I have spent most of my life writing and speaking in metaphors, analogies, and parables. Empowering people to reach beyond the surface of knowledge is one key to the success of any organization. Furthermore, cultivating a community that thrives and nurtures students to define themselves (within their story) is what makes us so strong at Chardon.
Since commencement, we have been working hard to prepare for the next school year. My awesome summer team was able to take some time for themselves and wholeheartedly be present for their families. As my family escaped to South Carolina, gentle tones rang beneath my feet--the soothing sound of the waves. When you really take the time to think about it--- the beauty of waves are extraordinary. They are sometimes gentle, sometimes rough, and always returning back into the vast ocean. Whether it is high tide or low tide, the beauty of the gravitational pull of the moon reminds us of nature's glory of ultimate cause and effect. The softness of the ocean can become a stress relieving baptism; returning us to our original peacefulness. Boy, did I need that gentle reminder after a year of waves. We all did.
On our drive back north, I read Salt to the Sea. The story encapsulated my mind with the themes of courage, fear, strength, and perseverance. This powerful work of historical fiction travels down the darkness of war, and the stories of the human condition.
As a part of the trip, we spent a day in Washington, DC. I believe what dawned on me the most after spending treasured time with my family, reading this book, and heading to our nation’s capital was touring the monuments. It had been years since I walked the history of our country. The miles of history, stories, courage, fear, and strength engulfed my mind as I reflected on the present moment. Humility is the best word to describe the feeling that my family experienced.
We are all a part of something much bigger than ourselves, much bigger than the 88 square miles of our district. The most important hallmark to reflect upon is the reality that your influence matters, your words matter, and your efforts are the key elements that make us so strong. You are part of a much larger community at Chardon.
As we plan and prepare for the dawn of a brand-new academic year, we have so many things to look forward to at Chardon High School. We have such strong educators and wonderful students that walk the halls here every single day. We are embarking on year two of a whole new experience that will catapult a generation of learners to an ever-changing world.
We are excited to welcome to the team: Megan Wessels (Math), Mara Metz (Educational Assistant), Frank Hall (Cafeteria/Study Hall Monitor), Dawn Tupaz (Guidance Sub), Kathleen Flaherty (Art Sub) to join a refreshed group of refined educators to exciting energy that we have shaped our culture around this August.
Cultivating is an essential task of any person working the land. In a like manner, we cast many seeds of learning amongst various Hilltoppers. What becomes essential in the art of educational cultivation is preparing students to see that the harvest may come various times within their high school days. The benefits of the hard work is what can help change the culture of fixed mindsets towards more of a growth mindset and goal setting.
My continued vision for this year is to cultivate and continue to build upon the relationships of all students and staff, focusing on gratitude, building upon our core values and PBIS initiatives, refining our programs, and sharing our message and story to the community for a successful November ballot.
Furthermore, as a teaching staff, we will focus on refining our Professional Learning Communities as we dig deeper into the essential questions of: What do we want students to learn and be able to do? How will we know if students have mastered essential learning? What will we do for students who have not mastered essential learning? What will we do for students who have already mastered the content? I look forward towards building a foundation of learners within instructional strategies and modeling the principles of our core values in Chardon.
As we closed out last year, we began discussing and planning out ways to best prepare our 8th grade class with the transition to high school. Based on the feedback from parents, students, and teachers, 8th grade students will have the opportunity to navigate their course schedule and the layout of the high school as a class on August 14th in an adjusted schedule. We believe that this approach will provide our students the comfort of understanding the school, meeting their teacher in an adjusted schedule and closing out the day with an assembly and luncheon. Additionally, we are providing time for all students (9th-12th grade) to meet with their teachers, go through their schedule, and receive their Chromebook throughout the day. Specific details are inside of this communication. On August 14th, school buses will run as scheduled. The building will be open for all students. All athletic and extra-curricular practices will occur after school.
I am looking forward to seeing you all in a few weeks. We are busy preparing the building for a new year and I am very grateful for the work that our custodial, and maintenance staff have put it. In the meantime, Enjoy the comfort of this weather with your family and friends! See you soon.