News, Commentary, and Insights from your Principal of the Captain Samuel Douglas Academy in beautiful Brookline, New Hampshire.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Learning About Our School Mascot: The American Gray Wolf

In our continuing effort to develop a sense of school identity and pride in their school, grade level groups have had the opportunity to meet in the cafeteria for approximately an hour to learn more about the amazing animal that is our school mascot:  the American Gray Wolf.

Upon coming to CSDA, I was a little unsettled about having the wolf as our school mascot -- with the animal's reputation for violence and ferocity (quite contrary to the themes typically embraced in elementary schools).

In researching wolves, I discovered there is a great deal more to this magnificent animal that I had given credit for.  In fact there are many qualities of wolves that we prize at CSDA and encourage in students every day (strength, endurance, tenacity, intelligence, teamwork, caring for one another, etc.).

Through lecture, video clips, and the viewing of a short documentary produced by the National Wildlife Federation, a picture is painted of the American Gray Wolf that students can identify with and be proud to emulate.

The Captain Samuel Douglass Academy Wolves.  It fits.  Go wolves!!

CSDA Mission & Vision: Who We Are, What We Stand For, What We Intend To Do

Over the last couple of months, a core group of CSDA educators has been working on drafts of our school mission statement and vision statement.  The drafts have been offered to our entire faculty for review and feedback.  We are pleased to to say that both 'guiding statements', are ready to share with you.

A school mission statement is essentially the organization's purpose statement.  It is typically a short and simple statement that drives your work and fuels your ambition.  Key to a good mission statement is that it is easy to remember and recite by anyone in the learning community.  As evidenced by the deafening choral recitation of our school mission statement during our spirit assembly last week, our students have got our mission statement down, and they have been able to articulate evidence of the statement themes in the work we do at CSDA every day.  Ready?  Here it is:

A vision statement illustrates the ideals of the organization -- what education is when we get it right!  The school vision paints the picture of what we aspire to at CSDA, noting key themes that we continuously strive for as a learning community.  Here is our school vision statement:

"With our focus on the Whole Child, at CSDA we aim to foster the development of capable, confident life-long learners who will serve as productive citizens in an ever-changing world.   Our vision for education is to create a love of learning in our students by providing a supportive environment that embraces active intellectual engagement and high expectations for all.  We value school and community relationships that offer a diversity of 21st Century educational experiences." 

It is anticipated that these guiding statements will continue to focus our work and keep us striving for high ideals.  Our students are most certain worth it!

With 25% of 2014-2015 'In the Books', CSDA is on Pace During 'Break-Out' Year

It is hard to believe that we have been in school for eleven weeks already.  After welcoming a number of new staff members and a new fourth grade class, the CSDA teachers buckled down and got to work.  There have been a number of changes in our school this fall, as is always anticipated, especially with new staff members offering some new ideas and practices for school community consideration.  So far so good!

Just the other day, as our students were boarding their buses after the last day of Quarter #1, Mrs. Shaw and I were talking about how much we have enjoyed working with the sixth grade class this year -- what an incredible group of kids!  Then we realized that 25% of the school year had passed already, and that we would only have three quarters left in which to work with and enjoy this special group of CSDA students before they move on to the Hollis Brookline Middle School.  My, how time flies!

Since then, at our staff meeting and school spirit assembly last week, I have encouraged everyone to make the most of every day that we have together through the balance of the school year.  Before you know it, the holidays will be upon us and then past.  We will be at the end of the first semester in another handful of weeks, and then we'll begin our charge toward spring.

I bring up this speedy passing of time, not to rush our thoughts through the rest of the year -- just the opposite.  Your friends at CSDA are realizing how our time to teach and impact students at CSDA is fleeting.  We need to make the most of every day!  You can bet we have, and we sure will.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

SAU-41 21st Century Teaching & Learning Initiative Presented at October 28 Brookline School Board Meeting

Please consider attending a very important presentation given by the SAU-41 21st Century Teaching and Learning Committee during the beginning of the upcoming Brookline School Board Meeting, to be held on Tuesday evening, October 28th, close to 6:00pm.  The presentation team will inform the audience about what ‘21st Century Learning’ is, and why it is so important for your child(ren).  The team will discuss how ‘The 4-Cs’ (Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking & Problem-Solving) will be taught and assessed in the Hollis and Brookline School Districts.  Learn how we anticipate our school will evolve into a ‘21st Century Learning Community’ (not a significant change for CSDA), and what you can do to help make certain that your child’s learning experience is all that it can be in Brookline.  Join us if you can!!

CSDA Community Connections Initiative Continues to Roll!

We have been working hard over recent months to reach out to our parent community and the Greater Brookline Community, involve you in efforts, and partner with you to further improve your child’s experience in our school.  I have been impressed and inspired every day since joining your school at CSDA.  The students, teachers, parents, and township are absolutely amazing, and it is a true privilege to be on your team.  To continue our ongoing school improvement efforts (as great as we are, we can always get better!), we want you to be informed about what we are doing, and why.  We need your input, collaboration, and partnership to reach our goal of maximizing learning outcomes for every student at the Captain Samuel Douglass Academy.  To share important information about our school, its activities, and its initiatives, we have established the following communication channels:  telephone, email, available staff, PowerAnnouncement, an updated website, weekly newsletters, classroom and department webpages, principal’s blog, and a new podcast channel.  In the very near future, look for our new CSDA Student News Blog to be posted on our school website.  Also, we will have a school video channel and produce programming for our local cable television channel (student participation with parent permission only!).  Let’s stay in touch, and let’s work together to exceed our common, ambitious expectations for student learning at CSDA.  Together, we will make CSDA truly spectacular!