That Schenck School Magic!

That Schenck School Magic!
Director of Admissions Peggy Webb Hendrix

Every fall we in the Admissions Office make plans for the upcoming school year.  We review our assessment tools, go over our screening procedures, and plan for campus tours.  Our tours may be the very best recruiting device we have, because they enable us to pull back the curtain, so visitors can catch a glimpse of the “Schenck School magic.”  Most of the parents I talk with during the parent interview portion of the application process have spoken to some of our current or former parents. They are eager to experience the “magic” that is Schenck.  

The thing is, there’s really no magic involved.  The transformation that occurs in our students happens because of a number of factors, not the least of which is the hard work of our children.  When I was new to this position as Director of Admissions, I was always amazed by the sheer number of parents who described their children as “very hard workers.”  Mr. Schenck used to talk about the grit and determination that our students possess.  These traits typically continue throughout our students’ lives, propelling them to ever-increasing success, because after all, little success is earned without putting in the time.  Doing the hard work of the job, whatever that job may be.
Truly, no account of the Schenck School “magic” would be complete without talking about our teachers and the support they receive from our administration.  Professional development is encouraged and expected.  Our teachers receive intensive instruction in the Orton-Gillingham approach.  They learn to teach in a multisensory way in order to better reach all learners.  Our teachers have already become good at instruction before coming to us, but it is our training that makes them exceptional reading and writing teachers.  

Okay, you say, they are well-trained.  Is that where the “magic” happens?  Yes, it is part of it, but there is an intangible element that is really where the magic lives.  That intangible is passion . . . passion for teaching, yes, but even more important is their passion for teaching these children.  Our teachers understand that their students possess great potential, and they deeply believe that it is their duty to help each child achieve their potential.  Our teachers are driven to excel every day because they know that this is the only way to ensure that the children entrusted in their care will meet the challenges of the outside world as the best learners they can be.

I remember that a professor once told me not to ever sit in the teachers’ lounge because I’d become jaded by the teachers’ negativity.  But when I came to teach at Schenck, I learned that the teachers’ lounge was the very best place to go . . .  for ideas, inspiration, guidance, and support.  Lunch conversations center around the children and the best ways to teach them. Happy stories are shared about children’s breakthroughs and progress. 

But the most powerful Schenck School magic comes from love.  It began with Mr. Schenck’s love for dyslexic children and his understanding that they need to be taught directly how to read.  It continues today with parents who love their children enough to get them the help they need.  It continues through teachers who understand that dyslexic children deserve to be taught the way they need to learn.  It flows through this community that appreciates each family, each child, each learner for who they are.  The magic, if you want to call it that, is us.  All of us.  Every member of the Schenck School family, past, present, and future, who sow and reap the benefits that The Schenck School has to share.

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