Scott Reisinger, Building Students, Not Linear Learners

The Path to Higher Ed is a SchooLinks hosted podcast community that explores trending topics and issues in the area of college and career readiness. Our featured guests are pushing education forward by constantly learning from, innovating and applying their college and career readiness practices.

In this episode, we talk to Scott Reisinger, Head of School of the Trevor Day School in New York, NY. By stressing the importance of inquiry-based learning, students at Trevor Day are placed at the center of student empowerment and agency in the education process. With a keen eye on the college and career trajectories of his students, Scott discusses the consequences of teaching students as if they are all “linear learners.” Instead, he takes the backwards design approach by first engaging students in a gradual K-12 self-discovery process.

Episode Link

About Scott Reisinger

Scott holds a B.A. (summa cum laude) and M.A. (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Rochester and an M.Phil from Columbia University. Scott became the Head of School for Trevor Day School in July, 2014. He began his career at the Harley School in Rochester, NY, a coeducational, Nursery through Grade 12 day school with 500 students, where he taught history and psychology and served as Director of Admissions and Financial Aid. At Greens Farms Academy in Westport, CT, a coeducational, K through Grade 12 day school with 700 students, he chaired the history department and served as Head of the Lower School and Assistant Head of School.

Prior to Trevor, Scott served for 15 years as Head of Bancroft School, a coeducational, Pre-K through Grade 12 day school with 520 students. During his tenure at Bancroft, he led the “Strategic Thinking Efforts” toward construction of new Lower and Middle School facilities, as well as renovation of the Science Center. He also worked closely with his faculty on significant curricular revisions and innovative programming, Project-Based Learning, an iPad Program, and STEM advancements. Scott also successfully led Bancroft’s Centennial Capital Campaign and helped to double their endowment.

Scott completed a three-year term as Board President of the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE), where he served as a trustee for eight years. His writing on the subject of education includes titles such as Meet Children Where They Are, Helicopters, Homework and Happiness: Parents, Children and School, Putting Everything in Perspective, and Rigor and the Pursuit of Happiness. Scott also speaks on a variety of topics including inquiry-based learning, building cooperative educational communities, the changing landscape of community colleges in the U.S, and the balance between rigor and happiness in K- 12 education.

The connections between Trevor Day School’s values and vision and Scott’s educational philosophies are numerous. He believes deeply that it is his responsibility as an educator to nurture the inherent gifts in each individual child. He is focused on cultivating a lifelong love of learning in students, and developing young people who are self-directed and responsible global citizens. Scott’s warm and communicative nature is a clear fit for Trevor’s collaborative educational environment — he is a welcome addition to the signature common spaces and within the greater academic community. Scott is a generative thinker and committed to his faculty and staff. Furthermore, his highly effective strategic thinking and planning is an invaluable asset to lead growth and change. To quote Scott, “Indeed, this is an exciting and hopeful time to be in education and a school leader. The challenges are myriad, but the potential almost endless.”

About Trevor Day School

Throughout its 86-year history, Trevor Day has built a great tradition of nurturing the talents and passions of each and every child whom we serve. Trevor works with parents to cultivate their children’s inherent gifts, thereby, developing in them a deep intellectual foundation. The school does so by committing itself to inquiry-based learning, guided by devoted teachers who model collaboration, intellectual passion, and adaptability.

This core dedication to children is tangibly supported by the physical and philosophical architectures of the school. Within student-centered common spaces, teachers and students collaborate dynamically; together, they navigate a classic curriculum that leads to academic mastery, innovative thinking, and a global perspective. The new LEED Gold Middle and Upper School campus on East 95th Street, and renovated Lower School on West 88th Street, are optimal educational environments that support the school’s mission to place students at the center of their learning. This mission is further exemplified through signature Trevor elements, including differentiated learning, a rich advisory program, and family conferences.

The goal is to challenge students to make meaning of what they are learning, and to guide them to become self-advocating and critical thinkers. At Trevor, students make connections across disciplines, transcend academic boundaries, and become innovative problem-solvers. The school empowers students to take charge of their own learning and encourage them to ask the tough questions that lead to true understanding.

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