Seniors and Faculty Discuss Community Leadership

Senior students read Ted and Nancy Sizer’s “The Students Are Watching” over the summer in an attempt to facilitate discussions about the roles of students and teachers at Andover. Theodore Sizer, Head of School of Phillips Academy from 1973 to 1981, and his wife, Nancy Faust Sizer, used their 40 years of experience in education to write a book that highlights the relationship between students and teachers. The book emphasizes the importance of student awareness and the establishment of a common moral code, one that is unique to every school. The Committee of Community Expectations, which consists of both faculty and student leaders, is a new group that began to meet last winter. The committee’s primary focus is Andover’s current state and expected community behavior. Faiyad Ahmad ’10, 2010 Student Body President and a member of the Committee of Community Expectations, said, “Ideally, the group will be able to facilitate discussion both within meetings and in the larger community about our perceived roles as students and adults on campus.” “Some adults may think that students should behave in one way, when the student does not know this expectation is placed upon him or her. Similarly, we may be expecting certain behaviors from the adults on campus which are not communicated clearly,” he added. Chris Batchelder ’11, Executive Secretary of Student Council, said he views the committee as the first step to increasing the student contribution to Andover. “I would love to say that our purpose is to make Andover a better place, but there are a number of steps we must go through before achieving a goal that large. There are many pieces to a whole. We plan on addressing these pieces, or aspects of Andover life, such as student-teacher interactions, courtesy, cleanliness, and respect between members of the community,” Batchelder said. “Sizer understands how schools work, and many of the things that he has to say are very easy to relate upon for us as Andover students. Naturally, seeing as the senior class is collectively the most experienced class and the most looked up to by younger students, it was best for at least the 300 plus of us to learn more about the social and academic issues schools face,” he added. Kate Dolan, Chair of the Committee of Community Expectations, said the book was chosen “as more of a momentum thing then anything else. It was something some of us had read and found relevant. The book pertains to both seniors, our leaders, and adults.” “The seniors have many good, positive leaders and we hope that they can help us with future classes. The book isn’t a mean to an ends,” Dolan added. Though there are not many formal events planned, with the exception of Nancy Sizer’s appearance at All-School Meeting on November 3,, the Committee hopes to plan special dessert events to inspire dialogues throughout the year. Janki Patel ’11 said, “The book was interesting but really, really difficult to get through. I also felt that everything the authors said was good in theory but I think it would be hard to actually put in practice.” Shelby Centofanti ’11 said, “I thought the most interesting part about the book was the connection made about teachers and students. Both groups have different aspects of their lives. Students have academics, clubs, and sports while teachers have a family and both groups will need to put the same effort in to have a good class.”