September 30, 2019

Dear Campus School Families,

We are in our fourth week of school, and the days have passed quickly. As a new arrival, I have relished each moment, and this is a good time to reflect on my early observations.

The very first day, as I stood by the door at arrival time, I was struck by the way students entered the building. Some skipped, some ran, some were more tentative, and nearly everyone smiled. All seemed happy to be here. That is not the case in every school, I thought to myself. Students here are eager to start the day.

That sense of eagerness has persisted: I walk into classrooms where students are silently sprawled about the room, deeply focused on the books they are reading. (This is a school that promotes a love of reading; that is evident in every classroom, in our fabulous library, and even in the hallways.) Students eagerly tackle tough math problems, working together to explain their thinking, using objects and drawings to show what they mean. They sing with gusto in music class, they enthusiastically explain to me what they are working on that day in art. In PE they listen to directions and charge, full force, into the day’s activity. The excitement Campus School students demonstrate about learning is palpable. What we all saw at the wonderful Fall Fair last Friday - all that bouncing, joy, and zest - is something we get to witness here every day. Lucky us.

Lucky me. In its classic teacher guide, The First Six Weeks of School, the Center for Responsive Schools lists “creating a climate of warmth, inclusion, and safety,” as one of the primary goals of the early weeks of school. Teachers here are skilled at doing this, through morning meetings, group-building activities, and carefully constructed lessons. Only at a school that is successful at creating such a climate do students skip to the front door, read with focus, create joyful music. I, like the students, am so happy to be here. Lucky me.