Dear families, welcome to a new school year!
I hope the summer was good to you. Here at Discovery we cleaned, repaired, re-arranged, reflected, and planned for a year of exploration, practice, and community building.
In June, we said goodbye to our 8th graders who are moving on to new adventures at Science Park, St. Vincent, Marion P. Thomas, Bard Early College, St. Benedicts, Newark Tech, Pingry, Darrow, Chatham Hall, and other high schools
We also said good-bye to Dr. Irene Hall, who co-founded Discovery 20 years ago and lead us and the children throughout the years. Dr. Hall remains a part of our community and we stay in close contact between New Jersey and North Carolina.
I am honored that I have been asked to lead our team into this next page of Discovery. When I joined the school in 2003, I was a brand new teacher, helping children design and build intricate Lego machines. As often happens at Discovery, I taught many different courses along the years, and specialized in teaching mathematics.
My experience at Discovery reinforced my deep belief that children learn best by observing, exploring, tinkering, analyzing, solving problems, or making things. We will continue to develop a learning environment where children are not absorbing facts but building their knowledge with critical thinking and creative voices. We are committed to ensuring our children acquire solid skills, which requires lots of practice.
But what we value most of all is the sense of community that the founders of our small school have worked so hard to build: a place where children of different ages and abilities feel safe and learn from each other, a place where families feel free to come at anytime, a place where teachers can develop their passions.
I believe in collaborative leadership and I am grateful to belong to an extraordinary team of educators who have been at the school for many years and have seen several generations of children graduate. They build a culture of intellectual curiosity, rigorous practice, respectful relationships, and creative projects. This year we will welcome two new teachers, while Mr. Kruvant, Mrs. Heucke-Sambade, and Mr. Pierantoni have gone on to new endeavors.
We will start the year asking, “Who runs the world?” and explore the stories of ordinary children that took responsibility for their own destiny. We will read, “I Am Malala,” and, “ We Have Got a Job,” and we will reflect on how children can create positive changes and work to create a fair and equitable society.
We will read –a lot–, write clear thoughts and creative pieces, think mathematically, make scientific observations and inferences, draw, dance, sing, analyze historical documents, exercise, learn to use new vocabulary words, and most of all make sure everyone feels safe, challenged, and included.
We need your help!
Be in touch, call us, come to the school and let us know how your child feels about school, what they enjoy, and what they are struggling with. Nothing is too small or too big to share. It is also really important for the children to see their parents in the school, and to realize that their families and their teachers are on the same page.
Look at your child’s work. Every evening, ask to see your child’s work completion card, and their work assignment sheet. Ask her/him about the book or the articles she/he is reading. You don’t have to know the math to look at it. Ask your child to explain their reasoning.
Finally, we ask that you take special care to monitor your child’s activity on social media. Make sure you have their password for Snapchat, Instagram, and all the apps they use, and look with them at what they are looking at and posting. Your child needs your help figuring out how to build positive relationships. If you see negative interactions, let us know, so we can help the students feel safe and included, and make others feel safe and included.
Thank you for your trust and your support,