As you know, Seven Peaks’ students are the beneficiary of some very talented and professional teachers. I’d like to highlight a recent accomplishment of a new staff member, Kayla Collins. Kayla is our new 1st grade teacher and recently returned from Chicago where she presented for a large consortium of independent schools.
Her topic was “21st Century Educational Strategies and Brain Research.” The overall theme for the day was, “they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Kayla then spent the day diving into four ways that educators can reach their students though the acronym, C.A.R.E.: Character development, Atmosphere, Relationships, and Engagement. Under the first pillar, character development, she taught about the three categories of character (performance, moral, civic) and how educators can integrate these three types of character development into their curriculum in order to gain stronger classroom management by giving their students ownership of their learning.
The next pillar was on classroom atmosphere in which Kayla shared how to set up flexible seating to be successful and the brain research behind creating classroom settings that encourage movement and a variety of learning experiences throughout the day. As they moved into the topic of relationships, the educators spent time gaining ideas of how to make relationships the heart of the classroom. A classroom cannot be successful without strong teacher-student relationships, and Kayla went into strategies to help build these relationships and make the focus of the classroom on student interests. The final pillar of the day was student engagement. This time was spent with the educators laughing, running around the room performing grammar skits written by Kayla, and experiencing several creative ways that showed how it is possible to integrate rigorous curriculum with engaging, hands-on lessons.
Even if you don’t have children in first grade, please take a second someday to pop into Kayla’s classroom and observe. Her expertise is a great complement to our school. Want to know more? Visit https://www.facebook.com/teachlikeyoumeanit/.
Greetings Seven Peaks Families,
I want to thank you for joining us at last week’s Back to School Night. We hope the time spent with our board was beneficial and the time spent in your child’s classroom was informative. Although our teaching staff could not cover all they wanted to that evening, please know they welcome and encourage further communications with you whether it is via email, phone calls and/or face-to-face conversations.
I think it was the late 1980’s when I first read aloud to my sixth grade class Gary Paulsen’s, Hatchet. My students loved the book and so did I. It was fun coming into class after recess to read the next chapter of this adventurous story. Classics never wear out. And so it was last Friday with our 5th grade students. Many of you were at the Athletic Club to see the kids’ Hatchet inspired boats race toward the finish line. What a fun event for our school. In future years, it will be interesting to see how the design lab will hone the students’ boats and their sea-worthiness!
As I was watching the event on Friday and seeing the unbridled joy on the 5th grade faces, I couldn’t help but think how Hatchet’s classic status is like that of our school. Some things are basic and foundational. Literacy. Seven Peaks is committed to academic excellence through a strong and challenging language arts program in all grades. A well-rounded child — Our students working in teams to crate a cardboard boat that will provide enough buoyancy to reach the finish line. A sense of belonging — Along with parents and grandparents, gathering together to celebrate their accomplishments and the spirit of innovation.
So thanks for choosing and trusting Seven Peaks with your child’s education. We have a very talented and creative staff dedicated to enriching experiences for all children.
Greetings Seven Peaks Families,
Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year. It’s an honor for me to serve our students, families and staff as Seven Peaks’ Interim Principal during the current leadership transition. This year marks a milestone for me as I enter my 30th year working in education. Partnering with you to educate and inspire the love of learning for our children is both a goal and a passion for me. I know that our entire team is ready and excited to move forward to make this year extraordinary for our kids. We will continue to focus on providing a unique learning experience that promotes:
- Academic Excellence (small class sizes with highly capable teachers equals increased time-on-task and education designed for your child’s unique needs);
- A Well-Rounded Child (programs that inspire the arts, sciences and humanities to help students become culturally literate, problem solvers, creators and consumers of art, designers and foreign language speakers); and
- A Sense of Belonging (helping students learn best from those with whom they are bonded).
If you’re a returning family, we welcome you back and if you’re a new family, we’re glad to have your join our community. Regardless, know you belong and that Seven Peaks is YOUR school. We all have equal stake in the success of our students.
In my new role as interim principal, I will be supporting our great teachers as they work directly and skillfully with you. In any successful school, the best and most important action is within the classrooms. Please be involved and volunteer, observe a class or lesson, attend a board meeting; our school is only as strong as all of us pulling and pushing in the same direction. My door and mind is always open to your ideas, thoughts and suggestions. Please feel free to come by for a chat anytime.
