Castle Bridge School Mission and Vision
To provide each student with a high-quality, arts-infused, project-based K–5th grade experience that will develop the skills and passions for inquiry and engagement in support of their growth as scholars, workers and citizens.
The school’s design will embody this mission in the following ways:
- Through the educational program, children will meet or exceed state and national standards. The curriculum develops knowledge, concepts and skills through student initiated inquiry, emergent curriculum, differentiated instruction and formative assessment. Children are recognized as builders of knowledge and collaborators in problem solving; academic skills are learned and applied to these inquiries.
- Integration and Inclusion stimulates the kind of learning necessary for members of a multicultural democracy. By providing a rich educational environment, families from various socioeconomic and cultural circumstances are drawn to the school. In addition, all of the classes are mixed-grade which encourages students to stay with teachers for two years, lessens competition among students, increases the individuation of learning expectations, allows for social/emotional fluidity for children.
- The school adheres to progressive educational philosophy in the tradition of Dewey, Weber, Meier and Carini. By accepting and pursuing balance between the values of the individual and the community, skills and habits, expression and perception, choice and adherence, measurable and immeasurable, safety and risk, the school places itself firmly in the progressive tradition.
- Families are organic partners in the educational process. From the informed choice that families make in registering their children at Castle Bridge, families are welcomed into the school community through: weekly communication, classroom volunteering, workshops, community events, and governance committees.
- Violence is not tolerated. All forms of violence: verbal, physical, psychological are addressed through classroom discussion, community discussion, conflict-resolution strategies and therapeutic interventions.
- A professional community that is invested in its own intellectual and creative growth. Staff attend a three-day retreat once a year. They will read and discuss professional literature as well as new children’s literature. Staff meet for 90 minutes weekly to share and further their practice, with particular attention to the ongoing observation, description and assessment of children’s work.
- Formative assessment is an integral piece of the instructional approach. Through careful observation, ongoing description and recording of children’s work, teachers will engage in a continual formative assessment loop through which they will inform and adapt their approaches and expectations for students.
- Small school where children and families are known well.
- 200 children Pre-K through 5th grade. Families welcomed and encouraged to participate in daily life of the school. Weekly letters home from principal and regular communication from teachers. Regular community events on evenings or weekends. Formal conferences twice a year include the child as well as the parents and teachers. Narrative reports twice a year describe the child’s daily experience and detail intellectual, social and physical growth.
- Rigorous project-based integrated arts curriculum
- Children will engage in self-initiated project work through which they will explore a broad range of materials and modes of working and strengthen their expanding reading, writing and math skills in the service of real work.
- Projects will include all manner of crafts including cooking and sewing, as well as building, gardening, researching, performing, experimenting. These activities will engage children in real-life work and skills they will bring into their future studies and the work world. Daily practice developing executive functions of initiation, perseverance, inquiry, organization, regulation, and problem solving.
- Physical and nutritional health is a priority
- Skating, swimming, and daily physical exercise. Gardening, cooking, camping and farm visits will shape our wellness curriculum that ties the health of our bodies to our dependence on a healthy earth
Mixed-age classes to challenge and deepen children’s knowledge
- Mixed-age classes increase the intellectual and social challenges children meet while reducing the level of competition. Children stay with teacher for two years.
- Choral and instrumental music program
- Voice is our first instrument. Together we build our community in the blending of our voices.
- Schoolwide conflict-resolution program
- The school has a no-violence policy. Learning to negotiate conflict in a nonviolent and creative manner is something that most people have to learn. This school believes that it is our responsibility to support children and families in learning these vital skills.
- Fully integrated community and Inclusive curriculum to meet all learning styles
- Our democracy is strengthened when we can learn and work together across our age, class, ethnic, racial, political and religious diversity. We see our responsibility to support those with all sorts of learning challenges.