Head of School Letter

Baker Demonstration School has deep roots in progressive education. Founded over a hundred years ago under the leadership of Clara Baker, built through a long partnership with National Louis University, and into our 20 years as an independent school, Baker has been a leader in the development of innovative academic and social-emotional learners.

One of the tenets of progressive education is respect for the learner. At Baker, this applies to our community as a whole: students, teachers, administrators, parents and guardians. For our families this includes engagement in the Baker Family Organization: the BPO. Families are encouraged to learn alongside their students while connecting with the entire Baker community.

For our faculty members, ongoing professional development and leadership is critical. Our teachers are collaborators in the learning process, and partner across divisions and content areas to provide rich and meaningful learning experiences that connect students to one another, to their school community and the community beyond our building walls. This work includes developmentally appropriate explorations in identity and social awareness that deepens and matures over the course of their eleven years in our PK-8th grade school program.

Baker students work hard. They ask questions, they solve problems, they collaborate with peers and teachers. Their learning is purposeful and driven by depth of understanding. Our teachers are masters at curating learning opportunities that build curiosity, develop perspective-taking, and lead to academic and intellectual growth far beyond any grade level expectation.

Baker’s 8th grade graduation is perhaps the most profound demonstration of the value of a progressive education. Each member of the 8th grade class presented a self-selected study that reflected both their individual interests, areas of growth, and metacognition. From researching the history of Baker, designing new uniforms for the athletic teams, printing poetry and photography anthologies, building habitats and garden installations, These projects required applications of scientific method, executive function and project planning, thesis development, editorial work in the creative arts, risk-taking and self-confidence,

I have spent my life in progressive education, as a student, a teacher, a school founder and head. Baker Demonstration School has been a leader in progressive education community for over a century; it is an honor and a privilege to take the helm and lead the way forward into our next 100 years providing exceptional learning for students, faculty, and families. What a delight that my own professional journey has brought me to Baker Demonstration School.

“As a classroom community, our capacity to generate excitement is deeply affected by our interest in one another, in hearing one another’s voices, in recognizing one another’s presence.”
― bell hooks, Teaching To Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom