On the Journey 

news reel: stories of People, places, and learning AT Aspen Country Day School
Eighth Graders traveled to the state Capitol this winter to participate in an historic event: a public hearing on a measure to repeal the death penalty in Colorado. This was a remarkable day fueled by the students' own passion for this topic.
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At Aspen Country Day School, students are continually called upon to practice their courage. From Outdoor Ed adventures to the All School Play; from academic presentations to group projects to ski days, students are in situations all the time where they must step outside of their comfort zones and try something new. Head of Middle School Brenda Stockdale unpacks the value of courage.
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For this school year, the annual school-wide theme is sustainability. So the choice of Earth Day, April 22, for our all-school day of service is a perfect match. Children will be spreading out all over the local community for a variety of projects.
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"We all know the adage, 'Patience is a virtue,' meaning it's a morally excellent quality," writes Middle School Head Brenda Stockdale in her latest blog post. "So of course we all aspire to be patient people, right? Researchers claim patience is actually a skill that can be learned, and it needs to be nurtured and practiced daily."
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Eighth Graders study US History, and each year they travel to Washington, DC for an up-close look at our democracy. It was a busy five days for this year's Eighth Grade, and their immersion in the culture and urban life of a great American city was a memorable week of learning. Here's their trip report.
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Shakespeare in Kindergarten? And every year through to Fifth Grade? That's the Country Day way, as children explore the classic tragedies, comedies, and histories of the Bard of Avon. Young actors and actresses bring creativity and passion to their performances -- please join us on campus for four dramatic days in May!
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Tiny videos from Kindergarten about trees and all the many ways we use, enjoy, and appreciate them!
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Professional development for faculty and staff gets us out into the big world to absorb and share big ideas. A team of three from ACDS recently traveled to the Social and Emotional Learning Exchange hosted by CASEL (Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning) in Chicago on October 2-4. The inaugural conference presented groundbreaking work in social and emotional learning practice, research, policy, and communication.
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At Country Day, we believe that children learn best in a healthy, warm community. Class Meeting with Lower School Counselor Mary Stokes teaches children how to participate in and foster a positive social and emotional climate for stronger, more productive learning. What's it all about?
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Quick: can you name the five ACDS core values? Almost any student can, and this year a Middle School "Core Values Crew" took on the task of describing what each value looks like in action. (PS: Character. Respect. Responsibility. Community. Perseverance.)
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Learning is too big of an adventure to be confined to the four walls of a classroom. From encounters with real-world professionals like Aspen Times Editor David Krause to a sleepover at the Denver Zoo to water sampling on campus, Aardvarks explore the big world in many ways.
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Theme-based learning is a time-tested approach to the educational program at ACDS, and here's a great example of how it works in Kindergarten as children connect the story of Johnny Appleseed to their writing, spelling, reading, and even geometry and data science.
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Celebrating a positive start to the 2019-20 year: "The connection that ACDS teachers have with students is extraordinary, and the learning that happens in every classroom is deep and engaging. As a school we celebrate rigor and hard work without intensity and stress. Balance remains central to all that we do."
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Social-Emotional Learning starts in the earliest years. In PreKindergarten Three, the weekly themes offer many ways to explore a topic in depth. Take a peek inside the PreK classroom during "Feelings Week."
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Being outside on a nice fall day is a reward in itself, but clearing overgrown brush and removing dead trees was especially rewarding for Country Day Fifth Graders who worked with Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers to improve two local trails. Students reflect on their community service experience here.
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Thoughts on the ironic but essential truth that a parent's job is to become obsolete -- "to be involved in our children's lives and to know when to step out of the way to let them become the adults they are meant to be." Head of Middle School Brenda Stockdale offers reflections on the parenting challenges and joys of the pre-teen and teen years.
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Introducing the annual theme, Sustainability, with thoughts on balance: "In particular, I believe children deserve a balance of technology and books, screen time and outdoor play, structured and unstructured time, texting and face-to-face interaction."
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Here are the high schools our 28 graduates of 2019 earned the opportunity to attend. Also listed,the colleges and universities that offered admission to our alumni of 2015 heading from high school to college.
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Where does food come from, how does it get to our tables, and how do you actually milk a goat? Fifth Graders can answer these essential questions after their spring field trip to Paonia, a lively agricultural destination just across the Elk Mountains. See the photos and get some info about great places families can visit this spring, summer, or fall!
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Head of Middle School Brenda Stockdale unveils the mysteries of Middle School for soon-to-be Sixth Graders, answering their questions and showing why MIddle School at Country Day is full of learning, adventures, friendships, and teachers who help them become their best.
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The challenge: find a planet, research its conditions and challenges, plan a mission to investigate it, design and build a spacecraft, and report back on the findings. A new project in Third Grade teaches students important skills in problem solving, engineering, and making effective presentations. Check out their video!
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Inspired by the New York Times "Truth is Hard" campaign, Second Graders recently created their own posters about truth in a fascinating writing lesson with teachers Trish and Alexandra.
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Project-based learning example: Fourth Graders study electricity in science class, so they worked in teams to create an electric power grid. From tiny houses to solar panels, they connected it all, making sure that each porch light could shine bright. Best of all, it's 100% powered by renewable energy, just like our own City of Aspen!
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Thoughts about parenting adolescents from Head of Middle School Brenda Stockdale. How to navigate the bumpy road to adulthood, whether it's about social media, homework, nutrition, sleep, or other challenging family topics.
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For practice taking standardized tests, for a check on curriculum delivery, for a snapshot of student performance: ACDS administers the Comprehensive Testing Program Assessment from ERB each spring. It's just one of the many ways we assess student learning.
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LOOKING FOR PAST BLOG POSTS?
For an archive of last year's 
On the Journey, click here;
For the year before, 
click here.

Aspen Country Day School
85 Country Day Way Aspen, Colorado 81611
Phone: 970.925.1909
Time to consider ACDS

Our PreK to Eighth Grade school in the mountains of Colorado

The Way School Should Be

With a balance of nurture and rigor, children become their best

The Power of Three

Rigorous academics, creative arts, outdoor education

A welcoming community

Our motto, de amicitia: in the spirit of friendship

Out into the wide world

Alums carry the Aardvark spirit far and wide

A culture of generosity

Many ways to help make Country Day's future even brighter

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