Through book recommendations, seminars, news articles, TED Talks and more, we serve up content we think you'll find of value—information designed to help you learn along with your child and to keep you informed about topics we are discussing at school.
2019-20 Parent University Speaker Presentations
Resilience and Becoming Your Best Self
VES is excited to share motivational speaker Jim Stroker's message to parents and students as part of our Student Life series of programming. Jim speaks on the topic of resilience and building a growth mindset. His personal narrative is compelling and focuses on handling hard situations and pushing through difficult tasks—and he provides tangible tips and tools to apply along the journey. Watch the presentation >
Freedom from Chemical Dependency
In October, FCD Prevention Specialist George Brown spoke to a parent audience in depth about data regarding their students, parent responsibilities, strategies for prevention and questions to discuss with your child. View the informative presentation >
You also will find this information about teen drinking at home valuable.
“The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults” by Francis E. Jensen, renowned neurologist and mother of two boys
At VES, our Student Life programming is guided by adolescent brain science. Dr. Jensen sheds new light on adolescent brain functioning and development in the contexts of learning and multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction and decision-making, and provides practical advice on helping teens navigate their journey to adulthood.
“Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era” by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith
This book is based on the award-winning documentary that discusses the dramatic change education must undergo to prepare students with the knowledge, skill sets and character required to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving world and how, as educators, we need to look devise the next generation of education to address these needs.
“Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning” by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger, Mark A. McDaniel
It turns out that many common study habits and practice routines are counterproductive. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer techniques for both better retention of what we learn and achieving a higher level of mastery. Make It Stick appeals to anyone interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.
“An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students” by Ron Berger
Ron Berger has been a classroom teacher for more than 25 years and is a master carpenter. Guided by his craftsman's passion for quality, Berger describes what's possible when teachers, students, and parents commit to building and living into a culture of high standards. He brings his passion for excellence in the classroom to organizations that include the Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound school network, Harvard Project Zero, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
- Anxiety & Stress
- Teens & Sleep
- Hate Speech
- Strong Character
- Social Media & Anxiety
- Preparing For Life
- The Real Cost of Vaping: A Letter from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and Infographic
- Did Juul Lure Teenagers and Get ‘Customers for Life’? The New York Times
- FDA Targets Vaping, Alarmed by Teen Use The New York Times
- Juuling: An Alarming Trend Reversing Decades of Health Gains NAIS
- Don't Worry About Your Child's Everyday Stress. It May Be Helping. The Washington Post
- Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety? The New York Times Magazine
- How to Help Teenagers Embrace Stress The New York Times
- Solutions for Stressed-Out High-School Students The Wall Street Journal
- Let Teenagers Sleep In The New York Times
- Proponents of Later School Start Times See Momentum US News & World Report
- Today’s Exhausted Superkids The New York Times
- Sleep's Memory Role Discovered BBC
- Benefits of Sleep. Sleep, Learning and Memory Harvard Medical School
Where Kids Find Hate Online Common Sense Media
"Hate speech is all over the Internet. The intensity of these ideas, the frequency with which kids see them, and the acceptance by so many that it's just part of internet life mean that it's critical to talk to kids about this difficult topic.”
- Looking at Your Phone All the Time Is Literally Shortening Your Life, Doctors Warn Inc.
- How a Cellphone Contract Helped Us Teach Our Daughter to Use Technology Responsibly The Washington Post
- Five Ways Social Media Can Be Good for Teens The Washington Post
- What Teens Wish Their Parents Knew about Social Media The Washington Post
- Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? The Atlantic
- What Happens When Teens Try to Disconnect from Tech for Three Days NPR Mind/Shift
- Amid Internet Addiction Fears, 'Balanced' Tech Diet for Teens Recommended Education Week
- Seven Ways Parents Can Help 13-Year-Olds Start Their Social Media Lives Right The New York Times
- The Two Codes Your Kids Need to Know The New York Times
About The College Board's surprising conclusion regarding keys to success for college and life.
- Decoding the Teenage Brain (in 3 Charts) Edutopia
It has only been 20 years since neuroscientists understood that the brain changes after childhood. In "Edutopia," author Stephen Merrill shares new findings into what really makes adolescents tick and suggests we have “plenty of rethinking to do.”
- 7 Strategies to Help Prepare Your Child for the Rapidly Changing Work World The Washington Post
- Teens Need a Strong, and Large, Support System. Here’s How to Help Them Build It. The Washington Post “The more significant adults in their life who care about the teen, the more likely they will make good decisions,” Albert C. Hergenroeder, chief of Adolescent Medicine Service and Adolescent Medicine Clinic at Texas Children’s Hospital
- What Teens Need Most from Their Parents The Wall Street Journal
- A Stanford Dean on Adult Skills Every 18-Year-Old Should Have by Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult; former Stanford dean
- Can Teaching Spatial Skills Help Bridge the STEM Gender Gap? KQED News
- Harnessing the Incredible Learning Potential of the Adolescent Brain KQED News
- How Diversity Makes Us Smarter: Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working Scientific American
- How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off The New York Times
- How Parents and Teachers Can Nurture the 'Quiet Power' of Introverts NPR
- Smart Praise for Students The Chronicle of Higher Education
- The Best Way to Fight with a Teenager The New York Times
- The New Romantics in the Computer Age The New York Times
- What Google Learned from Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team The New York Times Magazine
- Why Kids—Now More Than Ever—Need to Learn Philosophy. Yes, Philosophy The Washington Post
- Untangling Teen Wellness Issues: A Conversation with Psychologist Lisa Damour NAIS Podcast
- How Juul Made Nicotine Go Viral Vox by Design
- Adam Grant's Advice for Raising Resilient Kids: The Wharton School organizational psychologist says kids should practice struggling.
