As January comes to a close, I’m inspired by the resilience, dedication, and originality exhibited by our community thus far in 2022. Since returning from winter break, our Upper School – like many other schools nationwide – has seen challenges brought on by the Omicron variant and COVID-19. I could not be more proud of our resilient community of faculty and staff, who have banded together to ensure teachers find classroom coverage and have worked extra hard to differentiate their delivery methods for students in need. As we continue to weather this storm, we are also busy preparing for our annual Experience-Centered Seminars in the Upper School division. The excitement of our students and faculty is palpable, and I look forward to living the ECS experience out for the very first time this March.
Last week, I attended the 2022 Independent Schools Experiential Education Network (ISEEN) Conference themed Belonging to Place: Stewardship, Well-being, and Heritage, which offered opportunities to explore what ExEd looks like both in- and outside of the classroom as well as through the lens of many roles in a school setting. Reflecting on the theme of this conference – the demonstrated value that experiential learning can hold for students – and knowing how CSS plans and offers its own unsurpassable ExEd programs to families, I am struck by just how well our faculty, combined with these real-world experiences, help students find meaning in their lives and the lives of others.
While our faculty members do an outstanding job identifying and building meaningful experiences in their day-to-day classroom lessons, the immersive process of an ECS at The Colorado Springs School enables students to take ownership of their learning, to pursue their passions like never before, and to build something special with a cohort of their peers. Ultimately, the ECS program establishes a sense of purpose in our students and fosters belonging through unique experiences that challenge independent thinking and discovery beyond the traditional classroom environment. I hope that, as our students prepare for and experience ECSs this year, they'll continue to find their place in this dynamic world. I encourage them to use the unique opportunities before them to explore the needs, ideas and cultural differences found among us and to identify ways in which they can become better stewards now and in the future.
Overall, the ECS curriculum provides endless opportunities for students to carve a niche for themselves; to take ownership of their talents and ideas. I cannot wait to hear the reflections from students as they process and present their work upon their return. May they find successes and passions that contribute to their own well-being and consider this experience an integral part of their heritage as a CSS student.
These are unforgettable moments, and I'm honored to share them with the students and faculty in our wonderful community.