MI and Differentiated Learning at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School

Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School pic

Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School
Image: chch.org

A successful competitive water polo coach, Cory Olcott holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in education and English literature from Stanford University, and a master’s of education in school leadership from Harvard University. Cory Olcott serves as dean of sophomore class, director of student activities, and basketball coach at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School (CH-CH).

CH-CH is a private, independent college preparatory school situated on a 40-acre campus in Waltham, Massachusetts, just a few minutes outside of Boston. The school provides an intimate classroom experience with, on average, just over 10 students per class.

The institution differentiates itself from similar schools with its approach of “teaching the way students learn.” Rather than seeking to demonstrate how smart the students are, the school strives to identify how the students are smart. In practice, CH-CH uses the Multiple Intelligence (MI) theory to better understand its students and applies differentiated instruction to more suitably serve its various types of learners.

The MI theory was developed by Dr. Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist. According to Dr. Gardner, there are nine intelligences (mathematical/logical, naturalist, interpersonal, musical, linguistic, bodily/kinesthetic, existential, spatial, and intrapersonal) that need to be stimulated and supported by schools. CH-CH designs its lessons so that students can achieve their full potential by tapping into these distinct intelligences.

Differentiated instruction takes into consideration that not all students in a classroom have uniform levels of ability or learn subjects using the same processes. Thus, lessons are designed and delivered in a manner that can best reach each student. Studies reveal that differentiated learning is beneficial to a broad spectrum of students.


Advantages of Online Learning

Online Learning pic

Online Learning
Image: usnews.com

Cory Olcott is the dean of sophomore class, director of student activities, and an English instructor at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School. One of Cory Olcott’s professional interests is online learning.

Online learning comes with several benefits, including enhanced class discussions. Online courses usually include discussion forums in which students must participate. Gaining knowledge and understanding of classmates’ views is one aspect of the discussion board. During an in-person class, it sometimes can be hard to ascertain the views of an introverted student who does not speak up during discussions. This person may express themselves more openly in an online setting.

Online classes also help with the development of virtual communication skills. As individuals interact online, it’s quite easy for students misunderstand the tone the other person is trying to project, given a lack of facial expressions, vocal intonation, and gestures. With experience, however, students can learn to effectively communicate via online platforms.

Three Unique Online Tools to Enhance the Classroom Experience




Most recently a principal intern at TechBoston Academy, Cory Olcott honed his skills in special education programs and operations as it relates to technological support. Cory Olcott dedicated time to researching and proposing technology solutions to enhance the classroom experience. The following tools can be useful and beneficial for improving classroom engagement.

Glogs: A subscription-based tool, Glogs adds visual appeal to the learning experience. The multimedia platform allows students and teachers to create interactive web pages and posters that incorporate audio files, graphics, and videos, along with other elements, to increase understanding of a specific subject matter. The tool is ideal for the in-classroom curriculum as well as those involving distance learning.

Storybirds: Storyboards gives students the ability to craft online books with artwork designed by artists and illustrators. An opportunity to practice writing skills and creativity, the books can be published online to a library monitored by a teacher.

Free Rice 2.0: Registration optional for tracking scores, Free Rice 2.0 operates like a game. While students partake in exercises, they are being tested on a variety of topics, ranging from mathematics to flags of the world. Foreign language activities also appear on the platform.

Water Polo – From Unique Pastime to Olympic Sport

Experienced education professional Cory Olcott teaches English and serves as dean of the sophomore class at Chapel Hill – Chauncy Hall School, a coeducational college preparatory institution in Waltham, Massachusetts. In addition to his work at Chapel Hill – Chauncy Hall School, Cory Olcott gives his time as a volunteer assistant coach for the Harvard University men’s water polo team.

Although the exact origins of water polo are largely unknown, it is believed that British resort owners invented the game in the mid-1800s to attract guests. Water polo was originally played in lakes and rivers and featured passing techniques similar to horseback polo, which gave the new sport its name.

Early on, water polo games were quite violent and often involved underwater wrestling that would sometimes leave players barely conscious. After the game reached the United States at the end of the 19th century, New Yorker Harold Reeder developed rules of discipline to curb in-game fighting and help make water polo safer for players.

As in the United States, water polo’s popularity spread across countries around the globe, and the game was named the first Olympic team sport in 1900, although it did not become a women’s event until the year 2000. Over the years, Hungarians have dominated the men’s Olympic event, but other European nations, including Italy, Yugoslavia, and Spain, also have garnered success in international play.

The Stanford Water Polo Club

Water polo, also referred to as water ball, is a team sport which, as its name implies, is played in the pool. Stanford University’s Water Polo Club has been a standout. One of the coaches instrumental in its successes is Cory Olcott, who served on the club’s coaching faculty from 2007 to 2011. During the 2008 season, Mr. Olcott led the women’s 16 and under division to a bronze medal in the Junior Olympics. In 2009, Cory Olcott assisted in leading team members to championships in the Junior National and National divisions.

The object of the game is to score goals by throwing a ball into a net, and is often considered to be similar to the game of team handball. Players swim and tread water as well as pass the ball in order to score. The sport involves a team of six players and a goalkeeper.

Stanford University has both men’s and women’s student teams, and the Water Polo Club features competitions geared toward younger members in the community who want to compete in junior-level events.

TechBoston Prepares Students for Life

With a history as both a teacher and an evaluator of education, Cory Olcott demonstrates a strong dedication to the teaching profession. Cory Olcott served as an English teacher at Pinewood and Woodside Priory Schools before becoming the chair for the English Department at Woodside. He then joined TechBoston Academy as a principal intern, helping to observe and evaluate the staff and methodologies there.

TechBoston represents a new style of teaching suited to the needs of the 21st century. Having recognized an increasing divide between how students understand their teachers due to the rate of technological growth, TechBoston bridges that gap by emphasizing technology in the classroom.

Teachers at TechBoston strive to employ individualized methods based on student needs. They prepare students for college and future career paths, identifying strengths early. In 2006, TechBoston graduates went on to college educations at a rate 29 percent higher than students from the Boston Public School District. By 2010, this number had risen to 32 percent.

TechBoston selects its students randomly through a lottery, but once students are accepted, they automatically move from the lower academy to the upper academy. The school also organizes college tours, assists with financial aid arrangements, and helps students audit college courses.

Cory Olcott: New Advances in Educational Technology

Advancements in technology and education have gone hand in hand for centuries, and the modern classroom is no different. Technological advances have enabled schools to offer students new and exciting ways to learn while giving teachers and administrators an expanded set of educational tools.

Teachers have been able to utilize the Internet to give their students new opportunities in learning. Language instruction has been transformed by free and easy videoconferencing, giving students the chance to learn a language from a native speaker. Web sites with science experiment simulations, entire libraries of classical literature, and multimedia presentations also help teachers provide vital supplemental materials.

In addition to giving educators access to innovative teaching tools, technology has helped transform the way schools operate on every level. Real time assessment data gives teachers the opportunity to provide immediate feedback to students; programs can time how long each student spends on a given question, or quickly calculate which questions are giving students the most trouble.

About Cory Olcott:

Since returning to teaching in 2003, Cory Olcott has devoted himself to helping prepare the next generation of Americans for educational success. An alumnus of Northwestern University and Stanford University, he is currently pursuing his second Master’s degree at Harvard University’s School Leadership Program.