Yesterday was a tough day, following the tragic events at Saugus High School. As I was driving north to Coffee with Compass, cops were flying south to handle a crisis.
Schools are meant to be safe places, regardless if they are public district, public charter, private, or anything in between. Children are sent to school, with the belief they will not only be safe, but will have opportunities to learn, grow and develop.
I ask us to pause today at noon for a moment of silence, to think about the events from yesterday morning. This is an event that should never happen.
I attended the Acton Agua-Dulce USD Board of Trustees meeting last night, which is not only our authorizer, but a neighboring district. Acton staff have children at Saugus. (In meeting with parents at Coffee with Compass, their scholar has friends at Saugus). These tragedies affect us all, and in very different yet real ways. Last night, it was shared that there have been more mass shootings this year than days in the year.
It's troubling. And it affects us all. Please be mindful of how we communicate, how we build community, and remember we are a Compass Family. I'll be thinking of Saugus today, and thinking about how these unfortunate acts have collateral damage - on our communities, on our friends, on our family ... on our society.
If anyone is in need of support, scholar, parent and/or staff, please reach out.
Greetings Compass Family! We have reached the halfway point of our first semester, and it’s a great time to reflect on our scholar’s amazing hard work so far! I am proud to witness the dedication our scholars have given to their educational journeys this year and know there is so much more in store. As we enter the remainder of the semester and the season of giving thanks, I believe it is important to take the time to give thanks and recognize our CCS core value, Teamwork.
Teamwork is an integral part of the Compass Experience and is exercised in everything we do. I am thankful for our teachers and staff who partner with our learning coaches, scholars, advocates and each other to create a collaborative virtual learning community that best supports our scholars with compassion. We are active in ensuring our scholars have the opportunity to work together and understand the importance of teamwork throughout their Compass Experience. Our teachers and staff are committed to serving as great role models to help scholars learn and witness the value of teamwork.
I would also like to give thanks to our teachers and staff for the exceptional job they are doing to provide support to our scholars. I am thankful for the time and effort they put into learning labs, virtual workshops, engagement, and so much more; all to provide the best experience possible for our Compass community. I have observed a number of our learning labs and workshops over the past several weeks, and can say their passion for seeing our scholars succeed has no limits, and I am grateful to witness the accomplishments that come from their collaboration! This month, I would like to invite all of our scholars, learning coaches and valued stakeholders to share their gratitude with our teachers and school staff for their ongoing commitment and dedication to Compass. I would also like to highlight the unfailing support our scholars receive from their families. Your guidance is truly a light to your scholar as you partner with our teachers and staff to help them navigate this very important educational journey.
Our scholars are here because they have made Compass their school of choice. As a virtual, personalized learning, public charter school, we provide one of many models of school choices families have here in California. It is important to give thanks to both the school choice movement and to the families who chose our personalized learning model; and specifically, our Compass Family of Public Charter Schools. This is our school after all, and I am most thankful for all our families’ partnerships and continued feedback during Coffee with Compass, Parent Town Halls, Parent Advisory Council, Scholar Leadership Council, and your Virtual Suggestion Box submissions. Together, we are creating an amazing Compass Experience for all of our stakeholders, and for that, my heart is filled with gratitude!
I offer you The Energy Bus’ Principle #3 – Drive with Purpose as scholars finish out the remainder of their first semester. What is your purpose? How are you able to better achieve your purpose with the help of all of our various teams at CCS? Lastly, how do you allow that purpose to drive and inspire you in your daily routine?
This month, Compass is recognizing a number of important awareness campaigns including National Scholarship Month, National Homeless Youth Awareness Month, National Family Literacy Month, American Education Week, and more. Our purpose is to help raise awareness of these important campaigns which make a difference in the lives of children and their families. I invite you to follow Compass on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to learn more about these campaigns and help us raise awareness to make a difference in your community.
Be sure to stay up to date with all of the exciting events happening at CCS! The Parent Square Calendar is a great place to find upcoming activities, including Coffee with Compass, field trips, workshops, and so much more. On behalf of the staff at Compass, THANK YOU for being part of our Compass family!
Greetings Compass Family!October has arrived and fall is here, marking the start of the second month of the 2019-20 school year. Personally and professionally, I am honored to have celebrated my four-year anniversary yesterday with Compass! It has been wonderful to see all of your hard work so far this year. How has your Compass Experience been thus far? Are you feeling supported by our teachers and staff? What types of goals has your scholar set this year and what creative steps are they taking to meet those goals? Share your experience with us! Your feedback is encouraged, important, and valued.
With your scholar’s goals in mind, I’d like to introduce The Energy Bus’ Principle #2 – Create a Positive Vision. A positive mindset is so important in not only achieving our own goals, but to encourage those around us to create a positive and productive environment as well. What is your positive vision? What are some ways you can reinforce ‘Create a Positive Vision’ with your scholar so that they can also support their peers?
