Monthly Archives: September 2018

Creativity Abounds at CES~September 30, 2018

Isn’t it wonderful to have the nice cool mornings and warm afternoons? I just love Autumn! We now have completed our Parent/Teacher Conferences, we are prepping for our first CES Mini-College “Compass Courses for Success”, and we are getting closer to the end of the quarter–just 3 weeks left! This week we not only have the Mini-College on Thursday but we also have pictures on the 2nd, and the 3rd is October Count Day. Additionally this week we have Peer Mediator Training on Monday, Tuesday the Adventurers go to the museum, Wednesday Mr. Dieckman’s and Mrs. Burrell’s classes go to the Cripple Creek Mine, Thursday is Fire Prevention Day, and then that night we have our NJHS Movie Night that coincides with Mini-College. Whew! A busy week ahead!

Creating Creative Schools


Our teachers recently completed a book study of Ken Robinson’s book Creative Schools. With our focus this year at CES on Creativity and Innovation, we spent part of our summer and beginning of the school year reading and learning about the real nature and purpose of education. Ken Robinson argues for an end to our outmoded industrial educational system and proposes a highly personalized, organic approach that draws upon today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources ton engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the 21st century. Sounds right up our alley, huh? We at CES have been a follower of Dr. Robinson’s work for a while. A few years back, Beth Gaffney (former CES principal) introduced us to him through his quite well known 2006 TED talk. If you’re interested (and you should be :-)), you can watch it here: Ken Robinson’s 2006 TED talk

SMARTS=Sensational Music, Art, Recreation, Technology, and Seekers (library)



Did you know that that’s what the acronym SMARTS stood for? We do have SENSATIONAL SMARTS teachers and they provide high quality, engaging, relevant, and meaningful learning experiences every single day. These are places our students can truly work in their Multiple Intelligence (smarts)  area but where they also challenge their “smarts” as they may be working outside of the comfort zone.

Standards Based Grading

As we are moving into using our newly created CES Standards-Based Report Card and as our philosophy on grading is changing across our nation, I thought you might find the article and video her interesting.

from Edutopia: Will letter grades survive?





Wonderful and Creative Miss Shirlee!



Our amazing school secretary, who we all know is much more than a secretary for our school family, does so much to create a space that feels homey and comfortable as you walk into the front of our building. Her latest project was just installed last week and you will find it as you go up the ramp to the community room. Featuring the names of each of our communities, Miss Shirlee and her husband, Bob, created Scrabble tiles, with the Scrabble font and points and mounted them to the wall. Isn’t it cool?!

Thank you for reading! ~Kelly Albrecht, Principal

Happy Fall, Ya’all!~Sept. 23, 2018

My apologies for not publishing my blog last weekend! I was having tech issues and could not get any of my pictures to load. It’s nice to know that some of you look forward to reading this blog every week though. I heard from several people who were disappointed. I’ll do my best to not let that happen again, but you just never know when you’re dealing with computers!

Middle School goes to Camp Jackson


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This last Thursday and Friday our Middle School students, teachers, and a few other CES staff members attended our annual overnight camping trip to YMCA Camp Jackson in Rye. This was the 5th year we’ve year our students have had the opportunity to come together as a family, build team spirit, overcome some fears, challenge each other, be silly together, and bond. Our students went rock climbing (on real rocks!), did high and low ropes, participated in teambuilding activities, played silly games like Capture the Mattress and Zots, did some archery, sang around the campfire, and made S’mores. I have taken lots of kids on overnight camping trips (including many years of Rainbow Trail with 5th graders at McKinley) and I think this was probably the most well behaved group ever! We were all really proud of how well they treated each other, the staff, and the property; and how they challenged themselves by getting way out of the comfort zone to climb high on rocks, be blindly led through a low ropes course, and overcome a fear of heights with the high ropes course. Many thanks to Mrs. Lowther, Mrs. McLaughlin, Mrs. Cornella, and Mr. Dieckman for pulling a 33 hour shift and providing a once in a lifetime experience for our kids!!

I guess we’re official now!

new sign

Have you noticed the new sign installed over our front arch? It only took us 6 years, but I guess we’re finally official! 🙂 Thank you Jeff Peterson, our district’s maintenance director for helping us get it done!

MI Math with Multi-age, Multimedia, and Multidisciplinary


The Adventurers are working on a Destination Imagination project as part of their multi-age MI (Multiple Intelligences) Mash.  Not only is this a great project that will take their audience on a tour around the world when they present it and an excellent example of integration and multi-age learning, but it’s also a wonderful example of how we use one-to-one technology as a resource in combination with other resources here at CES. In these pictures you will notice maps, globes, trade books, magazines, etc. alongside their netbooks. Students are creating passports, conducting research, taking notes, and creating other pieces of the project on their netbooks but they are also reading other texts, drawing, planning, discussing, and collaborating. Our netbooks are a tool we use. Our educators and our experiences are our teachers.

Fall Fundraiser


Guess what? It’s that time of year again! We had our Fall Fundraiser Kick Off Assembly on Thursday. The kids were treated to a super fun magic show. It was delightful to watch their faces so I had to take a couple of pictures of just them, but I don’t think I was able to accurately capture their pure joy and extreme giggles. Magic Rob was very funny and he amazed them with his magic. He also introduced this year’s fundraiser which is much like the one we have had in past years. I know fundraising is not a favorite thing for parents but please understand that without our wonderful PTO heading up these types of money raising events, our field trips and many other educational opportunities we can provide here at CES would not be possible. We hope that we can take our school motto to heart and say “Together We Make a Difference” and if we all sell at least one thing what a difference we can make for our school. Thank you!!


