Dear Independent Families,
I would like to update you on a few items as we move into the 2018-2019 school year.
Head of Upper School
Immediately following Jenifer Pence's transition to Interim Head of School, we began the search for someone to fill her position at the Upper School. We met many candidates and interviewed several without finding the perfect fit for our unique and talented Upper School students. The Interim Head and the Head of Upper School are two important roles in our community. Jenifer has dedicated herself and almost every moment over the past four months in filling both roles. I am personally grateful for her commitment to our school and ask you to thank her the next time you see her.
It is important to have each Division Head position filled as the faculty and students return to school. Therefore, the Board of Trustees has asked Jenifer to resume her role as Head of Upper School, with some additional authority on a couple of key projects. She will continue to guide us through the opening of the new Early Learning Center and ensure the academic, curriculum, and training structure of Independent International.
Interim Head of School
The trustees have asked Karen Norton, retired Head of School (1980 - 2006), to serve as our Interim Head of School, allowing Jenifer to resume her role at the Upper School. You may recognize her name as she is the author of A School Like No Other, which she wrote about our own community. Look for Karen in the drop off line and at school events everywhere.
“I was hired by Karen Norton 20 years ago and she has always remained the standard that I hold myself to as an educator and as a leader. I can think of no better way to start off my 21st year at The Independent School than to partner with Karen Norton. I am excited to work with her and look forward to the year!” said Jenifer Pence.
Head of School Search
The process of hiring a new permanent Head of School continues. The position has been posted and our steering team will meet in the next several days to begin the search. I’ve been communicating with the professional staff at ISACS to ensure we take careful steps toward securing a Head of School that will best fit our community. Typically a head of school search can take 6 to 18 months. We will keep you updated along the way.
Chair, The Independent School
Board of Trustees
Earlier this month, Mrs Kubish and 3 Upper School students traveled to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to compete in the National Speech and Debate Tournament. Edward Sturm and William Rowley qualified to participate in the the Duo Acting category and Malar Muthukumarqualified to compete in the Informative Speech category. In order to qualify, students needed to place either 1st or 2nd in the District Competition that was held earlier in the school year. Qualifying alone, is a tremendous accomplishment.
The National Finals are a week long competition and involve students competing in a maximum of 6 preliminary rounds, before entering the elimination rounds. Competition is tough with the National Finals attracting a total 1298 schools, from 49 states with a total of over 7,000 students competing in 15 separate events. Will and Edwardfinished in the top half of their category. They did exceptionally well in a field where the talent is remarkable.
All 3 students are to be congratulated both on their individual accomplishments and also for so admirably representing The Independent School and the great state of Kansas on the National Stage.
We are pleased to announce Gidget Watson as our new College Counselor. For the past two years, Mrs. Watson has served at The Independent School as one of our fabulous 5th grade teachers. Mrs. Watson has a BS in Engineering from Rutgers University. Prior to Independent, she spent time as the Director of Student Engagement at WATC through the National Aviation Consortium and as the Assistant Director of the University of Chicago Office of the Vice President for Research and for Argonne National Laboratory.
While at the University of Chicago, Mrs. Watson worked as a College Adviser and as the Director of the Chicago Academic Achievement Program. It was during this 5-year time frame that she discovered an interest and cultivated a passion for the college admissions process, which later led her to ultimately serve as an independent college admissions consultant. Through that experience, she has successfully assisted students in gaining admission to selective and highly selective undergraduate and graduate schools in both the liberal arts and stem curricula.
Though we are sad to see her leave the 5th grade classroom and her friends in the Lower School, we are excited to have her join the Upper School, where she will have an opportunity to make a direct impact by helping students fulfill their dreams as they move on to college.
State Track Results
Miles Martin (200m & 400m) - 1st place State Champion in 400m!
Zach Hole (1600m & 3200m) - 5th place in both events
Hayden Chase (long jump) - 7th place
Gunnar Jensen (100m HH & Javelin) - 13th place in Javelin
Kobey Fields (100m & 200m)
Sebastien Patino (discus)
The team finished 15th overall at the 5-1A state meet.
Madison Martin (200 IM) - 3rd place
Madison Martin (Breast Stroke) - 4th place
Anna Wickham (200 IM) - 8th place
Anna Wickham (500 Free) - 12th place
Anna Wickham, Sense Cadman, Madison Martin, & Kylie Mitchell (200 Medley Relay) - 13th place
Abby Ottaway has been selected for a 2018 Achievement Award in Writing, given by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
The NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing is a school-based writing program established in 1957 to encourage high school students to write and to recognize some of the best student writers in the nation.
Abby was nominated by the Upper School English Department and worked with Mrs. Amanda Evans and Ms. Monica Patino to produce ten pages of fiction and prose writing. Two independent judges scored each submission on expression of ideas, language use, and unique perspective and voice. Abby was one of 227 in the nation (out of 462 nominated) to receive a Certificate of Superior Writing.
Click HERE for more information about the NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing, including past winners.
Middle School teacher, Dave McIntire, is one of two national recipients of the 2018 Lincoln Teacher Leader Awards sponsored by BP America. As the national recipient of this award, Mr. McIntire was recognized with a $1,000 check during the National Oratory Fellows culminating event in Washington, DC.
This is the sixth year The Independent School has been involved in oratory with Ford's Theater. Teacher, Dave McIntire, was selected in the fall of 2012 as a Ford's Theater National Oratory Fellow. The goal of the fellowship is to invest in classroom teachers, enabling them to be better teachers of oratory. The teacher partners with a Ford's Theater Teaching Artist to develop lessons and curriculum which incorporate the critical analysis of historic speeches, examination of rhetorical thought and the composition of the student's own speeches. The teacher and teaching artist also work with students on the physical and vocal skills needed in public speaking (Podium Points).
The Independent School is the only school in both Wichita and Kansas with Ford's Theater National Oratory Fellows, only one of about a half a dozen in the nation with multiple fellows and the only school in the NATION who offers the program in two separate divisions: Lower School with Ben Rivers, and Middle School with Mr. McIntire!
The 2018 Independent students selected for the Ford's Theatre Oratory Retreat included:
Grace Martin, 8th Grade
Anna Bailly, 8th Grade
Bridget Bleakley, 5th Grade
Kaitlyn Olson, 5th Grade
The team placed 2nd overall with five players headed to the state tournament next week at Riverside.
Bryson Toubassi - 1st place and Regional Champion
Grant Burmeister - won his first match and lost in the playoff for 5th-8th
Gabe Carnley & Pryce Bhula - 2nd place
Dylan Carnley and Palmer Farrow - 4th place