Maclay School's Few Minutes for Families

Maclay School's Few Minutes for Families

By Maclay School
At Maclay School, we know our families are busy, but never too busy to learn about their child's opportunities and ways to partner together to better prepare them for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. Our promise to you is expert advice, relevant information for your Maclay experience, and the best educational journey possible with outstanding educators who do amazing work every day. Podcast host and Head of School James Milford invites you along as he speaks with faculty and staff about the exciting new projects and developments that make Maclay great.
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James Milford takes a Strategic Look at some Top Questions at Maclay (Extended Cut)

Maclay School's Few Minutes for Families

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Creating an Eagerness to Learn in Kindergarten
Today's podcast is one of the most fun and inspiring so far.  We are joined by Barbara Cairns, Fran Sandon, and Annie Bell, three members of our Kindergarten team.  These teachers share their belief in creating an environment that promotes an eagerness to learn so that students walk in the door excited every morning.  You will hear how learning through play, and free choice create a solid academic and social foundation which is so important in kindergarten.  Our classrooms are an extension of the family and making connections with not only the students but the parents is vital in creating a thriving and productive environment; Plus, there is advice for parents of children of any age!   I would be remiss if I did not mention the aides who are heavily involved in each of these classrooms. All of our lower elementary grades boast two teachers in the classrooms.  I have the honor of working the car line each morning, so I get to see these smiling faces as they jump out, excited to be at Maclay - these professionals do amazing work!  The partnership is key, and the students benefit in the end! Guests:  Barbara Cairns, Fran Sandon, and Annie Bell Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low on Acoustic Guitar and Aaron Seiler on the Violin for our show music of the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
14:50
January 13, 2020
Practice Makes Perfect: Inspiring Young Musicians at Maclay
On today's podcast, we are joined by master musician and orchestra director at Maclay School, Mr. Aaron Seiler.  Much of Seiler's time away from Maclay's campus is spent playing professionally with the Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra, Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, Choral Society of Pensacola (as the concertmaster), and the Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra.  He has been providing private music instruction to an average of 80 students annually in Tallahassee since 2002, and as you will hear, he understands how to best help students fall in love with playing music. Maclay began, in earnest, in 2019 to expand its Performing Arts programs, and Seiler is only one member of the team in place.  In this podcast, you will hear his secret of how and how often to practice and great advice for parents to build life-long music lovers.  His advice is transferable to any other art, athletic, or academic skill...I can't wait for you to hear it. Guests: Aaron Seiler Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low and Aaron Seiler for show music - Acoustic Guitar and Violin, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
11:55
January 6, 2020
There is No "I" in Team!
Today's podcast features five of our 6th-grade teachers.  Each grade level team has its own personality and this team is full of pedagogical best practices...and corny jokes.  The 6th-grade team explores how they approach a collaborative experience for our students to ensure high levels of content knowledge along with exposure and development of communication, critical thinking, empathy, creativity, and collaboration skills.  Guests: Cameron Barton, Paul Dickson, Emma Perry, Martha Kutter, Kolleen Metarko Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
20:53
December 19, 2019
An Inspired Classroom!
