It was wonderful seeing so many parents and guardians here last week for Parent-Teacher Conferences. I hope your conversations with the teachers gave you a better picture of your child as learner, with a sense of their emerging strengths and passions, challenges that they might be facing, and a few strategies to continue on their successful ways.  Talking about conferences, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that family engagement makes a difference for student success. Research shows that family engagement improves school readiness, student achievement, and social skills. Your participation in our Conferences demonstrates the importance of partnering with the school in the learning process. Thank you!

I’m glad so many parents and students came to the showing of the film, Screenagers. Last Thursday, we showed it to many of our 7th and 8th grade students and followed up with directed, focused discussions. Delaney Ruston’s film SCREENAGERS informs us about the role of screen time in the lives of children and adults, both at home and at school. She urges parents and school personnel to help children and teenagers to develop habits of self-awareness, self-control to create a healthy balance among screen, active, learning, resting, reflecting, family, social, and creativity time. For more information about this, see the Dean’s Message.

Music, music, music. The 8th grade African Drumming ensemble did a “command performance” in Graham House for the administrative staff who work on behalf of the students all year but rarely get to interact with them.  These folks were incredibly appreciative of our students musicians’ visit to joyfully break up their routine for 15 minutes.  Not to be outdone, the 7th grade African Drumming group performed in the Imperatore Library as well.

Personnel Changes: We say a bittersweet goodbye to Dr. Bill Stegmayer who filled in admirably for Mrs. Giselle Winters during her maternity break. Dr. Stegmayer is a rare gem whose many skills continue to impress us as he works with students. So, we are sad to see him go yet also happy to greet Mrs. Winters upon her return.

We believe coding is an essential skill that everyone should have the opportunity to learn. In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, we will engage in the Hour of Code challenge, right in the Swift Playgrounds app for iPad. The challenge, which only takes an hour to complete, lets students use real Swift code to guide a character through a dynamic 3D world. Students will learn how to give simple commands, write functions, and run loops. The Hour of Code Challenge in Swift Playgrounds is a great way to start exploring teaching, writing and learning code.

Hug your child, and Go Bulldogs!

Kathy Christoph