Most schools aren’t designed with boys in mind. They reward the ability to be quiet, sit still, pay attention for long periods of time and regurgitate information, most of which drives boys crazy.
God didn’t design boys to do any of that very well.
Boys need something different—and better—from their schools. They need permission to be boys, with all of the energy, exuberance, games, and motion contained therein.
They need schools where they can wiggle and move, manipulate objects, have information presented visually, and form teams and play games.
They need a school that recognizes that each boy has a distinct learning style.
They need an education customized for boys.
Adapting to the Learner + Adjusting the Curriculum
A changing world creates design opportunities for the smart and flexible school like PDS. “Historically, learning is one size fits all, yet classrooms have very diverse learners. Some students master concepts and skills relatively quickly and are rarely challenged, while other students need extra direct instruction and practice time on various skills and concepts,” says PDS Headmaster Lee Burns. “Smart schools are designing learning environments that adapt or adjust the curriculum on a daily basis to the needs of each learner rather than the learner being expected to plow through a set curriculum at a set pace.”
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|Costa Rica||Summer 2014|
Recognizing the need for students to be prepared for the global economy of the 21st century, The Crain Center for Global Curriculum was created by a generous gift by the Crain family.
Our vision is to not only to teach our students about other cultures but to engage and connect them, through the use of technology, travel and collaborative learning communities. Global competency and a knowledge of what it means to be a global citizen are essential skills for our students, and are best taught through relationships and experiences with diverse cultures.
A strategic partnership has been formed with St. Andrew's Scots school in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that includes teacher and student exchanges as well as projects between the two schools. International travel opportunities for teachers have included study experiences in Australia, New Zealand, China, Costa Rica, Poland, Israel and Argentina.
Putting the World into World-Class Education
There used to be a time when a regional or limited worldview sufficed. We also used to think that cities like New York or Los Angeles had global ties and global necessities, but not cities like Memphis. The global economic activity that Memphis and Tennessee enjoy might surprise you. According to the Tennessee International Trade Report, Tennessee exports for 2011 were about $7.4 billion, up $1.5 billion from 2010. The state’s rate of export growth was 25.4%, 13th best among the American states. Tennessee’s trading partners include Canada, Mexico, China, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, the Middle East, Singapore, the U.K., Colombia, Turkey, Vietnam, India, Venezuela, Brazil, Taiwan, Korea, Italy, and Germany, to name a few.
Memphis plays a significant role in the global supply chain, originating or terminating millions of tons of international freight each year. The Port of Memphis is an international port and offers the world’s most sophisticated distribution services, excelling in intermodal freight services via rail, ship, truck, and air. In 2009 over $23 billion of goods flowed through Memphis. More than 30 international freight forwarders operate in Memphis and, of course, FedEx offers the world’s fastest and largest cargo hub. Working on a cross-cultural team is a likely reality, even if one lives in Memphis.
Global education focuses on teaching students to see the world through multiple perspectives of diverse people and their culture.
For the last ten years, PDS has been focused on not just being a great school in Memphis, but truly a world-class educational institution that innovates and models leading practices in teaching, student learning, use of technology, leadership, and curriculum. Our motivation in doing this is to prepare our boys for the new global realities that we know to be true. We are also motivated by our understanding that education is at the core of our global competitiveness as a nation as well as the source of individual global competencies.
Largely because of technology, the world is shrinking. How far from Memphis is Azerbaijan? Just one click. Internet tools like Facebook, Skype, OoVoo, Twitter and more allow our students to talk, see, and interact with teachers and students all over the world. Technology allows world news to reach us in a relentless 24 hour news cycle. We can feel and see the interconnectedness of the world’s communities as we watch events like the economic crash of 2008 as it sieged through global financial markets like a virus, or the revolutionaries of the Arab Spring as the uprisings spread from Tunisia through Egypt to Libya. Converging are powerful economic, political, demographic, and technological forces that require citizens from all nations to become more internationally knowledgeable, competent, and adept in world languages and cultural understandings. In short, PDS boys must be able to compete, and to cooperate, with their peers from all over the world as students, and as the leaders they will become, working on cross-cultural teams, solving problems and issues with global components and considerations. Providing a well-designed global education will prepare boys for their worldly futures because global education prepares young minds to understand and interact in a culturally diverse and globally interdependent world. Global education focuses on teaching students to see the world through multiple perspectives of diverse people and their culture. Because of the interconnectedness of the world’s people and the big issues they face, being able to comprehend the complexity of issues caused by the layers of cultural perspectives is an essential skill. While young people may be aware of world events because of the Internet and media, studies show their information is often slight and superficial. Much of their information comes in snippets and sound bytes that may create awareness but, because of their lack of depth, also reinforce stereotypes, generalizations, and misinformation.
