar. Junior year, however, should be seen through quite a different lens.
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January 6, 2022

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  • A Firm Foundation for Academic Success

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    All parents want the very best for their children. All parents want to give their children the strongest foundation possible in academics. But what does this foundation really include? What are the important building blocks that young children need to be well prepared for the many challenges ahead in high school and beyond?
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December 16, 2021

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  • Setting SMART Goals

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    The door into 2022 is just around the corner…and often the new year offers us a time to be more optimistic and hopeful about what lies ahead. We all have dreams about what we would like to accomplish in the year unfolding before us. This is a part of the human condition and dreaming is a good thing. Dreams are a start, then we need to turn them into reality by setting concrete goals. Goal setting provides focus. It pushes us to think more clearly about the best direction and the tools we’ll need for success. With this understanding, we can more easily and steadily begin to make progress.
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December 2, 2021

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  • The Blessings of Liberty

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    Brookfield Academy had the great pleasure last week of hosting Roger Ream, the President of The Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C. and Trustee for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He spoke with us about The Blessings of Liberty.  He shared remarks from leaders all over the world that recognized what wonderful blessings we Americans have. It seems that these world leaders appreciated our good fortune so much more than we do.
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OCTOBER 28, 2021

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  • Reaping the Benefits of Reading Aloud

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    Do you love to read? Or, maybe, do you wish that you were a more voracious reader? Either way, if you are a parent, you want your child to enjoy reading and develop a good habit of regular reading. But how?
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October 7, 2021

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  • Time for Cursive?

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    For many years now, screens have replaced loose leaf and notebooks, while keyboards have stepped in for pencils and pens. This progress has given us many advantages with the use of technology in schools, but it has also pushed some subjects aside…cursive writing being hit the hardest. The fact is there is only so much time in a student’s day -- how do we determine what is most important, what can be retired, and what skills or content need to be preserved?
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SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

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  • With Trust, Primacy of the Parent, and a Robust Academic Program, Students Succeed

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    The parent as the primary educator is one of the most important principles on which Brookfield Academy is firmly built and no doubt, always will be. Our mission is to partner with parents to support the goal of academic excellence.  That is our strength - the academic program is well rounded and exciting, our instructional approaches are time-tested and classical,  and our intentionality is consistent and reliable.  We focus on our students as individuals with unique strengths and challenges.  We do not desire to homogenize them but rather to help them shine -each in their own way. Human flourishing is our aim for each and every child as we strive to inspire them with our  Five Stars:  Intellect, Individuality, Character, Heritage, and Truth.  This is not only our strength, but our commitment to BA parents.
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SEPTEMBER 10, 2021

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  • Rely on Mission to Make Good Decisions

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    Education has the reputation of being a trend chaser - always looking for that magic bullet, that next big thing that will change how we help young people learn. The result is a good deal of change in curricula, pedagogical instructional strategies,  terminology, and textbooks. And yes, some of these trends or new approaches have been positive and helpful. But, in my opinion, others have taken K12 education down the wrong path. For example, grammar instruction is currently on the outs. Inventive spelling has not proven itself. And sadly, memorization has been given a bad name - drill and kill - to name just a few.
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APRIL 2021

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  • A Year of Change: When Expecting Less is Not Always Best

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director, The Center for Mission & Academics

    As we move swiftly to the end of the school year, making plans to celebrate our Class of 2021 graduates, we cannot help but think about our “Portrait of a Brookfield Academy Graduate.” The Portrait is a description of the characteristics that have been taught, cultivated, and celebrated for each of our students during their BA journey. This document, written by the faculty, inspires us as we begin our school year, and fills us with pride as our graduates cross the stage and receive their diplomas each May. Given this year of COVID-19 and the many changes we have endured, tweaks to our course of action at BA might be considered acceptable -- including shifted goals and reduced expectations. Some might suggest that it’s okay to look for less. 
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March 2021

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  • Teaching Students to Choose the Good

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director of Mission & Academics

    Brookfield Academy offers students a classical education with an emphasis on character development.  How do these two aspects of our program work together? 
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February 2021

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  • Critical Thinking: A Vital Tool for Students

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director of Mission & Academics

    In his book, The Global Achievement Gap, Dr. Tony Wagner outlines seven skills that he has identified from his research gathered while talking to many CEOs and successful business owners regarding the skills that our students will need when they graduate and want to enter the workplace. He proposes that these skills will be needed to succeed in the 21st-century global economy but will also be important for students to become engaged and contributing members of our democracy. 
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JANUARY 2021

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  • Character in the Classroom


    Lessons of good character are embedded into every aspect of Brookfield Academy, but exactly how does one “teach” good character? 
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DECEMBER 2020

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  • A Commonly Overlooked, Wondrous Family Gift

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director of Mission & Academics

    If you want a child to know the truth, tell him the truth. If you want a child to love the truth, tell him a story.       
    ~ Andrew Peterson, author
    The gift of the 2020 pandemic is the slowed pace which offers us more quiet time with our families, our children. So what activities are we doing with this unexpected gift of togetherness?
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NOVEMBER 2020

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  • Perspectives: The Value of a BA Education

    By Dr. Larry Pesch, Executive Director of Advancement

    When discussing a school’s success, we often hear theorists talk about the importance of a strong school culture. Establishing values and beliefs that have the potential to create positive behaviors and actions are the foundation of a strong school culture.
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OCTOBER 2020

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  • The US Constitution: A Look Back and A Look Ahead

    By Jonathan Koenig, Appellate Division Chief in the U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin and a BA Parent.
    (The following is a condensed version of Brookfield Academy’s American Character Series Presentation on September 17, 2020.)

    I am privileged to work for the United States Department of Justice, the views I express today are my own.  
    The story of our Constitution is—I hope—familiar.  Delegates met in 1787 in Philadelphia with the mission of revising the Articles of Confederation, which had loosely bound the states together since the end of the American Revolution a few years earlier. 
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September 2020

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  • Embracing Challenge at Brookfield Academy

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director of Mission & Academics

    Each year at Brookfield Academy we spend time thinking about an appropriate theme for the new school year ahead. I always enjoy the process as we try to determine what message we need to move our Brookfield Academy family forward in the most constructive manner while remaining focused on our Mission. This year the decision was made quickly -- we chose Embrace Challenge as the 2020-21 school year theme. It was an easy choice -- and an obvious choice. We knew opening our campus this fall would have its challenges. We asked ourselves how we wanted to proceed; and by moving forward with a positive attitude and big hearts for our students and their families, we were already committing to our new school theme.
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June 2020

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  • How Guiding Truths Influence Us

    By Linda Pryor, Executive Director of Mission & Academics

    What truths do we face in the middle of a pandemic? During the last two months of the school year, the first truth that came to mind -- it was quiet. The children, our greatest joy, were missing. There were no messes in the halls or locker banks, telltale signs that our favorite people were not present. The hum of conversation and laughter in our buildings was no longer there. What a difference - you could feel it the moment you stepped into one of our buildings - it was just too quiet. We suddenly had a new normal. Our schedules were very different. The workload
    was strangely more and less at the same time. Everything had changed and yet, nothing really had changed. These were and continue to be the truths of life at Brookfield Academy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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