Dr. Karen Bohlin

Dr. Karen Bohlin is Head of School at Montrose.

Recent Posts

8 Tips for Promoting Dialogue in a Climate of Division

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on Oct 15, 2020 5:22:47 PM

We are all breathing in the tension right now.  A presidential election around the corner.  Disagreement about a new Supreme Court Justice nominee. Heightened anxieties about the global pandemic. Political pundits are pounding their positions. And as the partisanship chasm deepens, day-to-day conversations have become a bit of a minefield.    

As a Head of School, I have a front row seat to observe how teenagers are trying to navigate this terrain. When my student government team sat down to talk to me recently, here’s what I heard. 

It’s really hard. It’s the elephant in the room, Dr. Bohlin. We want to start a campaign, so everyone knows their voice is valued, heard and respected. It’s not just about debating issues.  It’s about our daily interactions— the way we listen, ask questions and really understand each other that matters. 

They have valid concerns. And they have framed up their responses with a practical wisdom we sometimes lack as adults. 

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Make Your Bed! And Other Ways to Learn and Thrive during COVID-19

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on Mar 19, 2020 2:50:54 PM

Feeling on edge? A little strung out? Wondering daily—as my family, colleagues, students and friends are -- “When is this going to end? How long will it be? I just want to know!”

This week, we watched thousands of teachers around the country reinvent school, moving it online in record time -- these agile, creative dedicated educators are heroes!

Now, how do we help the students who are also being tested by these changes? 

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Life Lessons from Behind the Soda Fountain

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on Feb 6, 2020 1:33:50 PM

When I was fifteen years old, I worked as a waitress behind the soda fountain at a Norman Rockwell-esque ice cream parlor and homemade candy shop: Conrad’s Confectionery in Westwood, New Jersey. 

Conrad’s was a delightful place. The regulars from town met at the counter each Saturday morning: the owners of the jewelry shop and the shoe store, the undertakers from the local funeral home, and the boy I had a crush on from the record shop. I grew confident in my skills and familiar with all the regulars’ names.  I could make an excellent ice-cream soda, pour the perfect egg cream and keep the dishes washed and put away -- even when it was busy.  

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The Anchor of a Parent's Quiet Love

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on Nov 26, 2019 3:00:15 PM

When I was a sophomore in high school, my father drove me to school every morning. And every day, I was silent. My poor dad worked so hard to engage me. He would ask me what I was looking forward to, what I was worried about. I might offer a quick response about an upcoming test or a paper, but no more than a few words. 

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The Courage to Live with Integrity

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on Oct 31, 2019 8:14:46 AM

Years ago, I had a student who wrote an outstanding paper for me on The Diary of Anne Frank. Her compassion and understanding for Anne - someone who was unjustly persecuted - ran deep throughout her analysis. 

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Coaching Teens Through Life's Challenges

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on Sep 18, 2019 9:27:42 PM

“Let me do it. I can do it!  Let me try…. I want to try!” is both a familiar and endearing toddler refrain.  Young children are wired to ask questions and explore their world. As kids grow older and social expectations set in, the stakes become higher.  And often we, as adults, are not as comfortable “letting” children do, try and get curious about solving problems on their own. Once they seem hesitant, we are all too ready to leap in, fix and give advice.  But should we? 

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The Power of a Family Story

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on Nov 5, 2018 9:11:45 AM

My siblings have been telling Grandma Bohlin stories since I was a child. “Did you know she drove from New Jersey to Boston to see Grandpa in his Drum Corps Performance?” one story began. “When she hit Commonwealth Avenue, she followed the trolley tracks underground right into the station!”

Grandma Bohlin was a youthful 62 when she died of a heart attack. I never had a chance to meet her, yet I have heard so much about the days surrounding her passing that I feel like I was there.

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The Gift of Presence

Posted by Dr. Karen Bohlin on May 16, 2018 1:56:18 PM

As the students streamed through the doors on the first day of school, filling the corridors with their laughter and conversation, my heart felt full. At Montrose, we spent the summer building, painting, and transforming classrooms and offices into more purposeful spaces and places for our girls. We also engaged in deep full-faculty conversation about why we do what we do and ways we can amplify our efforts to make a difference in the life of each young woman here.

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