School News & Announcements
- March 25 -- Spring Break
(March 25-29, 2013)
- April 11 -- End of Grading Period
- April 12 -- Teacher Planning Day -- No School
For the most up-to-date information, please visit the website maintained by Creative Science School parents: http://creativescienceschool.org.
A Message from the Principal
August 20th, 2012
Dear CSS Students and Families,
I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones well. I hope that you had a restful and enjoyable summer, and that you are looking forward to the upcoming school year.
My summer was quite nourishing. I spent time laughing and playing with friends and family, I visited my in-laws in Alaska, I read some books for pleasure and work, and I even completed a couple of house projects. As I now prepare for another exciting school year, I am also preparing for the arrival of a newborn baby. We are told he will be arriving some time in September. I look forward to meeting him and eventually introducing him to all of you as well.
One of the things that I have been thinking about this summer is the idea and practice of ‘seed saving’. As some of you know for hundreds of years farmers would save seeds from one year to the next. In some cases, seeds from desirable plants and abundant harvests were preserved across generations. Today, seeds are most often purchased annually from commercial seed suppliers. Many of these seeds are genetically modified, patented, and potentially detrimental to the environment. Because farmers today rely heavily on commercial seed they are more limited in terms of how and what they can grow. Down the road this will lead to an increase in corporate control of food production and a decrease in biodiversity on our planet. Today more than ever our world needs seed savers.
Schools are like farms. Linda Christensen, a longtime PPS teacher and a published author, helped me make this connection. The ‘seeds’ that we use to grow and nourish young hearts and minds are the ideas, values, and initiatives that are planted in our community. Educators, like farmers, are under increased pressure to use ‘seeds’ that promise great outcomes but result in terrible loss. Here are a few ideas that seem to have taken root in schools today that should be weeded out – relying on standardized tests as the ultimate indicator of student performance, increasing achievement by threatening teachers with sanctions,subdividing knowledge into disparate disciplines, ignoring the importance of the arts, and trusting textbook companies more than teachers to design meaningful curricula.
I could go on. The point is that CSS is a different kind of school and we have an important job to do. Our job, first and foremost, is to serve the students and families who fill our classrooms and hallways. But our job is also to preserve some of the ‘seeds’ that are thriving here at CSS but seem to have gone extinct in many other places.
We believe, for example, that our ultimate goal is to help every student become a critical, reflective thinker, courageous problem-solver, and engaged, compassionate community builder. We believe that families are essential partners in this educational endeavor and that there is no limit to how much they can contribute to our school community. We believe in the expertise and insight of our teachers to design appropriate curriculum, assess student progress, and guide the learning process. We believe that learning and teaching are interconnected and that all adults, like all children, should be engaged in active learning. We believe that every student has tremendous knowledge, skill, and potential and that the job of the teacher is to facilitate, not dictate, the learning process. We believe in the power of relationships, essential questions, and integrated curriculum to inspire students and engage in learning. We believe that students should demonstrate their learning in meaningful ways and should have opportunities to apply their learning in the world they live in. Most of all, we believe that learning is a process of constructing knowledge and making meaning. It is a process that takes place from the inside out and it is a process that can be greatly enhanced or hindered by the learning environment. As I think about our school, and I think about all the students, parents, and teachers who make up our community, I can’t help but think that this is a wonderful place to be learning.
As we launch into another school year, I hope that we can think about the seeds that we want to save and preserve. Which seeds are most precious to us and how are we tending to them? Which seeds are dear to us but need additional attention? Are there seeds that we can share with other schools? Are there other schools that are growing things that we can learn from?
I am immensely grateful to be a part of this wonderful community. Although I am sad to say good-bye to the summer, I look forward to greeting you all in a few weeks. First day of school is Wednesday, September 5. We will have a school picnic on Thursday, August 30, from 12-1. I hope to see you there.
All the best,
Filip Hristić, Principal