Looking Back

What drives me crazy every year is the conflict between my compulsion to document and the impossible task of doing so. It is not feasible for me to record, and keep track of, every single wonderful thing that happens at my wonderful school. But I try. To fill in some of the gaps here is a quick look back at this past school year.

I skip some months, but don’t think it’s because they weren’t full of happenings.


The first big event this year was that my name at school changed from Ms. Stevenson to Mrs. Cowan in October. 10616111_10154783096810182_6714591310601694360_n



Then, me and my favorite Physics teacher, Ms. Torbert, went with our Junior on their annual retreat. The Loyola Retreat Center is beautiful, and the spirit of the place really sets a wonderful tone. It was at this retreat that I gave my first witness talk, and I have to say, I think it went pretty well. I spoke about forgiveness, and withholding judgement through a story from my own life. I was so moved with how well it was received by the girls. Here we are enjoying the view of the rushing Potomac River.20150316_090158


Then it was time for months of behind the scenes work(A.K.A. lunches and after-school) to come to fruition. Our students, with the help and encouragement of faculty and staff, put on a TEDx event! My team of students, as you might have guessed, was in charge of stage design. 20150321_112241







March was a busy month… It ended with a trip to the National Art Education Association (NAEA) in New Orleans, Louisiana. I took my husband and his nice camera along for the ride. It was a wonderful networking experience, and the inspiration I gleamed from the hundreds (probably tens) of presentations I saw, is continuing to inspire my lesson planning. I’m still going through my notes even now.







April was a busy month as well. Starting with our Annual Spring Festival of the Arts. This year, unlike last year, we had performances, food, live painting, and interactive activities all going on at once and the opening day activities went on into the evening. This is a particualary amazing event because it comes together after months of planning. Each student has at least one work of art in the show, and parent volunteers help in mounting and displaying, so that the effect is a school just covered in art. It’s fantastic!20150427_073820









And that very same day we released a years worth of work in our literary arts magazine: Callithump! An English teacher, Ms. Whitmore and I are co-advisors to this publication. However, it truly is student run. For most of the year artwork and written works are collected, curated and then put onto pages by our student staff members. The result this year was breathtaking.





Then of course there was the yearlong collaboration between my Foundations of Studio Art class and Physics. We lined up our curriculum and shared a design process that encouraged our students t make cross-curricular connections. Ms. Torbert and I even presented our year of collaboration at the  National Coalition of Girls Schools (NCGS) conference: From STEM to STEAM, this June. We plan to continue our efforts next year with even more new and improved connections. Below are some photos of students putting their art skills to work building functional objects with the Arduino in their physics class. 20150506_132257



20150506_132308And then of course there was the yearbook… Did I mention that I am the yearbook advisor? It’s a lot of work, but luckily our yearbook is assembled during a class period and not after school as a club. (THANK GOD!) This year, our theme was “Change. It’s good.” This was inspired by new staff, new roads on campus, and the gigantic turf field that was being built in front of our school all year. The yearbooks looked beautiful this year, and they were a big hit!

Also, look at whose student was featured on the front page of our schools magazine! (It’s one of our amazing recycled art sculptures.)20150601_160024


And finally there was this! … This is why I teach, and this makes the whole year worth it!



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