On The Point blog from Rock Point School

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?

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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.

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Current Affairs: Teens and Anxiety

I had a plan going into our weekly School-wide Reflections meeting before April vacation, but as often happens when working with teens, my plans changed. Looking at their faces, tense bodies, and the general lack of attendance, I wondered what was going on. So, I asked. My students, as usual, surprised me with the depth and breadth of their answers.

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Drawing Out the Quiet Power of Introverts in the Classroom

Earlier this year, I read an NPR interview with Susan Cain, author of Quiet, and most recently of Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts. In it, Cain reveals a nationwide growth in understanding that sometimes quiet students are just as engaged, talented, and successful in school as their extroverted peers. Cain points out that as a culture we’ve tended to value the extroverted person for their willingness to contribute, their confidence, their assertiveness. In school, we often encourage extroverted behavior by grading students on class discussion and presentations. But this approach may have missed something important: introverted students need to be valued for who they are, and then led slowly, rather than pushed, out of their comfort zone.

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Summer Planning for Teenagers

This time of year, many of our students and families are planning for the summer. As the weather warms up, our students are already anticipating sunny summer days with fewer responsibilities and the possibility of sleeping in. While having time to relax and to take a break from the rigors of the school year is important, we also know that having some kind of structure in place during the summer helps keep our students on track to be successful in the following school year.

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Setting Goals to Motivate Your Teen in the New Year

It’s the start of a new year and everyone, it seems, is making resolutions and setting goals. While many people are unable to maintain their resolutions beyond the first few months, there are ways to help make them stick. At Rock Point, we love helping our students set and achieve their personal goals. One way we are doing this, is through Personal Learning Plans, where each student outlines their long term and short term goals, with the steps required to achieve them along the way.

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Teaching Teens to Navigate Health Care


There are so many skills we work to teach our children, and among them is how to become a good self-advocate. As the nurse at Rock Point School, one of my jobs is to help students learn how to utilize the health care system and to become effective consumers. As children get older and become teenagers, it is important for them to begin to take ownership over their health and wellness.

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Helping Teens Transition After Therapeutic Programs

Wilderness and therapeutic programs can be a significant resource for some teens and families. These programs provide a safe and structured environment where young people can work through a crisis point, address behaviors that are harmful, and gain emotional and social skills that will allow them to flourish. Because many of these programs are designed for short term treatment, families and educational consultants can be left searching for the right “next place” for their teenagers.

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Nurturing Grit and Resilience for Better Learning

If you’ve been paying attention to the educational landscape in the past few years, you’ve probably heard the terms “Social and Emotional Learning,” “Grit,” “Resilience,” “Life Skills,” or “Soft Skills” being thrown around. While it is clear that these skills are extremely important to our young people and can be a large factor in determining success, it can be difficult to sort out which specific skills fall into these categories and how to teach them. At Rock Point School, we refer to teaching these skills as educating the “whole person.”

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