Dear New Lincolnites,

I know, and you know, that your years at New Lincoln were the best years of anyone else's New Lincoln years. But, I beg to disagree. The best years were the ones when I was at New Lincoln. 1954-57. Then you would have had me in the 10th grade, Mac Carpenter in the 11th and Mabel Smythe in the 12th. Jonesey was math, Madame Brown French, Sy Trieger science, Lou the coach and Marianne Preger dance and field hockey.  Ed Bly and Robin Rae were bright spots in the lower grades.  Jack Brooks was the Headmaster, and as shrewd and as bright as any principal I ever worked for. I was young. I had only taught 4 previous years. Two up in Bradford, Pa. and two out on Long Island in Baldwin.  One day, at Baldwin, we were given a day off, part of an in-service project related to NYU, and the NYU profs set up a visiting day for 6 of us to go see New Lincoln.

Sid SimonI came home, numb. And I came home knowing I had to work there. I applied, Jack Brooks came out to see me teach, and he was impressed, and invited me out for the interview process. Oh, I remember it well!  I was out in the outer office, sitting with two other candidates. They started talking about where they had taught, (Istanbul, Alexandria, Prague, Berkeley,) and then they talked about travels they had made (Africa, Asia, Austria, Yugoslavia.) and I remember being very quiet. I didn't have the heart to tell them, that the biggest journey I had yet had, was to cross the Pennsylvania Turnpike, twice.

But, I got the job!

And the rest is one of the high points in my personal journey. Those three years at New Lincoln.

To cut it short: Columbia profs would bring their students on field trips to New Lincoln. The word was out. Go see the 10th grade core teacher. NYU profs did the same, and one of them encouraged me to become a Teacher of Teachers, helped me get into the doctorate program, and so for 40 years, after I Ieft New Lincoln, that's what I did. Fourteen books grew out of what was considered ground-breaking work. (Most of the books were on Values Clarification, based on ideas I learned from Louis Raths, head of my doctoral committee at NYU, and honed on my NLS guinea pigs. One of the books is a novel that led to three national conferences on Grading Alternatives. The book is one of my favorites. You can find it on Amazon in the used section: WAD-JA-GETT, The Grading Game in American Education.)

All through everything I did with my professional life, New Lincoln provided so many of the seeds and the fires that shaped what I believed in.

I suspect, NLS had some impact on you, as well. Good luck on this wonderful adventure some of your colleagues have put together. And joy in all that is ahead. Remember, we all had one vote in town meeting? Use yours well. Thanks to Peggy Solow Liss for nudging me to write to all of you. Have a great reunion, and a renewal in what you know our schools need to be doing today!!!


Sidney B. Simon, Professor Emeritus, Psychological Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst