The 2017–2018 school year will start early for sixty-six enthusiastic students this summer. The incoming students are part of George School’s Academic Summer Program (ASP), a weeklong, residential program introducing Da Vinci’s seven principles of creativity.
“At the heart of ASP is the belief that students who take charge of their own learning, who find ways to engage with their subjects in meaningful ways, and who connect with their teachers and peers, increase their chances of success,” says Colette Weber, ASP director.
Students are introduced to the principles that Da Vinci lived by such as curiosity, willingness to take risks, and embracing ambiguity. After reading Da Vinci’s journals, students are asked to take Da Vinci style notes.
“We spend a lot of time in the classroom, in counselor run reflections, and in the dorm talking about thinking and learning. We ask students to reflect on their academic work over the last few years,” Colette added. “We ask what has worked and what has not. We introduce study habits that will help them succeed through George School and beyond. The wisdom of the counselors is of course, of supreme importance.”
George School faculty will lead the academic classes. In science, Karla Stucker will guide the students through an outbreak response scenario where students take on roles–such as a physician working for Doctors Without Borders or an epidemiologist with the World Health Organization–and attempt to control an infectious disease epidemic. Sara Rhodin ’02 will lead history discussions and Avery Stern will teach English. Ralph Lelii will provide an introduction to the Theory of Knowledge and Ben Croucher will guide students through a research project.
“At the end of each week we name two students for the Da Vinci Award. They must be students who truly embraced the habits of thinking and behaving that made Leonardo Da Vinci who he was,” said Colette.
ASP not only helps students learn successful study and preparation habits, but it also gives new students an edge when returning to campus in a few weeks. “They come back having met teachers, peers, and being more familiar with the campus,” said Colette.