To Park Maitland School Parents and Friends:
Another banner year at Park Maitland School has flown by quickly. As I reflect upon the past school year, I continue to be enthralled by the students and the teachers. At Park Maitland, each moment of every day is one of creativity, joy, and discovery. I remain captivated and humbled by the honor of being the Head of this unique and extraordinary school.
No schools in America are in a better position to seize the future and to guide the next generation than independent schools such as Park Maitland School. As a leader in education for over 45 years, we know what we stand for and have the freedom — the independence — to make it happen. I am deeply honored to join in this great work with you.
The road ahead may not be perfectly clear. In some sense, we are as a nation traveling faster than our ability to predict the coming years. The recent economic recession has taught painful lessons about the shifting realities of the 21st century job market, with some jobs being replaced by technology and others migrating to lower-wage countries. What seems crystal clear, however, is that our goals to educate students who are critical thinkers, who can collaborate and lead well, and who have global perspectives — are vital.
Your investment in your child’s education at Park Maitland is a clear sign that you want what’s best for his/her future and that you understand the realities that confront us as parents and educators. The strongest factors that drive success for children and schools are factors that distinguish our school from other school venues. After carefully studying the results and feedback from our most recent Parent Surveys, it is clear that you value our school program and the essence of our success.
There is always something extraordinary happening at Park Maitland School, and our students and teachers are the reason for it. The personal achievements of our students, as well as ones we accomplish as a school are all things of which we can be proud.
One major accomplishment for Park Maitland School is that we were once again named the #1 Best Private School (K-8) in Central Florida by readers of Orlando Magazine! This exciting news can be found in the August, 2013 edition of the magazine, just hitting the newsstands now. We are extremely honored and proud!
At school, summer is the cycle of the year when plans are busily being forged and dreams brought into focus — time to simultaneously look ahead while looking back. As I think about the tremendous accomplishments of this past school year, I eagerly anticipate more extraordinary things to come. While we bask in the glory of a spectacular school year, we are carefully scrutinizing every aspect of our program as we strive to perfect the educational experience for your child. Our accomplishments last year were outstanding!
Our students constantly impress us with their outstanding academic and artistic accomplishments. Last year, students continued to soar with reading… devouring books left and right and topping record high number of high quality books read at each grade level. Our students earned top rankings in the state and district Mathematics League competition, published beautiful creative writing and poetry, and impressed accomplished scientists with their Science Expo projects. Park Maitland 4th-6th grade students participated in The Tropicana Public Speaking Contest, earning the top 3 awards in the county in the elementary and middle school divisions! Our school’s National Geography Bee winner earned one of the highest scores in the state, qualifying for participation at the State Geography Bee. We wowed the community with outstanding visual art displays, spirited intramural sports and swim competitions, outstanding grade level dramatic/musical performances, and of course, our debut/famed musical production of “Peter Pan!”
Park Maitland students grew not only academically, artistically, and physically, but also emotionally, morally, and ethically. Last year, our service to the local community and global outreach reached an all-time high! Our “Ten Months of Smiles” program continued to touch thousands of people or animals in our very own community. Students in every grade had an opportunity to see first hand how their “hard work” helped those in need. From our five-year-old students bringing in their blankets and stuffed animals for “Project Night Night” to our sixth grade seniors washing hundreds of cars to raise funds for the “Juvenile Diabetes Foundation,” both local charities. One hundred percent of our students practiced empathy for those less fortunate.
Our global outreach program continued to grow and touch those in need across the world! We continued to communicate with the students and teachers in the tiny village of Udawad, India who are enjoying their new school (built for them from the generosity of Park Maitland families three years ago), and plans are underway to build another school in Ecuador — thanks to the efforts of our 5th and 6th grade Ambassador groups!
Students practiced being “proactive” as they set academic and personal goals as part of our “7 Habits” Leadership Program. They continued to have countless opportunities to practice moral, ethical, and practical leadership in and outside of the classroom. Good leaders have to be able to make wise decisions and problem solve, to collaborate with others, to experience challenges, and to make mistakes. We make a concerted effort to empower each of our students each and every day to practice self-confidence, show responsibility, and emerge as competent and successful students and young people. Our second annual “Leadership Day” was another remarkable event last year where each of our students had an opportunity to “step up” and practice what they have learned in front of distinguished teachers and educational leaders from around our city and state.
