Summercore 2004
an on-line diary of my adventures in NYC ... Steve Bergen

NYC Links

Hi Summercore Alums from 1985-2003 (19 years) ... here comes yet another annual Summercore BLOG at ;-)

Steve Bergen
May 24th 2004 (happy bob dylan's 63rd birthday)
CIO, The Chapin School (100 East End Avenue, New York, NY 10028)
co-director, The "Summercore" Teaching Company

This is yet one more reminder that we are now enrolling people for Summercore in just ONE session, July 12-16 in NYC ... the Florida one is full and we have cancelled the other one as part of yet another Summercore tradition which Lynne and I have now nicknamed "get a life" ;-) We expect to incorporate many Laptop Teaching and Schoolwide Strategies into this July 12-16 session based on our experiences in the innovate Chapin LIP program (see more info in the BLOG)

Topic One

all is well with us, in fact, quite well ... Lynne and I have been thinking that 2004 -- our 20th Summercore year -- has been treating us quite well ... first the Patriots win the Superbowl in February, then our son Sam lands a summer intern job with the NY Knicks, then our daughter Sarah gets into Harvard Law School ... who knows, perhaps this will be the year that the Red Sox break the curse and win the World Series in October ... we are indeed surrounded by all sorts of NY sports fans and it refreshing -- in a girls school where 90% of the faculty is female -- to have yet one more reminder of what I have always believed in terms of a significant number of females being just as passionate about sports ... I have fourth grade girls who line up outside of my office before the Yankees played the Red Sox this year just to tell me "hey Mr. Bergen, your team is going down this weekend" ... and Lynne and I have both encountered (Lynne is now finishing her first year at Chapin as computer faculty trainer) numerous female faculty colleagues who are as sports-fixated as the two of us ... in any case, 2004 has been good to us so far and we hope for you as well!

Topic Two

My transition to Chapin from Nobles is now just about 2 years in the making but feels in some ways like it has been 10 years ... in essentially starting over with a school that was at baby steps with technology, my mantra has been to try to redo each piece of the plan with more quality than I did before -- e.g. the pioneer program, video-conferencing, the curriculum for the students, the laptop program, the projector program and of course a big emphasis on humanware and faculty training ... so far, all is going quite well ... I find myself surrounded by a plethora of wonderfully supportive and engaging colleagues and administrators

In fact, our LIP program which we are just finishing is one of the neatest and most exciting eduational initiatives I have ever been involved in ... LIP at Chapin stands for Laptop Immmersion Program and it is our attempt in the middle school in infuse a huge amount of technology into one particular year ... several of us chose the sixth grade ("class 6") because the girls are "old enough to carry the laptop around with them each day but not yet cynical to drop their engagement" ... we at Chapin purchased 60 laptops to make this work and they are owned by the school ... the girls rarely take them home and each evening we recharge the laptops in carts ... the girls have these wonderful cases which they carry on their shoulder during the day as they go through the six floor Chapin buidling ... Lynne works with the teachers in grade six ("humanware" is the priority of course) to help create numerous technology projects ...this combination of providing the girls with laptops, having a building that is totally 100% quality wireless, having a dedicated faculty computer trainer (Lynne) to help create and support projects and having a computer proficiency course (CP6) is a Bill Belicek environment ...perhaps I will write a sequel to Moneyball to be called TechnoBall in which I try to share the confluent strategies and philosophy behind LIP in terms of creating a successful computer pilot project to help move a school in the right direction ... and to think that the first day I was to present this idea to the head of the middle school, I came to her office and before I could realize I was sick with an unexpected flu, I vomited about one gallon of "stuff" right in front of her on the floor of her office forcing her to immediately leave the office and forcing me to go home for the day ... this was in my fifth month of Chapin ;-)

