The Marvelwood School is a member of Round Square International, a worldwide network of 168 innovative schools in 40 countries across five continents. These schools, including Marvelwood, share a holistic approach to learning built around six principles known as the Pillars of Round Square, which comprise the word IDEALS. These pillars are used to incorporate programs for inside and outside the classroom, and are a central part of the Marvelwood experience. In October, four students delegates and two faculty members attended the annual Round Square International Conference. The theme of this year's conference, at Aiglon College in Switzerland, was The Journey That Makes Us and highlighted the Round Square IDEALS through guest speakers, group discussions, cultural visits, community service and adventure activities.
Round Square IDEALS
I- International understanding and tolerance of others
D- Democratic governance and justice
E- Environmental stewardship
A- Adventure through self-discovery
S- Service to others
Marvelwood has an international student population of 27%, currently with students from 11 countries including Afghanistan, Brazil, Burma,China, France, Italy, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. Marvelwood offers a variety of clubs and activities that promote intenationalism at our school:
- Amnesty International Club meets weekly and updates a prominent bulletin board to introduce our students to issues of international justice.
- Approximately 20 students attend the Yale Model United Nations conference each January. Student delegates represent assigned countries, and debate and engage in conversation with students from other schools from around the world.
- Each year the ESL department organizes an International Dinner. Students are invited to cook a traditional meal from their home country or heritage country and share it with the community. Some students also wear traditional clothing.
- International students host a Lunar New Year celebration with a traditional meal and hundreds of dumplings made from scratch. Students present at all school meeting to educate our community about the holiday.
- Students are invited to celebrate various religious and cultural holidays at faculty members' homes, inluding the Moon Festival and Sukkot.
- Marvelwood hosts an exchange student for the school year through a program with Hosei University in Japan.
- Each January, 10-12 students and faculty travel to Panama to engage in community service, cultural exploration, and scientific research.
Democracy is the active participation in the running of the school, as well as participation in the local, national, and global communities. Marvelwood students have many opportunities to engage in activities to promote democracy.
- Students run Marvelwood’s Student Government, with the assistance of a faculty moderator. Students are elected by their peers to be class representatives, and the senior class elects the school president and vice president. Student government plans activities for the student body, and its members are viewed as student leaders by their peers and the School administration.
- Marvelwood’s Judicial Council is responsible for handling major school rule violations. It is comprised of two faculty members and two members of the senior class, elected by their classmates. The Judicial Council works together with the Dean of Students’ office in recommending disciplinary consequences to the Head of School, and promoting healthy decision-making.
- Civic Life Project is a unique educational collaboration and initiative that challenges students to learn about civics and democracy in an innovative and exciting way. The program starts in the classroom, where students study the structure of our democracy, and ends in the theater, where students showcase a short documentary of their own creation about a civic issue in their community. The goal of the project is "to encourage young people to become active citizens, to collaborate, deliberate, and work to improve their communities and their democracy.”
Marvelwood’s 83-acres mountain campus in rural Kent, Connecticut is a rich environmental classroom. The campus is surrounded by forests and fields, much of which is protected by local conservancy organizations, and is utilized for many projects and activities.
- Science classes and programs encourage investigations into our local environment:
- Ornithology students collected habitat data and are creating Google Maps to show where sensitive avian species, such as the Cerulean Warbler and Wood Thrush, have been found on Kent Land Trust Property. The project is in support of Kent Land Trust’s application to have Skiff Mountain South Preserve designated a state IBA (Important Bird Area) and possibly a global IBA.
- Marvelwood and the Kent Conservation Commission have been working together in conducting River Bioassessments for the Connecticut DEEP, setting and dissecting Leaf Packs for the Stroud Water Research Center’s Leaf Pack Network to help determine water quality in local stream.
- Marvelwood’s bird banding stations have identified endangered species, and the data has been used to protect land surrounding the school. Marvelwood maintains a Purple Martin colony and data is collected from the station and reported to the state to help conserve the Purple Martin population.
- Each year all students participate in Skip Tucker Day, Marvelwood’s Earth Day activities in honor of our former Head of Maintanence, to clean up the campus and the area, and volunteer for local environmental projects.
