Greetings Kodiak Families,
Here we are in January. With the new calendar year comes the chance to re-examine our goals, paths, and the resources we have to guide us along the way. Having had the opportunity to rest and refresh over the long winter break, our students are filled with energy and excitement. And, our teachers are busy harnessing this enthusiasm and making course corrections to help our young scholars achieve their individual and group learning goals. Included among these latter goals is the promise of practicing kindness toward others.
So far in 2022, I’ve had the opportunity to work with several of our students on a number of projects that promote social and emotional understanding and growth. Out of gratitude to these student leaders, I’d like to proudly share this month’s plans with you. On Thursday, January 20, 7th graders Giselle M. and Melinda H. are coordinating a luncheon and mid-year check-in for students new to CSS in 2021-2022. While Giselle is new herself, Melinda's family has had a significant impact on CSS for many years now. Together, the two are dedicated to ensuring that our newest Kodiaks encounter a positive and supportive environment both while in the classroom and surrounded by their peers.
This pizza luncheon in the Terrace Room will offer opportunities for newcomers to share their stories. In addition, the group will brainstorm ideas for establishing traditions aimed at fostering connections and offering tools as new students make the transition to our School yet again this fall. We are hopeful this meeting will be the first in a series of check-ins held throughout the 2nd semester, as the CSS leadership team looks to learn more about students’ experiences thus far. If you are a new parent who would likewise find it helpful to talk with others about some of the opportunities or challenges you’ve faced this year, please reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you.
On Tuesday, January 25, the 6th-grade class will also come together for a TACO-hosted (The Ambassadors of Chill Organization) luncheon inspired by a team of students committed to helping the Middle School achieve its cultural goals. During this catered luncheon in the Terrace Room, members of TACO will counsel their peers on methods for reducing impulsive behaviors while enhancing their ability to focus instead on the Middle School learning experience. Students will also be invited to share their own personal narratives on what makes our School a special, accepting, and energizing place to be. I’d like to thank TACO and our faculty facilitator Mr. LePage, in advance, for helping to deliver the message that – whether we realize it or not – our actions and words can have a deeply negative effect on the self-image and confidence of others. I look forward to seeing the positive cultural changes that result from this innovative new program.
In addition to focusing on self-awareness and emotional intelligence in 2022, we will continue to build upon our classroom activities as well. Our Forensics Coach Mr. Andujar, for example, will be joined by Ms. Petit this quarter to grow a regionally competitive Middle School speech and debate team. If our students’ beginning efforts are any indication, I have no doubt the Kodiaks will dominate in this arena! Matchwits is also back again this year, with Mr. LePage coaching our new and returning academic quiz-kids for competitions between other schools. We’ve got lots of fun practices and preparations planned, and are eager to secure a return spot at the national Matchwits competition again this year.
For those students who require assistance with any academic subject area, I’d like to remind you that help is available throughout the 2nd semester. I would, however, like to modify the current method of registering Middle School students for Upper School peer mentor time. Though these meetings will still take place during our regularly scheduled activity period from 2:30–3:15 p.m., parents or students can now request either a single or recurring session with a peer tutor by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Options for peer tutoring sign-up will continue to be offered as well via the Homework Heaven link.
As guides for supporting our students along their journey to excellence both in 2022 and in future years to come, it’s important to remind and model the reality that every day is a chance to start anew; a chance to rise and shine; an opportunity to rest and refresh regularly. Together as a community, we value the opportunity to forge relationships every day. In doing so, we gain the confidence and experience necessary to take on new challenges and overcome obstacles with dignity and integrity.
Be safe and find balance this winter.
Ron Hamilton, M.A.Ed. Leadership
Middle School Division Director