Summer Reading: Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About …

image(Note to Readers: Before you dive in here, we need to get something straight. A visit to the principal’s office is, in and of itself, not always a bad thing, a punishment, a consequence or wherever your head might go! Stop snickering. It may have in fact been just that when you went to school. It likely still is in lots of schools all around us. But here at CSD, as always, we try to be just a little bit different. Joy and I are both very different personalities but our goal is in building strong and authentic relationships with students for it is within those relationships that we extend learning. Still have the jitters? Read What’s the Point of a Professor? (or, as we like to call it: “What’s the Point of a Principal?” ) from this past Sunday’s (5/10/15) New York Times.)

Lately Fridays at 9:00 a.m. have become my favorite time of the week. For the last few months, I’ve had a standing meeting with a high school student. Together, he and I have rediscovered the joys of a shared read. It’s that social aspect of reading that we all too often forget to emphasize as our kids get older and those picture perfect days of sharing a picture book or a beginning reader fade to a distant memory.

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#Whatmatters

Dear CSD Community,

Each week we send a “week ahead” email to our staff that charts out both the details and big picture for the week ahead. We share articles and thoughts that are on our minds as leaders in hopes of inspiring our staff and ourselves to be at our best for the students and entire CSD community. Today, at the start of Spring Break, it strikes us that the words we shared this week with staff are just as relevant to you, our amazing parents. We know that just like our teachers, you give selflessly on behalf of your families and on behalf of this school community. We cherish the fact that you embrace our commitment to inclusiveness and that you, like we, care about the lives and welfare of all children rather than just our own. Continue reading

Under Construction: Helping HS Students Develop Their Adult Identities

As many of you know, last week we were fortunate to host our annual Fresh Take Conference. It was an intellectually stimulating day for all and we were honored to host over 300 educators and parents for this important day of sharing. If you read Juli’s blog, you will see that she also highlighted our keynote speaker, Michelle “Michelle in the Middle” Icard. Michelle wrote the book, Middle School Makeover, which is a tremendous resource for both parents and teachers. Juli hosted a book study with parents over at the middle school as it is filled with helpful hints as we try to understand our blossoming teenagers and the perspectives they bring to the table. We highly encourage parents of upperelementary and middle school students to check out this terrific book!

One phrase that Michelle used during her keynote really struck a chord with me as it is something that Connie and I, along with the entire High School staff, work on daily with our Continue reading

Rejecting the Winner-Take-All Mentality

Checkered-Flag4A couple of weeks back I had one of those NPR driveway moments. You know–it’s when one of those crazy stories on NPR has you hooked, you’ve timed the drive all wrong, and you find yourself idling in your own driveway, listening to every last word in the report. This particular story involved NASCAR. I know it’ll come as no surprise that I know next to nothing about NASCAR. And yet, there I was, completely wrapped up in the story.

I listened intently as the reporter recounted the most recent developments in the sport, which are not entirely positive. You see, this season, fights among drivers have become commonplace. The analyst suggested that the heightened level of aggression on the track reflects the new winner-take-all structure for awarding points and a season championship. Continue reading

Education: It’s Not Broken!

I am continuously disappointed and disturbed by what the media says about education. Each day I walk through classes and am amazed by what our students say and do. I promise that if you could walk in my shoes, you too, would be impressed. Last week I witnessed Socratic seminars in the English classes at high school that astounded me. Students were asking tough questions and thinking about important issues. I watched students pound through some complex science and math concepts that I am certain none of us faced until college. Connie and I have daily conversations with high school students Continue reading

What Matters?

As many of you may know, I just celebrated my 50th birthday. I found this to be an intensely reflective week as I pondered my own life journey, my family, my community, my world, and of course, the future (and history) of CSD. To be honest, I am kind of excited to be 50 years old! Crazy I know! I find it empowering and humbling at the same time. I finally feel like I truly get what matters in my life. Continue reading

Exhausted? Be Exhilarated.

I sat down to write this piece at the tail end of what might have been an exhausting week.

Back to school. For teachers, for students, for parents, it is a time filled with ritual, preparation, and expectation. We look ahead to what might be. We look back and can’t believe what has already passed.

And we ask ourselves: are we ready?

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