4.8.16

Dear Parents: Today we enjoyed the fourth and final professional development workshop day of our school year. We are taking advantage of the morning to continue implementing the RULER Program to ensure that we create optimal learning environments for our students. Several of our RULER team leaders will return to Yale this summer so that faculty are trained and ready to begin working directly with students on this next fall.   Last Friday we had the chance to hear Mr. John Clendenin speak to our upper school students during an assembly. Mr. Clendenin is the current Public Services Commission Chair, a successful entrepreneur in global supply chain management, a former Harvard Business School professor, an expert on multicultural leadership, and a distinguished Marine. He also...
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4.1.16

Dear Parents: It was inspiring to hear this week from our students about their experiences with Mini-Gusto and spring break. Getting away – or simply focusing on a different project – is a healthy way to recharge the batteries, expand horizons and perspectives, and reflect in the process on our usual routines. I traveled last week to San Juan, Argentina, where my wife and daughter are spending eight weeks getting my wife’s language institute firing on all cylinders for its 25th year in operation. At the foot of the Andes with a population of several hundred thousand and a climate akin to Southern California’s, San Juan is one of the few places that still honor the siesta schedule. Most stores and businesses are closed from 1-5pm. This raises an interesting question: what’s the best...
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3.18.16

Dear Parents: As expected, this has been a frenzied week of fun activities… Our 7th-12th graders have scampered about the island, hiking up to the lighthouse at Ham’s Bluff (some native Crucians for the first time!), creating beautiful murals of mocko jumbies and panther pride around our campus, stringing together impressive beaded necklaces and other jewelry, and even producing outstanding radio spots for our School while interning at JKC Communications!  We are fortunate that 11th grader Justin Charles (along with former classmate Kalahari M. Bryan) has raced from one Mini-Gusto activity to the next, documenting everything for posterity with their photographic talent. In the meantime, our Nursery through 6th grade students have delved into their own projects and explorations,...
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3.13.16

Dear Parents: Wow – and just like that Mini-Gusto is upon us! In hundreds of conversations that I have had now with students, alumni, and faculty, Mini-Gusto is frequently cited as one of the best experiences at Good Hope Country Day School. Next week our 7th-12th graders will be painting murals on our campus, assessing St. Croix tourism marketing efforts, participating in a workshop with guest playwright Edith Weiss, and getting PADI certified. A huge hats off to Ms. Nancy Thatcher, our stellar College Counselor, who while continuing to steer our students towards top colleges and universities, somehow managed to orchestrate the wide array of activities and programs available for our students. It should be an exciting week ahead. Enjoy the weekend in the meantime! Kind regards,...
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3.7.16

Dear Parents: As promised, here is our dense “double-issue” this week since last week we did not send out the Weekly News because of preparation for the Scholarship Auction and Dinner. Details about the fantastic event are below. I was also in the Bay Area last week for the NAIS Conference, an alumni reception, and connecting with other possible resources for the School. Please find a summary of my trip here.Bay Area Trip Summary 2016 As a result of my Bay Area trip, I participated in the “Shadow a Student Challenge” organized by the School at Stanford. Over 1,300 school leaders in 50 states and 23 countries participated this week in shadowing a student at their school as a way to develop greater empathy for them and understand more clearly their experience (www.shadowastudent.org). I...
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2.19.16

Dear Parents: Yet another inspiring week on campus has drawn to an end! We heard from Kendal Henry, the Director of the Percent for Art Program at the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, whose fantastic slide show of art transforming public spaces around the world reminded us that our campus is a canvas full of possibility. We look forward to taking advantage of this canvas in the months ahead. We hosted Mathletes (I love that term!) from six public and private schools on St. Croix for the Math Counts Competition and will be hosting the Territory-wide event at the end of March. The US ranked #35 in the world among 15-year-olds in the 2012 PISA ranking, just behind Slovakia, so I’m delighted to see our next generation of great mathematical thinkers charging forward… We prepped our 136...
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2.12.16

Dear Parents: Our campus yesterday was abuzz with Valentine’s Day celebrations, from songs to sonnets to more sugar and pink than you can imagine! Today our faculty members are taking advantage of Workshop Day #3 (of 4 for the year) to continue our work with the RULER program and then dive into leveled literacy, math week celebration planning, and language arts alignment. This afternoon our faculty members are also available for parent conferences as needed. If for some reason you would like a conference but were unable to attend today, please contact either the Division Heads or teachers directly to set up another time to meet or speak on the phone when mutually convenient. Earlier this week I shared a Head of School (HOS) Update at our Board Meeting. The two things you might find...
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2.5.16

Dear Parents: What a stimulating week at School! From a whirlwind of stories from ancient Greece recounted by various community leaders to amazing infographics and recipes in preparation for Ag Fair… …From afterschool gardening, track and field, and basketball to faculty conversations about mathematical growth mindsets… Our students and faculty from nursery through 12th grade have been engaged in the wonderful world of ideas! My own family set sail briefly Monday on the historic schooner Roseway—an outstanding teaching vessel which our 6th graders will experience later this month. We are fortunate to be part of this learning community at School and on the remarkable island of St. Croix. I hope you all explore and discover something new this weekend. Kind regards, Kari   Table of...
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1.29.16

