Minutes of Y's Men Meeting of December 8, 2016
Following a concert by the Staples Orphenians, their director, Luke Rosenberg answered a few questions.
Q. What is the mix of freshman to seniors in the group?
A. We have three freshmen, five sophomores, fifteen seniors and the rest juniors in the thirty-three person ensemble.
Q. Do the students have to audition for the group every year, or once they are in do they stay in?
A. They have to audition every year, but once in most stay in.
Q. How many in the group typically sing at the university level?
A. About 75% sing at the university level.
Q. Are you changing over to accompanied pieces?
A. I like a mixture of music styles so we are throwing in some accompanied pieces.
Q. How many in the group have perfect pitch?
A. Just one and I don’t always have that many.
The Staples Principal, James D’Amico then said a few words.
The future of Staples will involve embracing the community more. We are breaking out of silo learning where each period is just dedicated to one subject. Our students will be interacting more with businesses in the community so they can face and help solve real problems.
We also have to realize that today’s students communicate in a totally different way than we did. They are locked into technology and can’t turn it off. This means that we have to have more emphasis on the social and emotional side of learning. For example we may have to allow for more time between exams in different subjects to allow for some stress relief.
Q. Is Staples teaching its students how to handle money?
A. We do offer a personal financial management course, which is very popular and touches on the subject in other courses, but nothing is required unlike some other states.
Q. Is there interaction between the schools in Westport and Weston?
A. There is informal interaction, but there are no standard state requirements and each district is free to set its own curriculum.
Q. Why does U.S. education rank so low compared to some other countries?
A. Some other countries have one standard that they teach to, we don’t. Also we have comprehensive education where all kids get to go to high school. That is not the case in many countries. Often only the pick of the crop get to go on to school beyond a certain level. Another factor is the wide range of economic support that our schools and students get across the country, which affects performance.