September 2017: the year's theme: Character
Posted 10/16/2017 04:48PM
Happy September. I want to start with a warm welcome to our new faculty and staff as well as our new families to ACDS. We are all excited for a terrific school year.
Tuesday is the official opening day, but as a faculty we began our year this past Monday. This is always a wonderful time, a week with an energy and enthusiasm all its own. The opening faculty meetings provide an important opportunity to establish a tone and intention for our work together as a professional community. Over the course of the summer, our Leadership Team plans these meetings and also thinks about the many projects we will pursue throughout the year.
One area of discussion this summer was the most recent parent survey. Thank you again to those who participated last spring; we heard your thoughtful feedback. I am proud to share that the hard work and dedication of our teachers and staff are widely supported. There is great appreciation for what ACDS has to offer in academics, arts, and outdoor education. While many parents applauded the caring community of adults at Country Day and the strong friendships among children, a continued goal is to ensure that the social environment becomes even more inclusive and welcoming for all families.
In this spirit we will continue our annual theme with a focus on another one of our core values at ACDS, Character. I see this as a challenge to each of us: to strive to become a better person. There are no measures, but character is about doing what is right -- and not because someone is looking, or for praise, but because it is right.
Lower School Head Jennifer Bohnen has signed ACDS up to be part of the fourth annual Character Day, which is September 13.
Find out about this global initiative here, and stay tuned for more about how ACDS will participate. To further bring our exploration of Character to life all year, we are implementing new monthly themes. These will give homerooms, faculty, advisory, and parent communications, etc. a focal point for discussions and discovery. I will post these, make them public, and refer to them throughout the year. They are:
- September: Inclusiveness
- October: Cooperation
- November: Gratitude
- December: Compassion
- January: Patience
- February: Courage
- March: Integrity
- April: Humility
- May: Community
Also percolating over the past couple of years, both among the faculty and at the parent and board level, has been a push to more intentionally examine how Aspen Country Day School pedagogy and curriculum reflect service learning. Our goal is to make a difference in our community, and earlier this week Morgan Henschke, Director of Social and Emotional and Service Learning, delivered an excellent presentation on the framework for the year and goals for each grade level. Teachers will collaborate, students will engage in hands-on real-world service, and this fun work will be integrated into the academic program.
We have also launched a faculty working committee that will meet throughout the year to establish new initiatives, discuss new ideas, and form new relationships with community partners. The question I have asked faculty to consider is, "How do we develop students' understanding of service learning, at all ages and grades, to fulfill our mission of instilling responsible citizenship?"
Aspen Country Day School is a special community, and we have the opportunity to make a difference, not only here at school but also in the valley. Ultimately, we want our students to have the tools and attitudes to make a difference in the wider world, and it all begins here. Your participation and partnership are important, and I look forward to the exciting year ahead.
See you on campus,