Strong relationships between students and teachers are one of the hallmarks of the ACDS community, and they allow our teachers to push students to excel in and out of the classroom. With this in mind, the Middle School uses Developmental Designs to help forge these strong bonds between students and teachers. A key component of the program is the Circle of Power and Respect (CPR). The daily 25-minute sessions provide advisory groups an opportunity to explore interesting and important character building topics.

CPR sessions have three parts:
The Daily News — Advisory groups start each session by sitting in a circle and reading The Daily News which outlines the activity for the day. The Daily News often poses a question that students will need to answer during the activity portion of CPR.
Mrs. Mosier’s Advisory reads The Daily News.

 

Greeting — Once the group has read The Daily News there is time for members of the advisory to greet one another.  Greetings range from straight-forward handshakes to elaborately choreographed high-fives.  It is a great opportunity for students to practice using courteous, warm, and welcoming greetings.

Ms. Ball’s Advisory participates in a ball toss greeting.

 

Activity — During the activity portion of CPR, students have fun participating in lively discussions, playing cooperative games, and engaging in team-building challenges.

The 6th grade prepares for a grade-level cooperative jump rope activity that incorporates some Spanish rhymes.

 

If you have a Middle Schooler, we hope that you will occasionally check-in with your son or daughter to learn about the conversations taking place in CPR.

 


Strong relationships between students and teachers are one of the hallmarks of the ACDS community, and they allow our teachers to push students to excel in and out of the classroom. With this in mind, the Middle School uses Developmental Designs to help forge these strong bonds between students and teachers. A key component of the program is the Circle of Power and Respect (CPR). The daily 25-minute sessions provide advisory groups an opportunity to explore interesting and important character building topics.
CPR sessions have three parts:
The Daily News — Advisory groups start each session by sitting in a circle and reading The Daily News which outlines the activity for the day. The Daily News often poses a question that students will need to answer during the activity portion of CPR.
Mrs. Mosier’s Advisory reads The Daily News.

Greeting — Once the group has read The Daily News there is time for members of the advisory to greet one another.  Greetings range from straight-forward handshakes to elaborately choreographed high-fives.  It is a great opportunity for students to practice using courteous, warm, and welcoming greetings.

Ms. Ball’s Advisory participates in a ball toss greeting.

Activity — During the activity portion of CPR, students have fun participating in lively discussions, playing cooperative games, and engaging in team-building challenges.

The 6th grade prepares for a grade-level cooperative jump rope activity that incorporates some Spanish rhymes.

If you have a Middle Schooler, we hope that you will occasionally check-in with your son or daughter to learn about the conversations taking place in CPR.

 

Each fall, ACDS Middle Schoolers embark on an outdoor, overnight adventure with their classmates and teachers.  A highlight of the year for many, the trips are designed to take students out of their comfort zone, broaden horizons, deepen sense of self, and build community. 
Our seventh graders recently returned from their two-night stay at Environmental Studies on the Piedmont in Warrenton, Virginia.  As an extension of their Science curriculum, they participated in activities such as owling, bird banding, and mammal tracking.  They also learned how to set camera traps to capture images of wildlife. 
The Camera Trap is Set
Mammal Tracking
Whitewater rafting and ziplining through tree top canopies were the highlights of the eighth grade’s recent trip to Adventure on the Gorge in Lansing, West Virginia.  “It was great to see students really step outside their comfort zone and conquer the challenges put before them” said Mr. Ros, one of the trip’s chaperones. 
Getting ready to go whitewater rafting

Ready to soar through the tree tops

Each fall, ACDS Middle Schoolers embark on an outdoor, overnight adventure with their classmates and teachers.  A highlight of the year for many, the trips are designed to take students out of their comfort zone, broaden horizons, deepen sense of self, and build community. 
Our seventh graders recently returned from their two-night stay at Environmental Studies on the Piedmont in Warrenton, Virginia.  As an extension of their Science curriculum, they participated in activities such as owling, bird banding, and mammal tracking.  They also learned how to set camera traps to capture images of wildlife. 
The Camera Trap is Set
Mammal Tracking
Whitewater rafting and ziplining through tree top canopies were the highlights of the eighth grade’s recent trip to Adventure on the Gorge in Lansing, West Virginia.  “It was great to see students really step outside their comfort zone and conquer the challenges put before them” said Mr. Ros, one of the trip’s chaperones. 
Getting ready to go whitewater rafting

Ready to soar through the tree tops

Lower School at ACDS uses Responsive Classroom to help teach the children to take care of themselves, each other, and the school environment so that everyone can do his/her best learning.  You can read more about the guiding principles of Responsive Classroom in my September letter to parents.  Today’s post delves more deeply into one of the daily teaching practices–Morning Meeting.


