Dear Lower School parents,
Like many of you, I have been attempting to avoid the oppressive heat in this first month of summer. The increased time indoors has forced me to get in touch with my more creative parenting techniques. There are only so many card games, board games, books and, yes, I admit it, movies/TV shows out there. So, as I type this letter, I am happy to report that I am sporting a lovely full-face butterfly design created by my daughter this morning. I tell you about it not because of its clear trend-setting capacity, but because of the great joy I experienced sitting still for 30 minutes, about ten inches away from my daughter’s face. I was able to see the incredible range of expressions she had as she mixed, painted, messed up, re-created, considered changes, added details and completed her work of art. It was a priceless experience, and one I highly recommend.
As we enjoy the rest of the (hopefully cooler) summer, I hope we all take advantage of those unexpected, priceless moments with our children and that we look forward to the changes next year will bring with a sense of adventure.
Preparing for the Upcoming School Year
Lifelong Learning Continues
- This summer, the Lower School Faculty is reading a series of articles about gifted learners. The articles present some commonly held beliefs along with some misunderstandings and current research about best teaching practices. We are looking forward to the rich discussions these topics will foster when we return to school.
- In addition, the faculty is engaged in reading and blogging about Rick Lavoie’s book Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning on the Tuned-Out Child. We have already engaged in some meaningful dialogue via the internet, and we look forward to learning more from one another when we return to school. We hope that you will join us and read this book in preparation for Mr. Lavoie’s visit and a series a book talks in the fall.
- Beth Hopkins and Susan Poindexter are busy making plans to enlighten our Bitty Bengals, Kindergarten, 1st grade and 2nd grade teachers about Orton-Gillingham. Both teachers received TEEF grants to attend training sessions about this highly successful program for teaching reading, and they can’t wait to share what they learned! By the end of 2012, all of our Bitty Bengals through 2nd grade teachers and assistants will have had this important professional development.
- As always, several teachers are attending conferences, collaborating about students and curriculum, and brainstorming engaging projects throughout the summer as well. This incredible group of teachers continues to amaze me with their enthusiasm and drive throughout the summer months.
Stay in the Know
- For those of us who have been GDS parents for awhile, we sometimes forget that the Family Handbook is a great resource for school information, expectations and policies. For new families, it is a wonderful way to become familiarized with GDS. The Handbook can be found online at www.greensboroday.org/handbook. I would like to remind you about two important areas:
- Technology Responsible Use Policy – this section sets forth guidelines for students, faculty and staff to provide a safe and appropriate learning environment for the GDS community.
- Conduct Policies and Expectations – this section includes information about attendance, dress code, sportsmanship and more.
- I also encourage you to frequent the GDS homepage at www.gdsbengals.org for important back to school information and news updates throughout the year. This page will house information about start of school dates and times, school supplies, carpool and class lists in late July and August.
- Come cheer on the Bengals against Cary Academy during our first GameDay Grill of the year on August 21. Varsity games begin at 4:00 p.m. that Tuesday. This is a great time to see old friends and meet some new ones. Dinner will be available for purchase near the field house located by the track.
- I know you share my excitement in welcoming Marie MacKay to our 2nd grade team. Marie comes to GDS with over 30 years of teaching experience in Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades. Most recently, she served as an adjunct professor of pre-service elementary school teachers at UNCG. In that role, she supervised 21 interns and taught both Reading and Language Arts Methods courses. She also led seminars on classroom management and differentiation. She has worked extensively with students, teachers and principals in a number of educational settings. Marie has been recognized as Teacher of the Year, and she completed her National Board Certification in 2004.
- We are continuing our search for a new Bengal Cub Club Director and will notify you when a replacement is named.
- A complete list of new faculty across all three divisions will be included in an August letter from Mark Hale.
Class lists will be posted on the GDS Web site on August 10. Teachers, guidance counselors, and administrators devoted much deliberate attention and thought to these lists in the spring and throughout the summer. We created what we believe will be optimum learning groupings for students next year. If you made a request for a specific placement based on unique circumstances, in many cases we were able to satisfy those requests. If you made a request that was not satisfied, however, we could not place your child as you requested and still address higher priority issues. Each Lower School child submitted an index card with names of eight friends with whom he/she would like to be in a homeroom next year. We promised each child that he/she would be in the same class with at least one of the requested friends. We carefully checked each child’s index card to ensure that we kept that promise. Please trust that we took all we know into account and made the best possible decisions for children in this setting. We do not plan on changing class assignments after publication on August 10.
The beginning of a new school year is always an exciting time. While the relative quiet of the summer affords time for reflection and planning, we always look forward to the halls and classrooms being filled with joyful sounds of learning once again.
Lower School Director