Your children are in good hands. I look forward to seeing you all daily at the curb or in the building. Please come to our Back to School Night on September 28 at 6:00pm.
Family partnership at its best!
We have all heard the phrase, “It Takes a Village” and how true it is. Our Family Partnership pinnacle embodies our belief that due to involvement of parents, and beyond, our students and our school as a whole thrive immensely. Last Friday we honored all Peaks’ Parents who continue to support SPS by sharing their knowledge and time. Thank you parents for volunteering this year. We all appreciate it and can see the benefits of having you involved in your kids everyday school life. A special thanks to Giselle Beucus and Carrie Huffman, Peaks’ Parents Co-chairs, for a fantastic job organizing our volunteers and events throughout the year.
If you where unable to attend the roundup, you were certainly missed. Please take a few moments to watch a special video from your kids honoring you for your involvement in their educational experience. Also, view this slideshow capturing just some of our Peaks’ Parents “in action”. Giddy up partners…are you ready to get involved in 2017-2018? Don’t miss out on many great opportunities. Please stop by the SPS lobby and see how you can get share your passion or go to volunteer sign ups for next year.
Design innovation & thinking grows at Seven Peaks School
It’s been exciting to see and feel the energy behind the design innovation initiative that’s filling the halls of our school. Thanks to our parents and friends, Seven Peaks School is among the first Central Oregon schools to begin planning for a Design & Innovation Lab. As you have probably heard, by fall of 2017, we will have transformed our SPS library into a space for students in all grade levels. Please take a few minutes to look at the renderings for our new space. We’re excited to have our students involved in a design process to help with the creation of the lab. Design thinking and innovation is not new to our school. In fact, our teachers have been thought leaders in bringing hands-on, inquiry based, creative thinking to our classrooms. The Design & Innovation Lab will give us the tools and equipment to take the Design Initiative to the next level.
Check out these articles for more information about how the Design Thinking is reshaping education:
Edutopia: What is Design Thinking?
Newsweek: Maker Movement Reinvents Education
Free community film screening: Most Likely to Succeed
On Thursday, April 13 at 6:30 pm, Seven Peaks School will host a FREE COMMUNITY SCREENING of the National award winning film Most Likely to Succeed. Please take a minute to watch the trailer. This film will inspire families with children of all ages to explore the future of education. We hope you can join us and encourage you to invite friends.
Changes for the 2017/2018 school year
As educators, we are continuously exploring opportunities to enhance programming and provide our students with a 21st century learning experience. In March, our SPS team began looking at ways to optimize classes and schedules so students get the most out of each school day. One thing we know for certain is that traditional teaching models in which subjects are taught in silos is less effective in providing real-world learning for our kids. Stay tuned for more information as our team works to modify our daily schedule to incorporate more progressive teaching practices.
We are excited to share that we are already starting to see results from our recently launched digital and public relations outreach efforts. In March, we hosted 20 new families at our SPS Information night. We’ve also been touring new families and fielding calls from interested parents from Central Oregon and out of the area. Current enrollment numbers are lower than anticipated for this time of year, but we are confident that we will grow our SPS family. If you have friends or family members that you think might be a good fit for our school, please send them our way.
Thank you all for your continued support. I hope you had a wonderful spring break!
Anniversary gala success
I’m still feeling renewed and inspired by the tremendous success of last weekend’s 20th anniversary celebration. Not only did we have an incredible turnout, we also exceeded our fundraising goal of $100,000 to support the design innovation movement we’re creating for our students. Most importantly, we shared an extraordinary sense of community centered on our belief in a school that challenges and inspires every child and creates a true sense of belonging. I want to thank our founders for being part of the celebration, our staff member Stephanie Erickson for her expertise and coordination, and also our fantastic parents, Anne Mastalir and Sarah Douglass for their leadership and passion in co-chairing this event. Take a minute to view the photos from the gala.
Let’s talk middle school
Recently, I was talking with a friend about her child’s middle school experience outside of SPS and it reminded me that middle school can be a challenging time for any student at any school. It’s a time when friendships mean more than almost everything else and those friendships can be volatile as adolescents explore their identities. As parents and educators, we work to maintain the delicate balance between encouraging independence and providing support and guidance. Our goal at SPS is to create a middle school learning environment that is safe and welcoming, but still provides a real world context. We feel fortunate to offer the only independent middle school IB program in Central Oregon to help us do that.
