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Portledge in the Now.

Leveraging our Weekly Schedule to Supplement Learning

Robert Liberto, Dean of Student Leadership and Development
Check out how Portledge's Weekly Schedule Transforms Education Through Personalized Learning and Expert Insights.

Leveraging our weekly schedule to effectively supplement learning in the Upper School is an important aspect of creating a well-rounded and enriching educational experience at Portledge.  At the heart of our schedule is the recognition that learning extends beyond traditional classroom settings, manifested in the Community Time block. Our weekly schedule is meticulously crafted to provide students with a diverse range of opportunities that support their academic pursuits. A dedicated 30-minute block each day serves as a platform for a multitude of activities that enhance learning and personal development. This intentional allocation of time allows us to strike a balance between structured academic instruction, experiential learning, and social engagement through Conferences, Clubs, Class Meetings, Town Meetings, and other critical programming.

Conferences are opportunities for teachers to provide office hours and extra help through personalized guidance and support tailored to individual student needs. These one-on-one and small group interactions with instructors provide students with the chance to delve deeper into subjects, prepare for assessments, clarify doubts, and receive targeted feedback. Conferences empower students to take ownership of their learning journey and facilitate a deeper connection between teachers and learners.

Extracurricular clubs, another integral component of our weekly schedule, provide students with avenues to explore their passions and interests beyond the academic realm. These clubs nurture talents, encourage collaboration, and cultivate a sense of belonging. By engaging in activities that resonate with their personal aspirations, students develop a well-rounded skill set that goes beyond the confines of traditional subjects.

Our weekly schedule fosters peer-to-peer interactions and community engagement through town meetings, class meetings, and special programming sessions. These gatherings encourage students to share news and events, engage in meaningful discussions, share perspectives, and learn from one another. The exchange of ideas during these sessions enhances critical thinking skills, nurtures effective communication, and broadens students' horizons beyond the confines of the curriculum. One highlight of these programs are our Guest speakers, carefully selected to address academic, cultural, and social-emotional topics, inject real-world relevance into our curriculum. One of our major highlights was a presentation by Patricia Lespinasse, Professor of African, Black, and Caribbean Studies, and mother of Chloe Fuller ‘26.  Dr. Lespinasse spent time outlining her love of literature and the path she took to her career as a university professor and her work with music and Caribbean literature. We were also overjoyed to welcome parents from all grades to speak about their experiences during our Women’s Empowerment class meetings. Each grade had a parent presenter, interviewed by their child. For example, the Freshmen were spellbound by the impressive scientific career of Dr. Leemor Joshua-Tor, mother of Avery Joshua-Tor ‘26. Dr. Joshua-Tor discussed her background and path to becoming a scientific investigator and her work as part of the faculty of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on RNA research. These presentations by top professionals in their respective fields allow students to see the many opportunities that lie ahead of them. These presentations from top professionals offer insights and perspectives from experts, scholars, and community leaders, enriching students' understanding and broadening their horizons. By exposing students to a diverse array of knowledge, we equip them with the tools to navigate an ever-evolving global landscape.

By integrating personalized conferences, peer-to-peer interactions, extracurricular pursuits, and guest speakers, we ensure that students are engaged, empowered, and well-prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Our commitment to leveraging the weekly schedule as a vehicle for comprehensive education underscores our dedication to nurturing the whole student and fostering a lifelong love of learning.
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