August 14, 2012
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the 2012-2013 school year. This year will be the earliest school has ever begun, since Carpenter first opened its doors in 1924. Sure, we may feel a little cheated right now, but just think of how happy we will all be on June 1, 2013 when summer break will begin during the cool month of June. Starting the school year earlier is not the only thing that is new at Carpenter. We will continue our implementation of Singapore Math strategies, introduce a new technology curriculum, and utilize a new playground problem solving approach with our students. In addition, we are proud to present some new and dynamic staff members to our school. I am very optimistic that this will be another fabulous year at Carpenter.
As a charter school, there are three major curriculum goals that define our school. The first goal is that we are committed to providing an enrichment program that exposes our students to the arts and sciences while promoting physical fitness and healthy living. The second goal is that our school will implement a universal writing program, Write...from the Beginning, for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The third goal is that we will supplement our math program with Singapore Math strategies in first through fifth grade in order to develop more sophisticated mathematical thinkers.
We are currently in year two of a four-year plan to supplement Singapore Math strategies at Carpenter. Last year we invested professional development time and funding to begin training our teachers in Singapore Math strategies. This past summer, I accompanied nine more teachers to the National Conference on Singapore Math. Our plan for this second year is to continue to train our teachers and begin piloting the strategies in specific classrooms at each grade level. We want ALL of our students to have the ability to solve math problems by using pictures, numbers and words. We are very fortunate to have a teaching staff that supports that objective.
Last June, our school Governance Council approved a new technology curriculum for our school. The curriculum was developed by a joint effort of our curriculum and technology committees. We will now have clear expectations at each grade level for technology instruction. The curriculum clearly explains the skills your child will be taught, the programs you can expect your child to utilize during the school year, and a sample culminating project that will be completed by the end of the year. This plan will be posted on our website. I encourage you all to talk to your child’s teacher about the progress the class is making towards fulfilling the expectations laid out in this new technology curriculum.
At Carpenter, we are not only dedicated to improving our instructional program. We are also eager to teach our students how to have positive relationships with each other while at school. Last spring our school Governance Council approved a fun and effective approach to helping students solve problems on the playground called “Walk-Talk-Rock.” This innovative technique was recommended by our own Positive Behavior Support Committee. Essentially, if a student has a disagreement or problem with another student, they either “Walk” (walk away from the situation), “Talk” (talk through the problem), or “Rock” (do rock, paper, scissors). Most of the behavior issues that happen at school take place on the playground, and our leadership teams feel that this simple approach will be an excellent way to help empower our students to solve problems in a positive, non-confrontational manner. All students in first through fifth grade, teachers, and support staff will be trained in this approach during the first month of school.
I am extremely proud to introduce some new staff members to the Carpenter community. We have added a K-2 Autistic class to our special education program. Cheri Browner, formerly our District Inclusion Specialist, has accepted the teaching position for this class and is now a permanent member of our staff. We have also added a half-time Resource Teacher, Hector Mejia, to our special education team. Mr. Mejia will split his time between our school and Dixie Canyon Charter. Additionally, we are thrilled to welcome two new members, Alba Sandoval and Cindy Krugel, to our third grade teaching staff. All of these teachers bring a great deal of experience and professionalism to Carpenter. We are blessed to add them to our team.
Joseph P. Martinez