SPS plans for next year
We have some important work to do in growing our enrollment over the next several months, but I’m extremely confident that we can sustain and build our Seven Peaks School family. We are actively working with existing families to finalize re-enrollment for next year and reaching out to prospective families that have expressed interest in our school. We have also been enhancing our online presence with a new website and digital marketing campaign. In addition, we are engaged in public relations efforts to increase our visibility and reputation within the Central Oregon community. If you know families who might be a good fit for our school, please encourage them to get to know us. We have monthly tours, parent information nights and student visitation days and would appreciate your help in growing our unique K-8 school community. The application deadline is March 16.
Keeping our kids safe and focused
One of our goals at Seven Peaks School is to create a uniquely personal learning environment where kids feel challenged, nurtured, welcome and safe. We work to limit distractions and inspire exploration of the world around them and beyond. That’s one of the reasons we have a no cell phone policy at our school.
In a recent survey of nearly 1,300 parents and their children, parent advocacy group Common Sense Media found that 59 percent of parents think their teens are addicted to mobile devices. Meanwhile, 50 percent of teenagers feel the same way. By limiting cell phone access before and after school and providing careful supervision when phones might be used in class for special assignments, our hope is to give our kids a break from the constant distraction and pressure that comes with cell phone use. More important, it allows them to be present in the moment, focus on learning, and develop stronger listening and social skills.
Public & Permanent live presentation on digital safety
As part of our Seven Peaks School Social & Emotional Educational Series we will be hosting Public and Permanent, a live 90-minute program on Thursday, March 16. Presented by author and international speaker Richard Guerry, founder of the non-profit organization the Institute for Responsible Online and Cell-Phone Communication, this multi-award winning program will help us all take steps to prevent, sexting, cyberbullying and poor social media & app behaviors. We encourage you and your kids to be part of this important conversation and bring friends! Space is limited so buy your tickets as soon as possible.
Thank you Seven Peaks families and friends
We are looking forward to a great spring and our upcoming 20th Anniversary Fundraising Gala. Thanks to all for your on-going support of our exceptional Seven Peaks School community.
An inspirational re-enrollment night
I’m feeling energized and inspired by last week’s re-enrollment night. I want to thank all of you who were able to attend and encourage those of you who couldn’t to get in touch with us as soon as possible to renew your commitment so we can plan for staffing next year.
Here’s what one of our parents had to say about our evening together:
“Last night not only were we reminded why we chose SPS originally, but were inspired by Amanda Holdredge’s delightful presentation and your incredible vision for the future of SPS. Prior to the evening we asked ourselves both questions:
Is SPS still the best choice for our boy and why do we need to go to this thing at school? The first was followed by a conversation of all the positive blessings the school gives our whole family and the second was a discussion around expectations and commitments to participating as a family. We love SPS!”
Listen to a recording of Amanda Holdredge’s presentation.
Celebrating the past & the future
Annual Fundraising Gala celebrating 20th anniversary will help fund Design & Innovation Lab
The response to our upcoming Design and Innovation Lab has been tremendous. Students, parents and staff alike have been so enthusiastic about this unique and progressive learning opportunity we have in store. Because the lab will be created using funds from the Annual Giving Campaign and our upcoming Annual Fundraising Gala and Auction Paddle Raising opportunity, we hope you’ve purchased tickets and are planning to be part of our 20th Anniversary Celebration. I also want to thank our wonderful parent co-chairs Anne Mastalir and Sarah Douglass who have been working so hard to make this a very special event.
Here’s what one of our parents had to say about the upcoming Design and Innovation Lab in a recent email. We feel lucky to have such supportive families.
“Got home super early this morning from east coast to two boys who were ecstatic to show me the video of the upcoming modifications to the [design] school coming to Seven Peaks. Although I had a chance to hear some rumor about the enhancements it was truly inspiring and totally amazing to hear how far you and the team have come with this massive initiative. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your leadership and impact on our children’s lives. It’s a foundation for a lifetime and we’re forever grateful.”
View the video about our upcoming Design & Innovation Lab.
This project is so important because it will provide us with additional tools to engage and inspire our students while igniting their curiosity with hands-on learning. Statistics also show that students with backgrounds in design innovation are more likely to have better opportunities than peers after graduating college.
As an independent school we are not under the constraints of conformity and uniformity. We have the flexibility to be progressive innovators and this is what design learning is all about.
Here’s how you can help bring our vision to life: