Commons, Huybrechts share hopes for new school year at first annual parent meeting

Jack Goldfisher

President Rick Commons and Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts told stories about the beginning of the school year and their hopes for the rest of the year to parents at the first Parents’ Association general meeting Sept. 18 in Saperstein Theatre.

Huybrechts, whose speech was entitled “Continuity of Care,” showed a PowerPoint presentation of slides of images that corresponded to stories that she shared with the parents.

She highlighted the new one-to-one initiative being implemented in the seventh grade this year that will expand to the rest of the Middle School next year and the Upper School the following year.

“My point in all of this piece was that teachers have to make decisions about what works best for them in terms of teaching tools and pedagogy,” Huybrechts said about slides that showed students using technology such as computers as well as the traditional paper and pen. “Sometimes the computers are the best thing and sometimes just talking to the teacher is the best thing and sometimes you need to give kids a choice when they want to write.”

Huybrechts also displayed the first issues of the Spectrum and the Chronicle, and talked about alumni who are professional journalists.

After discussing the annual Film Festival, Huybrechts lauded the work the Institute for Scholastic Sports Science and Medicine has been doing at the school. She also shared stories and discussed topics such as students who did summer internships, the upcoming workload survey and the this year’s school theme, “from caring comes courage.”

The meeting was Commons’s first HWPA event, and the newly-invested president themed his speech around “The Magic of Teaching.”

“Huybrechts is left-brained and I’m right-brained,” Commons said. Huybrechts emphasized statistics and numbers more than Commons, whose remarks were hand-written going into the night.

Commons told stories about his time as an English teacher and his experiences since returning to Harvard-Westlake.

“It was overwhelming and flattering that people would gather in such numbers to hear us talk,” Commons said.