Our students and staff stepped up and, as I stated earlier, we had an extremely productive first week at CPHS. I was able to visit every classroom in the building except for two which I plan to visit early this week. As always, I was energized by the teaching and learning occurring in our building. On the very first day, I saw students engaged in wonderful learning activities and I saw teachers beginning to build the relationships that are so critical to the learning process.
The Comstock Park Career Academy
We started a new program at CPHS this year from scratch called the Comstock Park Career Academy. Starting a program is an absolutely tremendous task! In many ways, it is like trying to start a small business and it takes massive effort from all of the stake holders involved (students, staff, etc . . .). The program currently serves about 40 students and it is an entirely new way of looking at learning based on several educational beliefs:
1. All students enjoy learning - our challenge is to engage in the learning.
2. All students learn in different ways.
3. Helping students learn to be productive members of their community is critical to their future success.
4. Learning should be customized to the individual needs of the learner as much as possible.
5. The most important element in the learning process is the relationship between the student and the teacher.
6. We cannot create change by doing what we have always done.
There is certainly much more to the program, but these are some of the basic concepts that we started with. Our goal is to experiment and learn together so that we can better meet the needs of all students. We want every student to be a productive member of our school community and the broader community. We also want students to have as many opportunities as possible upon graduation.
Here is a link to a TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson that might give you some insight into what we are trying to do. (It's about 17 minutes long, so you do need some time to watch it.)
Bring on the learning revolution - Sir Ken Robinson
This is a new program and I'm sure we will make mistakes, but we will adjust with a constant focus on what is best for our students.
General Policy and Procedures Information
The first days of the school year are often focused on procedural issues. I was extremely pleased to see many of our teachers jumping right into content on the first day, but all teachers will have spend time teaching students about how they want the classroom to function. You expect to receive a syllabus in each class that ourlines the class expectations and content for each class at CPHS. We also meet with each class as whole at the beginning of the year to discuss building wide rule, procedures, and expectations.
We met with the juniors and seniors this week and will meet with the freshman and sophomores this next week. Once we complete these class meetings, it is our expectation that students will follow the building procedures - that's part of being a productive member of the community.
I hope you all had a wonderful first week at school and I look forward to seeing our students and staff on Monday!