Changing gears, there are a lot of events happening in October! I am excited to share that CCS has recently launched a new and exciting peer mentor program for our scholars. The Compass Peer Rooms is a virtual meeting session where scholars who are new to Compass can connect with veteran scholars. Every Monday, during these casual virtual sessions, our new scholars can receive tips and advice, get answers to their questions and connect with their peers to make new friends! I strongly encourage all of our new Compass scholars to join one of our upcoming Compass Peer Rooms.
Also, this month the Parent Town Hall with the Superintendent resumes! The Parent Town Hall is an opportunity for parents to hear important updates about Compass, and participate in a Q&A session with me. Questions are encouraged and welcome in the Q&A session following CCS updates. Please refer to the ParentSquare calendar for upcoming Town Hall dates and times, and to RSVP. And don’t worry … if you are unable to attend, we will have the slides and recording available after each Parent Town Hall. We also have our first Parent Advisory Council (PAC) meeting of the year taking place next month, on Friday, November 1. Be sure to share your suggestions in our Virtual Suggestion Box for scholars and/or parents before this meeting, so the PAC can review your suggestions and offer feedback with our staff.
The Compass Experience is truly unique to each scholar and it is exciting to see the ways in which each of you makes it your own. We want to hear from all of our scholars to learn about their stories and celebrate their hard work. To be part of CCS is to be part of our Compass community, and one of the things our community does is celebrate each other’s successes. Have something great you’d love to share? Tell us your story and tag @CompassCS on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram with the hashtag #CompassExperience!
There are so many ways to stay involved this year! The Parent Square Calendar is a great place to find everything that’s happening at CCS, including field trips and special events. I hope you enjoy our Compass Experience and wish our scholars nothing but the best as their continue their educational journey!
Welcome Back, Compass Family!
I hope you enjoyed a relaxing summer and are ready for the 2019-20 school year! Our summer was well spent developing new and exciting ways to enrich our personalized learning experience for our scholars and their families. We are looking forward to a brand new year filled with academic growth, opportunity, engagement, friendships, and of course, a little bit of fun!
Our goal is to continue connecting with those who matter most — our scholars! There are so many ways to get involved with both staff and fellow scholars. We’re bringing our virtual community to life with more scholar clubs, virtual and in-person field trips, the Scholar Leadership Council, the Parent Advisory Council, and so much more. Parents will also have access to resources and advice developed by our staff to ensure a smooth and successful at-home learning experience.
We want to encourage our scholars and families to use their voices to connect with us as well. Learning Coaches can utilize our Parent Advisory Council to provide feedback and recommendations for our teachers and staff. Have a suggestion or a new way to enhance the Compass Experience? Let us know by leaving a note in our virtual Parent or Scholar Suggestion Box! These suggestions are reviewed by our Parent Advisory Council, Scholar Leadership Council, Staff Advisory Committee, and Cabinet on an on-going basis, and we strive to implement suggestions when we can, either immediately, within the next semester, or for the next school year. Your voice truly matters at Compass, and I would like to encourage you to use it!
In addition to making connections this year, our staff has spent the summer finalizing plans to go above and beyond to enhance the personalized learning experience that CCS offers. We are dedicated to The Energy Bus for Schools Leadership Journey, which promotes a positive school culture and leadership within each individual. This means that we are each empowered to be the “drivers” of our own bus, on a road to promote positivity and take full responsibility for our thoughts and actions. We want to share this leadership experience with our scholars, as well! Parents and scholars can expect to hear the Energy Bus referenced throughout the year. Elementary-age scholars (grades TK-5), please take a few minutes to learn about Principle #1 – You’re the Driver; secondary-age scholars (grades 6-12), please also take a few minutes to learn and practice Principle #1 – You’re the Driver. Listen for the phrase “yes, yes, yes!” and you’ll know you, too, are on the Energy Bus for a positive Compass experience!
This year, we will continue to demonstrate our commitment to the CCS core values of achievement, respect, teamwork, integrity and communication. Our teachers, staff and leaders will continue to exemplify these core values throughout their work and decision-making processes. We will also encourage our scholars to embrace these core values by recognizing and celebrating scholars who exceptionally demonstrate these values through awards like our Scholar of the Month, Core Values, Firebird of the Year, Excellent Participation awards, and a few others throughout the year.
We are truly dedicated to helping every scholar achieve success. We are proud to offer scholars and their families flexible academic programs that best fit their individualized needs. We continue to provide support with our committed Special Education Team to guide scholars’ day-to-day learning and assist learning coaches throughout their child’s academic journey. We are also proud to offer scholars a devoted Counseling Services Team that helps scholar’s plan their educational path, succeed in their classes, and prepare for life after graduation through a college and career readiness program.
Last week, we held Back to School Nights for our Online and Options programs to share important information, such as what to expect this first week of school, resources and supports, and updates we’ve made to our program for the upcoming year. I encourage all of our scholars and their families to review these sessions so that everyone is aware of the important changes and exciting plans that we are launching this year.
As we reflect on the new year and our first week, what are you most excited about for this upcoming school year? Why did you #ChooseCompass? Share with us on social media by tagging @CompassCS on Instagram and Twitter, and include the hashtag #ChooseCompass!