We eagerly anticipate the coming of a brand new school year with more opportunities for our students to shine and continued collaboration between home and school. We have exciting plans to continue to facilitate our “team” approach to educating your child and strengthen community spirit at Park Maitland School:
Dean of Students and Faculty: We are sad to announce that Brian Clyne is not returning as our Dean of Students and Faculty. He has made wonderful contributions to our school helping to grow our unique and wonderful Ambassador programs and in spearheading our first global project- building a school in Udawad, India. I’m sure he will continue to make his mark on the future leaders of tomorrow, and we all wish him the very best of luck!
Davina Spillmann is our new Dean of Students and Faculty, and we could not be more excited! Ms. Spillmann has a longstanding history with Park Maitland, first as a student and Park Maitland graduate. Her love and loyalty to the school brought her back to us over 8 years ago where she has been an integral part of our Early Childhood program, working as the Assistant to Director of Early Childhood Education. Her wonderful work in this department included many jobs such as assisting with discipline, screening new students, coordinating parent volunteerism and field trips, and setting up parent-teacher conferences. Additionally, she has played an active role with our older students, was an involved advocate of our 7 Habits Program, previously sponsored the Kudos Committee, and now facilitates the Student Lighthouse Team. She is involved in other important aspects of our school program, such as behind the scenes PowerSchool work, to media coverage, and more, Davina has totally engrossed herself in Park Maitland School and is eager to take on this new role. She has her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Tulane University and Masters of Arts Degree in Education from Vanderbilt University. Prior to coming to Park Maitland, she taught Middle and High School including A.P. U.S. History at Winter Park High School. She also worked as the Director of the Huntington Learning Center in Winter Park.
Coordinator of Ambassador Programs: John Courson, our fabulous 5th grade social studies teacher will continue to work with the Ambassador Program, but now, at an even more instrumental level. He will be the Student Ambassador Coordinator and will work very closely with Ms. Spillmann to coordinate, oversee, and plan Ten Months of Smiles and the Student Ambassador programs. Mr. Courson has made a significant impact with our older students in building leadership skills through his “Coursonomics” program and as sponsor of several Ambassador Programs over the last few years, most notably with “We Schools in Action.” He also journeyed to Udawad, India to meet the teachers and students of the school that we helped to build and meet our partners there. Mr. Courson has a a wonderful rapport with all of his students and we know that he will have an opportunity to impact them even more in this new position. He is also leading the 5th and 6th graders in their efforts to raise enough money to build our next school, this time in Ecuador.
• 21ST Century Leaders and the Creation of “Innovators!” Milton Chen, in a recent article in Independent School Magazine, “The Best Way to Predict the Future Is to Invent It — Harnessing Technology in Schools” writes, “In the midst of our busy lives, where billions of bits and bytes jostle for attention on our desks and in our pockets and purses, we can all pause for a second and acknowledge that we’re lucky to be living in a unique time in history in which global forces in the early 21st century, enabled by the Internet, have rewritten the rules we lived by in the 20th century — in politics, economics, and now education. A deep and fundamental cultural change is taking shape in our lifetimes.”
We can all agree that we have crossed another threshold, one that 20 years ago seemed but a glimmer in a futurist’s eye. A new landscape of learning, working, and living is coming into sharper focus. As New York University lecturer and author, Clay Shirky says in his marvelous TED talk, “The moment we’re living through [represents] the largest increase in expressive capability in human history.” It’s a time in which everyone — notably those in our younger generations — can be a producer of knowledge, not just a consumer of someone else’s knowledge. Students of today need to have the tools and knowledge to be “innovators!”