- Students participate in the Connecticut Envirothon, a statewide competition that involves training and workshops at various sites throughout the year, culminating with the finals in April.
- A small group of students are selected to participate in the year-long Natural Resources Conservation Academy. Participants choose a research topic related to the local environment, conduct research and present their final projects at the University of Connecticut in March.
- A one-acre garden on campus is part of our Food Studies Program. Fresh vegetables and fruits from the garden are served in the dining hall and students volunteer to work in the garden during community service and after school.
- Students participate in other community service activities that are focused on the local environment, including clearing and maintaining local hiking and biking trails, and supporting the local Audubon Center in Sharon, Connecticut.
Marvelwood encourages students to engage in reasonably challenging activities, as well as to take risks that may push them out of their comfort zones. These risks offer opportunities for growth. Our athletic program encourages all students to participate in competitive and non-competitive sports.
- The Senior Leadership Orientation (SLO) is designed to clearly define expectations for our senior class for the school year, and set a positive and cooperative tone for the school year. The SLO consists of an overnight camping trip and team building activities and. The Senior Leadership program culminates with the Senior Service Trip to Washington D.C. at the end of the school year.
- All new students participate in a low ropes challenge course as part of the September back-to-school orientation. Seniors and faculty members facilitate the group activities.
- As part of our Community Service Program, students work each week at the Kent Volunteer Fire Department. Interested students can train to be junior members, and those 18 or over may become full members of the fire department.
- Marvelwood hosts a number of competitive athletic teams including soccer, basketball, volleyball, wrestling, lacrosse, softball, cross country, baseball and ultimate Frisbee.
- Non-competitive sports options include Outdoor Adventures, white water canoeing, hiking, and rock climbing.
- Students on the yearly Panama trip spend 5-6 days at the very rustic Cocobolo Nature Reserve.
Round Square encourages students to step up to be leaders in their community. Students learn that leaders don’t always have to have the loudest voice, and that there are different ways to be leaders on campus, in our community, and in the world.
- All members of the senior class participate in the new student orientation as facilitators and leaders in the low ropes course challenge activities.
- Prefects are students dorm leaders. They help run the dorm, particularly during evening study hours and when faculty are not present. Prefects are expected to mentor and guide their peers. They receive training and support throughout the school year.
- Students elected to the Student Council take on leadership roles in planning activities such as Prom and Sprit Week activities. They also present student requests and proposals to the Head of School for consideration
- Team captains are elected by their teammates and are expected to model fair play, good sportsmanship and hard work. They help run practices and oversee team management.
- Marvelwood’s Peer Mediation Program seeks to promote peaceful conflict resolution within the student population. Through ongoing training, student mediators learn to mediate conflict between their peers, without faculty presence. Students are encouraged to voluntarily seek out mediation and try to solve a problem before it escalates and goes to the Dean’s Office.
- Faculty and elected student members of the Judicial Council guide students who may have violated a major school rule. In participating in the council, they are entrusted with sensitive matters and expected to maintain confidentiality and respect for those involved. One of the important goals of every Judicial Councel is to discuss errors in decision-making, recovery from poor decisions, and the development of healthy decision making.
- The Wittenburg Cup, the School’s highest award, is presented at graduation to the senior who has shown all around excellence at Marvelwood, including leadership.
- The Prefect Cup is presented at Prize Day to the student prefect who has shown the most outstanding effort in working to be a leader in the dormitory throughout the year.
Community Service has been a core value of The Marvelwood School since its founding. Students serve the community locally each Wednesday by volunteering at day care centers, elementary schools, nursing homes, environmental organizations, animal shelters, food banks, libraries, and other organizations. Community service work on includes the school newspaper, Amnesty International, recycling, gardening, and in the kitchen.
- Marvelwood Student Life sponsors a number of fundraising activities, including a Princes Tea Party for area children to benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and dress-down days to sponsor a local family for Christmas.
- Each month, Marvelwood donates 75-80 bagged lunches to a local food bank for students who may need healthy food over the weekends. Students help bag and deliver these meals.
- Marvelwood participates in a weekly lunch program for senior citizens. Alternating with the other two boarding schools in town, Kent School and South Kent School, Marvelwood students and faculty prepare and serve lunch at the Town of Kent’s senior citizen center on Fridays.