Today's podcast features Martha Kutter.  Mrs. Kutter is our 6th grade Social Studies teacher.  Her collaboration with her peer teachers is both inspiring and a great model of best practices for independent school teachers nationwide.   Mrs. Kutter has the uncanny ability to engage her students in authentic inquiry and inspire them to truly care about the work they are doing.  When I talk about teachers making the difference, Mrs. Kutter is a perfect example. Guests: Martha Kutter Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
13:51
December 16, 2019
James Milford takes a Strategic Look at some Top Questions at Maclay (Extended Cut)
Mr. Milford works through strategic and day-to-day topics as he answers several top questions parents looking at Maclay School typically ask.  In this extended version podcast, he takes time to explore each question and explain the view from the Head's office, the top six are the following: “My family is new to town and was recently introduced to your school from one of your parents, she was very complimentary of her child’s experience, but from your perspective, what is Maclay known for?" “What communities does the school draw students from?"  “How can parents get involved at Maclay?” “How does the daily schedule support student learning and outcomes?“ “What extracurricular options are open to my son or daughter?” “What do you believe are the greatest challenges facing education today?” We hope you enjoy the podcast, and please send in more questions or topics you would like covered.  You can send them to podcast@maclay.org.  Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by James Milford
33:49
December 12, 2019
What is Going On Behind the Blue Fence? (Extended Cut)
It is impossible not to notice the construction area as you enter Maclay's campus.  Maclay School is in the middle of the most ambitious construction project in its history, and the signature building of the iTHINK Initiative will soon be going vertical.  The Beck Family Research Center is up and running this year, hosting three of the Upper School Concentrations and a student research laboratory.  The new Beck Family Innovation Center is getting ready to come out of the ground and will be up and running for the 2020-2021 school year.   Mr. Milford uses this extended cut podcast to go through the construction projects within the iTHINK Initiative and details the spaces and how they impact the curriculum and experience of our students.  The links below are from various stages of the design process.  We are excited to give you a glimpse into this exciting new space for the Maclay experience. Construction Projects for 2018-2020: The Beck Family Research Center is the new upcycled shipping container building next to the Webster Center and was opened in mid-2019.  The Beck Family Innovation Center is the current construction project and will be up and running for the 2020-2021 school year.  The following links give some conceptual visuals of the new building: Early Architectural Rendering Several views of spaces in and around the Beck Family Innovation Center View from the current Upper School Alumni Courtyard View from the Alumni Courtyard - stage and conference room viewable. View from a study carrel in the Langford Hall View as you stand in the center of Langford Hall Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by James Milford
16:03
December 10, 2019
Is this my BMI or my VO2 Max?
Today's guest is Gary Droze.  Gary has been with Maclay since 1993 and is considered a giant in the Florida High School Athletic Association world.  The winningest coach in Maclay School history and recently named to the FHSAA Hall of Fame; clearly,  Droze understands how physiology works to create peak performance.  Droze also is a master teacher in Anatomy and Physiology in our Upper School, and it only takes seconds to feel the passion he has for the subject when engaged in conversation.  In this podcast, Droze shares how the new Krafft Bio-Medical Lab is housing exciting new opportunities for students to explore research, physiological measurements, and new experiences like no other high school is doing.  Droze is our lead teacher for the Bio-Medical concentration, a program within the iTHINK initiative at Maclay School. Guests: Gary Droze Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
08:03
December 5, 2019
A few minutes with our Distinguished Alumnus, Matt Hill.
Matt Hill, Maclay Class of 1990 and 2019 Maclay School Distinguished Alumnus is our guest on today's podcast. I was able to grab Matt between class presentations for a quick chat so he could explain the core message he shared with the students at Maclay during Homecoming week and Alumni Weekend.  We were overwhelmed with Matt and his family’s generosity of their time.  A six-day trip that involved a 7+ hour canoe ride and 32-hour plane flight brought them home to Tallahassee from Madagascar. Matt shared how he was well prepared academically but how each of his teachers had superpowers. He encouraged the students and watch their teachers and not only learn the subject, but learn from their teachers’ passions and gifts. He encouraged the students that those traits may, in fact, be the lessons and experiences that get you through the toughest challenges that face you in the future. Matt shared about Mr. Burley and his passion for history, Dr. Lewis and how he helped Matt through the hardest collegiate math program in the nation by how he taught AP Biology, and then Mrs. Mayfield who modeled patience and genuine interest and love in teaching her students. Matt has a great story of how mentoring and passion made an impact on him at Maclay. We were honored to have him with us for a few days this October. Maclay School and Matt’s NGO Green Again Madagascar are creating a sponsor partnership so we can continue supporting him and we will be using the data he gathers from his research in our curriculum and projects throughout the school. We are excited to see how this partnership develops. Guests: Matt Hill Links: https://www.greenagainmadagascar.org/ Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
08:39
December 1, 2019
Learning How to Best Learn as an Institutional Imperative!
