Monday, September 8, 2014

Just Getting Started

Sorry for the delay in keeping up with my blog, but where did the summer go? It seems like yesterday we were winding the school year up, and now here we are 3 weeks into the year.  This season is full of football games, pep rallies, and plans for the fall.

As the school year started, we rolled out another grade for our 1:1 laptop program. We now have all high school students (grades 9-12) with MacBooks. This summer we also rolled out a new Learning Management System (LMS) called Canvas. Designed specifically for K-12 teachers and students, Canvas is an easy-to-use, cloud-based system that connects all the digital tools and resources teachers use into one simple place. It integrates seamlessly with hundreds of apps, empowering teachers and students with countless tools to make teaching and learning easier and more fun. Now our students can access, complete, and submit assignments all in one site, and our teachers can push assignments, lesson resources, post discussion questions, and even give quizzes through their Canvas portal. And what’s even better, because it's cloud based, it’s accessible across any device that can access the internet: MacBooks, PC’s, phones, even tablets. It’s already getting rave reviews from our faculty and students.

You may have also noticed that our campus is undergoing some renovations as well. The school’s roofs are being replaced due to hail damage. This process is ongoing and in all likelihood won’t be completed until next summer. However, the repairs to Baker Hall are complete and the gym is nearing completion. Plans are also underway to replace the air conditioning in the oldest part of the high school building, which should start very soon. Also approved will be a retrofit of the school’s lighting fixtures with LED lighting. Both the HVAC and the LED lighting will not only improve the cooling and lighting, but also save the school money in the long run with lower utility bills.

Thanks to our Parents’ Club, new safety and security improvements have been made. We now have limited access points for anyone entering our building. All students in grades 7-12 will be issued student ID’s, which will open outside doors that will be locked while class is in session. We will funnel all traffic to one of three access points for everyone else. Mini-Mag and the Little Red Schoolhouse will have video cameras at their access points to allow school personnel to view those seeking access. Plans are ongoing to continue to augment the system with more cameras, which should provide an additional layer of security.

The school is also beginning to craft its school improvement plan as part of our requirements for re-accreditation from SACS (Advanced-ED), SAIS (Southern Association of Independent Schools) and MAIS. You will receive a short online survey from SAIS shortly through your email. Please complete the survey at your convenience, but it will only be open for 10-14 days. These surveys, along with strategic planning at the school and trustee level, will provide valuable input as we craft the school improvement plan that will take us to 2020.

All our fall athletic teams are in full swing with their seasons. If you haven’t caught a game or match yet, please support our young student athletes. They do an outstanding job representing you and our school to the other members of the MAIS.

Finally, don’t forget our Annual Fund. The Annual Fund each year provides financial support for additional equipment and supplies not covered by the Parents’ Club or the regular tuition budget. Along with those purchases, the Annual Fund also provides funding for the school’s endowment. Forty-five percent of all Annual Fund donations go directly to the school’s endowment.

Again, I’m sorry for the delay, as well as the lengthy update. As you can see, there is definitely a lot going on. However, we do understand that our greatest priority is, and always will be, providing a first-class education for your children.

It’s always a great day to be a Chief!
#NJASBAF (Not Just A School But A Family)