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8.31.18

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Dear Parents:

What a fantastic start to the school year. I am looking forward to working with our faculty, our students, our parents, and our trustees to make 2018-19 the best school year ever!

Prior to opening week, we held a productive three-day faculty orientation, which allowed us to learn from each other. Despite limited funds, we have invested heavily in faculty professional development over the last 12 months, including exceptional professional development during the summer [GHCDS Summer 2018 Professional Development Reflections]. Our faculty members are so excited to implement in their classrooms many of the ideas they have discovered and developed!

One of the big ideas—shared by our middle and upper school math team members who attended the College Prep Math (CPM) training—is that of productive struggle. Many of our students, and many of our parents, are still uncomfortable with this idea. They want the quick, easy answer, or they want the teacher to spell everything out for them, and they get frustrated with ambiguity. They also would often rather work individually than in a group, even though the workplace today and the workplace of the future demand teamwork. But learning is about continuous improvement, continuous struggle, so that even when a student wins an award for their accomplishments, by the next day they should be asking “What’s next?” These are habits of success that we are trying to instill in our students across all divisions.

The second big idea—shared by our middle school team members who attended the Buck Institute’s training on Project Based Learning (PBL)—is that of asking great questions and providing great feedback. Currently, many of our students, whether in Kindergarten or in 12th grade, want to race through their work to complete it, submit it, then move on to the next project or assignment. Great work, however, rarely emerges from one draft. I encourage every parent and every student to watch this 7-minute video that does a remarkable job of telescoping the learning process and reminding us how valuable feedback and multiple iterations are to growth:

Austin’s Butterfly: Models, Critique, and Descriptive Feedback

 

The third big idea is simply a reminder that we must embrace failure and skinned knees in this over-protected, over-coddled world for the greatest learning. This is not meant to endorse Proctor & Gamble or the Portland, Oregon-based Wieden + Kennedy ad agency (that helped catapult Nike to fame with their “Just Do It” slogan), but their 2014 Winter Olympics video got it right:

 

I should add that Wieden + Kenney was famous for having a giant framed message in their atrium: “Fail Harder!”

So, on that note, here’s to the productive struggle ahead, the awesome questions and feedback to drive multiple drafts, and many, many skinned knees! It’s going to be an AWESOME year. 🙂

Kind regards,

Kari

 

Middle States Re-Accreditation Self-Study Update

As you know, a five-member team from the Middle States Association will be visiting our campus November 13-16 to assess our self-study, which we will submit to them by October 12. In the meantime, we will be working feverishly to produce the 100+ page self-study document in which we evaluate all parts of our school and incorporate the constructive feedback we received from various constituencies, including parents, on our surveys in May.

Below are the key sections of the self-study document along with the chair of each sub-committee. Chairs will be involving others in the weeks ahead. We are enormously grateful for their leadership!

  • Profile of Graduates – Nancy Thatcher
  • Foundation Documents – Kari Loya
  • School Profile: Community – Linda Stamper-Keularts
  • School Profile: School Info: Alma Castro-Nieves
  • School Profile: Student Performance – Dawn Grey/Denise Blanchette
  • Standard I: Mission – Stewart Shelley
  • Standard 2: Governance – John Harper
  • Standard 3: School Improvement – Cesar Guerra
  • Standard 4: Finance – Sue Gibbons
  • Standard 5: Facilities – Felix Lima
  • Standard 6: School Organization – Sue Gibbons/Annaly Guerra
  • Standard 7: Health and Safety – Clarissa Cooper
  • Standard 8: Educational Program – Dawn Grey/Denise Blanchette
  • Standard 9: Assessment and Evidence – Dawn Grey/Denise Blanchette
  • Standard 10: Student Services – Daisy Pelovitz/Olga Hutchins
  • Standard 11: Student Life and Activities – Kathleen Graham/Nancy Thatcher
  • Standard 12: Info Resources – Ryan Franks/Wanda Bishop

 

Quick Announcements

 

PE Snack Bar

The Athletic Department after school Snack Bar has reopened! From 3:00-3:15 students can purchase ice pops, Italian Ice, drinks and snacks. The PE Snack Bar is located at the end of the Administration Building, across from the Early Learning Center. Small bills are appreciated.

Preschool Color Days’ Schedule

Tuesday, September 4, 2018: Red Day

Wednesday, September 5, 2018: Blue Day

Thursday, September 6, 2018: Yellow Day

Friday, September 7, 2018: Orange Day

Monday, September 10, 2018: Green Day

Tuesday, September 11, 2018: Red, White & Blue Day

Wednesday, September 12, 2018: Purple Day

Thursday September 13, 2018: Brown Day

Friday, September 14, 2018 : Rainbow Day

 

Click here to BRAG about your student!

 

¡Gracias! Merci! Thank You!

 

GHCDS Nature Trail

Thanks to GHCDS dad Brian Daley for donating a sign to mark the section of the Nature Trail that will be reserved for Fairy and Troll House Making.  Here Ms. Hutchins and members of last year’s Fairy House Making after school elective share the sign.  Ms. Coles’ elective will resume work on the trail, installing stations with science activities.  Thanks to Mr. Hutchins and Mr. Daley for all their help!

 

Around Campus

 

New PE Attire!

 

New and school spirit styled PE shirts are available in the office. $15.00 each. Checks written to GHCDS or cash accepted.

The new PE Shirts are a hit in Lower, Intermediate and Middle schools! The youth small and medium sizes are on order and should be here by the second week of September. Doesn’t Joshua Rodgers look sporty and studious!

We have Panther SWAG! In addition to our spirit filled PE shirts, students and parents may order these fabulous items:
●       Collared shirts, male or female cut,in black or white $22

●       Giant Panther polar cups with lids $30

●       Caps in black or white $15

●       Bags $12 (modeled fabulously by Kennedy James)

●       Panther luggage/backpack tags $8.00

Orders may be placed by emailing acarter@ghcds.org with the subject line SWAG. Coach Amy is happy to answer any questions you may have by email, also.(Pom poms not for sale…yet!). First order will be placed on September 7th. Go Panthers!

 

Fourth Graders Team-Building

Fourth graders work on a team-building Tangram exercise.  They are using 7 geometric shapes to form a whole square and realize it’s quite a challenge!  Also pictured are fourth graders exploring math materials with partners.

 

Barbie Bungee Jump

Physics students estimate the number of rubber bands needed for the best Barbie Bungee Jump on the first day of school.

 

Lower School Technology

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