The Gill St. Bernard's Parents' Association supports parent education by hosting speakers and through their membership with Common Ground Speaks, a consortium of independent schools which sponsor free speaker events. Distinguished speakers feature topics such as child development, parenting and education. As information on the speakers and topics becomes available it will be posted to this page and emailed to the community. View our upcoming events below!
In conjunction with the Gill St. Bernard's School Parents' Association, various speakers visit campus each year to speak on a variety of topics.
See our news stories throughout the year for highlights on these various speakers.
Conversations are sponsored by the Parents’ Association and are held in the morning after drop off in the Verdile Dining Room in Founders. Coffee is served, of course, and delicious baked goods are usually provided by an attending parent. It’s casual, comfortable, and informative!
Common Ground Speaks is a consortium of parent associations of independent schools in the Central/Northern New Jersey area (of which Gill St. Bernard's is a member), working in a collaborative effort to bring education, information, and inspiration to our community.
Common Ground Speaks along with The Chatham Day School is pleased to present, “Flipping the Script on Anxiety: Turning Our Most Undervalued Emotion into our Newest Ally” with Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary on Tuesday, May 16 at 7:00 p.m. at The Chatham Day School, 700 Shunpike Road, Chatham, NJ 07928.
Join us for an evening with Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, author of Future Tense: Why Anxiety Is Good For You (Even Though It Feels Bad). With stress and burnout spiking, many of us believe that our lives would be better if only we were less anxious. Learn about a radical new framework for managing your family's anxiety—our brains’ response to uncertainty—and using it to our advantage.
The 45-minute presentation will be followed by a Q&A. Admission is free, but registration is required. To register, click HERE. Please note that parking is extremely limited and carpooling is strongly encouraged.
Common Ground Speaks is a consortium of parent associations of independent schools in the Central/Northern New Jersey area that works in collaboration to bring education, information, and inspiration to our community. www.commongroundspeaks.org
Recent GSB Guest Speakers
Doyne, Co-Founder of the non-profit BlinkNow, grew up in suburban New Jersey before deciding to travel the world during a gap year before college. Her travels ultimately led her to a life-altering experience in Surkhet, Nepal, where she raised funds to open a children's home, women's center, and school to help better the lives of Nepal's most vulnerable individuals.
Doyne was honored as a Forbes 'Top 30 under 30' Social Entrepreneur and by the Dalai Lama as an Unsung Hero of Compassion. Her memoir, Between the Mountain and the Sky: A Mother’s Story of Love, Loss, Healing, and Hope, was the 2022 summer reading book for Gill St. Bernard's faculty and staff.
Mark Bittman has been a leading voice in global food culture and policy for more than three decades. The author of more than thirty books, including the How to Cook Everything series and his most recent, Animal, Vegetable, Junk, Mr. Bittman wrote for the New York Times for more than three decades, and became the country’s first food-focused Op-Ed columnist for a major news publication. Join us for an engaging talk about how our food system developed, where it is today, and how we can make it sustainable and fair in the future.
Best-selling author, consultant, and educator Rachel Simmons presented Raising Resilient Kids: Teach Your Child to Resist Perfectionism, Manage Self-Criticism & Talk Back to Toxic College Pressure. The event, which drew a crowd of nearly 300 to the new Performing Arts & Community Center, was sponsored by Common Ground Speaks (CGS), a consortium of parents' associations from northern and central New Jersey independent schools. The group works together to bring in timely and informative guest speakers on topics related to parenting and issues impacting school-aged children.
GSB was pleased to welcome Richard Guerry to speak on Social Media, Gaming and the Responsible Use of Technology. Guerry spoke in separate sessions to parents, students from the Upper School, and students from the Middle School. He adapted his presentation to the different audiences, but with each he stressed the same message: digital activity is always public and always permanent. View the parent and teacher presentation handout (PDF).
Tony Hoffman, former pro BMXer and US Olympics coach, spoke on the topic of "Alcohol, Drugs, and Partying: Helping Parents and Kids Before They Make the Choice."
Sergeant Thomas Rich
Sergeant Thomas Rich, cybersafety expert, spoke to GSB parents and students (grades four through 12). He began the day with a morning session for parents, and then had three separate student sessions, and concluded with an additional evening session for parents. The presentation was well attended and very informative.
