Scott Huyler, our new Assistant Head of School for Academics, will return to campus in April. This summer, his family will move to Reno from Doha, Qatar, where they have been working for over a decade. For more about Scott's background, refer to this post from July 2020.
It was a great pleasure to be on campus with the Sage Ridge community during January and February. During this time I was able to meet students, staff, teachers, and community members and gained a real sense of the ethos and community spirit of SRS.
From a teaching and learning perspective, I was immediately struck by the engagement level of our students. I visited nearly all classrooms during my stay and was incredibly impressed by the learning that was evident across grades and subjects. Students were not only attentive and engaged, but were clearly leaders in their own learning, demonstrating a keen awareness of their individual academic progression. They were also unfailingly respectful, animated, and happy to be at school. This is an enviable set of student outcomes that any school would be justifiably proud of.
We are all acutely aware of the constraints COVID has placed on learning. It is evident Sage Ridge has weathered this storm with greater resilience and effectiveness than many less fortunate schools. Despite the obvious obstacles placed in their way, our teachers and students have persevered, ambitiously moving forward with both learning goals and extracurricular activities, and in the process demonstrated a “growth mindset” in real terms, despite tangible impediments. Carol Dweck and others who have studied the human response to challenging circumstances would surely recognize the unique pandemic adaptations that schools like us have implemented. Teachers, students and community members deserve a tremendous amount of credit for relentlessly pursuing learning in extremely trying conditions.
Moving forward, I am excited about working collaboratively with faculty to further define our pedagogical approaches, including working to support inquiry-based approaches across grades. We also have exciting ideas about further aligning curriculum and developing professional learning communities where teachers can share best practices in a professional setting. This is an exciting time to be part of the Sage Ridge community as we further develop and refine our unique view of academic excellence and social-emotional development for our students. I look forward to seeing everyone in April when I return to continue the work we collectively initiated.