Dear Prospective Students...
In a recent AP Language free writing assignment, students were asked to craft a message for the audience of their choice. One 10th grader decided to write a letter to students who are considering joining LSG for their middle or high school years:
Dear Prospective Students,
It’s not every day that an opportunity to take an active role in your education comes about. In most school settings, you are one of dozens of students in a classroom. If you have an opportunity to share your opinions about how school should work at all, it’s likely that the process is unwieldy or the results are unsatisfactory. After all, how can school administrations accommodate your vision for education if they’re beholden to the core curricula and standardized test schedules designed by external organizations?
Classes at typical schools can be amazing, that’s true. With the right teacher and the right subject material, the opportunities for intellectual growth are just as valuable in a public school setting as anywhere else. However, it seems to be the case that many opportunities for incredible courses are squandered, either because the other students in the room don’t take an interest, or because the looming end-of-year tests curtail conversations and exploration of material in favor of rote multiple choice practice. The large class sizes, too, can stand in the way of discussions that get to the heart of the topics you study.
LSG mitigates or resolves each of these problems, and, in doing so, provides a completely unique educational experience for each of its students. The small, discussion-based classes force you to engage both with the material and with your peers, all of whom are eager to do the same. In addition, the relationships you’ll form with your teachers here will influence you both as a thinker in class and a person in the real world.
Neither of these benefits, though, strike me as the most important way that LSG sets itself apart from other schools. At LSG, students are encouraged (even expected) to take responsibility for their educations— a principle that makes itself apparent on two different levels.
First, each student has the opportunity to suggest courses to the administration. In fact, Deep solicits such ideas in occasional surveys to the whole school, to which students are encouraged to respond with honest feedback. Or, you can propose an independent study on a topic you’re interested in and request guidance from a faculty member who tends to be just as excited to learn as you are. Before your time at LSG comes to a close, you should have anywhere from two to four of these projects under your belt. The chance to propose a unique course to the faculty is incredibly valuable, and certainly adds to the culture of the school.
On a much broader level, Deep is constantly asking for feedback about the way the school is run. This second layer of student input is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. Students’ voices are factored into conversations big and small about the future of our school. From the name, to the structure of the schedule, to the destinations of our domestic and international trips, the faculty makes it clear that our voice matters.
These interactions have really changed me over the course of my time at LSG. Before my sixth grade year, I didn’t have any expectations for my middle- and high-school years, positive or negative. I had a chance to shadow classes before I made the commitment to join, so I had no doubts that LSG was where I wanted to be, but I also had no frame of reference that I could use to compare LSG to a more traditional secondary education.
Looking back, I’m so glad that I made the decision to join. I know that I’ve changed immensely during my time here. I was once fairly shy in the classroom— I was curious, but I felt so dreadfully awkward participating that I sometimes decided that it would be best to stay quiet. I’ll admit that by the time I reached fourth or fifth grade, I had become less reserved and more willing to ask questions and contribute points. However, that change seems miniscule compared to the ways I’ve grown since starting at LSG.
The opportunities I’ve had to take control of my studies and to participate in the conversations that affect my everyday life have, in addition to the experiences I’ve had in the classroom, helped me to figure out my identity as a student. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made towards being confident enough to speak up, all the while maintaining the curiosity that drove me to visit LSG in the first place.
Some of my experiences may sound familiar to you, and I’m sure that you have some of the doubts that I felt before I shadowed for a day. It’s a small school, after all, and nothing about the building resembles the image that you may think of when you picture a typical high school. But if there’s even a small part of you that wonders what could be meant by a “beautiful education,” come in and visit. It could change everything.
Fifth-Year Student at LSG