Thank you for reading! ~Mrs. A, principal

Short Week/Short Blog~September 9, 2018

Compass Cafe’

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While everyone was enjoying a day off, a couple of us were here at CES painting our new cafeteria name and logo. Mrs. McLaughlin, our MS Math/Science teacher designed it and she, Mrs. Brule’, and I did the painting. We love the way it turned out and are now anxious to continue to add to the decor to make the Compass Cafe’ a warmer and more welcoming atmosphere for eating our meals together.


New Security=Safer School


As part of security upgrades that are happening around our district (one of the things that is happening as a result of our BEST grant/Mill Levy), you will notice some changes. Not everything is up and running yet, but one the most impacting changes for families  involves entering the building. Our very front doors on now on a timer system so they will now open automatically at 7:30 AM and will re-lock automatically at 4:00 PM. If you are needing to enter the building before 7:30 or after 4:00, you may need to call the front desk or make arrangement with whomever you might be meeting. Once you have entered those doors, you will find the next set of doors are now locked and require that one of us–most likely Shirlee–will need to pressed a button to let you in. There is a camera and a speaker box. You will notice a little light that changes from red to green. When that light is green, you must pull one of the doors toward you to enter. At that point, if you are planning to go past the front desk to have lunch with your child, visit a classroom, etc., you will have to leave your driver’s license with Shirlee and she will create a temporary badge for you to wear while you’re here.

Short and sweet this week but thank you for reading!

~Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal

TOGETHER we are Explorers~September 2, 2018

“Bigs” and “Littles” learning safety TOGETHER

One of the most special things about CES is the mentor-ship our older students provide to our younger students. This happens within our multi-age classrooms and across the building. This last week, our middle school students took kindergarten students around the campus to teach them how to be safe while they are at school. Trailblazers showed the Little Scouts how to identify safe adults they can go to for help by looking for their staff badge and introduced them to adults so they were more familiar faces. They also modeled for them how we make safe choices. It is always to touching to watch our “bigs” demonstrating such patience and kindness for our “littles” and to see how those “littles” really look up to the “bigs”.

A Visit from Mrs. Merry–Exploring TOGETHER


As we work this year to make projects more meaningful, relevant, creative and innovative, we have decided that the title”project based learning”  or PBL does not truly reflect what we are doing at CES and we have moved to calling them”Explorations”. Projects at CES were never meant to be formulaic–they were to be organic and inspired as kids work through their passions and this may take them in many directions.  Students gather information, ask questions, gather more information, ask more questions, learn from experts and each other, read, write, build, create, and present. Each child is different, each exploration is different, so each journey and final product is different.  They should be about the process of learning more than the final product. This should not be a glorified show and tell. Molly Merry, the founder of the Exploratory School, is excited for this change and new focus on Explorations that gets us back to the basics and the heart of that which the Exploratory School was originally founded upon.. You will likely see much more of Molly in the building this year working with students and teachers as she did this last week with our middle school students. I can tell you the Trailblazers were all very excited about their Exploration ideas and seemed very motivated to get started when I spoke with them at lunch on that day.  We are happy to go on this Exploratory journey together!

Let’s Grow TOGETHER!

IMG_1694Image result for the curious gardenThis year’s school theme is “Growing our Garden”. I like to have a theme for the year that grounds us and brings attention to our mission. At our annual “welcome back assembly”, I came in dressed as a gardener carrying the baby Sequoia tree I had purchased in California the summer before last school year and had become a symbol of the tree theme we had during 2017-2018. The Sequoia became a metaphor for us growing tall and strong together, tapping into our strong roots, and being resilient through challenging times. The little tree has actually grown quite a bit since last year and is currently residing in a pot by the front door of the school. As I continue to share our garden theme for this year and work with students to recognize the symbolism of the garden and how it relates to learners at CES, I am going around to each class and reading them the picture book  entitled “The Curious Garden”. This book is based on the true story of the Highline Garden of New York City.  There are many connections to Explorations and being an Explorer in this book:  how passion can drive us, learning from our mistakes, everything can get even better if we keep working at it, and together we can make a difference. The Highline began with a dream that one man had to take an abandoned railway and turn it into something beautiful and now it’s miles long. Their work has not only made a positive difference in New York but has been an inspiration for other cities to take abandoned places and turn them into beautiful public spaces. As I visit classrooms and read to students, I am always amazed at how thoughtful, reflective, and wise our students are and I always love getting to have a little time back in front of a class again. All of our little ‘flowers’ and ‘trees’ are and will continue to grow into a beautiful garden that will make the world a better place!

Staying Connected TOGETHER: Remind 101


Please join my “All School Remind” group. You will receive text messages about events that effect the whole school including parent nights and snow delays/closures. To join this group text “@canone” to “81010.” That’s it! It’s free and easy and will keep you connected to the happenings at school. I know a lot of our teachers have this for their classrooms but this one is the one I run and will send information that effects the whole school.


Thank you for your time!~Mrs. A