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An independent day school educating students PreK-Grade 12

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Grade 1 Talks About Community With Mayor Simmons
Mayor Caroline Simmons with Grade 1

“How do you do it all?” Frida Duffy ’34 asked Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons during the mayor’s visit to the Grade 1 Class, on Friday, October 28.

“I have such a great team,” answered Simmons, elaborating that her team helps her manage the city’s budget, public safety, schools and parks, and more. The mayor also praised the work of the Stamford Police Department and all of the firefighters. “They are brave men and women who keep us safe,” Simmons said.

“What is the favorite part of your job?” asked Arya Mehrotra ’34. “My favorite part of the job is when I get to be out in the community talking to people,” said the mayor.

“Where does Stamford’s money come from?” asked Austin Li ’34, and the mayor explained that it came from taxes.

Students and Mayor Caroline Simmons
Student Question
Student with Question

This was inquiry-based learning at its best. The students learned about leadership and communities by asking questions to the mayor and other school leaders.

“Grade 1 students have discovered that they are part of many communities,” said first grade teacher Julia Rachinsky-Wood.

Rachinsky-Wood explained that in their social studies unit, students have been focusing on what it means to be a community leader and the responsibilities that come with such a position. 

“We focused on the King School community, but we also know that we live in the Stamford community. As first grade leaders, this is an awesome and fun way to ask other leaders about their motivation to serve,” said first grade teacher Zachary Levin.

To further advance their understanding of the communities and what it means to be a leader within a community, the class invited Head of Lower School Sandy Lizaire-Duff and Head of School Carol Maoz. Both school leaders visited their classroom earlier this week.

Dr Duff Grade 1

“Our goal is to educate impactful leaders and good, contributing citizens. Introducing them to the principles of public service is essential to this goal,” said Maoz.

Students engaged in conversation with Dr. Duff and asked questions such as, “Who did you learn from, and how did you learn so much?” Dr. Duff shared that her mother encouraged education and lots of reading. She also focused on responsibilities for doing chores and helping out with her siblings. She loves learning, and each time she earned a degree, she challenged herself to earn another. To the question, “How do you do it all?” Dr. Duff mentioned her organizational strategies, “writing things down and keeping a calendar.” Dr. Duff also mentioned self-care, getting enough sleep, walking and exercising and meditating, and being mindful. The students related those comments to their personal academic strategies, movement breaks and energizers, as well as mindful moments.