View Full Version : All NYC Q&A with Bo Lauder, Principal of Friends Seminary in Downtown NYC

03-26-2012, 09:00 AM
From DNAinfo.com (http://www.dnainfo.com/20120326/murray-hill-gramercy/bo-lauder-brings-friends-seminary-into-21st-century-with-arabic-ipads) by Mary Johnson:

Just call him “Bo.”

That’s what all 730 students at Friends Seminary, a Quaker school on 222 E. 16th Street in Gramercy, call their 50-year-old principal, who lives in nearby Murray Hill. Lauder has led the school, which teaches students from kindergarten through 12th grade, for the past decade. In that time, he has strengthened the school’s financial footing, added Arabic language programming, distributed free iPads and constructed a brand new library, which he said has become the intellectual heart of the 226-year-old Quaker school.

Q: How does the structure of a Quaker school differ from other schools?

A basic illustration of how it's different is the fact that my students call me "Bo." We’re a first-name school, and I think that really stems from the belief that Quakers have that inequality, that certain artificial barriers that separate people in other contexts, just don’t need to be. I think it's a manifestation of that respect for everybody that kindergartners call me by my first name. It still drives my mother crazy, but I can’t imagine going to a school where I was "Mr. Lauder."

Q: What distinguishes Friends Seminary from other schools in New York City?

We instituted an Arabic language program at the school, and we believe that we were the only independent school in the city of New York to have integrated it as we have in middle school and upper school. Next year will be our fourth year of offering it, and we’ll have four full sections. We’ll be adding Mandarin in the fall.

We were early adopters of the iPad, and this year, kindergartners, fifth grade and ninth grade all got iPads. This was sort of a pilot year. Next year, kindergarten, first, fourth, fifth, sixth, eighth, ninth and tenth [grades] will all get iPads, and the following year the whole school will have them.

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