Frank McKeown is our Director for the Center for Learning.  Mr. McKeown has been with Maclay for over a decade and has a great handle on learning at Maclay. Fundamental to the functioning of the school is a conversation about ALL children and how ALL children learn differently.  Frank discusses how we build a support structure that helps all students reach their potential.  Frank discusses the tailored approach we have implemented and the communication channels we have established between faculty, academic deans, and the Center for Learning.  Maclay School had chosen to put students and student support first and it shows with the innovative and extensive support available.  The Center helps with everything from SAT/ACT support preparation, to free tutoring in the MS and US, and provides specialist support for students who may need those services.  This programming happens inside and outside the classroom and is used by every type of student at Maclay.   The Center for Learning is an excellent example of how we work to fulfill our mission to reach “each” student.  McKeown also introduces the concept of executive functioning skills and how Maclay School has already started these conversations and how we are working these understandings into our program to make sure our formative assessments and projects are on-target in terms of where the students are and where we want them to go. Guests: Frank McKeown Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
11:03
November 21, 2019
What Role Does Entrepreneurship Play in a Maclay Education?
Ms. Stephanie McCann and Justin VanTassel are the two main teachers/mentors in the Business & Entrepreneurship Concentration.  Combined, they teach classes on Economics, Personal Finance, Entrepreneurship, Risk and Reward among others.  They, combined with some team teaching with Mr. Milford, have established an innovative component of the iTHINK Initiative in the Upper School.   The iTHINK Initiative and the Concentrations in the Upper School provide a framework for an expanded curriculum for students with particular interests.  There are a handful of concentrations that provide access to leaders in the community, opportunities for collaboration with experts in the field, and practical hands-on experience and exposure that other traditional liberal arts model simply don't provide.  These concentrations are available to all upper school students but are not required of any.  Other concentrations in the Upper School curriculum are Art, Inspiration & Design, Core Sciences, Bio-Medical, and Computer Science & Engineering. Key thoughts:  Financial literacy, Extensive use of guest speakers, Authentic and real-world experience, Developing essential skills for success beyond Maclay,  Guests: Stephanie McCann and Justin VanTassel Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
14:04
November 20, 2019
A Literary Force – The Notes from the Underground
The Notes from the Underground is an award-winner student led publication that creates a record for student writings and creative output. Dr. Beaven talks about the importance of showcasing the poetry, non-fiction, stories, plays, artwork, and paintings and the students’ role in editing and producing the journal twice a year.  This “literary force” is a central point of pride across all academic divisions that students are truly passionate about. Guests: Dr. Craig Beaven Hosted by: James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
06:53
November 15, 2019
You Protect What You Love
Stephanie Cornais, Director of Sustainability for Maclay School and Lower School Science teacher, talks about her passion for teaching students to think about making small choices in the world that can make a big impact on our environment. Stephanie’s work with sustainability is a One School effort to introduce a connection and love for nature and environment so that students Pre-K through 12 will share in the responsibility to protect the world around them.  Her work and partnership with Tall Timbers in creating the Long Leaf Pine outdoor classroom offers students an opportunity to experience a real-life slice of conservation and demonstrates nature in action. Guests: Stephanie Cornais Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
09:10
November 15, 2019
Joe is an engineering genius!
Joe Kupiszewski talks about leading the journey of introducing the Engineering program at Maclay School including the implementation of the curriculum from UT-Austin’s Engineer Your World program which provides our students with hands-on and project-based learning. Kup talks about the growth of the computer science and engineering courses through the iTHINK initiative, the new opportunities for our students, and what the future holds for our computer science program at Maclay School. Guest: Joe Kupiszewski,  jokupiszewski@maclay.org  Hosted by: James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
12:01
November 4, 2019
The Magic of Middle School
Mrs. Barbara Rubio Gomez, Director of the Middle School, and Mrs. Janine Couch, Middle School's Dean of Academics, join the podcast to share the work they do with the students in the Middle School.  At Maclay, our Middle School contains grades 6th, 7th, and 8th and we work very hard to build student confidence and resiliency to ensure a smooth transitions from our Lower School and on to our Upper School.  As these leaders share, our Middle School is a safe place for a time in our students' lives where they are encouraged to embrace discovery, exploration, and failure as a part of their growth and journey on their path to become an unstoppable graduate.  It takes a special temperament, focus, and love to reach and inspire Middle School students...and our faculty do it well. Guests: Barbara Rubio-Gomez & Janine Couch Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
11:47
October 28, 2019
Does History Ever Change? Teaching Certainly Does!
