by Nikki Stein

The existence of Academic Council, a group of Upper School students and teachers who discuss and reevaluate the school’s curriculum, gives Chadwick students an opportunity that few high school student bodies have.
“The purpose of Academic Council is to offer students the chance to provide input on academic issues presented to them by the administration as well as to offer topics for discussion of students own choosing,” said Wiedenmann.
The Academic Council has met once this school year on Jan. 6. Their main discussion topic revolved around the homework surveys required of students for each of their classes.
“I believe the input and feeback of students was quite helpful in improving the survey’s quality,” said Wiedenmann.
The Academic Council consists of twenty students and three faculty advisors: Headmaster Ted Hill, Dean of Students Lauren Stern and Head of Upper School Mark Wiedenmann.
Joining the Academic Council required student applicants to submit essays answering, “Why are you interested and what do you think you might be able to contribute to the group’s process?”
“There are no pre-requisites in terms of other elected and/or leadership positions, awards or accomplishments,” said Hill. “The essential criteria are thoughtfulness and a willingness to engage in an important process for the good of the school and your fellow students.”
This year, Hill has enacted changes intended to streamline the work of the council. “In response to feedback from students last year, we revised the Academic Council,” said Hill.
“The major changes are be to reduce the number of faculty and student participants and to focus the Academic Council’s meetings on issues on which we will move forward. We plan to include a limited number of representatives from each class (grades 9-12) to meet monthly,” he said.
Furthermore, Hill intends to broaden the spectrum of groups involved in the council as needed. “Depending on the focus of a given meeting, we will invite other members of the faculty and administration to attend and participate. Participants may be expected to read a modest number of background materials before meetings,” he said.
The Academic Council has bold goals for its 2010-2011 agenda. According to Hill, “The topics that we may tackle this year are the school’s new Strategic Plan for 2010-2020, relationships with Chadwick International School Songdo, AP-designated courses, homework, and the senior year experience.”