Recently, Jacqui sat down with our friend Debbie Reber, host of the wonderful Tilt Parenting podcast and author of Differently Wired both of which are phenomenal resources for parents of twice-exceptional children. In this podcast, you will hear Jacqui speak about why she began FlexSchool, why it is designed as a network of small schools, how our schools meet the unique needs of 2e learners, as well as how parents and communities can bring a FlexSchool campus to their area.
Today we meet Margaret Sport, an adventurer, a learner, as well as a teacher of Bioethics, Chemistry, Algebra, Geometry, Anatomy & Physiology, and Earth Science. Margaret blazed her own trail in while studying at Colorado College and designed her major in Bioethics with a minor in music. Did you know she began playing piano at Wharton School of Music, the same music school our Berkeley Heights campus housed with while our new school was completed? Sometimes takes you full circle.
What is your favorite part of teaching at FlexSchool?
My favorite part about teaching at FlexSchool is definitely the people. I am surrounded by amazing individuals each and every day. The staff and faculty have taught me so much in the months I have been working here. The kids make me laugh and smile till my cheeks hurt. It has been a joy to see them grow and to see myself grow with them.
What are you reading and/or learning right now?
I just finished reading both The Song of Achilles and Circe by Madeline Miller. My favorite class in college was a five-week course abroad in Greece entitled The World of Odysseus: History and Myth. We sailed the Greek islands, retracing Odysseus’s path home from the Trojan War. At the time, I couldn’t believe it was a real class, but I learned so much! Miller’s books tell the story of the Iliad and Odyssey from the perspectives of minor characters, Patroclus and Circe respectively. It was so fun to revisit the characters and myths from a new angle and learn more information about them. Circe, for example, was not only involved in the Odyssey but also experienced the tales of Jason and the Argonauts, King Minos and the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus. I would recommend them to anyone. The depth of research and rich storytelling combine to pull you in page after page, whether you’ve read the Homeric epics or not.
I love hiking, biking, skiing, surfing, backpacking, or anything to do outside. I just got back from a three-week trip traveling through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. I also play classical piano – I continued my music studies during my undergraduate studies.
Another large part of my life is volunteering. I have been a volunteer EMT on the Mountainside Rescue Squad for six years. I also was a founding member of my college’s student-run Emergency Medical Service. I love being able to give back to my community and am glad to be able to help people in their times of need.
My final passion is travel. I have been very fortunate to study abroad three times – in Greece, Spain, and Thailand. I am trying to keep my country count up to my age, but am currently behind with only 21 countries. I am planning a trip to China, Taiwan, and Vietnam over winter break to see a friend who works for the State Department, so hopefully, I will catch up for my 24th birthday. I truly believe exposure to a variety of peoples, cultures, languages, and beliefs promotes tolerance, understanding, and peace.
Samantha Berrios of East Haven, CT has been announced as the inaugural recipient of the William Morse Scholarship. The scholarship will pay for half of Ms. Berrios’ tuition for all of her high school years. This scholarship has made Sammie’s dream of attending FlexSchool come true. FlexSchool New Haven is a private school for gifted and twice-exceptional learners located in the heart of the Yale community.
The William Morse Scholarship is named in honor of Dr. William Morse who has been an advisor, mentor, and inspiration to Jacqui Byrne, Founder of FlexSchool, since he reviewed her application as an admissions officer at Yale in 1980. Dr. Morse is an advocate for small schools and personalized education. He believes FlexSchool will have a “Decisively positive impact on Sammie and the uniquely gifted students around her.” Jacqui Byrne said,”Dr. Bill Morse embodies the love of lifelong learning that we hope to inspire in all FlexSchool students. Sammie’s curiosity reminded us of Dr. Morse and we look forward to welcoming her into our community of gifted and twice-exceptional students. She is terrific and we are thrilled she will join us.”
Sammie impressed the scholarship selection panel with her natural leadership ability, her infectious zest for life, her demonstrated passion for science and her desire to attend a school where she can take deep academic dives into her areas of interest. Sammie has always loved school and she has been active in both academic and extracurricular activities, including band and even founding a Glee Club in her school. Sammie stated,”I’ve always wanted to learn more exciting material, such as engineering, chemistry, and humanities. I am honestly beside myself, knowing that I received a scholarship to FlexSchool.” Heidi Molbak, Co-Founder of FlexSchool and Head of School for FlexSchool New Haven, believes Sammie will be a fantastic fit for FlexSchool. Heidi stated,”Sammie goes after what she wants with a big heart and a lot of energy. I can’t wait to connect Sammie to women in STEM programs and help support her drive to make her dreams come true.”
Dr. Morse says he feels honored that Sammie Berrios has been the inaugural recipient as he believes she is a natural leader, passionate, creative and gifted. His advice to Berrios is,”Sammie, I want you to take inspiration from women, particularly women in science. Look around. Find your own role models; see what other women have done or are doing. You have the potential, the gifts, strength and the courage to be anything you choose to be. We don’t know exactly what, when or how, but it all begins with your own dreams. In time, given your passion and determination, they will come true.”
FlexSchool faculty members flexed their physical and mental muscles
While the students were off this week for spring recess, the FlexSchool faculty and staff members were on hand. They were busy planning FlexFriday trips, FlexSchool’s first graduation, and possible FlexSchool summer offerings as well as partnerships with local colleges. They were also keeping balance with yoga (pun intended). FlexSchool’s first graduating class will walk in June, and we couldn’t be prouder! Whether continuing on to a gap year or going away to a 4-year college, our students are guided by our College Counselors along the way. We look forward to seeing all our students on Monday when they come back to school!
At FlexSchool, we focus on academics with the long-view in mind. Visit https://flexschool.net.