10.14.16

Dear Parents: Sometimes four-day weeks seem longer than five-day weeks—this was one of them! This is also the time of year when the first round of illnesses (colds/flu/fevers) have made their way through campus, so I am merely the latest to be detained by these bugs. Please be sure that you and your children are drinking plenty of fluids, eating healthy foods, and getting sufficient sleep so that your immune systems are strong and everyone’s learning continues uninterrupted. Speaking of learning, next Friday we have our second Faculty Workshop Day so there will be no school.  As context, our faculty members meet the first Tuesday of each month after-school as a whole to discuss progress with the RULER program, the second and fourth Tuesday of each month to meet as divisions and...
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10.7.16

Dear Parents: Yesterday morning I witnessed something on campus I fortunately don’t see very often: gridlock! At approximately 7:35am, the owner of the white car pictured below parked in front of the school and left the vehicle unattended. Within minutes, a line of more than 20 cars had formed, causing frustration and compromising safety. As a reminder, if you are going to park and get out of your vehicle, please do so in the lower parking lot. Thank you for your assistance! Regarding traffic flow, here is data from last year’s informal traffic assessment. (ghcds-traffic-patterns-drop-off). Consider this like a GHCDS traffic app and draw your own conclusions about the optimal timing and location of drop offs. Good luck! We look forward to seeing many of you at the International Dinner...
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9.30.16

Dear Parents: It was wonderful to see many of you on Thursday at the last of our Parent Information Afternoons, this time for grades N-4. Our students played outstanding tour guides in leading parents around their own classrooms and even to other classrooms. Thanks to all the parents who contributed refreshments for the afternoon – it’s always a great sign when parents and students continue mingling and playing well after the scheduled event! Our week ended with a tribute to Hispanic Heritage Month, which included our lower and middle school students singing “De Colores,” another song celebrating each Spanish-speaking country, and even a personal reflection on Three Kings Day from Ms. Alma Castro-Nieves in honor of her Puerto Rican heritage. ¡Excelente – y buen fin de semana a todos!...
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9.23.16

Dear Parents: Our students are enjoying today off while our faculty members take part in the first of four Faculty Workshop Days during the year (note: the other days will be October 21, February 17, and April 7). These professional development days give our team the chance to catch their breath, connect with colleagues in meaningful ways, and dive deeper into their subject matters and the complicated craft of teaching. Topics we explored today include: ERBs: What does the data mean and how can we use this to improve instruction? Foreign Language Curriculum: How can we establish clear benchmarks for our students in Grades K-12? Technology: How can we make sure faculty members are confident using a variety of  technological tools to make their own work easier and enhance student...
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9.16.16

Dear Parents: As we strive to provide a world-class education for our students here on St. Croix, it is critical that we routinely benchmark our School vs. other schools in the region, across the United States, and ideally around the world. This includes student academic performance. What data, then, can we use to evaluate how well our students fare in comparison with their peers elsewhere? Some common bench-marking tools include:    College placement lists. Common metrics often involve assessing the percentage of students attending certain groups of universities (e.g. Ivies + MIT/Stanford, US News & World Report Top 50, First Choice, etc.) – these can be geared to match the mission, demographics, and aspirations of each particular school community, like GHCDS. These also should...
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9.9.16

Dear Parents, Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the 9th-12th Grade Parent Information session. In less than three hours, we analyzed a 17th century primary source document; explored the Orinoco River in Colombia and Venezuela; examined a crime scene; modeled data related to Barbie bungee jumps; connected Calculus with design, engineering, and business; examined the three writing systems in Japanese; and discovered how computer coding constraints require three left turns to make a right turn. It was a wonderful showcase of our talented faculty and how they bring their classes to life for our students—bravo! Please find attached some brief introductory slides from Ms. Grey and me. 9-12th-parent-info-afternoon-9-8-16 Later this month we look forward to similar events for our...
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9.2.16

Dear Parents: Congratulations! We have all completed the first week of school. It has been awesome having the energy of our students back on campus—inquisitive minds ready to make the most of the 2016-17 school year. Our faculty and staff have been working very hard, including over the weekends, to make sure that the first week went smoothly. Bravo to everyone! Besides our regular categories of information below (which we hope you find helpful), I wanted to highlight five things: Celebration of Tina Tobias. At Good Hope Country Day School we enjoy a unique community made up of talented individuals from various ethnicities, socio-economic groups, and faiths. This was showcased early this afternoon in a wonderful celebration of the life of Tina Tobias. We will include a brief write-up...
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6.8.16