Dr. Paul Berk, Chair of the Upper School History/Social Sciences Department shares how our teaching methods have evolved from a history class where you learn the facts, to a focus on building critical thinking skills, problem solve in collaborative ways, and grow confidence in a positive, rigorous, and supportive classroom environment.  Dr. Berk is a great example of a renaissance man in an independent school. He teaches, tutors for SAT/ACT, leads class trips across the country, guides clubs, and sponsors countless students in their independent studies...and clearly thrives on how far his students go.  Dr. Berk also shares his unique insider's view of the College Board and how Advancement Placement (AP) classes fit into the Maclay experience and also their global reach for college readiness. You will hear how the Maclay focus does not stop with guiding our students to be ready to go to college but prepares them to, "ride circles around their peers" in college.  Those outcomes are consistent and we love telling those stories! Guests: Dr. Paul Berk Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
10:15
October 28, 2019
Is there such a thing as the perfect essay?
Mr. Lee Norment is in his 14th year at Maclay School and is the English Department Chair in our Upper School.  Mr. Norment is a student and alumni favorite and took over the leadership of a strong English and Literature Department years ago and has only led it to greater heights.  His leadership of collaboration and helping students find their voices as writers is an excellent example of how we teach our students to become uncommonly good writers.   Key thoughts:  Writing as a process – generating ideas, drafting, revising with the notion you will never write the perfect essay, but it is worth the effort.   Similar to other disciplines, the only way to get better at writing is to write... a lot!   As teachers, we focus on valuable feedback and helping our students find their voice.   Understanding your own writing process is the most important lesson to learn.   Mr. Norment discusses how we try to get our students to look beyond the grade to the feedback.  This way, we are able to help them grow as writers and learn how we set a tone of determination to achieve a level of writing that allows our students to outperform peers once they take the next step to college. Guests: Lee Norment Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
08:47
October 21, 2019
Whether running a newspaper or a school, selection is important!
Today’s guest is Ellie Casteel, Print Editor-in-Chief for the Andalusian, the Maclay School newspaper. In addition, she serves as the Managing Editor for Notes from the Underground and dances with the Tallahassee Ballet Company and School. Ms. Casteel is a senior at Maclay School and by all accounts, having a great senior year. Ms. Casteel has worked with a team of other students for three years to bring the Andalusian back to life. She interviewed me many times last year for the Andalusian and worked hard to keep the student body informed of the work and direction of the school. She visits the podcast to share some exciting news about the Andalusian’s third year and gets a couple of questions in along the way. Ms. Casteel and I both get to share how we work with our teams to get things done as well as how we choose areas to focus our work. She is a great example of a Marauder who is doing amazing things! By the time this podcast is aired, the Andalusian will have launched their new and improved paper copy newspaper.  Also, they will have launched a new online version for everyone to enjoy.   Stay up to date on the latest news by visiting http://maclayandalusian.com/ Guests: Ellie Casteel Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford Links:  http://maclayandalusian.com/
09:35
October 21, 2019
Do You See What I See?
Kim Daniel, the Chair of the Visual Arts Department, joins us today and explores how her dynamic team teaches art but also uses it as a tool to teach empathy and responsibility through outreach to our community - on and off-campus.  If anyone believes the visual arts are hidden at Maclay, they are obviously not paying attention! Guests:  Kim Daniel Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford Links:  @maclayfinearts
06:52
October 15, 2019
Where the magic is created!
David Low, head Librarian and media master extraordinaire, joins the podcast today to talk about the brand new Auction-Donor funded iTHINK Production studio and how the school is using it to re-define the function of the Marion Lawton Langford Library and the breadth of options we use as assessments at Maclay. Guests:  David Low, Class of 2005 Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
08:26
October 15, 2019
Science Fair at a Higher Level!
