Update from the Head of School
September 2019
Monthly theme: Inclusiveness

Welcome back! I love this time of year. There is enthusiasm for being back at school and also lots of sharing of summer experiences. Now it is time to get this year in gear! We have just a couple days left before we officially start up, though teachers have been working for more than a week and have even been setting up classrooms over the weekend. Let's not forget, move-in is an annual event for us, and though a great team-building exercise, it is also hard work. As I have walked around campus this weekend, I am just so impressed with all that our teachers and staff do for the school.

As everyone returns from summer adventures, one thing I continue to hear is, "No matter where you are returning from, Aspen is easy to come home to!" We should never take for granted the privilege of living in this magical place. I was mindful of this as I read an essay in the New York Times from Kim Brooks, author of Small Animals, Parenthood in the Age of Fear. Her piece, " We Have Ruined Childhood "  is another reminder of how lucky we are at Aspen Country Day School.
Going into this year, I have been thinking about the importance of balance. In particular, I believe children deserve a balance of technology and books, screen time and outdoor play, structured and unstructured time, texting and face-to-face interaction. The faculty and I have had meaningful discussions around technology and where it fits into the program. There is no question that it is important, but we don't want children to lose sight of the power of technology-free activities and assignments. 

Starting with the first day of school, we are implementing "No Technology Tuesdays." This is a new school-wide policy and means that on Tuesdays, students will not have any take-home assignments that involve screens. We will still have technology during the school day, but Tuesday homework will be screen-free. That might mean writing with a pencil and paper instead of using a laptop, reading a book instead of an online article, or completing math problems on a worksheet instead of logging in on a Chromebook. This is the first step to a larger discussion that will continue throughout the year. For parents, we hope it may also be a way for you to limit tech use at home on Tuesdays. Perhaps this is an evening to read as a family, play a board game, or have more time for conversation.
I also want to take this opportunity to introduce this year's annual theme, Sustainability. As a school, we will think carefully about being more environmentally aware regarding the materials we use in the program, the composting we can do in the kitchen, cars and trucks idling on campus, and student engagement on environmental issues. We will also discuss this important theme with a lens into financial and human sustainability. How do we retain our most precious resource, the faculty? How do we think about income and investments, both annually and long term?  The faculty this year will have a working committee to share more ideas and examples, and you will hear the word "sustainability" often.  

Lastly, we will also continue our monthly themes, and September's is Inclusiveness. I want to thank the Welcoming Committee and the PIE parent association for all that they have done to make the transition for new families a smooth one. We are excited to open our 49th school year with an all-time record enrollment of 270 students. 
Thank you for your trust and support, and I wish all of you a great year!

PS: With Castle Creek Road construction underway into October, you may have a slower trip to school. We are doing our best to work with the traffic control crews. In the long run, the road will be safer for everyone. Please be patient. 
Calendar reminders for the first few weeks

Tuesday, September 4
- first day of school, parking and bus info here
- school day ends at 11 am for PreK and Kindergarten
- school day ends at 3:10 pm for all others

Wednesday, September 5

- Middle School Outdoor Ed, meet at 8:15 am at BUTTERMILK

- school day ends at 11 am for PreK and Kindergarten

- early day every Wednesday: school day ends at 2 pm

Friday, September 7
Middle School Outdoor Ed returns to Buttermilk, 2:30 pm

Monday, September 9
For parents in First, Second, and Third Grades: Outdoor Ed preview, 2:30 pm, Lower School Commons

Tuesday, September 10: 
- Third to Fifth Grade: school pictures
- Third Grade climbing field trip, Red Brick 1:30 pm

Wednesday, September 11
PreK to Second Grade: school pictures
Parent Night for Lower School parents, 5-7 pm

Thursday, September 12
- Second Grade Outdoor Ed, meet 8:15 am at Buttermilk 
- Middle School picture day
- Third Grade climbing field trip, Red Brick 1:30 pm

Friday, September 13
- Second Grade Outdoor Ed returns, noon at Buttermilk 

Saturday, September 14
Playdate by the Ponds, all families welcome, bring friends! 10 am - 1 pm

Monday, September 16
- Aspen Country Day Cup golf tournament, details here

For more events, check www.aspencountryday.org/calendar