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School Voices - Tilton School, Tilton, NH

An interview with Margaret Allen, Academic Dean, Tilton School, Tilton, NH

As a AQ regular feature, School Voices features an interview with a community member of an AQ Member school. Our goal is to hear about the great qualities and happenings in AQ Member schools by featuring a student, faculty member, or administrator, invested the school, but, who is not regularly featured as one of the school's public voices.

Balancing Tradition and Innovation
"What's great about Tilton and what does work well, I think that there's a very good and interesting balance between traditional things and innovative things. Traditional roots and a good sense of continuity and history, which is very appealing in many ways and makes kids feel a sense of belonging to somewhere that's been around for a while. But, it's also a school that is very innovate and to come up with new ways of thinking, new kinds of program initiatives, new ways of running a school. Tilton somehow finds a good balance between tradition and innovation. "

Curriculum Innovation
"Tilton went to the mat on this one (the "Understanding by Design" curriculum framework model) and decided to do some new thinking on its curriculum. We feel that we have not thrown out our traditional strengths. (Keeping) The kinds of things that have always been done at Tilton, we have reenergized and revitalized the curriculum by doing that work."

Inclusion and Participation for All
"Traditionally, as many schools here up north, (Tilton began as) a traditional boys school with a strong athletic program and that still remains and is still very strong.

The place (Tilton), for young women, is a very good place. The girls here are very visible and comfortable in what they're doing and really rise to some leadership roles and get a great deal of respect from the community even though they're still slightly in the minority. It seems to be a natural reflection of a good social climate. It's become a pretty friendly place for all kids.

Diversity, including gender diversity, racial diversity, learning diversity, works fairly well at Tilton."

Relationships Mean Most to Students
"The relationships that kids create here mean most relationships with their teachers, relationships with their advisors, and relationships with each other. That's a pretty purposeful thing. Part of the mission statement of the school is a good human relationship context is important for learning."

A Good Place to Go To School- A Supportive and Comprehensive Environment
"Tilton students experience, a lot of individual attention in the sense that they are acknowledged, supported, and intellectually challenged as unique individuals.

Using the Understanding by design Model as a guide for organizing the curriculum and total school program makes a difference. The learning experiences, in and out, of the classroom feel coherent and connected with each other."

Students and Faculty Appreciate Relationships
"Strength of human relationships is seen as the foundation stone on which learning and development take place. Students and faculty understand this intuitively and come to appreciate human relationships as one of Tilton's strengths. Returning students often express that they miss these relationships a great deal when they go to college."

What's your favorite part about the daily routine?
"Teaching and interaction with students around campus. As an academic dean, I have a lot of office/desk work to do. The energizing part of my day is in my direct work- teaching, counseling, or conversing with students."

Activities Bind the Community
"Special sports events, and community service events are very important in the school. The annual "Tilton Road Race" and "Halloween Haunted Tunnel" are huge events. Twice weekly school meetings led by student government give voice to student concerns and initiatives."

Fast Pace Living Keeps Everyone Busy
"The pace of life is extremely busy, for students and faculty. We call this "Tilton Time." The hardest part of my week is Wednesday at 11:00 PM- finishing campus duty after starting the day with 6:00 AM detention duty."

What's the one thing that you would change?
"Saturday Classes!"

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