CSI Inside

Monthly reflections from the principal and faculty

Updated Fri, Oct 19th
I have been asked several questions this year about Responsive Classroom and how it has been implemented here at CSI, so here’s the scoop.

Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching that includes effective research-based practices and strategies that create a safe, engaging and joyful school community.   In addition to academic content and knowledge, the emphasis is for students to develop their social, emotional, and communication skills.  We know that in the coming years as we move further into the 21st century, our students will need to be prepared to navigate a very complex world. They will need to learn problem-solving and critical thinking techniques, develop effective communication skills, and understand how to work collaboratively with peers.

This summer, our staff attended three days of training in Responsive Classroom practices and will have a follow-up workshop day in December.   Next month, our trainer will visit CSI classrooms and common areas to observe our implementation and to give us feedback on how and where we might improve.  Teachers will also have the opportunity to observe peers and refine some of the signature practices that were learned over the summer.

A key piece of Responsive Classroom is creating a learning environment with high expectations and student autonomy.  At the beginning of the school year, each classroom developed its own set of rules, values, and agreements.  Students worked together to determine what the classroom environment should look like, how it should be organized, and the elements that need to occur to build a sense of community and trust.  For the past few weeks, we have expanded this to the school level, and classroom representatives began the process of creating school-wide agreements for the common areas on campus including the Bistro, Think Tank, playgrounds, and Welcome Center.  Once the rules have been developed, they will create posters and presentations to share with the entire school community.

Some of the elements of Responsive Classroom include:

Morning Meeting – Each day, classrooms start out with a morning meeting that includes a greeting, a sharing, a group activity, and a morning message.  Many parents experienced this at our Back to School Night in September.

Energizers – Short playful activities to help build community, collaboration, and teamwork.

Closing Circle – At the end of each day, students reflect on and celebrate their learning.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information about Responsive Classroom and how we will be including our CUSD Profile of a Graduate competencies into our work here at CSI. 

Updated Sun, Sep 9th
Updated Tue, Jun 26th
Principal Norma Jeanne Ready reflects on creating a solid foundation for "doing school differently."

As our school buildings are forming from the ground up, the people who will fill them are laying a solid foundation for dynamic teaching, learning and family engagement at Campbell School of Innovation.

school buildings under construction

In a rather noisy production, demolition began in December 2017, and by early May 2018 cement trucks and huge cranes were rolling onto campus to set new CSI buildings on their foundations. Much groundwork has been laid over the past six months, preparing foundations and getting all of the invisible pieces aligned so that our buildings will be completed and ready for students. It has been nothing less than magical to see the transformation of the physical site. It seems to have happened so quickly, and as we get caught up in the beauty of the new buildings, we often overlook and forget the groundwork that came before-- which truly is the foundation for what “the new” is built upon.  

In addition to the physical foundations at CSI, we have also been building the cultural and philosophical foundation of our school. Moving from a small design team to a full staff has been a journey, and we now have our team in place.  As a “school of innovation,” we have had interesting discussions around what that means in today’s world, what that looks like in our classrooms, and how students will be prepared for an ever-changing future. Exploring new ideas as well as building upon tried and true practices have been part of our design process, and we continue to question and make changes as we go. Our growth mindset and “failing forward”  are at the forefront of our discussions and early decisions as we build upon our core values of keeping students at the center and creating authentic learning experiences.

In June, teachers completed four days of training in the areas of Design Thinking and Responsive Classroom. Later this summer, several teachers will be attending CAFE literacy training as well as a Summer Studio Design Thinking Institute, which is grounded in the Arts.  As you can see, we have a very enthusiastic group of teacher learners and leaders.

On June 11th, we held a Parent Leadership Meeting where approximately 50 parents attended! I am thrilled by the energy and talent that is evident among our Campbell School of Innovation families. We now have four committees that have begun planning for organized parent engagement at school, school events and more for our inaugral year. Please check the CSI events calendar for dates of summertime CSI family picnics and other happenings.

We feel that our foundation is strong and that it will definitely support the new ideas, new practices, and a new way of doing school.

(If you’d like to know more about educational change, watch Reinventing Education for the 21st Century, a TEDx talk from Tony Wagner.)