Delivering the Mission

August 18, 2014

Dear CSS Community,

Campus feels energized and we are ready for the school year. I would like to let you know what we have been up to at CSS.

This past week began with 25 CSS teachers becoming certified or re-certified in Wilderness First Aid by two instructors from the National Outdoor Leadership School. These Wilderness First Aiders learned to recognize the signs and symptoms of serious illness or injury and to treat or stabilize patients in the field. These dedicated teachers spent 16 hours over two days learning and practicing the art of First Aid in addition to their CPR training.

On Wednesday, the faculty/staff gathered as a whole and we began to build on many of the initiatives planned at the end of school last year. We finalized the details of our new digital portfolio program, which organizes student work at CSS into the seven essential capacities for a dynamic world, and not the traditional academic disciplines. What is most exciting to me is that this initiative is school-wide. Students, with the help of their teachers, will begin submitting work in PreKindergarten and will continue to submit through the 12th grade. Students are responsible for selecting the academic work and projects of which they are most proud and placing them in one of the seven categories. Each submission is accompanied by a brief reflective essay (in the early years, a dictation) in which students note what they learned and how they might be able to apply this knowledge or skill in the future. Asking students to reflect and “own” the story of their education prompts some high quality thinking about the nature of their best work.

Over the course of two days, Upper School faculty received some basic training in simple screen capture software with the purpose of producing brief and informative “flipped class” educational videos. Look for these at a student computer near you! Teachers will produce videos on a wide variety of subjects. By moving a small portion of either instruction or student feedback out of the classroom, teachers make room for dynamic and active class sessions. Teachers can give instructions for complicated assignments, share information on enrichment topics that frequently get left out, provide feedback to students, provide remediation on difficult subjects, or even give the lessons that are sometimes missed by students with early departure activity dismissals. Please note, this initiative is limited in scope, and most CSS teachers will only produce a small number of videos each semester, since with our model of teaching, students are already the center of the education experience. While we are starting small, the research shows that students respond very favorably and teachers are re-energized about teaching once they try this new tool for delivering the school’s mission.

In this letter, I would also like to officially welcome the most recent members of our faculty/staff, Meri Cummings and Nadja Hunter.

Meri Cummings has accepted my invitation to join us at CSS as our new Technology Integrator and part-time Science Teacher in Middle School (following Cullan Hemenway’s resignation this summer). Meri comes to us by way of West Virginia and she has extensive experience teaching STEM educational outreach programs associated with NASA, implementing iPad programs, and coaching robotics. She also holds a Ph.D. in Marine Biology. She is very pleased to relocate to Colorado Springs and we are glad to have her join us at CSS.

As you may know, Ruth Watts, our current Database Manager recently decided to seek opportunities outside CSS. Please join me in wising her the best in the future. Nadja Hunter ‘99 will join us beginning August 18th as our new Registrar and Database Manager. In the time since she was at CSS, Nadja graduated from Colorado College, earned an MBA degree, and amassed a wealth of experience in administrative positions in post secondary educational environments. Most importantly, she has worked with both databases and transcript evaluation, two tasks critical to this positioncomplete . She is eager to return to CSS and to work with a wide variety of constituents to create and organize accurate student data. Please extend her a warm welcome during her transition.

For a faculty/staff directory, click here.

Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to the Parents Association for planning and hosting the Family Picnic and Ice Cream Social. We had a great rainy day plan but the weather held out. It was a pleasure to see old and new faces and the robust turnout indicated a great level of enthusiasm for this year!

If you have the time, please come to the Parents Association Welcome Coffee this Friday, August 22, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. for casual conversation. Following coffee on the plaza outside, I will give a brief presentation on this year’s initiatives followed by a question and answer session in the Louisa Performing Arts Center. I look forward to talking with you.

All the best,

Aaron Schubach

 
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