Alumni News! 1.18.17
January 17, 2017
January 27, 2017
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Dear Parents:

I was delighted that many of you could join us this morning for the christening of Tom Elicker’s cat sculpture in honor of our late nurse, Ms. Tina Tobias. This morning’s outdoor gathering showcased the “Best Of” Good Hope Country Day School:

  • Meaningful words from Ms. Blanchette about the contributions of Ms. Tobias to our School community
  • Harmonious singing from our students, led by Ms. Hotter
  • Exceptional art by Mr. Elicker (the casting was completed at a foundry in Philadelphia) to celebrate and inspire
  • Beautiful, albeit nippy, St. Croix weather!

Hats off also goes to Mr. Lima, Elvis, and Daniel of our maintenance team for preparing such a beautiful space. I hope you have a chance to swing by the space soon.

As we continue to strengthen our School, professional development of our faculty and staff is critical. Best practices suggest spending 1-2% of operating budgets on professional development. For our $4.5M budget, that would mean $45k-$90k. Last year, unfortunately due to budget shortfalls, we spent $0 on professional development, though we did receive some training through Title V. This year I am pleased to report that we expanded our PD budget to $25k, still well shy of what we would like, but that has at least enabled the following:

  • Several science teachers will attend the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference in Los Angeles in late March as we push to align and strengthen our science curriculum.
  • Our tech team will attend the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference in San Antonio in June.
  • Several teachers will travel to Antilles School on February 17 to participate in a streamed Caribbean Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) conference on innovation, hosted at the Baldwin School in Puerto Rico.
  • Ms. Grey, Ms. Blanchette, and I will be attending the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conference in Baltimore in early March.
  • And more!

These are invaluable opportunities for us to learn from experts in their fields, develop a network of counterparts from other schools (who are always just a phone call away!), and even visit other top schools. Connecting with the greater world is essential for all of us as professionals – and that is what we are preparing our students to do.

On that note, I will be headed to New York City for the next two weeks, where I am honored to participate in the fully-funded Klingenstein Heads of School Fellowship at Columbia University’s Teachers College. I look forward to deep conversations with counterparts from top independent schools around the world (see the list of participants here –2017 Heads profiles ). My own research topic during this experience will be:

How might we restructure our K-12 Spanish language program to leverage technology and best “hacking” practices for rapid language acquisition to obtain greater student proficiency and enthusiasm?

I also look forward to connecting with our New York City alumni on February 4 when Rhea Abramson, GHS ’92 hosts our first reception in the Big Apple!

Have a wonderful weekend!


  • Hot Topics in Education

  • Quick Announcements

  • ¡Gracias! Merci! Thank You!

  • Around Campus

  • Parents’ Association

  • Key Dates

Hot Topics in Education

“Some Colleges Have More Students From the Top 1 Percent Than The Bottom 60,” The New York Times, January 18, 2017. This is a very interesting look at the socio-economic make-up of college student bodies.

“The Missing Link in School Reform,” Carrie Leana, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Fall 2011. This is an older article, but it provides great background on how to improve instruction within schools.

Quick Announcements

Week of Inspirational Math

The week of January 23 is the Week of Inspirational Math in grades 3 – 11. Again this year we will be showing students a world of creative mathematics and inspiring them to persist in solving math problems.  There will the the Hailstorm Sequence and the 3 x 3 x 3 Painted Sugar Cube. Be sure to ask your child about their math work!


Around Campus

Third Grade Electricity

They say opposites attract and that couldn’t be truer as third graders observed during this electrifying static electricity activity.

This week in Second Grade

We want to thank Sawyer Holley and his mom for bringing in cool Megaladon teeth to share with the class!  Did you know they once were thought to be rocks from the moon or even dragon tongues?!

The students couldn’t have been more excited to receive a hand-selected book to read for their first Reader’s Workshop assignment.  Each student received a different book that they were to read through, and use sticky notes to “stop and jot” down thoughts and story summaries.  They learned that adults often pause their reading to think about the story, characters, and even to predict what might happen next!


Discounted advance tickets are on sale for $18. Students can purchase advance discounted tickets before or after school in 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Dykstra’s room. Tickets at the door are $20 however advance purchase is appreciated.

Narrative Writing

Lots of work goes into narrative writing. All 22 4th grade students recently published stories and celebrated by reading aloud to small groups and having a party later that afternoon. Congratulations on a job well done!

Congratulations to recipients of Honor Roll and Headmaster’s List

7th Grade Honor: 

Erin Andrews, Ally Bohla, Chris Cawley, Colin Gray, Aleah Mann, Mikey Dizon

7th Grade Headmaster’s List: 

Patrick Boring, Cehara Briscoe, Maya Griffith, Grace Porter, Brice Richards,  Shana Sagreant, Parker Younger

8th Grade Honor Roll:

Saba Alfred, Mathieu Dale, Arissa Etienne, Dilani Frorup, Hanan Hamed, Naurani Persaud

8th Grade Head Master’s List: 

Molly Brownsdon,  Josie Calhoon,  Simone Hodge

NJHS Application: Students who have earned Honor Roll or Headmaster’s List are invited to apply to become a member of the National Junior Honor Society.   Invitations will be given to students this week; applications are due January 27th.


Distance Learning Center STEMPREP PROJECT

Charlene Joseph spoke to 7th and 8th graders interested in the StemPrep program.  GHCDS students who have already participated in the program shared their experiences: Kirra and Nyla Griffith,  Nia Coates, Nayla Coureur, and Jada Romer.

Distance Learning Center, (DLC)  is recruiting high achieving 7th & 8th graders for the summer of 2017 to participate in a five weeks STEMPREP Project at University of Washington, Seattle. The STEMPREP Project is a vehicle for producing multiple generations of minority researchers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and Medicine. Take a look at our success in a two 4-minute videos and articles on the Project at:

Geo Bee

Congratulations to the Class Representatives who competed in Friday’s National Geo Bee: Kira Lambert, Aiden Bass, David Weekly, Michael Atwell, Carter Fauquher, Anil Prasas, Carson Oakley, Patrick Boring, Kara Barton in place of Molly Brownsdon who fell ill, Simone Hodge.  The GHCDS Geo Champ is….Anil Prasad! He will have the distinct privilege of taking an online class.  Thanks very much to our judges, Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Harper, and Mrs. Sunderlin!

Key Dates

  • January 30 & 31: Auditions for Spring Musical: The Drowsy Chaperone
  • February 6-10: Science Fair week
  • February 17: Faculty workshop Day #3 – No School
  • February 20: President’s Day – No School
  • February 25: Black and Gold Gala


This Week in Sports


Hi Panther Families!

On Friday, January 27th, we will officially dedicate our new gym floor to Asa O’Neal at 4:30.  Parents and students are invited, and we will enjoy organized shooting games for parents and athletes after the ceremony.

In the meantime, sailors are sailing, basketball players are dribbling and shooting, runners are running! It’s a great start to a new year! We should have news for basketball and track and field competitive seasons next week. Stay tuned!

Practices This Week:

*Please note we allowed for all athletes to attend the gym dedication on Friday.

Middle School Basketball- Tuesday and Thursday 3:15-4:30 gym.

JV Basketball-Monday and Wednesday 4:15-5:30 Gym

Varsity Basketball- Tuesday and Thursday 4:15-5:30 (I believe they’ve been joining MS girls practices early too!) Slab-Boys at Coach Baker’s house-his schedule

Preseason Track and Field: Monday, Thursday and Friday 3:15-4: 15 lower field

Preseason JV Soccer 3:15-4:15 lower field Friday (early finish for gym dedication).

Go Panthers!

Coach Amy


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