Head of School’s Blog


Julie Mountcastle is Head of School, Grade 2 Teacher, and a member of the founding team of Slate School in North Haven, Connecticut, where she developed and leads the school’s unique curiosity-driven curriculum. Julie has been an educator since 2001 and has been at the forefront of child-centered education. Before becoming a teacher, Julie was a professional actress and appeared in plays and musicals on Broadway, on London's West End, and in regional theatre across the country, and she is a passionate advocate for arts in the classroom.



Goal Setting, Commitment Making, and Reflection

When students feel confident and self-motivated to learn, outcomes are improved, and attitudes are infinitely more positive across the entire learning community. Student goal setting, commitment making, and reflection are at the center of the learner-driven classroom. The youngest students have agency over their goals, and this practice is systematically built from the earliest days of their formal education at Slate School. Read more of this blog post.

Changing the Landscape of Education Through Side-by-Side Learning with Children

At Slate School, we have dedicated ourselves to creating and advancing educational programs that increase the wonder and imagination of children. As we have created a school where child-centered education is palpable in its truest form, we similarly have developed a model at Slate School for side-by-side learning with experts. Read more of this blog post.

Curating a Library Based on Kindness, Respect, and Commonality

What is the purpose of a collection of books, and how does it determine the course of the education of a cohort? These are important questions that I had never had creative control to consider and implement. Yet every day at Slate School, the creation of our library and the importance of our book policy has become ever more clear. We say that we never want a child to be introduced to the unkindness of the world through a book if they have never experienced it in the world. Read more of this blog post.


Authentic Assessment

Assessment is key for student achievement. The seeds are sewn at the start of Kindergarten, when students begin thinking about goals that they'd like to achieve, and skills that they'd like to master. Each week at Slate School, students meet together to share the goals they have chosen for themselves for the week and to discuss the efforts they commit to make toward achieving their goal. The goals and commitments are shared because we are a community, and we support each other in attaining our personal goals. On Friday, students reconvene to share how their plans were fulfilled, and we subsequently celebrate their effort and grit. Progress toward goals is assessed separately so that when Monday rolls around again, children are able to modify their own commitment to further advance their progress and plans. Read more of this blog post.