- Goal-Setting, Perseverance and Inspiration: A Presentation by Dr. David Horton to VES Students, Faculty and Families
- How to Teach Kids About Failure: Watch this light-hearted video by The Atlantic that shows how letting children fail is critical to instilling resilience and creativity.
- Understanding Islam: "Powerful." "Changed my life." "My daughter talked with us every night about what she learned that day; she wanted to keep exploring the topics as a family." "This night alone was worth the year's tuition." These are just a few of the hundreds of passion-filled comments in response to a VES week-long program in 2016 focused on education, open dialogue and engaging activities focused on Islam, religious beliefs, global awareness and pluralism.
In the VES College Counseling Office, we believe that the college admissions process is a perfectly timed growth opportunity that students will each approach in a unique way—always with a team of expert supporters in their corner. As college counselors, we put ourselves in the passenger’s seat as our students drive toward their college destination, using our experiences and values as educators to be the supportive, well-informed guides from the side. We find great joy in this role and count ourselves as fortunate to accompany students and their families all throughout the college admissions journey.
As college counselors, we strive to exemplify VES’s Academic Philosophy as we:
- Seek ways to design the best possible programming for students and families through all four years of their VES experience, ensuring they feel well-supported and informed;
- Keep our practice focused on dynamic questions that encourage students to expand their self-awareness, enhance their research skills, and reflect sincerely on their goals for the future;
- Foster a spirit of intellectual playfulness through our practice, helping students learn to work with, rather than against, the inevitable stress caused by deadlines... and waiting. There really is joy to be found in all these experiences, and we continually help students find that perspective!
Remember that creative thinkers and producers are our goal as we help students express themselves with clarity, personality, and style to their audiences in college admissions offices around the world.
College Counseling and the Portrait of a VES Graduate
Our Portrait of a VES Graduate aligns beautifully with the college admissions process, as all five tenets come into play as students assess their college options and tell the story of their experiences and aspirations through their applications.
See below the many ways that our upperclassmen demonstrate each of these Portrait of a VES Graduate attributes throughout the college admissions process:
- Curious, Innovative Thinkers and Producers
- Focused on Community
- Mindful Leaders Who Serve with Courage and Compassion
- Ready to Navigate and Continue Their Growth in Our Dynamic World
- While working with college counselors to develop their college list, and in responding to questions asked on applications, the admissions process requires students to deeply reflect on their values, goals, personal strengths and preferences.
- An understanding of their learning styles and time-management habits is essential in successfully completing their applications and assessing which college learning environments will be the best fit.
- Partnering with YouScience—a critical component of the Junior College Counseling Seminar—leads students to discover their personal aptitudes and interests as they explore professional opportunities for the future.
- Through “asking compelling questions and thinking critically,” students put themselves in the driver’s seat as they explore college options.
- College counselors remind students that every college essay is ultimately a published piece of writing; as such, college essays present a critical opportunity for them to “express their ideas with confidence and clarity.”
- From their projects for the annual World Language Oscars to podcasts they create in English classes to their design thinking work in our Science and Math Advanced Consortium, VES students have numerous anecdotes to share with colleges about their experiences collaborating with peers to create beautiful work.
- Students at VES are guided by our Statement of Community:
VES will be an inclusive community that supports each student’s growth toward full stature. Our community brings together individuals with a range of perspectives, experiences, identities and backgrounds, and we deeply value how this diversity enriches academic discussions and student life experiences.
Learning to live, learn and collaborate with students from diverse life experiences in a caring, supportive community helps our students successfully navigate the transition to college.
- Most college applications ask students to reflect on the contributions they’ve made to their communities, and through their afternoon activities, service learning opportunities, and experiences as a part of a residential learning community, our students’ have much to share on this topic!
- Through topics covered in Student Life sessions and in the Junior College Counseling Seminar, our upperclassmen can comfortably discuss their personal strengths and challenges as a leader.
- College counselors begin working with students in the sophomore year to create a resume, consider how their activities reflect their values, and how they can be leaders in the areas that matter most to them.
- Leading with courage requires students to have confidence in their voice, and VES students are encouraged to develop and use their voice for the greater good. Students are given ample opportunities to share their work, art and ideas through presentations, chapel talks, Fine Arts Friday performances, publishing in the literary magazine, and/or making announcements to the school community.
Ultimately, the job of college admissions offices is to assess applicants’ preparedness in this area: are they ready to independently manage their life on a college campus and contribute to its living and learning community? Through our students’ own writings and the recommendations they receive from teachers and college counselors, their personal stories are shared in a compelling manner that shows how they are uniquely prepared “to tackle life with determination, adaptability and resilience.”