On The Point blog from Rock Point School

Art in the time of Quarantine

The art room has been known to be a place where students open up and want to talk. Maybe it’s because while working with their hands students’ thoughts go on autopilot and they seamlessly feel comfortable sharing. Maybe they feel empowered or, in the very least, reassured in hearing about artists who found success while questioning social norms. Maybe it’s because during the creative process we actually work closely. Maybe safely sharing “personal space” is a catalyst for why the art room has emerged as a place that’s “safe” in every sense of the word. 

Click to continue reading

How to Combat Math Anxiety with Hands-On Learning


Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.”
- attributed to Benjamin Franklin

An estimated 50 percent of adults suffer from math anxiety and research indicates that discomfort with numbers can begin as early as first grade. Students who have not experienced success in traditional educational settings exhibit math anxiety frequently — creating a regular challenge at Rock Point School. Let's explore the hands-on approach used by our math department to build confidence by doing.

Click to continue reading

How to Choose the Right College for the Best Future You

In 20 years of helping students explore college options and work on applications, I’ve seen, heard and learned a lot about what colleges want. What gets ignored too often is the question of what you––the student who is going to go to college––want.

Click to continue reading

The Rise of Zines for Interdisciplinary and Experiential Learning

During our electives classes at Rock Point, students get a chance to learn and practice skills that go beyond traditional academics. Playwriting, photography, makerspace, and stained glass are regular offerings during this 45-minute morning class. Students produce beautiful creative work, learn new skills, and experience the process of executing an idea. Two years ago, we added a new course to the electives roster, zines.

Click to continue reading

The Evolution of Academic Rigor

Perhaps it comes in the form of a perfect writing prompt, when you see a student’s eyes light up, their pencil start furiously scribbling. Maybe it happens as a student watches a chemical reaction take place in the science lab, or while they’re discussing today’s news in connection with the Civil Rights movement, or as they are guided through a museum and asked to compare the techniques of various artists. As an educator, I know it when I see it: the moment when a student reaches the fine line between challenge and frustration. It occurs when students are interested in the material, supported enough to keep up with the work, and challenged enough that they have to learn and practice new skills. This is when students grow, and when they make true progress. 

Today, this “aha” moment has become the definition of academic rigor.

Click to continue reading

Doodling: Thinking, Learning, and Creativity

As classes are beginning, students everywhere are organizing their notebooks and binders and practicing note taking. At Rock Point School, we encourage students, when possible, to take notes by hand. Wondering why?

Click to continue reading

Relationships and Connection Build Confidence in Teens

As the spring approaches, our students take part in events that showcase their many achievements throughout the year: our annual Art Show, the Vermont Young Playwrights’ Festival, our student-produced prom, and, of course, our weekend of Graduation events. These opportunities for our students to celebrate their success also allow them a chance to be seen, appreciated, and publicly praised by their peers and by the adults who’ve come to know them throughout the year.

Click to continue reading

The Value of Play for Teenagers

In the field of education, there has been a lot of research about the benefits of play-based education for preschool and elementary school students. It is accepted that young children learn everything from social skills to reasoning to math through play. As students get older, however, the benefits of play are emphasized less and academic pressure increases. But for high school students, play can be just as valuable to their learning as it is for elementary school learners.

Click to continue reading

Art, Motivation, and Resilience

As students get to high school, many are forced to make the choice to give up taking an art class in order to make room in their schedule for other academic classes seen as more essential for college or careers. While it’s true that high school students should not be expected to overfill their schedules, the value of studying and creating art translates not only into the workplace, but also into emotional and social health. This is one of the reasons that at Rock Point School, we continue to put the arts at the center of our curriculum. Whether students are collaborating on a mosaic or doing a photoshoot in the woods, the skills they gain in the process are essential to becoming successful in school and beyond.

Click to continue reading

Practicing Gratitude is Good for your Health

The other day I was helping a student prepare for our Thanksgiving service, when we started talking about what he was grateful for in his life. “I’m grateful I’m accepted for who I am here,” he said with a shrug. While he did not know it, his statement stayed with me all day. I am so grateful to work in a community of students who are inclusive and kind to one another, and I probably don’t tell them that enough. Our conversation reminded me of the importance of practicing gratitude in our daily lives, not just when the holiday rolls around.

Click to continue reading

Subscribe to On The Point blog