An annual report provides a chronicle of institutional accomplishments over the course of a year. The standard form for a corporate report is replete with objective data. The musical Rent takes a stab at measuring a year: “525,000 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear… in daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.” An instructive approach, to be sure -- one that includes time, actions, and emotions. A year in school contains a minimum of 73,500 minutes laden with seen and unseen discoveries, discussions, diversions, decisions, delights, distresses, and dilemmas. The relevant units of measurement are change and growth. (Think of Walter White’s earnest meditation on change in his preamble to the study of chemistry in the first episode of Breaking Bad). Schools defy the production of a neatly fashioned account. We can dutifully report metrics on test scores, college placement, athletic performances, scholarships, awards, participation rates in programs, philanthropy, and financial statistics, a good deal of the material in this document, but such an account fails to penetrate the essence of the lived experience of the school. The marrow of the school experience through the course of a year lies in the interior enrichment and change that it incubates.
CCES changed hearts, souls, minds, and bodies last year. The school contributed to more sentient hearts, more resonant and restless souls, more venturesome and creative minds, and healthier bodies. The school does the things that few schools do as well: it cultivates love and virtue. Not the normal stuff presented in an annual report but bursting through the nodes of our corporeal frames and seasoning our collective daily experience at this remarkable school. CCES discharges its academic function through its thirteen grade levels with purpose and passion. It’s readily apparent that CCES teachers and students enjoy their 73,500 minutes plus at school.
The stately commencement exercises on June 1, 2019 declared that each of the 102 graduates had been reliably prepared for higher education. Poised to verify that premise, each graduate settled in a new school home in the fall, possessed of the analytical, practical, and creative resources to make the most of the opportunities ahead. In these days of transiency and radical shifts in academic focus, a majority of our graduates complete their undergraduate studies in four years and a preponderance in five years. An unusual feat these days and a savings for parents footing the bill.
Our Strategic Plan came of age last year and raised the level of play everywhere in the school. The plan inseminates our genetic code to adapt to the twenty-first century. We plant our Episcopal identity and college prep mission squarely in the soil of this century. The Plan leads us to be better and more actualized selves by taking what we have always done opportunistically and requiring that we all commit to these aims intentionally for all students. We spent Year One, 2017-18, conceptualizing and defining. Last year we put the playbook into practice. The last school year witnessed progress in embedding the initial stages of the linear goals (5,6,7, and 8). The Lower School launched the Lucy Calkins writing program (Goal 5). Teams of teachers fill out the interstices of our P-12 curriculum map (Goal 6-tighten curricular transitions horizontally, create enrichment in vertical alignment, and eliminate gaps and unnecessary redundancies). Anticipating the inception of a summer internship program for rising seniors in 2020, the Upper School invigorated internships (Goal 7) within the school through its CavBack program and the Middle School designed its Cavalier Crew program for eighth-graders to assist fifth graders. Goal 8, building financial sustainability, made great strides in soliciting generous gifts to build our endowment.
The soul of the Strategic Plan lies in Goals 1-3. I commend my colleagues for the inroads the school made in operationalizing programs that will instill attributes that will pay lifelong dividends to all students. Our Epsicopal calling (Goal 1) obligates us to practice in our daily habits and routines a respect for the dignity of all individuals. In the pluralistic society of the 21st century, it befits a well-educated person to be culturally competent so that we make the most of our interactions with people from diverse backgrounds. Last year, every classroom teacher designed a minimum of two growth mindset lessons (Goal 2). CCES equips students with the tools to be persistent and resilient, to aim beyond their reach and grow through the pursuit. Finally, we have heightened the consciousness to the importance of healthy habits to promote mental, emotional, and social well-being. Zay Kittredge joined the Upper School faculty as the school counselor, coordinating his work with Lydia Pettigrew in the Middle School and Valerie Riddle in the Lower School, a team approach that includes our chaplains and deans.
Optimism, empathy, and respect abound at CCES. Our community attracts conscientious families and dedicated teachers and visionary administrators.
If the 525,000 minutes comprising each year are as good as our 73,500 designated school time, we are in great shape.
Thank you for your support of CCES, a community gem.