Topic Three

One of my fears in making this job transition was leaving my Boston Home connection behind ... last year was a total mishap as I had organized a Chapin team to walk and push in the 2003 Marathon only to have my back give out with about 5 days to go ... this was the only back setback I had experienceding in two years and it had to happen just 5 days before the Boston marathon trip last year ... perhaps a message from G-d or perhaps another opportunity to make crisis into opportunity ... I could not stand up for 48 hours after it happened and Lynne ended up coming down to NYC for a make shift Passover as I recuperated in bed ... how bizarre was this but fortunately, it led to the Dorchester Day parade in June as a fortuitious plan B where 6 Chapin students, several parents and me drove to the Boston Home on a Sunday ... it was truly a wonderful day

Topic Four

This year we are doing that as our main event ... the girls in my class 6 laptop program research multiple sclerosis and created PowerPoint presentations on MS and the Boston Home ... more recently, they have been working at creating Forrest Gump pictures for the many residents of the Boston Home putting then into artificial scenes according to their requests ... we are going up in exactly two weeks on Sunday June 6th to present the pictures and push in the Dorchester Day parade and raise money for the Boston Home ... see info at the very bottom of this BLOG if you want to help support us!

Topic Five

If you didn't hear what happened to me in May 2003 (I think it was May 2003) with my geometry students and the bagel, I will share the story -- in all of its glory -- here yet again!

It all begin when we were doing ninth grade oral reports in Geometry. One student had a number of visuals to enhance her presentation on topology and so she had taken a bagel and highlighted it visually since the bagel and a coffee cup are "topologically equivalent." At the end of class, she asked me if she should throw it away or what and I said I would take it, since I was getting hungry and had to meet with the other math teachers to grade the projects.

After eating half the bagel breaking off tiny chunks so that I could avoid the paper pieces, my colleague and friend said "Hey, Steve, be careful of THOSE things." Well I looked down and realized he was referring to the dots which I thought were candy dots. Now for the first time in 30 minutes, I realized they were tiny thumbtacks and not candy dots. My friend told I better get to the nurse promptly since I had just consumed a bunch of them.

The nurse of course sent me to hospital down the street to get x-rays which revealed at least one of the tacks. I spent the afternoon in the hospital where they insisted on keeping me overnight scaring me by saying that if one of the tacks caused internal bleeding, I would be in major trouble ... I stayed for a while but had to deliver an important presentation at Chapin in the afternoon and so I checked out, signing a disclaimer form for the hospital ... I was feeling fine and not side effects from ingesting the tacks ... I decided on my own that the hospital was being too OCD cautious and I would go back that night to my apartment and rest, calling my doorman every hour on the hour that I was alive ... I told him if he did not hear from me at one of the preset times to come upstairs and investigate or to send an ambulence ... this went on from 6pm to 10pm but then my friend from Chapin called me to tell me I was an idiot and I should go back to the hospital ... so I went back at 10pm to check back in and spend the night in the emergency room ... I brought my reading material and was prepared to act like a big kid and check in ...

unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, I waited in the emergency room for two hours thru midnight just reading and watching television ... at that time I was so sick and tired of the day's events and my own stupidity at not knowing the difference between candy dots and tiny thumbtacks that I just went home and went to sleep

the next day, I went to my regular NYC doctor and called Lynne on the phone to tell her (she lived in Massachusetts the first year I was at Chapin) ... my doctor said that this was not as abnormal as it might seem and and that he was not too worried and that "all things will pass" ... Lynne told me what I expected -- that I was an idiot -- and she proceed to find quotes and examples on the web of various small children and mentally challenged adults who had also ingested metal objects


Topic Six

as for our Boston/NYC life, we do the commute virtually every Sunday and Friday ... we have chosen to keep our house in Lexington MA which has now turned into a weekend get-a-way chock-filled with 20 years of memories and tons of stuff which would never fit into our small NYC apartment ... it is refreshing each weekend to catch up with Boston sports radio, the Boston Globe and get out of the city ... the commute takes between 3.5 and 5 hours and so far has been under control ... our best time was when we left Boston the night the Patriots won the SuperBowl in Feburary, arriving in NYC at 2am ... next year, the big dilemma will be the New England Patriots games many of which start at 4pm and finish at 7pm ... Lynne is not sure yet if she wants to leave after the game and get back to NYC by midnight or leave Sunday morning and watch the games in NYC (never our first choice)

