Stoke the Fire

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I’m thrilled to launch a new blog I’m calling “Stoke the Fire.” Stoke the Fire is our first norm of learning at Gahanna Christian Academy and it’s fundamental to our DNA. It represents our commitment to encourage each other to be curious and dream big.

I will be sharing my thoughts with you regularly about our school, your students and the future of education here on Stoke the Fire. I hope that it will be a way to stoke the fire of your curiosity about education and your child’s development and also be an avenue for you to join in your child’s journey to unlock their potential. 

What to Expect in 2019-2020

We are preparing for another extraordinary year at Gahanna Christian Academy full of design thinking challenges and opportunities for students to discover their unique, God-given passions. 

Each year our ability to provide a passion-driven, inquiry-based environment at all ages becomes more and more of a reality. This year we are excited to launch a Pre-Kindergarten through 1st Grade learning community, dive deeper into our Reggio-Emilia inspired Preschool and develop a new offering in music, “a School of Rock”, where students will choose rock band instruments, vocals and participate in songwriting and leading worship!

Teachers are Students Too

Our teachers are lifelong learners and when school is out, we keep on learning in many ways! In June, Ms. Calabrese and Ms. Rachel Rutkowski attended the National Reggio Emilia conference in Atlanta and had the opportunity to learn from leaders across the globe as well as visit four inspirational schools. In July, our teachers gathered for design thinking training and a Reggio Emilia day to learn from Ms. Calabrese and Ms. Rutkowski as well as Mr. Bontempo and visiting Reggio Art Teacher, Suzanne Mitolo. 

To finish out the summer, most of our staff will attend the Global Leadership Summit hosted by One Church next week. At this world renown teleconference, our staff hone their leadership skills by hearing from experts such as Craig Groeschel, Patrick Leoncini, Bozoma Saint John and Bear Grylls. 

Teachers who are committed to learning are powerful role models. Our teachers are willing to keep learning the latest research and continue stretching to innovate in order to improve student learning year after year. As educators, we know we must model for students that they will have to continue learning and applying their knowledge in order to be successful in the growing and changing world economy. 

Parents - a Key to Success

Did you know that parent involvement is one of the biggest predictors for student success? 

In fact, a recent study that synthesized over 60-years of comprehensive educational research revealed that parent involvement at school has the same impact that home environment and socio-economic status have on a student’s success. Parent involvement has a greater potential to accelerate student achievement than homework, technology in the classroom or integrated arts like music and drama. (Hattie, Visible Learning, 2018).

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YOU are essential to your child’s success. Simply by being involved, talking with your student’s teacher, asking questions and knowing what’s going on at school can impact your child’s achievement.

At GCA, we respect that parents are experts on their own students. We encourage parents to be involved in and out of the classroom with their child’s education and as students develop their unique passions, talents and interests. 

Parent partnership is defined by GCA as a shared commitment to collaborate, keep open lines of communication, have mutual respect and a common mission and vision with your child’s teacher and school administrators. Our teachers and administrators are expert instructional designers and the leaders of our student’s learning. 

Teachers are a powerful resource as parents explore the new world of education and learning. Learning has changed a lot in the last decade. Learning is no longer limited to the classroom and can’t be categorized by the amount of homework assigned or how well kids sit quietly in rows while a teacher lectures. 

What Can Parents Do to Be More Involved? 

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1. Read with your child. 

No matter how young or old your child is, reading with your child is a great way to be involved in their growth and development. Read everywhere you go! You can read road signs, menus, and of course - books! And make it fun, use animation in your voice and show your child just how fun it can be to read

2. Make daily math a part of life. 

Practicing math with your child can be easily added to your daily routine. Math challenges can be done online, with math games or Aleks, or can be created around you with a little effort. Try asking your child to estimate your grocery bill before you get to the checkout, calculate the tip at a restaurant or budget their allowance before spending. Younger students in preschool through Kindergarten can practice recognizing and reading numbers wherever you go. Keeping your child’s math skills fresh is a great way to prepare them for success in the summer and throughout the school year.

3. Stay informed.

Your child’s teacher and our administrative team is here to be a resource for you! We will share information about what your child is learning, ways you can participate in the classroom and important information about events throughout the year. Being informed is the first step to being involved in our learning community. Most communication comes via email but you may also receive texts throughout the year.

4. Volunteer.

Participating in your child’s activities and events here at GCA is a great way to demonstrate that what they are doing is important to you! Throughout the year, GCA will provide many opportunities for parents to volunteer in the classroom, at exhibitions, athletic events or other school functions. 

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One of the best ways you can volunteer is by sharing your unique skills or passions with our students. In the past, parents have shared cooking lessons, dance clinics, interviewing  tutorials and even provided the school with donations through extreme coupon skills. The possibilities are endless and are based on YOUR passions, skills and talents. Please reach out to your child’s teacher or our main office if you want to find a way to volunteer your skills with our students.

Looking Ahead

Thank you for reading Stoking the Fire. I will be sharing more about in the coming weeks about our theme for the year, our learning norms and why we do education differently at GCA. If you have any suggestions of topics you’d like to read about or questions, please send me an email.