February 8, 2019
February 22, 2019
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Dear Parents:

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite days of the school year! Sprinkled throughout the day are beautiful interactions between students and faculty, where 8th graders recite melodious Shakespearean sonnets while our upper school students rove the campus serenading lucky groups and individuals. It’s such a wonderful display of the talents in our student body—and a wonderful reflection of the warm, welcoming GHCDS school culture.

A critical part of strengthening school culture is making sure that faculty receive excellent professional development. On that note, school was closed today so that we could hold our Faculty Workshop Day #3 (please remember that Monday school will be closed as well for Presidents Day). Our full line-up of engaging sessions included:

  • Teaching Analysis – Led by Annaly Guerra, Ed.D
  • Tiger Teams – Diversity of Thought, the Spark for Creative Abrasion – Led by Kimberly Douglas
  • Earthquake and Tsunami Training – Led by Clarissa Cooper
  • Let’s Talk About Race – Led by Alice Jaffurs
  • Parent Communication – Led by Rob Evans, Ed.D
  • Dramatic Change Management – Led by Rob Evans, Ed.D.

You can view more details about each session by clicking this link (Feb 15 Session Descriptions). Hats off to Ms. Tracy Cole for taking the lead on coordinating all of these wonderful sessions, and hats off to Dr. Guerra, Ms. Jaffurs, and Ms. Cooper for sharing their talents and experience with the rest of our faculty.

I also wanted to share an important slide (Faculty PD Slide) regarding funding of faculty professional development at GHCDS. The three main points are:

  • Despite significant economic and other challenges, we have invested twice as much in faculty professional development over the last two and a half years as the previous five years.
  • Title V Funding is, unfortunately, held up by the local department of education. We currently have $750,000 of pending requested items, including professional development, dating back to 2016.
  • We would love to secure reliable funding to ensure excellent faculty professional development going forward.

Have a wonderful weekend!




The Panther Post Volume 2 Issue 2

Thursday marked the release of the second issue of the second volume of The Panther Post student newspaper. At 30 total pages, it is chock-full of timely, informative and entertaining material. Big shout-out to our dedicated Editor-in-Chief, Junior Carolyn Grimm, and her small-but-committed team of staff writers. This is but another example of the power of an open forum of exchange, and we invite all readers over this long, holiday weekend to peruse this timely student publication (and, if you feel inspired, to write a letter to the editor at pantherpost@ghcdsstudent.org).

Panther Post Volume 2 Issue 2


Around Campus

Spelling Bee Champ!

Congratulations Michael Atwell: St. Croix District Spelling Bee Champion! – To read a great article about Michael and the Bee click  here.

Valentine’s Day on Campus!

Once again the upper school student council celebrated Valentine’s Day by having the WIN A DATE WITH A SENIOR raffle. Seniors David Conhoff, Chloe Camacho, Rider Otom, Nia Coates, John David, Nia Canton and the lucky winners Ms Baker, Nayan, Ethan, Maya, Nadia and Layalie enjoyed a tasty lunch in Ms. Capriola’s room.

Sonnets and Song-O-Grams!

Reading Buddies- Third Grade

The third grade has begun reading buddies with the ELC and 6th grade! Their first theme is biographies with the 6th graders. On Monday, the 6th graders brought a few biographies on common interest topics that the pairings found at their first meeting!

Illustrating the French Revolution

On Thursday, students in Mr. Fletcher’s World Revolutions comparative history class presented their graphic short storyboards they had spent the previous few classes working on. In assessing the historical significance and legacy of this era, students were tasked with identifying and illustrating (either digitally or by hand) critical events of the Revolution.

Example below created by Ethan Stamper and Nia Coates:

Example below created by Luca Gruber and Lake Sanford:

Example below created by Maya Acosta and Inari Encarnacion:

Example below created by Wylie Crowther and Carolyn Grimm:


Crucian Money!

Students in Mr. Fletcher’s Macroeconomics course recently concluded a unit on numismatics, where they learned the history, functions and characteristics of money. One contemporary trend they investigated was the role of local currencies, a strategy that is increasingly in vogue for communities aiming to improve their self-sufficiency. As a culminating project, over the past two weeks, they each worked independently on designing an original, realistic-looking currency that might best complement our territory, and were graded on criteria ranging from authenticity and originality to how many traditional banknote components they incorporated (such as anti-counterfeit features). As you can see by a few of the examples below, the creativity and talent of our students is inspiring. Below is a montage of several student designs.

When asked if they felt there is any lasting value in smaller communities utilizing a local currency, Senior Isaiah Stevens wrote: “There seems to be many benefits for smaller communities to adopt a local currency because the money is not in the form of debt. The local currency system encourages community service and care for others over profit. Local currencies also allow the communities to have more control over the flow of their money rather than big banks having that control. Overtime, these benefits would help to strengthen the communities’ relationships.”

When asked if they could you realistically envision this trend being adopted here in the US Virgin Islands:

Senior Layalie Washshaw:

“I think that local currency may be able to work in the VI. There are always volunteering opportunities open and if there is an incentive more people will be likely to do it especially if it provides basic needs such as food. Since it is a small island, there are not a numerous amount of well-rounded jobs. You either work at McDonald’s or make minimum wage (which is not terrible) or you must have a certification or experience to work somewhere with a higher pay. With local currency it’ll give people the chance to give back to the community while still be able to feed themselves and their families.”

Senior Mayah Russel:
“I think I could see this trend being adopted here because we have many non-profits that need help and we have such a tight knit community here in the Virgin Islands that I think it would be relatively easy to implement it with regulations of course but I think it could definitely help the economic standstill we’re in right now and get things moving again.”

Senior Nayla Coureur:
“Yes, although maybe not for a few years. Local currency will enable local businesses to to sell produce for a lower price; allowing for more sales. This would be a plus for the USVI, especially St. Croix, where agriculture is prevalent.”

Senior David Conhoff:
“Yes, I could realistically envision this trend being adopted here in the Virgin Islands. This is because tourism is one of our main sources of income. This means that we have many small businesses that are dependent on tourists buying from their shops in order to stay afloat. If we were to adopt this trend, then that would ensure that our island community would be able to decide where and how to circulate money, like it said in the article. This would bring more power and economic future to small businesses, therefore helping our society as a whole, as we are reliant on tourism as a major source of revenue.”

Design by Senior Isaiah Stevens:


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