Topic Seven

one of the many joys at Chapin has been the presence of little kids ...this year I went into the first grade class (again) and talked about loving numbers and why March 14 (PI day) was special for me ... I taught the first grade girls about the fact that there are MANY numbers between 3 and 4 and that one of them was given a special name called PI ... I taught them to count from 1 to 10 the "adult way" which of course is 1,2,3, PI, 4, 5,6,7,8,9,10 ... they started calling me Mister PI and would greet me as Mister PI every time I would return the next Wednesday ... I also taught them to see how far they could double numbers by going 1,2,4,8,16,32,64,128 and so on ... what is amazing is that these same girls months later still come up to me in the hallway and say "hi Mister PI, 1,2,3, PI , 4, 5" ... I even had two Chapin girls stop me at a bus stop on York Avenue to remind me about PI ... this occasional teaching of first gradetruly has been a COGNAC moment for those of you who know about that metaphor

Topic Eight

in the spirit of Lynne and me turning 53 this year, one of my latest songs is about getting older and the fact that we cannot maintain this Summercore intensity life style for that many more years ... we have made a conscious decision this year to eliminate one week of Summercore and take a little breather this summer

not having my friend and guitar teacher Bob Lasher to record with, I have evolved my own Plan B on this one and have been working with my various doormen on voice recording the songs ... I come home from swimming at 7am and have a new lyric that one of the doormen in my apartment is generous enough to voice record with me ... his name is Eric and he figures this might become his 15 minutes of fame if we make it to the top ... Lynne, of course, refuses to listen to any of these new tunes unless I bribe her perhaps by agreeing to go shopping for new shirts ... I have even gotten a second doorman to sing a verse with me and then a third doorman -- in the tradition of American Idol is the judge, comparing the quality of the two of them in competition ;-)
in any case, here is the latest tune, intended to be half-serious ... click here to see the lyrics and listen to ALTER KAAKER

Topic Nine

I have also been successful at Chapin in getting SOME colleagues to join me in SOME of my music attempts, at least the ones that have not been influenced by Lynne ... one particular colleague and friend gave me the saying "fix the problem not the blame" which I latched onto since it represents the best of quadrant 1234 thinking and red auerbach management 101 ... I of course turned it into a song to the tune of "home on the range" and finally cajoled a Chapin colleague and friend named Josephine to voice record it with me ... click here to see the lyrics and listen to FIX THE PROBLEM NOT THE BLAME

hope all is well ... let me know if you have anyone who might be interested in Summercore 2004 ... if you would like to support us in our fundraiser for the Boston Home, please send e-mail to me at with your gold, silver or bronze pledge and send checks to Steve Bergen, PO Box E, Lexington MA 02420 ...


p.s. here is the official 2004 form

p.s. hope all is well ... let me know if you have anyone who might be interested in Summercore 2004 ... if you would like to support me in the fundraiser for the Boston Home -- some of you will remember Dianne and Colleen who were the JUDGES at the Summercore drawing contest -- here is the official 2004 form

Hi! I will be one of over 15 people to help push our friends from the Boston Home with multiple sclerosis in their wheelchairs in the 2004 Dorchester Day Parade. If you would like to SPONSOR ME and support this marathon walk on Sunday, June 6th, 2004 helping us raise money for technology for the residents (video-conferencing, Dragon Dictate, microphones, computers) please make an e-mail pledge of $100 (gold) or $10 (silver) or $1 (bronze) by sending an e-mail note to ; thanks much but please do NOT send any money yet. We need to see if we can make it from NYC to Boston that day before asking you to send the actual donation! Every dollar counts -- we love pledges of any size! Anyone who makes a "gold pledge" will receive a copy of Colleen Power's Autobiography which the Chapin girls are now producing. A student at my former school began it and finally we are finishing it: Crossing the Digital Divide. You can read more about Colleen's book-to-be and our June 6 plans on the web page of