Park Maitland strives to remain on the cutting edge of 21st Century teaching as we teach our students how to apply their knowledge at a deeper level, and we are excited to announce our continued undertakings in this vein:
• iPad initiative! All students will continue to have the advantages of using the most powerful individual learning tool available! This year, students in 5th and 6th grade will participate in our one-to-one iPad program. Every 5th and 6th grader will have an iPad! Students in K4 – grade 3 will have iPads available for use to support the curriculum. We will continue to offer the popular and “game changing” Smart Tech class to all 4th-6th grade students two times a week. Additionally, iPads will be used as a learning tool in other 4th grade classes. The iPads at Park Maitland have proven to enhance curriculum and resources, allow for more authentic assessments, and expand our students’ skills, effectiveness, and efficiency as we enrich learning. Students in all grades are given the opportunity to learn how to use the iPad to productively engage in the digital world and acquire the skills to access thousands of resources through digital research.
• Additional SMART Boards: We continue to enhance instruction in every grade level and discipline with the addition of new and more advanced SMART Board technology.
• Net Books in Spanish: Students in second-sixth grade Spanish classes will continue to enhance their knowledge of Spanish by engaging in individualized Spanish instruction using a Netbook. Each Netbook will utilize the well-known software program, Rosetta Stone for Spanish language instruction.
• Computer Classes: Students will continue to have excellent/advanced instruction in computer technology and “netiquette” in their regularly scheduled computer classes.
• Virtual Science Expo projects: Through the implementation and combination of “STEAM” — science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, students in 6th grade will have the unique opportunity to practice innovation through this “virtual” STEAM experience!
We have expanded our computer network and broadband to meet the capability of our growing needs.
* The expansion of technological tools across all levels at Park Maitland enhances (does not replace) the learning resources that students currently enjoy. Our students will gain easy access to vast digital resources and practice collaboration, problem solving, innovation, creativity, and communication as 21st Century Learners!
• School Assemblies: Our highly popular assemblies are a gathering of the entire school to promote positive recognition of students, build self-confidence and leadership skills, and to reinforce character building characteristics through stories, poems, and interactive student participation. Last year, most assemblies were planned and led by students! It is also a time when guest speakers, experts, or entertainers speak or perform for an eager and excited audience.
• Manners Matter! In our fast-paced, hurried society, the little (yet important) things can sometimes be forgotten or overlooked. We may be forward thinking in many ways, but we are committed to remaining steadfast to the traditions and expectations that we have always held, such as the focus on good manners, etiquette, and exemplary behavior.
• Practicing “Synergy” and Making “Connections:” Our theme for this school year is “connections” through synergizing. Synergy comes from the Greek word synergia, meaning joint work and cooperative action. Synergy is when the result is greater than the sum of the parts. When we learn to make better “connections” as human beings by collaborating respectfully with people having diverse interests, backgrounds, and viewpoints, we are more likely to come up with innovative ideas and be better equipped to live a happy and successful life. Park Maitland’s hallmark is providing a safe, caring, and supportive community in which diversity is celebrated and people are treated with dignity and compassion. Teachers weave this altruistic philosophy into their curriculum, which means that when challenges present themselves, students take the high road socially and academically. As students embrace and understand more the concepts in the “7 Habits” program, the theme of connections (respect and appreciation for others) and anti-bullying will come into focus.
• “Ten Months of Smiles:” We will continue our local monthly outreach program. We feel confident that these connections give our students a hands-on learning experience which will enhance their sense of social responsibility by showing them that they can make a difference in their community.
• A “Healthier” Place to Grow: When it comes to happy and healthy students, Park Maitland continues to be at the top of our game. According to the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, about 16% of children are overweight. In response to this, the National Academy of Sciences has called for a comprehensive and unprecedented national campaign to teach awareness and combat this rising epidemic. Since children spend at least a third of their day at school, some of the recommendations include increased physical education classes, removal of soda and snack machines, nutrition education, and after-school physical activities.
At Park Maitland, daily physical or swimming education classes, outdoor recess, instruction on health, nutrition, and human development, and character education all contribute to the overall health and wellbeing of our students. We are constantly reminding our students of the importance of “sharpening the saw!”
