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

Sunday, September 21, 2014

CSDA Transition and Aspirations

[Reprinted from our 'Welcome Back' Parent Letter which was sent to CSDA Families in Late August.]

In the time ahead, it will not only be staff that will be new.  As with any learning community, your friends at CSDA will continue to strive for excellence in order to best meet the learning needs of your children, helping to prepare them for a lifetime of success and happiness.  Over the coming years, you can expect that CSDA, always evolving and always improving, will continue to capitalize and build on successes of the past, in order to make the most of new opportunities in the time ahead.  Our quest for ongoing school improvement will be relentless in the time ahead, and you will see evidence of our growth continuously over the weeks, months, and years ahead.

Having met and spoken with countless town officials, parents, and educators here in Brookline over the recent weeks of summer, the goals and aspirations held by this community for its upper elementary school are readily apparent.  Here are the six common themes for school improvement that have emerged.  I hope that you will track and contribute to our ongoing improvement related to these themes in the time to come.  

1.] CSDA must maintain its strong academic standing, and implement even more challenging, engaging, and diverse academic standards in the time ahead.  CSDA will be defined as a cognitively challenging, intellectually stimulating, and artistically engaging learning community.

2.] CSDA must become more flexible, opportunistic, and responsive to individual student learning needs as it truly becomes ‘a school for all learners’.  Students who struggle in school, as well as those who come to us ready for college (and everyone else in between) must have their learning experiences and opportunities optimized in our community.  We must adequately teach and support every single one of our young people, so that they may meet their true life potential, and be sufficiently prepared to enjoy a happy, successful, and prosperous future.

3.] Much has been said over recent years about 21st Century Learning and schooling.  Now is the time to act.  CSDA must embrace necessary programming and teaching techniques to assure that our students will be prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.  It is a whole new world, and our young people will need a new type of education, from a new type of learning institution; one that is responsive to the dynamic change, challenges, and opportunities that are anticipated in the 21st Century (as well as those that are not).  As with so many sister schools, CSDA will need to move from ‘Old School’ to ‘Bold School’ in the near future.  We must acknowledge the future, embrace it, and prepare our students to become adults who will thrive in it -- for their good, and that of our society.

4.] CSDA must continue to improve its school climate as a focused, productive, and high-achieving learning community for students and staff.  We should create and maintain a highly interactive, rich, and child-centered atmosphere; while continuously cultivating our culture of teacher professionalism, student citizenship, character development, warmth, nurturance, and fun!

5.] In order to reach our potential as a learning community, we must engage and partner with our parent community like never before.  Using both traditional communication methods (parent letters, school newsletters, school and class websites, teacher/ administrator phone calls, Power Announcements, school community events, etc.) and the best available and emerging ‘Web 2.0’ communication tools (blogs, wikis, podcasts, video, cable TV, Twitter, and social media), CSDA must endeavor to communicate, educate, engage, and partner with our parent community to maximize learning opportunities for our students in and out of school.  If we are not on the same page, and working together, how can we hope to maximize the potential of CSDA and the learning of our children/students?

6.] The CSDA administration and staff will work even harder to assure the best possible educational experience for the children of Brookline, making effective and efficient use of available resources.  Though the economy is said to be improving, school officials must continue to exercise fiscal restraint, assuring that ongoing school improvement has minimal impact for the taxpayers of Brookline.  Our schools should be a source of community pride, not community controversy.  We will do our best to promote community cohesion by providing the Town of Brookline with a world class quality of education for its young people at a reasonable and appropriate expense to taxpayers.

Stay tuned for more information about these multi-year school improvement initiatives.  The CSDA Staff will begin working together next week to discuss and develop our implementation plans to address these ambitious goals, and will communicate important details to you, as they become available.

It is important to note the your Captain Samuel Douglass Academy has been one of the very best schools in the State of New Hampshire for many years, under the leadership and direction of Mrs. Wenger, the exceptional teaching of many CSDA teachers, and the support and commitment of effective parents like you.  However, as professionals, the educators of CSDA will not be contented with our current level of performance and achievement; we will forge ahead, and move our school to ‘the next level’.  Based on my conversations with many of you over the past seven weeks, I believe you desire to make the Captain Samuel Douglass Academy a pre-eminent public elementary school, bringing to Brookline the notoriety and accolades that it deserves, as we provide a world class education to the young people of your community.

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