Hello Classical School Families,
I have been thrilled to have met so many of you and your children at the Meet and Greet, in the hallways, and outside before and after school. Relationships are key to building a strong working foundation and it is one part of my job that I enjoy immensely. Please stop in sometime or catch me outside if we have not been introduced!
My professional career has taken an interesting path thus far and my work here at Classical School adds to my varied and wonderful experiences. I began my career here in Appleton many years ago but in more recent years, my professional path went abroad. I was the Superintendent/Director of Schools in Tarsus, Turkey; Lahore, Pakistan; Kuwait City, Kuwait and Douala, Cameroon. I also lead The Village School in Houston, Texas – a high-powered and high expectation private prep school. In each of these positions our focus was preparing our students to be accepted into their first choice university. I’ve seen firsthand how hard kids around the world are studying for those precious university seats. I’ve reflected on what we need to do here in the United States in order to compete with these international students – I’ve concluded many thoughts but one that resonates is that this prep work begins way before high school.
At Classical School the Core Knowledge curriculum is robust. The coursework is rigorous. Teacher expectations are high. These school characteristics allow for a solid base of knowledge to be put in place at an early age. It is a base that will be drawn upon heavily as the student progresses through their education. We know there is articulation between courses and grades. If I am a fourth grade teacher I KNOW what my students learned in Grade 3. We avoid gaps in learning and eliminate redundancy in our teaching. This program does not stifle great teaching but makes it more effective and focused. We do our part in preparing young students to move ahead successfully in their educational pursuits.
I love to learn. Learning is fun for me and I love to watch children learn! While in Turkey, I studied Turkish in Ankara. During the six years we worked in Kuwait, I studied Arabic. My purpose for this was not really to be able to speak Arabic but to see the challenges that our Arabic students had in learning a new language. What are the challenges of learning a different alphabet, different ways of putting words together (three consonant root words) and writing in the opposite direction from English? Now I find myself taking an online Latin course. As Classical School begins to move purposefully into the teaching of Latin, I want to be able to see where the challenges will arise for our children and teachers. The best way to test the temperature of the water is to jump right in! I hope my love for learning and modeling courage in learning something new will permeate the fabric of Classical School and resonate with the students and staff. How fortunate we are to be in a community that celebrates the acquisition of knowledge!
With Great Respect for Where We Have Been and Looking Forward to Our Future,
Dr. Bernard Mitchell