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Dear Parents:

We’ve had a fantastic first week of school! We are delighted to have your children back on campus learning songs in French, designing structural towers, analyzing the Trail of Tears, and skipping from one room to another. Of course, as the enclosed Peanuts comic strip illustrates, this comes as a great relief. 🙂

In our Weekly News sections below, you’ll find fun, practical information on different parts of our school. In today’s introduction, though, I want to highlight five points related to the entire school:

Hurricane Irma. We are closely monitoring Irma, which could impact our area by the middle of next week. We encourage everyone to begin preparing their homes for the possible storm and we will update you over the weekend as we learn more.

Board Retreat. Last Sunday we held a retreat on campus for our board of trustees. The retreat was facilitated by consultant Bob Hallett, former head of school at St. Paul’s Friends in Baltimore and former executive director of the E.E. Ford Foundation (which historically has granted awards to both St. Croix Country Day School and Good Hope School). Bob has also been facilitating strategic planning with the board of trustees at Antilles School in St. Thomas. We are pleased to welcome five new trustees, who are already providing great energy, fresh perspectives, and new ideas:

  • Rhea Abramson, GHS ’93
  • Doug Capdeville, P ’20, P ’20, P ’20, P ’20
  • Joe Croney, P ’26, P ’24, P ’30
  • Cesar Guerra, CDS ’96 and P ’24, P ’27
  • Jed JohnHope, GHS ’99

Middle States Association Accreditation – Self-Study. As part of our re-accreditation process, we will be conducting a self-study this year in preparation for the site visit next fall. This month we will be appointing our Internal Coordinators to spearhead the process and then assembling a Planning Team. Constituency feedback is an important part of this process. We expect to be sending out surveys to parents, students, faculty, trustees, and alumni towards the end of September. We encourage everyone in advance to participate in these surveys.

Nurse’s Office – Digital Records. One victory last year, thanks to the hard work of Ms. Clarissa Cooper and our tech team, was that we now have all of our health records in an electronic database. This has made it much easier for Ms. Cooper to assess and understand individual and community health needs. Onward!

Parent Orientations. We are very much looking forward to having all of you on campus to get a taste of GHCDS and what your children experience every day. Please be sure to mark your calendars now for the Parent Orientation (9-12th) September 7 at 3:30-5:30pm, (5-8th) September 21 at 3:30-5:30pm, and (N-4th) September 28 at 3:30-5:30pm. This is an excellent opportunity to meet our talented faculty in person and answer any questions you may have.

Have a wonderful Labor Day Weekend!


Hot Topics in Education

Quick Announcements

¡Gracias! Merci! Thank You!

Around Campus

Parents’ Association

Key Dates


 Hot Topics in Education

“Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” By Jean Twenge, the Atlantic Monthly, September 2017. I am a big fan of technology – but it’s clear that there are huge downsides to current behavior. How are we teaching (and modeling for) our children their use of Smartphones?


Quick Announcements

Calendar Update:

GHCDS Back to School BBQ originally scheduled on the calendar for this Saturday, September 2, has been CANCELLED.

Summer Learning and Activities

Dear Parents, we would like to feature some of GHCDS student’s summer learning and activities on the main office bulletin board. This could be a trip, camp, service project, workshop, etc…Please send a photo and brief description of the activity and its educational value to sshelley@ghcds.org. Please send by Tuesday, September 5th.

Preschool Color Days’ Schedule

The color days schedule is as follow:

  • Tuesday, September 5, 2017: Red Day
  • Wednesday, September 6, 2017: Blue Day
  • Thursday, September 7, 2017: Yellow Day
  • Friday, September 8, 2017: Orange Day
  • Monday, September 11, 2017: Green Day
  • Tuesday, September 12, 2017: Purple Day
  • Wednesday, September 13, 2017: Brown Day
  • Thursday September 14, 2017: Black and White Day
  • Friday, September 15, 2017: Rainbow Day

Animal Shelter Community Service Opportunity

The animal shelter is requesting assistance with the animals.  If any student would like to adopt/house an animal for the duration of the storm GHCDS will offer community service hours.  The shelter is also in need of food.  Please contact the Animal Shelter directly if you are interested.


Around Campus

Lower School Art: Decorating Name Tags

Upper School Snack Shack News:

Menu available to grades 7 – 12 Monday – Thursday and Fridays when there is no food sale! Made fresh!

What Do Mathematicians Do?

They look for more than one way to solve a problem.  They meet and share ideas with other mathematicians.  They look for new ideas in other people’s thinking. They ask genuine questions about different math ideas. They look for relationships hidden in numbers. They persevere, try new things, and take risks. They prove their idea or strategy works by using another strategy to get the same result. The work together on new ideas.  They take risks, make mistakes and learn from their experiences.

In her book, What’s Math Got To Do With It,  Stanford Math Professor, Jo Boaler writes,  “If students were able to work for at least some of the time in the ways mathematicians do – posing problems, making guesses and conjectures, exploring with and refining ideas, and discussing ideas with others – then they would not only be given a sense of true mathematical work, which is an important goal in its own right, they would also be given the opportunities to enjoy mathematics and learn it in the most productive way.

These important ideas are at the core of work that K to 8 teachers did this summer as part of the College Preparatory Math and Bridges training.  Children’s ability to access upper level math begins with primary level instruction steeped in strong visual models that help students invent, learn, and remember important mathematics.  The Bridges (Math Learning Center) and CPM programs include the training and wonderful materials necessary for teachers to provide children with deep and engaging instruction.  We look forward to sharing our work with you at Parent Information Afternoon.  Lower School teachers are planning a Math Morning when parents will be invited to explore, with their children, some of the wonderful materials that are part of the Bridges Program.

