Dear Chadwick Parents,
As we conclude our second week of the new school year, I want to extend my very best wishes to you and your children for an inspiring and rewarding experience in 2019-2020. This is my 22nd year as a leader at Chadwick, and I can honestly say that I have never been more excited or more optimistic about a school year ahead than I am today.
As you may know, this is CI's 10th year anniversary. I well recall the hopes and dreams that we believed in and that energized us to found this remarkable school back in 2010. Our goal then, which we have reiterated as the theme of this 10th anniversary year, is to Lead by Example in everything we do. This is of course a never-ending challenge and a goal that we extend to every member of our school community: to every student from age 4 to 19; to every member of our faculty and staff; to our alumni and parents; and to the school itself. Not every one of us can be the top student, or the fastest runner, or the most brilliant violinist, but every one of us can strive to act and speak in ways that set a positive example for others: that is our opportunity and our duty if we truly do want to make the school and the world around us better, for today and tomorrow.
As we strive to do better as a school, last year we solicited the views of our students and teachers through surveys, meetings, and conversations. Similarly, we sought the feedback of our parents through small and large group meetings, individual conversations, and, in May, through an all-School Parent Survey that was professionally designed, executed, and analyzed. The questions on the survey were crafted so that the School could take action based upon the parents' feedback. We are very grateful that a record 572 parents responded to the survey - roughly twice the number that have responded to previous parent surveys. This means to us that these parent responses are valid, representative, and should be acted upon. Within the next few weeks, we will schedule an all-school parent meeting at which we will share more detail about the parents' responses and the school's response, and we will also share this information via email, in English and Korean, for parents who cannot attend the meeting.
In the meantime, we have already begun to take steps and to develop plans to address the concerns and opportunities that parents, students, and faculty members have highlighted. In the coming days, you will be hearing more from our three division Principals about these efforts. Below, please find a list of the most important areas that we are addressing; some steps we have already taken or are taking are in parentheses.
Two of the most important, which are overarching and will always require continuous effort on all our parts, are 1. effective two-way communication between the School and parents and students, and 2. safeguarding and enhancing student and faculty wellness in the context of our highly ambitious school, family, and cultural setting. All of us - teachers and parents - love our CI children, and we all want the best for them, both short- and long-term. This obligates us to understand these children and each other as well as we can so that we can work effectively together to help them find and follow a healthy and happy path forward. You will note that many of the initiatives below relate directly to these two critical goals of communication and wellness.
- Homework and other after-school work (we hosted talks to faculty and parents at CI two weeks ago by a leading expert; the video of these talks, with Korean subtitles, will be shared with parents soon; we are continuing to examine the latest research on what constitutes effective and appropriate academic work outside of school at various age levels, and we will share this with parents and students)
- Assessments, grading, and reporting of student work (our policies and practices are under review and possible revision in all three divisions; these will be shared by Principals)
- Student and faculty wellness (the Upper School has already modified its schedule to provide four "soft starts" per week, instituted grade-level retreats, and empowered student-led student/faculty committees; we have engaged an expert schedule consultant to suggest improvements to the PK-12 schedule in March; we have requested healthier, more attractive and more varied food choices in the Village cafeteria)
- Student voice and responsibility (BAC's are under review in MS; US Student Council and committees are playing a much larger role in decision-making, including policies in the Student Handbook)
- Two-way parent and student communication (standards, learning benchmarks, and curricular progression for all grade levels and subjects were developed last year and will be shared with parents in the next few weeks; after Chuseok, weekly parent newsletters will be coordinated across divisions; parent/teacher conferences in US will be made more helpful to parents; a parent education program including opportunities to experience CI teaching methods will be offered)
- Increased student use of and proficiency in English; enhanced attention to literacy and mathematics (numerous steps re: literacy, math, and use of English are being taken in Village, to be communicated by Principal; use of English policy is a focus in MS and US)
- Smoothing transitions between divisions (learning benchmarks and standards will be used to ensure curricular coherence; two PK-12 curricular/teaching oversight positions coordinated this year; this is an area of attention by Principals)
- Extending college counseling programming and accessibility (planning in progress)
As we move ahead, we will do our best to continue to communicate to you WHY we are taking steps - what our goals are, and why - as well as clear, timely, understandable information about WHAT we are doing and HOW. As we do so, we will very much need and appreciate ongoing feedback from you and your children as to what is working and what isn't; whether or not our communication is clear; and your suggestions for how we can do better. As we all seek to Lead by Example and to do our best for our wonderful children, both individually and as a school, we will all be most successful if we keep an open mind, truly listen to and seek to understand each other, and are willing to accept constructive criticism and change our practice where warranted. Following our Core Values of respect, compassion, and honesty will - as always - allow us to do our very best for our children, individually and collectively.
As I stated at the outset, I am very excited and optimistic that not only will our 10th year be the best ever at CI, but that, working together, we can set a course that will bring enormous benefits to our children and school for decades to come. I am truly looking forward to it. Onward and Upward!
Head of School / President of RCFG
Dear Chadwick International Community,
I hope that you are enjoying these last (hot!) days of summer and are almost ready to start a new school year - our ninth at CI!
Having participated in the founding of this school in 2010 and having visited countless times since then as Chadwick School headmaster and Roessler-Chadwick Foundation president and trustee, I am delighted finally to be joining you here, fulltime and full steam. This is a truly remarkable and exciting community by any measure: students, parents, faculty, staff, and now alumni.
The children at this school are wonderful and embody more and more each day the five goals of our Mission: they are developing not only keen minds but also outstanding character; they are learning about themselves, and they are developing into global citizens who will be able to lead by example. They demonstrate daily their growing understanding of and commitment to living out our Core Values of respect, responsibility, honesty, fairness, and compassion. I have gotten to know many of our students over the years and I am so proud of them.
Of course, we know that they are developing this way because of the values that you have instilled in them since birth, the examples that you have set, and the love and guidance that you have provided them. Your embrace of the many kinds of challenges that we set for your children - academically and in so many other ways - strengthens them, helps them build the resilience that they will need in the future, and helps them overcome temporary struggles, disappointments, and even failures with growing courage and self-confidence. As parents, we know: life is a marathon, not a sprint.
And of course the essential factor in any great school is an outstanding faculty and staff - and at CI, we are certainly blessed in this regard. From around the world, inspiring, challenging, engaging, and loving teachers have come to Songdo, drawn by the prospect of working with your children, with you, and with each other. We are a school community of people who love to challenge themselves, learn, and grow - faculty as well as students. When visitors come to our campus, they sense immediately this electricity of possibility, of curiosity, of engagement, and they sense too the powerful and genuine caring that extends between and among our students, parents, faculty, and staff.
The beginning of a new school year is always a time of anticipation, of aspiration, of hopes and dreams - for every member of the community. My goal is to help this school and every child within it to develop their highest potential in terms of the five points of our Mission and in embodying our Core Values. I truly believe that Chadwick International can be the best in the world at doing this and that our children will be - daily - both the co-creators and the beneficiaries of our joint effort and success. In this way, our school community and every member therein can achieve our ultimate goal: to be of our greatest possible service to our fellow man, both now and in the many years to come.
A new school year awaits! I look forward to starting it with you on Monday!
Head of School / President of RCFG