We are one of very few schools across the nation that is recognized as “Fit and Friendly,” an award given by the American Heart Association. We continue to embrace ways that our school can reinforce a healthy lifestyle. Our efforts will continue to be enhanced by some of the following activities and “policy revisions:”
• “Eat Right to Think Right!” Last year, we made a conscious effort to promote healthier treats for birthday party and class party celebrations. We thank you, parents, for supporting us in these efforts! This year, as noted in our 2013-2014 school handbook, we continue to mandate healthier food celebrations. Everyone knows that proper nutrition is critical to maintaining a healthy brain and body. Large intakes of sugary sweets are laden with calories, refined carbohydrates, and damaged fats that cause blood sugar spikes and drops that have a direct impact on concentration, learning, and energy levels. Do we really want to subject our teachers and students to this unfair learning situation? Students can continue to bring a balanced and nutritious lunch from home or order from our food service company, Bagel King. The owner, Mike Schmit, joins us in our “Healthy 100” endeavor and will continue to offer healthy food options.
• Parent Chats: In keeping with our philosophy of maintaining a partnership with you, our parents, we are proud to continue our Parent Chats. These informal daytime gatherings have allowed parents to meet, mingle, and discuss various topics pertaining to education and parenting issues. The goal is to help facilitate discussion of everyday parenting concerns, to encourage networking and mutual support, to improve parent involvement and understanding of the school’s goals and culture, and to increase support for parents of diverse backgrounds. This year, we will continue with our lessons on the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and “…of Happy Kids!”
• Partnering with Parents — Parent Informational Sessions: In today’s fast-paced, constantly changing society, parents are bombarded with myriad responsibilities and pressures. We hope to continue to provide our parents with guidance and information on prevailing parenting concerns and issues by hosting these evening informational sessions throughout the school year. Well-respected experts in a variety of fields have been invited to join us next year to speak on topics of interest to parents today. (Dates and topics for
Parent Chats and Informational Sessions will be announced.)
• More ways to “Connect! In an effort to stay more “connected” with our parents on current trends in education and happenings in our school, I am proud to introduce my blog at parkmaitland.wordpress.com. This blog will be a part of my commitment to open communication with all Park Maitland families and constituents and will include my personal postings on recent happenings or research, articles that I have submitted to educational journals or that our communications department has written for recent magazine or local publications. I will blog regularly, and I invite comments [log in and click on the Comments link at the end of the post to comment]. Or if you would prefer, feel free to contact me directly with your ideas, aspirations, and concerns relative to Park Maitland School. You will see articles already posted from recent events or happenings.
Remember, in everything we do at Park Maitland School, we put the needs of our students first. All of our planning is centered on what will best serve the children and create the optimum conditions for happy learning. Here’s how you can be “leaders” helping “team” up with us for the most successful school year:
• Be sure that your child is at school each day…and on time. Arriving late to school (even it is only a few minutes) can mean that your child misses a valuable concept or instruction for completing work. We have planned our school year calendar carefully to allow for some long weekends and vacations throughout the year. You can help your child by trying to schedule your family time around these breaks.
• Make sure your child has a good night’s sleep and a nourishing breakfast every morning. Proper rest and nutrition play a large role in attentiveness and the ability to learn. Sending your children to school rested and nourished will allow them to perform at their highest level.
• Stay informed. Review schoolwork that is sent home daily. Check the HomeworkNow site weekly (or more often, if possible) on our website. Read the informative Weekly News that will be sent to you electronically each week, and finally, read our 2013-2014 handbook carefully. It contains very important information that you and your child need to know. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if you are unclear about something or have a concern. You can either call the school to speak to a receptionist who will help direct your call, or enter the personal voicemail extension to leave a message, or e-mail the appropriate person.
Together, as we continue to make “connections,” we are able to achieve great goals. We look forward to another spectacular Park Maitland School year!
Head of School
Park Maitland School
1450 South Orlando Avenue
Maitland, FL 32751
407-647-3038, ext. #114
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WEBSITE — http://www.parkmaitland.org
TWITTER — http://Twitter.com/Parkmaitland
BLOG — http://parkmaitlandschool.wordpress.com/
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