Head of School's Message: August 27

Before my son left the house last week on the first day of his senior year at Saint Francis High School, I asked him to stand in the spot in the driveway where he stood on the first day of kindergarten thirteen years ago. 
He was in a hurry, but he indulged me, and I took a photo. We live on Armada Drive across from Chandler. He headed off to school, and I was left standing teary in the driveway vividly recalling how I felt when we crossed the street together on the first day of the 2005-6 school year. For me, even though it was the last first day of my son’s K-12 years, the hopes, dreams, aspirations and optimism of the first day of a new school year, of every new school year, make it the best day of the school year. Graduations are celebratory, but there’s a touch of sadness as the year ends. On Day One, it’s all before us. A new journey begins.
Just as New Year’s Day holds special power over adults’ behavior, so too does the first day of a new school year. Chandler faculty and staff have been working together for a week preparing for the students' return. Lower School faculty have participated in a workshop to coordinate how we teach writing. Faculty in both divisions have been learning about ways to differentiate instruction to make sure we are addressing each child’s learning and all Chandler employees took a CPR and a first aid class. Health and safety are our foremost concerns. We are ready to go, and we look forward to welcoming new and returning families back to school on Wednesdayand Thursday.
During the school year on four Thursday evenings from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. I will be hosting a series of parent book discussions in the Lower School library. All parents in grades K-8 are invited to share insights on the readings as we discuss ways in which the ideas in the books impact our parenting and our children. Unlike the work that will be assigned to your children, this is a voluntary and not a compulsory assignment. Here are this year’s book titles and discussion dates.
October 11
Pink, Daniel H. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing New York, Riverhead Books 2018.
December 13
Turkle, Sherry Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age New York, Penguin Books 2016.
February 28
Alter, Adam Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked New York, Penguin Books 2017.
April 18
Perkins, David N. Future Wise: Educating our Children for a Changing World San Francisco, Jossey-Bass 2014.
In addition to the book discussions I will host six ‘coffees with the head of school’ during the year for K-8 parents following drop-off from 8:15-9:15 a.m. in the Heads Library across the street from school. The purpose of the coffees will be to answer any questions you may have, to get feedback from you on how the year is going and to talk about what’s going on at school. Everyone is invited. I will send out reminders, but if you want to mark your calendars ahead of time, the coffees will be held on the following dates: October 18November 29January 10February 21March 21May 16.
Neighborhood residents appreciate Chandler drivers following the requirements for traffic flow mandated by the City of Pasadena for cars on Seco Street, Armada Drive, and Prospect Boulevard. Students in K-2 and their siblings drop-off and pick-up on Armada Drive. Students in grades 3-8 drop off and pick-up on Seco St. We understand that for the first few days of the new year kindergarten parents may want to walk their children in to school, but by the middle of next week we would like to discourage parents in K-2 from walking their children into school.
While we do not go into a new year expecting problems, we teach Chandler students to be problem solvers. I make a point of letting the students know that a problem never arises that we cannot solve together. You need to know that too. My door is always open to you and to your children.
Happy New Year. Looking forward to seeing you.
Most sincerely,
John Finch
Head of School