School Voices features an interview with a community member of an AQ Member school. Our goal is to hear about the great qualities of our AQ Member schools by featuring a student, faculty member, or administrator. They're invested in the school, but aren't regularly featured as one of the school's public voices.
Margaret Allen, Academic Dean, Tilton School graciously agreed to speak with us about her school.
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 able...to 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. "
"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
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?