Global education purposefully seeks to dispel cultural stereotypes and misconceptions. Global educators guide students in replacing misconceptions with information on the complexity of cultures, cultural conflicts, and global issues. This deeper understanding is developed through exploring the complexity of people’s histories, cultural ideas, and values, especially those of people different from ourselves. Learning to dismiss generalizations and to engage multiple, and even conflicting, perspectives is an important discipline and critical thinking skill. Learning to detect and understand biases and misinformation, for example in a news story, leads to developing deeper, more agile thinkers and problem solvers.
FINDING THE GLOBAL FOCUS
Led by Darilyn Christenbury, Director of the Crain Center for Global Curriculum and Bible teacher for PK - SK, the Teaching and Learning Committee has undertaken the challenge and opportunity of re-engineering the PDS curriculum to give it a more global focus. They have met on a regular basis for the last few years to discuss questions like:
- Which countries will be relevant and significant for our students to know in depth in the 21st century?
- How can we study and understand non-western history, politics, religion, and culture?
- How can we globalize teacher preparation and teacher learning?
- How can world conflicts be explained by population migrations and economic factors?
- What is our role in global problems like poverty, global healthy, water availability, education, endangered species, environmental sustainability?
The committee adopted the following definition of global competence: Global competence is the capacity and the disposition to understand and act on issues of global significance.
INTEGRATION OF GLOBAL EDUCATION
In order to accomplish the goal of nurturing global competency in its students, PDS believes that global education cannot be a subject that is taught in isolation. Instead, the opportunities to develop global competence are being integrated into all subjects and across all grade levels through the use of these four dispositions of global competency:
- Investigate the world beyond their immediate environment
- Communicate ideas with diverse audiences
- Take perspective (both others’ and their own)
- Take action (ethically, critically and creatively)
Global education includes the study of world cultures and religions, world literature, the interconnected views of world history, global issues, global economic, technological, environmental, and political systems, and cross-cultural communication skills. PDS teachers were asked to audit all their coursework and to find ways to integrate world literature, other countries, and diverse perspectives in the examples they emphasize in class. Math teachers have already been participating in World Math Day, but there is a new insight and awareness that math is akin to a world language, a universal code, and that mathematicians from all over the world have collaborated on complex math problems for decades.
Social Studies is a natural platform to weave in strong global information and perspectives. At PDS each grade level is structured to explore a big idea around which they ask seven essential questions. These essential questions direct the learner to actively engage geography and its relevance to creating problems and solutions; to be on guard for biases in intermediating sources; to consider viewpoint and cultural perspective; and finally to reflect upon his responsibility as a global citizen.
Our desired outcome is for PDS boys to be astute and active investigators and communicators who value the perspective of others and have the knowledge, skills, and desire to take action regarding the issues that affect our world.
In Language Arts, teachers at each grade level are identifying and selecting books for their grade level that will help boys gain a larger picture of the world around them. Also integrating technology into our language arts curriculum helps students publish and share their writing with the world. Through the use of web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis, voice threads, Skype and others, PDS students sharpen their communication skills and expand their voice as they collaborate and communicate with people throughout the world.
Learning a foreign language has long been one of the principle components of international study. Research has shown that the mastery of a foreign language is greatly enhanced when a young child is exposed to the sounds and syntax of that language at a young age. Students in the Early Childhood Division at PDS are exposed to both Mandarin and Spanish during PK, JK, and SK. Upon entering first grade, each student selects either Mandarin or Spanish as the language he will learn in grades 1–6. In 2008, PDS was the first school in Memphis to offer Mandarin, the most commonly used Chinese dialect. Although mastery of Mandarin is not within reach of PDS students, or high school students for that matter, because of the difficulty of the language, learning Mandarin is extremely important because of China’s rising power in the world.
The Crain Center for Global Curriculum enhances the PDS curriculum in world languages and Social Studies. The Crain Center offers travel grants for PDS teachers to travel abroad so they may enrich their teaching practice by becoming students of the world, connecting to teachers from a variety of countries, and experiencing another culture firsthand. Teachers are also encouraged to participate with global action research teams that connect them with peers from around the globe who are doing similar research.