Dear Parents: I had a wonderful conversation with a parent this week that I’d like to share. The parent had set an appointment to meet with me several days in advance and when we sat down, I asked simply, “How can I help you?” The parent proceeded to tell me that his child had been frustrated because they had seen another individual recognized on our outdoor message board just east of the soccer field and wondered why they had not been recognized for a similar accomplishment weeks earlier. The parent didn’t fume. He didn’t wag his finger. Quite the contrary, he smiled and told me gently with genuine curiosity, “I didn’t know how to answer my child—but I promised that I would check with the School and try to find out. How would you suggest I answer?” What brilliant parenting—and what...
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1.22.16

Dear Parents: Learning starts with great questions—and I was delighted to be part of engaging discussions with students, parents, faculty, and trustees all week long. These included… How do we as a School currently celebrate student achievement and growth—and how should we? How can we better prepare our 12th graders for their military academy and other college interviews? How might we as a School shift to energy independence? How can we rethink our foreign language program to help students rapidly acquire a second language? How might we implement an honor code and honor council? How can we develop stronger teams and foster greater collaboration among our faculty? How can we ensure that all our students are challenged when they excel and supported when they struggle, whether in...
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1.15.16

Dear Parents: I’m pleased to report that our first full week of school in 2016 was as productive as any week in the first semester – we just keep gaining steam! Our campus was abuzz with a scintillating geography bee, basketballs a-bouncing, Ag Fair prep, and underwater robotics planning. We’d originally hoped to have Beautification Day #3 on Monday, but are rescheduling that for later in the spring. Have a wonderful three-day weekend! Kind regards, Kari Table of Contents Quick Announcements ¡Gracias! Merci! Thank You! Around Campus Parents’ Association Key Dates   Quick Announcements After School Activities: Thanks to all who have volunteered to offer after-school activities for students in grades 1-6. We have a great selection this semester. Most of...
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1.8.16

Dear Parents: We’re back! It is fantastic to see so many rested, smiling faces eager to learn. We have an exciting, action-packed second semester ahead and look forward to continuing the learning adventure together. In the meantime, earlier today Harvard’s swim team took a break from their workouts in our pool to snap a photo with our preschoolers, potential members of Harvard’s Class of 2034! This afternoon we hosted Richard Goldberg, Board Chair of Wyoming Seminary Prep boarding school in Pennsylvania, and his family who wanted to visit our School and explore possible exchange ideas. Lastly, mark your calendars now for the February 27 Scholarship Auction and Dinner below. It should be a great event! Have a wonderful weekend! Kari   Table of Contents Hot Topics in Education...
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12.18.15

Dear Parents:   Our first semester concluded today after a magical week of performances, colorful costumes and attire, and intense concentration for exams. We are enormously proud of all our students and the work they are doing—and we are also very proud of the guidance our faculty members have provided. Everyone deserves a wonderful break! Whether you are staying near or traveling far for the holidays, we wish everyone quality time with friends and family over the next two and a half weeks. We look forward to continuing the learning adventure with you in 2016! ¡Felices Fiestas! Kari Table of Contents Hot Topics in Education Quick Announcements ¡Gracias! Merci! Thank You! Around Campus Parents’ Association Key Dates Hot Topics in Education “The Advanced Google Searches...
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12.11.15

Dear Parents: I would like to begin where my earlier email today ended—by celebrating some fantastic highlights from the week: Monday I sat riveted as a juror in Mr. Canning’s mock trial based on Snow Falling on Cedars; Tuesday I witnessed Kindergartners through 4th graders revel in delight at the possibility of winning one of the faculty-donated gift packages from their raffle, which raised nearly $1,000 for the William Holden Wildlife Foundation; Wednesday I joined 11th graders in marveling at Mr. Summerhayes’ Chemistry “magic” with two demonstrations on pressure; Yesterday afternoon I watched Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts Artist-in-Residence, Thais Francis, and drama students from Complex, perform in our Pavilion snippets from her powerful off-Broadway play about four...
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12.4.15

Dear Parents: We began this week with the tragic news of the passing of Grace Sinfield, CDS ’13 (oldest daughter of former Head of School, Bill Sinfield). It was a reminder to appreciate every moment we have with our family and friends. A service to celebrate Grace’s life will be held Saturday, December 5, at 2pm at the St. Croix Reformed Church in Kingshill. If you are attending, feel free to wear blue and purple as they were Grace’s favorite colors. On that note, it is fitting that I share with you a publication of gratitude – our 2014-15 Annual Report (click here). We are enormously grateful to all of the families and individuals who contributed their time, talent, and treasure last year to help Good Hope Country Day School provide the best possible education for our...
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