by Christine Marshall

This is #2 in a series of 8 posts about SYNAPSE. Visit the initial post for links.

Students all over the world are experimenting with new approaches to learning this spring. Navigating unique circumstances shaped by our current pandemic, kids are adjusting to their “new normal” where schooling is happening remotely-if it is being offered at all. While remote learning communities are altogether different from ones that operate within a campus, they remain powerful sources of structure, support, and optimism in our kids’ lives, providing education to empower their decisions and choices for years to come.


by Dr. Christine Marshall

For many families, the idea of remote learning without the immediate, physical presence of a skilled educator brings a mixed bag of feelings. Curiosity and fear are cropping up among parents who simply wonder how it’s all going to work out…

  • How will my child maintain their attention and motivation?
  • What is my role as a parent?
  • How will I manage my child’s learning while also working myself?

These are valid concerns. And, for the record, we teachers understand. Completely.

Many of us are in the same boat, figuring things out with little ones at home…

by Andy Housiaux

This is a blog post unlike any other I’ve written. Here at Andover, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, our students have gone home and our faculty will be teaching remotely for the foreseeable future. It is a time of deep uncertainty in our community and across the world. I am sending thoughts of care and support to our readers. Please continue to take care of yourselves, your families, and your communities.

As I reflect on what the Tang Institute can do to continue to inspire teaching, learning, and partnership in these unprecedented times, two thoughts…

Andover’s Workshop team traveled to Tulsa to soak up hard-earned wisdom from a program that has blazed a trail.

by Andy Housiaux & Corrie Martin

In 2019, as we began the design process for the Workshop at Phillips Academy, we knew that we wanted to soak up the hard-earned wisdom from programs that have blazed a trail ahead of us. One of those trails leads west to Tulsa, Oklahoma. A few weeks ago, we and Andover colleague LaShawn Springer got the opportunity to share one full, glorious school day with the students and teachers of Tulsa Term, an immersive, experiential…

by Kristin Bair O’Keeffe

Like most educators today, Andrew Housiaux is forced to reckon with the presence and pull of cell phones and social media in his students’ lives. As an instructor of philosophy and religious studies at Phillips Academy, and the Currie Family Director of the Tang Institute, Housiaux regularly challenges students in his existential philosophy class to surrender their phones, confront existential anxieties head-on, use the time gained for personal reflection, and consider what they learn about anxiety and despair.

The following is an excerpt from Housiaux’s recently published article, “Existentialism and Instagram,” in which he shares more…

A Visit to the Global Citizenship Experience Lab School

by Kristin Bair O’Keeffe

GCE students interview a business owner to understand the economics and sustainability of agricultural supply chain.

Phillips Academy won’t be the first to try out an alternative school structure. A number of institutions have been doing it for years and doing it well. As we prepare to launch The Workshop in spring 2020, it’s important we take a look at these schools, see what has worked well and what hasn’t, and consider all possibilities.

In mid-October, Nick Zufelt (instructor in math, statistics, and computer science) and Andrea Bailey (instructor in biology) traveled to Chicago with Eric Roland (Precourt Director of Partnerships) to visit…

The inaugural meeting of The Workshop students and faculty

by Kristin Bair O’Keeffe

On November 1, students and faculty of the Workshop at Andover gathered for the very first time in the Tang Institute. The Workshop, Andover’s school within a school, will not officially launch until the spring term, but this meeting marked the students’ introduction to each other and to the Workshop’s theme: Community, Class, and Carbon. Amy Chew ’20 said she’s excited about getting started and about this particular theme. “Each subtopic encompasses ideas that are important not only on the Andover campus but also in American society,” she said. …

Finding solutions through art, history, and literature

by Kurt Prescott, Instructor and Chair, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Phillips Academy

It’s no surprise that I spend a good deal of time thinking about religious literacy. As an instructor in the philosophy and religious studies department at Phillips Academy, I have the distinct privilege of immersing myself in the discipline by teaching electives that directly confront questions about what it means to engage responsibly with a world in which some 6.4 billion people identify with a particular religious tradition. Within the larger context of secondary school education, however, stand-alone electives on religious studies-let alone entire departments-are the exception, not the norm.

Solutions to religious illiteracy then are not likely to be…

by Kristin Bair O’Keeffe

“The best scientists and explorers have the attributes of kids! They ask questions and have a sense of wonder. They have curiosity. ‘Who, what, where, why, when and how!’”

– Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer, National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence, Founder of Mission Blue, and 2009 TED Prize Winner

One of the very first things Luz Santana and Sarah Westbrook, facilitators from the Right Question Institute, shared with workshop attendees at Andover on September 23 was the “Basic Skill Attainment Over Time” graph. …

by Andy Housiaux

It was a busy and generative summer for the Tang Institute and its fellows.

* In June, we hosted EL Education for a three-day workshop about assessment and student learning. Faculty from 12 departments participated, including members of The Workshop, Andover’s school within a school.

* In late July, Fellow Kurt Prescott worked with educators from across the country at the Religious Literacy Project’s Summer Institute. In addition to his Tang Fellowship, Kurt will be a Religious Literacy and Education Fellow at Harvard Divinity School this year. In this capacity, he will continue to support these educators during the school…

Tang Institute at Phillips Academy

Student learning | Faculty research | Outreach and Partnerships

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