World Leadership School
Whether for teachers or for students, there is no substitute for learning about a culture by experiencing it first-hand. PDS is creating opportunities to experience other parts of the world and their cultures through two exciting initiatives: a strategic partnership with a school in Argentina and a service learning trip to Costa Rica hosted by the World Leadership School (WLS).
Whether for teachers or for students, there is no substitute for learning about a culture by experiencing it first hand.
The mission of the WLS is “to empower young leaders to find new and innovative approaches to the world’s pressing problems.” The outcome they strive for is to teach children to lead in an increasingly global and interconnected world. The WLS facilitates a relationship between local schools and sister schools in Africa and Latin America to create global education programs based on long-term relationships. Their programs begin with service and leadership trips and continue with Internet-based distance learning exchanges.
In partnering with the WLS, PDS boys will travel to Costa Rica in the summer of 2012 to investigate global problems such as climate change, endangered species conservation, and poverty. They will learn that these big global issues demand new, powerful forms of leadership, cooperation, and collaborative thinking to impact the many layers of these complex and entrenched problems. Three teachers, Russ Norment (Spanish grades 3 - 6), Mark Fruitt (assistant principal), and Cindy Brock (technology coordinator), will accompany the PDS students.
To give students and teachers many opportunities for cultural immersion and collaborative learning, PDS and St. Andrew’s School in Buenos Aires, have formed a strategic partnership. St. Andrew’s School is an independent K–12 school of approximately 1,900 students that is widely considered to be one of the leading schools in Argentina. This relationship will allow for ongoing collaboration and sharing between the two schools. The partnership will include classes working collaboratively on some projects, a teacher exchange, and a 6th-grade student exchange. Funding for this strategic initiative is from the Crain Center for Global Curriculum. The relationship with St. Andrews offers exciting possibilities of teacher development and teacher learning as well as student exposure and immersion.
We live in a dynamic, interconnected and diverse global community. Online technologies make global interaction with people from around the world easy, effective, and increasingly common. As men, our students are highly likely to work on global teams with people from different backgrounds and upbringings. In preparing boys to be scholars, citizens, and leaders of the world they will inherit, we must make certain they are equipped to face challenges with self-knowledge and confidence, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, a deep sense of ethics and moral courage, and global competency. Layering our curriculum with opportunities to deeply understand diverse viewpoints and cultural tensions, to accept and handle the complexity of issues and problems in our world, and to develop the skills of connection, cooperation, and collaboration across cultures will offer PDS boys world-class preparation for a world that very much needs all they have to contribute.
- 2-year-old boys through 6th grade
- 500 boys enrolled, representing 35 different zip codes from across the Mid-South
- Average class size: 17
|Young Knights||$5,560 - $10,740|
|Pre-Kindergarten||$9,450 - $14,520|
|Junior Kindergarten||$14,930 - $17,930|
- Financial Aid
- 20% of students receive financial assistance from PDS. More info
The benefits of boys’ schools aren’t just in the core subjects. At PDS, every boy takes art classes, learns coding, and sings in the choir. Boys are soloists and actors; they hold all of the leadership positions.
- Over 70 teachers, coaches, and mentors serve the student body.
- Over 70% of PDS teachers have earned advanced degrees.
- Over 90% of PDS teachers have supplemental training from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
- PDS teachers are life-long learners; Ongoing professional development is in the DNA of the school.
- PDS is located on a 29-acre campus in the heart of East Memphis.
- The campus facilities are among the largest and finest for an elementary school nationwide.
- A recent $20 million expansion included upgrades to the facilities, including the Early Childhood Center, EDGE Studio, Reading and Learning Center, Science Center, Christian Center, Lifetime Fitness Center, turf field, and gymnasium.
- Founded by Second Presbyterian Church in 1949 at its current location at Poplar Avenue and Goodlett.
- PDS added Junior Kindergarten in 1992, Pre-Kindergarten in 2005 and Young Knights in 2015.
- Steve Hancock was appointed the Headmaster of PDS in 2014.
- The predominant, long-term focus of the academic program at PDS is on the development of critical and creative thinking skills and is increasingly customized to the learning profile of each boy.
- Technology is integrated into the curriculum to not only reinforce basic foundational skills, but also to allow boys to collaborate, communicate, and create.
