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Chinquapin Prep: My educational Shangri-La

In 2013 I had the good fortune of being assigned to Chinquapin as an instructional coach to support and certify three new teachers hired by the school. From the morning of my first observation, I felt an immediate connection with Chinquapin’s mission and culture. In every classroom and campus space, I observed committed students and faculty engaged in a style of teaching and learning that was collaborative, joyful, and rooted in mutual respect. After my very first visit, I wanted to teach at Chinquapin, and even nicknamed it my “educational Shangri-La.”

It’s 2017 and I’m delighted to count myself as a permanent member of the Chinquapin community. I’m even more delighted to report that my first year of living and teaching at Chinquapin is exactly as I hoped it would be. The high standards, family atmosphere, and inclusive nature I witnessed as a visitor remain the hallmarks of a Chinquapin education.

It’s cliché, but teaching at Chinquapin is truly special and it is the students who make our school an educational Shangra-La. Teaching students who avidly engage in great literature and classroom discussion never gets old, but what makes Chinquapin really unique are the out-of-class experiences. I look forward to eating breakfast and dinner with my students. I love the conversations in the quad and library. Our students’ warmth and friendliness, their commitment to their school community, sets Chinquapin apart. It took twenty years, but I’m glad to finally be home!

Stephen Perrault

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