This fall, at the school where I teach, we’ve been discussing and practicing civil discourse skills with our students. To counter the divisive time we’re living in, we’ve asked our students to practice conversations about topics such as race and politics that are traditionally called “difficult,” but which we’re working to norm calling “unpracticed.”

The two most important guidelines for these conversations have been “put relationships first” and “practice radical empathy.” With these principles, we have fundamentally held community as our highest value. Why? What is it about a culture of connection that allows us to change? Why should social entrepreneurship education in particular be concerned with lifting up connection and community as guiding, fundamental principles?

Building a relationship-based community requires that we see each other as members of the same group, bound by threads connecting our hearts and minds. When your thread is pulled, it tugs at mine. Even when we have different experiences and perspectives, and even when we can’t actually see the connection, we are still inextricably tied together. Understanding that we are truly interconnected is not an intellectual exercise: this understanding calls me to see and appreciate how you and I are different, and it allows me to be seen by you in turn; it demands that we recognize each other’s pain, practice compassion, and then, take action.

Becoming an expert in empathy and relationship-building is a life- long journey, and I know the work we’ve done this fall is only one step. But I also know that learning how to build a connected community will allow my students to do authentic and impactful work in the world through social entrepreneurship, service, and community engagement--and that this will reach into their daily lives too. As we learn to be changemakers, our search for vital, lasting, equity-centered change can sprout from our interconnectedness. In this way, we can all co-create the world we want to live in.

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Fall Day Of Service

NSCD held a Fall Day of Service on Saturday, November 13, benefiting The Bloc in Chicago and Connections for the Homeless. More than 200 food items were donated on Saturday for The Bloc, supplementing what had already been collected by an upper school student-led food drive.

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Winter Play Premieres

The NSCD upper school troupe, The Duff Players, will perform “You want some lunch? You betcha!” on November 18, at 4 p.m. in the auditorium. The Duff Players is a cast of upper school students tasked with bringing to life a collection of third and fourth grade stories through movement, music, costumes, props and much more.

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NSCD Holds Vaccination Clinic

Almost 150 children received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine Friday, November 12, during a vaccination clinic held on campus. The school partnered with the Illinois Department of Public Health to provide pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children aged 5-11, as well as booster doses of Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for faculty and staff. The clinic was open to NSCD students and their families, even if siblings attend school elsewhere. 

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Students Launch Bottle Rockets

Each year, Middle School Science Teacher Lee Block requires his eighth graders to build and launch bottle rockets. The goal of this project is to apply what they have learned during their study of Newton’s Laws of Motion. 

The friendly competition is designed to see who can launch a bottle into the air and keep it afloat for the longest period of time. Students must follow specific rules about the type and size of the bottle, the design of the nose cone and fins, the parachute and the amount of pressure (PSI) pumped into it.

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Learning About Monarchs

North Shore Country Day's senior kindergarten class recently paraded around the school dressed as monarch butterflies, singing songs and displaying their handmade wings with their parents and our community. The students learned all about monarchs through an integrated curriculum that incorporated literacy, math, science, social studies and art.

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Rajiv Vinnakota Visiting Fellow

Each year, NSCD hosts the Harold H. Hines Jr. Visiting Fellowship that brings to campus a distinguished individual who exemplifies the school motto, “Live and Serve.” This year’s visiting fellow was Rajiv Vinnakota. Raj has dedicated his career to supporting students from underserved communities and to building a stronger democracy.

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