November 11, 2018
November 20, 2018
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Dear Parents:

We survived what was likely the busiest week of the year (and one of the wettest) – even though it was only four days!

First and foremost, we were delighted to host the Middle States re-accreditation team. They spent Tuesday through Friday on campus reviewing our self-study to ensure that it reflected our reality, and they met with students, faculty, trustees, and parents. In the team chair’s report this afternoon, which we broadcasted live via Zoom videoconferencing, he shared the following key points:

  • The Committee will unanimously recommend to Middle States that we receive re-accreditation. The actual vote by Middle States will take place in the spring of 2019.
  • Despite our enormous time constraints (five months to complete the self-study vs. a more traditional fifteen), we produced a solid, thorough document reflecting on all parts of our school.
  • Two of the School’s greatest strengths are our rich diversity and our strong family-like community—we should consider including these in future revisions of the mission statement.
  • We have a strong administration, faculty, and staff who have always risen to the occasion as needed—and our students are especially mature.
  • Going forward, we should try to include student and parent voices in planning, including in the development of the action plans for our three Middle States objectives.
  • We should continue to tackle major infrastructure projects to make the campus safer and more user-friendly.
  • We should explore ways to strengthen the library, especially for upper school students, including expanding the print collection and providing access to digital databases.
  • We should form a Safety Committee to help ensure effective protocols for our open campus.
  • We should continue the constructive dialogue between divisions to ensure stronger vertical alignment of programs and curriculum, and take full advantage of the opportunities that an N-12th grade school offers.

We will now spend the next five weeks revising our action plan for our three primary objectives (view current draft here: GHCDS Objectives and Action Plans November 2018) and will resubmit them to the Team Chair. We are excited to build on all of the conversations and ideas that have come out of the self-study process and we look forward to working with our stakeholders to continue to improve all areas of the School.

Second, we were delighted to host Candidate #2 in the head of school search. The search committee, led by trustee Cathy Mares and board chair Joe Croney, has been thrilled to have strong parent participation in this process. Thank you for your engagement and input. We are all committed to ensuring that GHCDS continues its wonderful upward trajectory in the years ahead.

Lastly, the week kicked off with a fantastic showing of spirit in the Parents’ Association’s Panther PowerUp. Thank you to everyone who volunteered at this event, cheered on our runners in nursery through eighth grade, and helped raise a record amount for a Parents’ Association fundraiser! Since the students also accomplished their goal of receiving contributions from all 50 states, I had the honor of finally checking off a critical item from my bucket list: being slimed. Take one for the team… (view video here)

Have a wonderful weekend!


Gracias, Merci, Thank You

Thank you, Gruber family, for housing our sailors during the College of Charleston Invitational Regatta!

Thanks to Ms Whitaker for speaking to the fourth grade about civic responsibility.


Thanks to Panther Parents and Veterans, Ms. Bohlke and Mr. Shipperly for visiting GHCDS classes to talk to children about their service.  Ms. Bohlke visited the Pre-School and first grade, while Mr. Shipperly visited third and fifth grades.

Around Campus

Trail Work Day, December 1 from 8:30 to 12:00

Welcome to the Good Hope Country Day School Nature Trail and “Fairysted!.” We are so excited that signs for the trail head, plant identification,  “Fairysted,” as well as the wonderful science stations created by Ms. Coles and the Middle School, are ready to be installed. Thanks to Panther dads,  Brian Daley and Aaron Hutchins, for their direction and enthusiasm. Now all we need is a little muscle! We invite outdoor enthusiasts to join us on the morning of December 1st to help with the installation of signs, planting of a few plants, and tidying of the trail.  Let Denise Blanchette, (dblanchette@ghcds.org), Aaron Hutchins (aaronhutchins@yahoo.com), or Brian Daley (bdaley@geographicconsulting.com) know if you can help out!  Bring gloves, clippers, and water!

What An Invite

Ninth Grader, Frances Falcon, will present at the Board of the Association of Virgin Islands Psychologists’ Annual Meeting. The Board of the Association of Virgin Islands Psychologists has invited  Ms. Coles and two GHCDS students, Frances Falcon and Maddie Cohen, to attend the Association’s annual meeting  to talk about their research project, “Psychological Perspectives on Bias and Racism, “ completed last year as part of the GHCDS  Science Fair . The topic is especially relevant today, and Association members  were impressed that these students decided to research this subject. While Maddie Cohen is no longer enrolled at GHCDS,  Mrs. Coles and Frances Falcon will travel to St. Thomas on November 30th to present their work as part of the continuing education section of the Association’s annual meeting.  Congratulations to Ms. Coles and her students. Stay tuned for more news about this year’s Science Fair topics!


Ms. Beach’s 7th grade students talked about the UN sustainable goals at Friday Gathering. While there are 17 goals, the students focused on Goal Two which is to eliminate hunger from the world – no small task. They presented Hunger Facts and statistics, and then share the five steps the UN has identified to eliminate Hunger.  They include

  1. Put the furthest behind, first
  2. Pave the road from farm to market
  3. Reduce food waste
  4. Encourage a sustainable variety of crops
  5. Make nutrition a priority starting with the first 1,000 days.

The idea is to put these goals into place locally.  You can help contribute to our efforts by donating any of the goods below:



In the spirit of “thanksgiving”, Good Hope Country Day School will once again solicit donations of food for those in need. Each homeroom and advisory is urged join in a food drive to help provide the necessary supplies to enable this worthy organization to continue to help those less fortunate.

The drive will begin Friday, November 9th and continue through Monday, November 19th. On that day, each homeroom group will be asked to bring their donations to the office where they can be “admired” before being taken to various local organizations.


Canned: sweet peas, pigeon peas, whole kernel corn, sardines, red kidney beans, milk, green beans, tomato sauce, tuna fish, whole tomatoes, corned beef, salmon, beets, mixed vegetables, canned fruit, macaroni & cheese in a box, instant potatoes in a can, spices, vegetable oil, and Kool Aide.

Cleaning Supplies: kitchen cleanser, Lysol, bleach, dish soap, dish rags.

Things to Avoid: Canned “one of a kind” specialty items, instant potatoes

in a bag, flour, pasta in a box or anything that might get buggy.

Boxes and bags will be needed to transport the items.


Parents’ Association

As I think back over the last few weeks, I am amazed by this school. I am amazed by the countless volunteers that have stepped up to put together two large school events in two weeks. I am amazed by the faculty that has supported us at every step with their positive attitude and can do spirit. I am amazed by the community coming together to raise money for our school while enjoying each other’s company. I am amazed by the businesses who supported us. And mostly, I am amazed by our students who have shown their school spirit all along the way.

The Fun Run has been more successful than I thought was possible in so many ways. I would like to say a special thank you to Sarah Franks, Julie Sommer, Stephanie Wilkerson, Georgia Gruber, Kelly Simon, Amie Medina, Michelle Shipperly, Angel Rodriguez, the team at Beeston Hill Health and Wellness and to every single parent who registered their child. We could not have done it without you.

In the next month, we will be putting together a survey for parents and teachers to complete asking where we would like to spend the funds we have raised. My main goal is to make sure that all Nursery-8th grade students benefit from whatever we decide to do. We will also work with the Buildings and Grounds committee to coordinate our efforts.  

Have a great weekend Panther family,

Robyn Falconer

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