In reflecting on the training, one teacher wrote, “As I learn more and more about Bridges, I realize how essential it is to set a strong foundation in number sense from an early age. As a teacher I need to focus on the how in order to get depth.”

Denise Blanchette, Lower and Middle School Head

An important part of Bridges Program is the Number Corner.  Dr. Barbara Blanke from the Math Learning Center led the Bridges workshop.

GHCDS Cross Country Trail

On the last Friday afternoon before the beginning of school, Aaron Hutchins led 20 members of the faculty on a lovely walk/ hike through the shaded cross country trail that is being built on the wooded land that surrounds the campus.  After receiving an Urban Forestry Grant three years ago to care for the beautiful trees on our campus, Lower and Middle School Head, Ms. Blanchette asked for Aaron’s help with stage two of the plan.  The project began in the spring semester with Aaron teaching an Upper School elective, in which students learned about the process of trail design.  Before the end of the school year, they actually began to complete the rough cut.  During the summer.  New GHCDS parent Brian Daley, of Geographic Consulting, Nataki Richards,  Theresa Harper, and community helpers continued the work..   After the rough cut is complete, stumps need to be removed and the trail tidied. A special thanks to Ms. Coles and the members of her Trail Blazing elective, for helping out.  We look forward to the trail being used for running,  mountain biking,  art making,  meditating……and just think of the Ghost Walks we can have for Halloween!   As the saying goes, “Many hands make light work.”  If you have hiked any trails, you know that most trails have volunteer organizations that help with the maintenance.  We are looking for volunteers on three Saturdays from 9 to 11 this fall to work on the trail:  September 23rd, October 21st, and November 11th.  If you have a set of clippers and would like to help, give Ms. Blanchette a call – ext. 2102
Denise Blanchette, Lower and Middle School Head


Calling all Lower School Parents and Teachers!

It’s a brand new school year and time once again to organize activities for our After
School Activities program. Have you ever aspired to coach a sport, direct a play, or
teach a craft class? If so, now may be your chance. Our first semester program will
run from September 25th through the week of November 27th. Some activities will
extend beyond this week. Most activities meet from 3:15-4:15 pm.

In order to meet the needs of our Lower School students, we call upon the generosity of
teachers, parents and members of the community at large to ensure that we have a wide
range of activities! If you have a special interest or hobby and would like to share it with a
group of young students – and if you can spare one hour once a week! – Good Hope
Country Day School invites you to sponsor an after-school activity during this semester.
Please remember, we are not asking you to be an expert, but merely to sponsor an
activity that children may enjoy. You may designate the age and number of children with
whom you would like to work as well as the day most convenient to you. Some
suggestions from past years include Running Club, Jump Rope, Sports of all kinds,
Cooking, Junior First Aid, Story time, Sewing, Drama, Scrabble, Santa’s Workshop, Latin
Dance, Chess, Scrapbooking, Cards and Quests, and Origami. Also, you may wish to
assist with an activity. For example, I would love to have help with the costumes and set
for the 4th to 6th grade play!

If you would like to contribute to the After School Activity Program, please complete the
form attached here (After School Activities Volunteer September 2017) and return it to your child’s homeroom teacher by Friday, September 3rd. Don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions (778-1974 ext. 2102). With your support and involvement we look forward to being able to offer our students a rich and varied After School Activity Program.

Ms. Blanchette

After School Sailing Program van service from GHCDS to SCYC available

Starting SCYC intro Opti classes (Opti-1 and Opti-2) as an after school program and on Saturdays.  Classes begin on September 3, 2017
Due to busy after school schedules, classes are offered by weekday, to facilitate individual schedules.
Also, offering learn to sail and advanced clinic classes for adults.
Planning to add Sea Squirts and Adventure Sailing classes soon, which are dependent on instructor availability.
Sailing Van, weekdays from GHCDS to SCYC will be available, register here.
Welcome back “Tino”, look for his advanced schedule soon.
Check out sailing class schedule on SCYC events calendar.

2017 Crime Stoppers USVI Poster and Video Challenge


Posters will be judged for message content at grade level
Two students from each grade level will be recognized.
Overall top three winners will have their posters reproduced and distributed territory wide.

Prizes for grade level recognition and overall top winners.
Video length should be approximately 2 minutes. A diversity of students should be included in the video. Video should be constructed on campus and mentored by a faculty member.

Crime Stopper tip submission information must be included.
1-800-222-8477 Www.crimestoppersvi.org Www.P3tips.com

$100 prize for top video to be shared by group participants.
Top three videos will be selected for viewing during assembly.


Key Dates

Monday, Sept. 4 – No School: Labor Day
Thursday, Sept. 7 – Parent Orientation – Grades 9-12
Thursday Sept. 21 – Parent Orientation – Grades 5-8
Friday, Sept. 22 – No School: Faculty Workshop Day #1
Monday, Sept. 25-29 – School Photo Week
Friday, Sept. 29 – Parent Orientation – Grades N-4


This Week In Sports

Hi Panther Families,


Here’s the schedule for next week, September 5th-8th:

All levels of girls volleyball (Middle and High School), Tuesday 3:15-5:00
All levels of boys volleyball (Middle and High School), Thursday 3:15-5:00
Cross Country-Wednesday and Friday, 3:15-4:30, lower field
Elementary Flag Football-Friday, 3:15-4:30, lower field.
*If your athlete is planning to run cross country and play flag football, he or she can go to cross country on Wednesday and flag football on Friday, after communicating with coaches.  Meets and game days will not be the same, so they are able to do both.

Please know we will adjust the schedule according to weather, if needed. Feel free to email me with any questions acarter@ghcds.org

Thank you, and GO PANTHERS!
Coach Amy