Dear Parents: Our school year has officially ended! Some of you are already off-island, but I wanted to share with you important news from the last week of the year. 12th Grade Graduation. Last Saturday’s commencement at Island Center was wonderful—and a fitting celebration for our Class of 2016 graduates. Ms. Pamela Colon, who recently guided our Moot Court team to a 2nd place Territory finish, delivered the commencement address. Valedictorian Julian DiPersio and Salutatorian Aliyah Allick also gave inspiring remarks. You can read Julian and Aliyah’s speeches as well as my own concluding remarks here.   Headmaster Graduation Remarks Valedictorian Graduation Remarks Salutatorian Graduation Remarks 8th Grade Celebration. On Friday evening our Pavilion hosted the “graduation” of...
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5.27.16

Dear Parents: Wow – what another amazing week as we approach the end of the school year! Last Friday we witnessed brilliant performances in our Upper and Middle School Spring Concert, then this week their younger counterparts kept pace in the Lower School’s show. Our third graders celebrated the Greatest American Statesmen and Women of the 20th Century, while our eighth graders impressed audiences with their capstone projects, a wonderful exhibition of creativity and learning. Our Grand Ol’ Seniors, meanwhile, epitomized elegance at last weekend’s prom, held at the Buccaneer. They shared their elegance with the rest of the School when on Wednesday, after graduation rehearsal, they paraded through campus in their caps and gowns while the rest of the students and faculty applauded and...
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5.20.16

Dear Parents: A critical part of our education—a life-long process—is seizing the opportunity to listen to and even meet key figures from around the world. Especially when those people travel to us. I was fortunate to receive an invitation to meet former President, Bill Clinton, when he visited St. Croix last Monday. Many of our students, including first graders, also had taken the initiative to hear and even meet him. Bravo! We look forward to having speakers of that caliber visit Good Hope Country Day School in the year ahead. Ten minutes into his remarks, Clinton began touting the virtues of solar power and said that we in St. Croix and the greater Caribbean, basking in sunshine, should be “empowered, not dependent.” These remarks in particular resonated with me since we are trying...
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5.13.16

Dear Parents: What another amazing week at Good Hope Country Day School!  For those of you who were unable to join us at last Sunday’s Talent Showcase, you missed a great evening. The Pavilion—thanks to the multi-step make-over the past two months—was a classy venue that did justice to the voices, movements, and artistic abilities of our lower, middle, and upper school students. Midway through the event, more than a dozen lights suddenly appeared among the crowd, purple bodies made their way on stage, and GHCDS moms performed a flash mob tribute to Prince! It was an awesome example of fun, creative contributions from parents. Bravo! Just yesterday our Varsity Boys’ Soccer Team won a thrilling soccer game against Free Will Baptist to secure the league championship. Our team has shown...
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5.6.16

Dear Parents: I randomly walked yesterday into Mr. Locher’s 8th grade technology class and loved what I saw and heard!  Vex robots on wheels buzzed around table tops using sensors as students made predictions, observed, laughed, and cheered; other students – individually and in pairs – hovered around computer screens writing code using EasyC to program their robots; another explained to me their point system – that all students had begun with Fs and as they accomplished certain tasks, their grade moved up, and he was currently working towards passing the B-level task. My five minutes in this classroom captured some of the best practices in education in 2016: Project-based learning Competency-based Collaboration and individual work Rapid iterations and freedom to make and laugh...
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4.29.16

Dear Parents: To provide our students with a world-class education, it’s important that we take advantage of world-class talent on Island. This week we were fortunate to have internationally-renowned archaeologist and former Country Day School trustee, Martha Joukowsky, visit with our second graders. Professor Joukowsky led an engaging discussion about the history of the Treasury Building at Petra in Jordan, where she spent two decades excavating with her Brown University students. Our inquisitive eight-year-olds peppered her with questions on everything from the Aramaic language, to the scarcity of water just like in St. Croix, to her age (!). We look forward to another visit in the future! Speaking of excavations, one might think we were doing a “dig” in our entryway along the main...
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4.22.16

  Dear Parents: Thank you to everyone who has already managed to complete re-enrollment paperwork for 2016-17. As you know, we set a deadline of April 15 for guaranteeing spots and required a $1k deposit—a big shift from prior years. This was necessary to help ensure a genuine commitment on behalf of families before we turn around and issue contracts to our faculty. Already 64% of our families have re-enrolled for next year including this deposit vs. 57% at this time last year without a deposit, a huge improvement. We are looking forward to a great year! This is also the time of year when our seniors begin making their final decisions regarding colleges. We are delighted to report that the Class of 2016 will have a range of outstanding options, from Middlebury College, Howard...
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4.15.16

Dear Parents: I wanted to begin by thanking many of you for providing constructive feedback over the last couple months on how we can improve as a school. With an eye on boosting enrollment, I have met informally with a number of families in each grade and also collected feedback from key employers on island of GHCDS families to learn specifically what we are doing well, where we could improve, their awareness of prospective great families who could afford a GHCDS education, and their thoughts on hosting students from abroad for a semester or full-year. The most important takeaways, in brief, are: Families love GHCDS because of our dedicated faculty who take a keen interest in each student, nurturing environment, whole-child approach, range of programs and activities, spirit of...
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