Dear Blake Families,
I hope that you all have been enjoying a relaxing and restful summer with your family and friends, and that you have found the time to make your vacation days all that they should be. Although this summer has certainly had the 'abbreviated' feel, it has been wonderful to be able to take advantage of some restful and relaxing summer endeavors (family excursions to the Cape and Berkshires, Taylor Swift concert with our daughter and niece, Falmouth Road Race, Norman Rockwell Museum, to name a few) to recharge in preparation for the upcoming school year. The months of July and August have been productive ones here at Blake, as our teachers have been preparing new units and revising their curriculum units while our excellent maintenance staff has been getting the building ready for a productive year. The first official day of school is nearing, and I am writing to provide you with some important information regarding the beginning of the school year.
The 2013-2014 school year will begin on Tuesday, September 3. As we have done in past years, we will stagger our starting times for the students. Arrival information for the opening day is as follows:
- Students in grade six report to the gymnasium by 7:40 a.m. for opening orientation
- Students in grade seven report to the gymnasium by 10:00 a.m.
- Students in grade eight report to the cafeteria by 10:00 a.m.
- There will be a separate bus run beginning at 9:15 a.m. on the first day for students in grades seven and eight.
- Students in grades seven and eight should not report to school before 9:40 a.m. on opening day.
My intention is to continue to share and highlight articles that I have read as well as share resources that I believe may be of use to you as parents. As we begin our formal work together for this 2013-2014 academic year, I have posted two articles of interest. The first article by George Couros, 'Building the Culture of an Empowered Mindset Towards Technology Innovation', offers an administrative perspective in visual form of, "...the correlation of the school mindset on technology innovation in learning, and the alignment it has with administrator support, professional development, and the corresponding hardware/infrastructure within the school/classroom." As we look ahead at the initiatives that we are currently working on and the ones that lie ahead, I believe this will help our entire learning community (students, staff, parents, and greater community) understand and envision the progression we want to travel from a 'closed or fixed' mindset' to one of 'empowerment'. Communication and transparency are key elements in this growth pattern and I look forward to the conversations we have yet to have in this regard.
The second article is from Education Week by Peter Gow, entitled 'In Praise of Building and Grounds Staffs Everywhere'. Gow has worked for many years in independent schools, and his brief article is an excellent reminder for all of us of the true communal effort it takes to establish, foster, and maintain a healthy school. We are blessed at Blake to have such a supportive behind-the-scenes crew, and they are worthy of our recognition, and I believe Gow offers some nice words as a reminder: "Ask these men and women why they work so hard and take such care in their efforts, and nine times out of ten they'll tell you it's for the school, for the kids, for the program...they may sometimes be invisible to us in our classrooms and offices, but they are watching -- watching us, watching the kids, looking for ways to make our lives go a little more smoothly...when school starts in a few weeks take a moment to contemplate and appreciate the men and women -- and sometimes the summer kids -- who have made it a point of pride that the school look 'just so' when the kids stream back and what we consider the 'real' work of the school year begins. It's their real work year-round, in rain and shine, and they do it for us." It is my continued hope that we can take this message to heart throughout the year, finding ways to remember to recognize one another, students and adults alike, and keep this theme of gratitude and appreciation at the forefront of our thinking.
As I have shared on many occasions, I am blessed to work with such a talented and inspiring community of students, families, and teachers. Blake Middle School fosters a wonderful, nurturing, and challenging environment and it is truly a privilege and a real honor to come here to work each day. I look forward to working with you and your children throughout the year as we collectively strive to continue to foster a culture of learning and respect. We have both successes and challenges that lie ahead and I am excited about what the future brings for all of us. I wish everyone an enjoyable and memorable next few weeks.
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