Each Lower School classroom begins the day with Morning Meeting, a 15-20 minute gathering during which they practice academic skills, as well as important social skills, such as listening, speaking, problem solving, and participation.


Morning Meeting has four parts:
  • Greeting–Each child is greeted by name and welcomed. Greetings can be as simple as a handshake or high-five or as exciting as a ball toss or match-the-shoe-to-the-owner greeting.
Peyton gets ready to toss the ball during the Ball Toss Greeting.

  • Sharing–A few children share news and interests, which helps them get to know each other.
Alexandra shares about a family event.

  • Group Activity–The class might play a cooperative game, recite a poem together, sing a song, or do a math or language arts activity together.
    Mrs. Sutton’s class plays Double Double.

    First grade sings Mother Gooney Bird.

    Mrs. Stein’s class practices multiplication and division facts using a volleyball.

  • Message–The children read a message the teacher has written that helps them look forward to the day ahead. They also review the daily schedule.
    Aiden reads the Morning Message to his class.

    James shares the kindergarten schedule.

As you wander our halls in the morning, you may want to linger a bit to see Morning Meeting in action.

The beginning of a new school year is always an opportunity to share some big ideas about how we can work together in service to our students.  This year I have focused on three ideas: Partnership, Trust, and Communication, which I have highlighted in remarks to our families at various events.

This new ACDS blog is intended to aid in all three of those domains.  First, the blog will support our partnership with families by offering insight on educational topics, reflection on our practices, and supportive parenting materials for our families.  Second, it will help to build trust as we showcase the good work that we are doing with children and demonstrate our active approach to continuous improvement.  Third, it will enhance communication as we both share information and invite commentary.

You should expect a new blog entry at least once each week.  Lower School Head, Melissa Davis; Middle School Head, Ryan Woods; and I will each make regular entries, and we will encourage faculty and others to share thoughts and information as well.  Our goal is that the blog is practical, insightful, and engaging.  We know you have limited time, so we will also try to be brief!  Please add us to your newsreader and make it a habit to read what we have to share.  I also encourage you to follow us on Twitter where we will post links to new blog entries among other resources.  You can follow school Tweets @ACDSBobcats, and you can follow me @sbaytosh.  We will also provide our blog entries on the news feed of our website as well as on our Facebook page.

We hope you enjoy our blog offerings and welcome any feedback you may have.  Here’s to an exciting year!

Alexandria Country Day School Student Council Sworn in by Mayor Euille

ACDS celebrated the start of the new school year by swearing in its Student Council members on Monday, September 9th. Alexandria’s Mayor, William Euille joined Head of School, Scott Baytosh to perform the swearing in ceremony and discuss the importance of education and the responsibility of leadership. Mayor Euille shared that he got his start in elementary school student government and answered students’ questions about what it is like to be mayor. Mayor Euille has been performing the ceremony for the last ten years; Alexandria’s mayor has been participating in this ceremony for most of Alexandria Country Day School’s 31-year history.

The 5th Annual Bobcat Classic is one month away! This year, for the first time, we will be holding the event at Belle Haven Country Club so that we can add the option of tennis to our already outstanding program of lunch, 18 holes of golf, and an evening reception.

Put together your golf foursome or tennis pairing today for a wonderful day with ACDS and its community of supporters. Spread the word to your friends, neighbors, and colleagues, as they are welcome to participate as players or sponsors. Spots for this September 23rd event are filling up so act soon!

If you would like more information, or you are interested in a sponsorship for you or your business, please contact Matt Sahlin, Director of Development, at 703-837-1313 or msahlin@acdsnet.org.

We are thrilled to share the new ACDS website with you! Take a look around- we’ve added many exciting new features including a searchable faculty and staff directory and an online application. If you have any feedback on the new site, please send it to Meredith Kirchner, Director of Advancement, at mkirchner@acdsnet.org.