Pittsburgh Private School Blog - Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy's Private School Blog

How To Make The Best Granola Ever

10/1/14 11:52 AM

How To Make The Best Granola Ever
I found a delicious recipe for Vermont Maple Granola in a King Arthur Flour catalog and I've been using the recipe ever since. The jar is getting empty so it's time to make more. Here's the recipe the way I make it...


What Is Design Thinking in Education?

9/22/14 5:00 AM

One of the notions that is helping to shape thinking in 21st century education is design thinking. Inspired by the work of San Francisco Bay area corporations like IDEO, integrated programs offered by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, and the wildly creative K-12 Nueva School in Palo Alto, California, design thinking offers anyone who uses it a structured, creative and useful way to solve meaningful problems. The more I learn about design thinking, the more it reminds me of a decades-old research method in education called “action research,” a research process in which problems are defined, studied, and solved in a deliberate, slow-and-steady way that acknowledges that the significant challenges facing social organizations (like schools) require an iterative approach involving all of the organization’s constituencies. This strategy is one that we use more and more at Sewickley Academy because even when it is really messy, it works.

Below, I have shared a diagram from www.designthinkingblog.com that gives one take on explaining the what-is-design thinking process. This particular example defines design thinking as a six-step process: understand/observe/point of view/ideate/prototype/test.

What is Design Thinking?


Grandma Book Club

9/18/14 5:00 AM


Over the course of the summer my 12-year old daughter acquired two new reading buddies: her grandmothers. If the story ended there, with the bridging of generations through a love of literature, it would be a neat one. What makes this reading and sharing arrangement truly noteworthy is that they were reading and sharing novels geared towards my daughter.

Young Adult fiction, better known as "YA," has been around long enough that the 70-year olds who were reading today's favorite titles had their own when they were teenagers (think Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden). Many of the current YA best sellers differ from their predecessors by being having story arcs which are plotted over several books, like the Harry Potter series, and are often dystopian in nature. Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games) and Tris Prior (Divergent) certainly face different types of predicaments than their forbears.


While the Facilities Are Great, It Remains about the Teaching &‚Äč Learning

9/15/14 5:00 AM

Oliver Building Science LabHow wonderful to be starting a new school year with a newly renovated Oliver Building for Senior School science and Middle and Senior School robotics! 


The Real Social Media on 9/11

9/11/14 5:00 AM


The_REAL_Social_Media_on_9-11I remember the incredibly blue sky, probably the most beautiful blue sky I have ever seen.

I remember the scarce, wispy white clouds dotting the horizon.

I remember the clean, crisp, cool air fill my lungs.

I remember the exact spot were I was standing when I heard that a plane flew into the first tower of the World Trade Center.

I remember standing in the parking lot outside of the dormitory where I lived at the boarding school where I worked at the time. I remember looking at my apartment on the second floor thinking of my wife.

I remember Todd Weaver.


The Art of Storytelling with Prezi

9/4/14 5:00 AM

As a history teacher, I look for creative ways to communicate stories of people and places. Many mediums tell these narratives such as memoirs, film, art, and music, which add voice and depth to students’ understanding of the past and present.  In the past couple of years, I have discovered that Prezi is a tool that not only allows me to curate many of these sources into one place, but also adds its own artistic dimension to the art of storytelling in history and the humanities.

Three years ago, I worked with a Jordanian teacher, Ms. Noor, and her class over Twitter to compare perspectives on the Middle East and the United States. I was able to sum this experience up visually through a Prezi, “What is the Middle East?”, which combines word clouds, animations, and representative zooms.  The goal of this exercise was to develop perspective and empathy, as well as a broader understanding of how identity, culture, and environment influence each other.  Questions in the Prezi allow for pauses and reflection and the Prezi flips around to represent “thinking another way.”  The assignment was intended to give students and others a glimpse inside the mind of “the other” and the Prezi is designed to take us on a tour of that complex mental process.


Believe You Can and You're Halfway There

9/2/14 9:33 AM


A little inspiration for the first day of the 2014-2015 school year from Theodore Roosevelt.


"Believe you can and you're halfway there." ~Theodore Roosevelt



3 Steps To Transition Your Child Back Into a School Schedule

8/28/14 10:02 AM

3_Steps_To_Transition_Your_Child_Back_Into_A_School_ScheduleAs we near the end of the summer holiday, our attention fades from planning vacation trips to getting our children ready to return to a school schedule. Of course, stores began their “Back to School” clothing and supplies sales in late June when we had hardly started to enjoy the break, but now it’s really time to get back in the swing of things. In my opinion, as a parent and an educator, there are a few general areas where you can assist your child to prepare and transition into the new school year:


The Place Where I'm Most Content

7/10/14 8:57 AM


Would you like to have a special place where you could go to be completely and freely yourself? A place to escape your everyday routine where no one had expectations for you? Imagine a place where you were always happy and everyone that you met was smiling and cheerful. Sounds like a nice place, doesn’t it? Fortunately for me, I have just the place … inside my school mascot’s costume. I am the Sewickley Academy Panther, and from time to time, I get to go to that place, inside my huge, black, furry domain.

For many years, we did not have a mascot at our school, but during my freshman year, a gigantic panther showed up during morning announcements to the delight of all of the students. The Panther legacy was created! For a while, there was a trending conversation in our school about the new mascot: who was inside the panther costume? Everyone had a theory, but no one knew for sure. When the mascot was introduced, I had dreams of how awesome it would be to become the Panther. I would have access to so many unique and fun school and community events and be able to enthusiastically (albeit covertly) interact with others at these events.


This I Believe: "Color Clarity"

6/19/14 4:00 AM


Modeled after public radio's "This I Believe" series, Sewickley Academy seniors share what they believe in as the final project of their Senior Seminar course.

"Color Clarity" by Rosie

Although Rosie has lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, her entire life, she loves to travel to different states and countries to expand her worldview. Rosie enjoys creating every kind of art, especially poetry, ceramics, and moss artwork. She loves to spend time in nature, whether just exploring a new environment or actively ameliorating an industrialized area by cultivating plants and connecting with the community. Rosie was co-editor-in-chief of Ephemera, the Academy's award-winning arts magazine. Winner of the annual graduation award, the Cavalier Cup, for her excellence in scholarship, sportsmanship, and citizenship, she will attend Kalamazoo College to major in international and area studies with a concentration in eastern Asia.




Topics: This I Believe

Sewickley Academy

A private school located 12 miles northwest of the city of Pittsburgh which enrolls 720 students in grades PK-12. Our elementary school, middle school, and high school are all located on a single 16 acre campus with our athletic fields located on an additional 14 acres.