- Approximately half of instructional time in reading and math is taught in small groups, utilizing our four learning specialists and three learning coaches in a dedicated learning studio.
- Boys in 1st through 6th grades have Physical Education (PE) every day. Early Childhood boys have PE every other day.
- In PE, boys learn the concepts of sportsmanship, teamwork, great effort, and a positive attitude.
- 6th-grade graduates leave PDS with an overall lifetime fitness mindset that encourages them to continue to enjoy an active and healthy lifestyle.
- All 4th, 5th, and 6th-graders are eligible to participate in the year-round, after-school intramural program.
- PDS competes with other area schools and organizations in football (5th–6th grades), basketball (6th grade), cross country (6th grade), golf (6th grade), tennis (6th grade), and track (5th-6th grades).
AFTER-SCHOOL AND SUMMER PROGRAMS
- PDS offers before-school and after-school care for boys.
- After-school enrichment opportunities include both private lessons and classes in the arts, sciences, math, language arts, technology, athletics, and chess.
- One-on-one tutoring for students who require additional support is available.
- All day and half day summer camps are available for PK through 6th-grade students with specific camps focusing on academics and sports.
- The Building Boys, Making Men program provides a framework for leading boys into godly manhood by developing a boy’s faith, character, and values.
- Boys are taught about manhood and given a biblical framework for making wise choices during their teenage years and beyond.
- In YK through SK boys receive instruction in both Mandarin and Spanish.
- Beginning in 1st grade, boys specialize in either Mandarin or Spanish.
- Boys are exposed to art and music daily in Early Childhood. Beginning in 1st grade, all boys participate in art, choral music, coding, and design thinking.
- PDS administers an achievement test, developed specifically for independent schools, to boys in Grades 2–6.
- In comparison to our nation’s leading independent schools, our boys consistently and significantly outperform their peers in all subjects.
- Our 6th-grade graduates thrive in secondary schools of their choice.
- Our most recent graduates have gone on to Harvard, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Georgia Tech, Washington and Lee, New York University and many other top colleges.
- Each year, our graduates earn millions of dollars in merit-based college scholarships.
- The list of PDS graduates reads like a who’s who of the Memphis business community. Some notable PDS alums include Autozone founder J.R. “Pitt” Hyde ’55, FedEx founder Fred Smith ’56, and Paul Tudor Jones ’66.
History of PDS
In 1949, Second Presbyterian Church, one of the oldest churches in Memphis, founded PDS at the church’s new location at Poplar Avenue and Goodlett. An introductory statement sent to church members stated, "We believe that this field (Christian education) offers a real challenge to us and through the medium of this weekday kindergarten, we are preparing to try to use this opportunity for the greatest good to these children, their homes, and to the highest glory of God." Pastor A.W. Dick and Mr. Robert Hussey played key leadership roles in the opening of PDS.
35 children—boys and girls—enrolled in kindergarten in 1949. In 1951, the Pentacost-Garrison School for boys closed, and many of those families enrolled their boys at PDS, which thus became a large boys only school serving boys in grades kindergarten through the 9th grade.
In 1955, PDS helped Memphis University School (MUS) reopen by giving MUS our 7th, 8th and 9th grades, as well as our headmaster, Colonel Ross Lynn. Second Presbyterian Church was also instrumental in assisting MUS to reestablish itself. PDS thus became a school for boys in kindergarten through the 6th grade, and PDS and MUS have maintained a close and supportive relationship since then.
Since 1955, PDS has added Junior Kindergarten (1992), Pre-Kindergarten (2005), and Young Knights (2015). Major facility expansions have taken place in 1971, 1992, and 2009.
The curriculum and teaching methodology have changed to assure that PDS continues to prepare boys to be scholars and leaders in a changing world. Despite these changes, PDS has remained true to its founding and mission and maintained its great traditions, which include the Christmas Pageant, the Speech Contest, Yipes Stripes, the Student-Faculty Basketball Game, and Happy-Grams.
Throughout its history, PDS and Second Presbyterian Church have remained close and supportive partners, though they are separate entities, as PDS is an independent school.
Over 3,300 boys (and a few girls from the early years) have graduated from PDS, and they have held a number of leadership positions in Memphis and beyond. Alumni include FedEx founder Fred Smith and Autozone founder J.R. "Pitt" Hyde.