Today’s podcast features Upper School Science faculty member Mrs. Ariel Evans, who is in her 5th years with us.  Evans is currently teaching Honors Biology, Marine Biology, and Neuroscience.  She gives us an introduction to the Science Fair process and possibilities for our Middle and Upper School students.  Also mentioned is the recent Maclay school regional winner Dhenu Patel and her Zika Virus focused Science research project - https://www.maclay.org/Page/5903 Guests:  Ariel Evans Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
05:19
October 15, 2019
The Best Start Possible!
Today's visitor to the podcast is Stacey Houston, our Pre-Kindergarten Director.  I've often said it is hard to beat the joy and happiness you can find in the Pre-K.  It is a place of extreme potential and incredible excitement and love.  Maclay works very hard to make sure our Pre-K students have a smooth transition to our Kindergarten and fulfill one of the promises we, as a Pre-K through 12th-grade school, make to our families … a seamless educational journey. Guests:  Stacey Houston Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
08:29
October 15, 2019
Where should we put this shopping mall?
Today, Stephanie McCann joins us to share how Maclay has partnered with the Urban Land Institute to provide a unique experience generally reserved for college students.  In this innovative program, our students are stretched to create solutions and think critically in a way uncommon to secondary school students in other schools. Guests:  Stephanie McCann Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
08:38
October 15, 2019
Art and Inspiration with Kaitlyn Dressel
I was extremely excited to have Kaitlyn Dressel join us for this Podcast.  Kaitlyn has been at the epicenter of a lot of the growth and expansion of the Visual Arts Department at Maclay and along with the broader team, has done amazing work for our students.  Visual Arts at Maclay is truly pushing the boundaries of community involvement and utilizing social media as a tool of connection and expansion for the talent of our students in Tallahassee and beyond.  Dressel takes us through her classes’ collaboration with the Biomedical Concentration, working with Track and Football athletes in a creative way, and working with infographics and photography in real-world projects.  Partnerships with businesses in Tallahassee are also shared with Loli & the Bean and CaliFlow Yoga – a great example of ‘real-world’ work for our students.  Dressel also shares how we are focusing on making a positive impact on our campus and in our local community with the wellness program and the Tallahassee Hope Program.  The reach of the visual arts program is impressive and goes far beyond the amazing home of her classes in the Beck Family Research Center. Guests:  Kaitlyn Dressel Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
09:32
October 15, 2019
You teach Spanish in Lower School? You Bet!
Today’s guest to the podcast is Claudia Willis, Lower School Spanish teacher.  Willis has developed an amazing program and has launched hundreds of Marauders to the Middle School with a deep appreciation for and strong speaking proficiency in Spanish.  Her active and engaging methodology is key to her work and has built a great program at Maclay.  In this podcast, she introduces us to the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic touchpoints in her classroom.  Plus, how she uses plays and performance with familiar storylines to build confidence in her emerging speakers. Guests:  Claudia Willis Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
09:39
October 15, 2019
Computer Science with Mr. G!
“If that was not a convincing enough commercial for the computer science program...” Today’s podcast features a 30+ year veteran Maclay alumni and faculty member, Mr. Dean Gargiulo.  Gargiulo is currently teaching Middle School Computer Science and Robotics and gives an insightful overview of how computer science is a great pathway into a strong and growing job market.  He also shares how he and teammates Lauren Holland and Joe Kupiszewski teach life skills in the computer science, robotics, and engineering curriculum.  Whether it is art, design, critical thinking, digital languages, social media, or the permanency of your digital footprint, Gargiulo discusses how we focus within the iTHINK Initiative and our Computer Science program and clearly shows how we work to develop Determined Marauders! Guests:  Dean Gargiulo Hosted by:  James Milford Thanks to David Low for show music - Acoustic Guitar, the Maclay School Alma Mater Production and Editing by David Low and James Milford
10:20
October 14, 2019
Introduction to the Few Minutes for Family Podcast
In this episode, I'm able to share with you what I want to accomplish by reaching out to our parents and community this way.  I know keeping up with emails and other media is a challenge.  This is simply another way we are trying to let you know how we work every day to make our students inspired, determined, and unstoppable! Go, Marauders!
02:48
October 14, 2019