Meet Kari Baumann: Canterbury’s Media Specialist

Media Specialist Kari Baumann

Media Specialist Kari Baumann

As a new Canterbury parent, I was wondering where the Library is located. After speaking with Canterbury Media Specialist Kari Baumann, I now know that the answer is: all over campus! Kari believes that the Library is more than just a place to check out books. Fully immersed in 21st century learning, Canterbury students have the opportunity to learn in ways that integrate technology and print media. As Kari puts it, “I like to think of the Library not only as a physical space but also as a hub from which information moves. I have seen how naturally technology folds into a passion for reading and information as we synthesize, organize, and present the materials we are learning and reading together, and I enjoy using both of them together.”

 

Kari Baumann with husband Mike and son Atticus

Kari Baumann with husband Mike and son Atticus

A North Carolina native, Kari spent most of her childhood about 45 minutes south of Greensboro, in Siler City. Her dad passed away in 2006, and her mom remarried this past summer. Her brother and his family live in Austin, Texas. Kari and Mike — her husband of 15 years —make their home in Greensboro with their 4 ½ year old son Atticus.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Economics, Kari identified her passion for books and information and went on to earn a master’s degree in Library Science at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Following some time working in a public library, Kari returned to school to obtain her education license and has worked as a media specialist for the past eight years. She is thrilled to join the Canterbury faculty this year, and is looking forward to getting to know the Canterbury community.

When asked about her typical Canterbury day, Kari responds, “One of the very best things about being a librarian is that every day is different! You never know what questions will come up and what you will be doing.” She plans to bring the Library to Canterbury students through iPads as well as her bookmobile, which will make its way into the divisions. She also will assist Canterbury teachers with Haiku and integrating technology into their instruction.

I couldn’t resist asking Kari to name her favorite children’s book. Her response? Quite cruel to ask a librarian to choose just one. Instead, she listed a few of her favorites: Board book – I am a Bunny by Richard Scarry
Kindergarten – The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak
2nd grade – Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
5th grade – The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
8th grade – Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Even as the Library can be found everywhere at Canterbury, it will also continue to exist as a space for students to come browse and check out books. How about one of the recommendations above?

More Kari Baumann favorites:
Favorite foods: Mexican food and salty snacks.
Favorite hobby: Reading, of course
Favorite travel destination: My husband and I have taken two trips to Prince Edward Island in Canada (home of Anne of Green Gables) and we hope to take our son there in a few years.
Favorite music: A few favorites are Josh Ritter, Patty Griffin, The Head and the Heart, Over the Rhine, and Brandi Carlile.
Favorite book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Favorite author: Madeleine L’Engle

by Emily Wilson Brenner

Version 2Emily Wilson Brenner is parent to Benjamin (PreK-Copeland/Kaplan) and Fritz, wife to Kevin, a dance artist, and an instructor in Canterbury’s PreK Afternoon Adventures. Her favorite thing about Canterbury is the beautifully inspiring outdoor space. She likes yoga, dark chocolate, and a good cup of green tea. 

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Canterbury Middle School: Meeting Students Where They Are

My 4th grade student was pretty excited to be invited to lunch with Head of School Burns Jones and Middle School Director David Skeen. She didn’t realize that it was more than a lunch; it was her first orientation to middle school. Over the past few weeks, students have attended these lunch sessions in small groups, in which they were invited to ask questions, hear more about middle school, and get to know their new division director.

During the winter and spring trimester, 4th grade students and parents are gaining an introduction to middle school, which at Canterbury begins with 5th grade. Recently, David Skeen, middle school faculty members, and the Admission Office hosted an evening Meet the Middle School session for 4th grade parents.

Several administrators and teachers share interesting in and out of classroom learning experiences on their Twitter feeds. Follow along!

Many administrators and teachers share interesting Tweets about hands-on learning inside and outside of the classroom. Follow along!

“At Canterbury, we know the students well. We meet them where they are,” Mr. Skeen emphasized during his presentation.

Where are middle school students anyway? From age 10 to 15, they are in a stage of rapid brain development. Until about 10 years ago, teachers and parents believed most of a child’s brain development was finished by middle school. The job was to fill the brain with knowledge…like a little vessel. Through the use of brain imaging, neurologists found the brain actually grows a lot during the middle school years. The only other comparable stage is birth to age three.

So this is not our version of middle school (junior high, anyone?) because educators are meeting children at this newly discovered place of brain growth. And with brain changes come significant social, emotional, physical, and intellectual growth.

In terms of academic support, the middle school has created layers of contact with the students.

Mr. Skeen also explained that the job of the middle school is to provide “structure and relationships to help (students) accomplish their goals in safe and healthy ways.”

One example of the Canterbury structure is the Social Contract. Students in 5th through 8th grade meet to represent their grade levels and decide what the rules for middle school students should be. Once they agree upon these rules, the Social Contract is drafted, signed, framed and hung in Armfield Hall as a reminder of their agreement with each other and the faculty. The contract is one way Canterbury sets high expectations for every member of the community.

Screen Shot 2015-02-09 at 11.05.11 PMTwenty-first century skills of scholarship, leadership, and service are also a focus. When I first heard the phrase “21st century skills,” my mind went to technology and the tablet learning program, but I had so much to learn. These skills are also developed through understanding others. The program “In My Neighbor’s Shoes” is a three day service learning project in which students explore how other people in our community live. Each middle school grade visits various areas of Greensboro to learn more about the realities of others, and they must articulate their experience to the rest of the student body.

In terms of academic support, the middle school has created layers of contact with the students. Each child is assigned to an advisory, similar to a home room but with much more character development. These advisory teachers are the first and last teachers students see, and they continue the “morning meeting” type of activity that the middle school students first experienced in lower school. In addition to the instruction students gain from teachers throughout the day, faculty members offer optional after-school tutorial sessions – much like a professor’s office hours – for students who want extra help. Students also have the benefit of an additional team of faculty members who help guide them: Judy Cram, Middle School Student Support Services; Kat Wolfson, Middle School Counselor; The Rev. Nathan Finnin, Chaplain; and Kathy Durham, Director of Student Life.

“I like the message that the after-school tutorials sends to the kids,” Andrea Spencer observed. Her daughter will enter middle school next year. “That message is: ‘The work is challenging, but we are here for you; take the responsibility to come to us.’”

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All 5th grade students will attend a study skills class for the first part of the year to provide a solid foundation for academic success. They will also get an opportunity to sample foreign language offerings before choosing one language to study for the duration of their time at Canterbury.

Fourth grade students will begin to visit the middle school in small groups, and they will each have a big sister or big brother who will help answer questions and show them the ropes. Probably the most exciting part of orientation is early adoption of the middle school dress code for 4th grade students in the spring trimester.

One orientation or one blog post can only scratch the surface of the spirit of the middle school at Canterbury. I would encourage parents to subscribe to the Twitter feed for Dave Skeen and other faculty members to get a snapshot of middle school activities. From following our amazing faculty, I learn something new every day.

by Kelly McKee

mckee Kelly McKee is a freelance writer and community volunteer. She has three daughters and a very high golf handicap (these two facts are not unrelated). Follow her on Twitter: @narrowprovince