Dr. Michael Fowlin
Actor, psychologist and poet Dr. Michael Fowlin—sponsored by both the Middle School and Gill St. Bernard’s School Parents’ Association—addressed issues of equity, identity, anti-bullying and empathy. A repeat visitor to GSB since 2008, Dr. Fowlin has provided peer mediation, diversity training, gender equality workshops and violence prevention seminars to people of all ages for nearly 20 years. He holds a doctorate in clinical psychology from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and a B.S. in psychology from Evangel University in Springfield, Mo.
Dr. Leonard Sax
The GSB Parents’ Association held presentations with family physician, author and development specialist Dr. Leonard Sax who discussed how, over time, the transfer of authority has moved from parent to child. According to data, this can be harmful to a young person’s success. Dr. Sax holds a Ph.D. in psychology as well as an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His topic, Who’s in Charge Here?: Why and When Letting Kids Decide is Not the Best Strategy, challenges the practice of letting one’s child lead, and present an alternative perspective supported by evidence.
The Middle School welcomed yoga instructor, columnist and modern mentor Maggie DiPasquale. DiPasquale is a graduate of Boston College who specializes in helping young girls understand the connection between their minds, bodies and spirits. Her talk, How to Raise Happy Kids, was open to parents of all genders across Gill’s three academic divisions. DiPasquale also met individually with GSB’s seventh and eighth grade girls.
Recent CGS/CTC Sessions
The February 2022 Community Through Conversation focused on gender identity. The frameworks of gender and sexuality have shifted dramatically in recent years from discrete categories to conceptualizing both aspects of identity as a spectrum. Many parents feel the need to play catch-up with these cultural shifts in order to understand current experiences within our student community. Becoming familiar with terminology and concepts is a critical first step.
Common Ground Speaks hosted body language expert and best-selling author Janine Driver for a presentation titled, “You Say More than You Think,” on Wednesday, April 14 at via Zoom. In this fast-paced, interactive, funny, educational and motivational program, Janine Driver shared essential methodologies and easy-to-learn tools on reading and using body language to your advantage.
Common Ground speaks hosted psychology and neuroscience, Speaker, Author, and Amherst Professor Catherine Sanderson for a presentation entitled, “Merely Bystanders: The Psychology of Courage and Inaction. " The presentation examined the factors that lead most of us to stay silent in the face of bad behavior, and how the tendency to stay silent allows such acts to continue. She will describe how to overcome the very natural human tendency to remain bystanders and practical strategies for resisting such pressure in their own lives.
Common Ground Speaks hosted Amy Morin, LCSW, mental strength trainer and international bestselling author, on "How to Raise Mentally Strong Kids in Today’s World."
Mental Health and Wellness, by Upper School Counselor Emily Haberman, LCSW and Lower and Middle School Counselor Jessica Robina, MS, LPC, NCC, was presented as a follow-up to Amy Morin's Common Ground Speaks event.
Parenting With Identity in Mind, presented by renound educator and expert in facilitating cross-cultural conversations, Rosetta Lee
Respecting Our Differences, presented by Tracey Barrett, Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
Daniel Giovenco spoke on the use of vapor products, such as JUUL. This presentation described popular product characteristics, reasons for use, and the health effects of vapor products.
Effective Sports Parenting, presented by Dave Pasquale, Upper School Dean of Student Life
Empathy, presented by Tracey Barrett, Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs
Study Skills & Memory Tips, presented by GSB Learning Specialists
Successful Feeding Strategies for Families, by Jeanne Petrucci, MS, RDN, Living Plate Nutrition Education and Counseling Center. This workshop focused on proven strategies for feeding families with young children.
College Prep Experiences with Kerri Small for Grades 7-11 parents.
Jessica Robina, GSB School Counselor, spoke about tips to help manage student stress.
Kyle Armstrong presented his talk on the “3 C’s”- collaboration, conversation, and creativity; three characteristics that make up a great school. Armstrong discussed the Library and Maker Space planned for the Middle School as well as the transition of the 5th grade.
Get Involved with the GSB Parents' Association
Use the link below to learn about PA volunteer opportunities.