Published : Thursday, January 12, 2017 | 2:58 PM
Nothing rings in the cherished holiday spirit like the pure joy and inspiration of hearing the voices of children singing songs of brotherhood, friendship, and classic renditions of winter holiday songs. High Point’s Holiday Show in December brought to life this beautiful range of emotions: We laughed. We cheered. We reminisced. We cried. Our hearts sang along as we came together as one—the High Point Family.
Certainly, there is nothing more precious in life than spending quality time with family; that is the magic of the holiday season. We celebrate who are and where we came from. We deepen our connection with our core values and traditions. And we realize why life is so special: It’s all about family, friends, and togetherness. It means we spread joy and love beyond our homes, and into our communities. During the holidays we appreciate that our lives have a greater purpose than simply tending to ourselves. Our spirit is rekindled; our souls are rejuvenated.
A Time for Personal and Professional Growth
Yet, the New Year is not necessarily about becoming a “brand new” person; it is a time for more subtle new beginnings. Not wholesale changes, but a focus on simple personal and professional growth and self-improvement. In the New Year, we strive to improve ourselves and our work incrementally. We try to be the best of who we are.
It is in this spirit of subtle new beginnings that High Point renews its commitment to its mission: To awaken the joy of learning in every student. To carry on our unwavering dedication to academic excellence and character development.
New Year, New Professional Development Opportunities
Mission inspires action—in our case, collaborative action embodied by the School’s recently adopted 2016-2021 Strategic Plan. One of the central tenets of our Strategic Plan: professional development of our faculty and staff. With this in mind, January 3rd was dedicated to technology training for our faculty, empowering our teachers’ use of technology to enhance curriculum and instruction. Thanks to High Point families’ generous support of the Annual Fund, High Point maintains a:
2:1 iPad program in kindergarten-3rd grade
1:1 laptop program in 4th-8th grades
During the technology training, an Apple- and Google-certified trainer worked with K-3 faculty to enrich curricula via the highly effective incorporation of iPads. Then the trainer demonstrated to upper-grade faculty how to harness the power of laptops to further enhance our curriculum.
Ongoing Daily 5 CAFÉ training with an acclaimed consultant continues to empower K-2nd grade teachers. This professional development inspires teachers to incorporate the most up-to-the-minute reading comprehension, vocabulary, and study skills strategies into the classroom.
High Point is also expanding its work with a renowned math curriculum expert. She is showing teachers how to incorporate more in-depth problem-solving into math instruction and the math program as a whole. Additionally, High Point is providing even greater in-depth training within the Writer’s Workshop. This program is designed to further enhance students’ expository and creative writing skills across a variety of genres.
Serving Community in 2017
Community service and fostering social-emotional learning are important mission-based priorities of the HPA Strategic Plan. In fact, the Eagles have landed in High Point’s new Community Engagement/Service Program! Because the best community engagement is a two-way conduit, the new program not only introduces HPA students to the community, it acquaints the community with the uniqueness of our wonderful students. To this end, this year all kindergarten-6th grade students are participating in developmentally appropriate, local community service projects. These projects will likely become High Point traditions in the best sense of the word. What’s more, 7th and 8th grade students have had the opportunity to plan their own Community Engagement Projects. Finally, our new Community Engagement Blog will feature students’ meaningful experiences in greater depth.
Awakening, Fostering, Enhancing
Though change may be subtle in 2017, it will be no less powerful as High Point deepens its commitment to its mission: Awakening the joy of learning in every student. Fostering academic excellence. Enhancing students’ academic, emotional, and ethical development.
This New Year, our “next steps” renew our dedication to strengthen HPA’s timeless core values for the benefit of each and every student, enabling us all to be the best of who we are, in 2017 and beyond. Here’s to a very special New Year ahead!
Mr. Gary Stern is the Head of School at High Point Academy, a K-8 School nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. Mr. Stern’s mission is to implement a 21st century curriculum at High Point, rife with critical and creative thinking opportunities that awakens the joy of learning in students and provides the essential balance of a strong traditional academic program with an innovative eye toward the future.