I encourage all of our scholars and their families to make connections with us this year and to take advantage of all the resources and unique learning opportunities that CCS has to offer. I look forward to sharing a successful 2019-20 school year with you!
We’ve nearly made it to the end of the 2018-19 school year! With only seven full days of the school year remaining, I’d say all of our scholars, learning coaches, and staff deserves a pat on the back for a job well done! Soon, final work will be submitted and summer vacation will begin!
Our scholars and staff have worked very hard this year and have made some incredible accomplishments that you can read about here. As we near the end of the school year, I would like to extend a special congratulations to all of our graduating seniors and promoting eighth-graders! This is an exciting time as you move onto a new chapter of life. Whether your new journey is in college, a job, or travel and relaxation, (and eighth-graders, that next chapter of high school), I wish you the best of luck on your future endeavors! Next week we will be hosting our eighth-grade promotion and 12th-grade graduation ceremonies in Poway, Carson, and Fresno. I look forward to attending and celebrating all of our scholars’ achievements!
As I reflect on this school year, I am proud of our strong Compass community, Compass Experience, and strides we have made together to always go above and beyond. We have reached many accomplishments and milestones this year! In case you missed it, CCS received the great honor of being named to the Charter School Honor Roll for exceptional school leadership by Charter School Capital. We also celebrated the addition of the CCS of Yolo charter into the Compass Family of Public Charter Schools for the 2019-20 school year, the renewal of CCS of Los Angeles , and the renewal of our WASC accreditation for CCS of Los Angeles.
We’ve gone on many engaging adventures together from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, to Knott’s Berry Farm, to Catalina Island and beyond, allowing scholars to apply what they’ve learned in their classes to real world experience. Our Parent Advisory Council and Scholar Leadership Council have also made many strides this year, representing their peers and sharing insights with our staff to further enhance the Compass experience. And our Board of Directors have guided our work, asking insightful questions, providing guidance and direction, all with the notion of putting our scholars first and supporting them along their educational journey. The support of both councils and our board, combined with the amazing work ethic of our scholars, learning coaches, teachers and staff, have made for a truly successful year!
Take time to reflect on your year in these last few weeks of school. What moments were most enjoyable? Did a teacher or classmate always make your day brighter? Did you improve in a challenging subject? To further this conversation, I encourage everyone to share stories and pictures of their favorite 2018-19 moments on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with @CompassCS and #MyCompassExperience We want to hear about your favorite classes, field trips, and friendships!
The upcoming 2019-20 school year promises even more excitement at CCS. Let our combined accomplishments this year shout from the rooftops that we are truly invested in the success of our scholars and be a testament to the amazing things we can achieve together. I want to ensure our dedicated families that our passion, integrity, and transparency will remain consistent. Our top priority has been and always will be providing our scholars and learning coaches with a positive, engaging, and memorable experience at Compass Charter Schools. If you have any suggestions on ways we can enhance the Compass experience, please let us know through our Virtual Suggestion Box for Scholars, and Virtual Suggestion Box for Parents. AND if you know of anyone who should choose Compass, please share your experiences with them and invite them to check us out online or at an upcoming Virtual Information Session (today, Wednesday, June 5 at 1p for example)!
Thank you for a great year! Finish strong, enjoy your summer, and I look forward to welcoming scholars, families and staff back to Compass this fall!
We have made it to May! There is only a little over one month left of the school year and it’s hard to believe so much time has passed. May is a very big month for the Compass community, as it sparks many celebrations.
First, it is Homeschooling Awareness Month — a perfect time to be loud and proud about CCS. It is a privilege to provide our scholars with a flexible and engaging education. I am honored to belong to a strong community like the one we have here at Compass. Thank you to all of you who have taken a moment to share positive thoughts or encouraging words with us. We will continue to stand behind our scholars and our mission, vision and values!
Today, May 1, is School Principal’s Day. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Ashley Daugherty, Online K-8 Coordinator, Erin Smith, Director of Online Learning, Janae Smith, Online High School Coordinator, and Kristy Smith, Director of Options Learning, for providing the necessary supports to their teams throughout the year, which in turn supports our scholars along their educational journey!
Next week we will recognize our amazing teaching staff during both National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6-10) and California Day of the Teacher (Wednesday, May 8). Our 74 teachers show tremendous dedication to our scholars, so let’s shine a bright spotlight on them. Show your favorite teacher your appreciation by nominating them for our Scholars’ Choice Employee of Year Award. Our scholars are also invited to send thank-you letters to express thanks to a teacher, counselor, or another member of our amazing team. Join us on social media throughout the week, using the hashtags #ThankATeacher and #DayOfTheTeacher to share your favorite memories about your teachers.
Please also join us in celebrating National Charter School Week (May 12-18). We will be sharing the experiences of our scholars, their learning coaches, and the positive impact that public charter schools have made in their lives. You can join our National Charter Schools Week celebration by posting, tweeting, tagging and sharing pictures and videos with us, using the hashtag #CharterSchoolsWeek. I look forward to seeing why you enjoy being part of our Compass family!
Our final major celebration will be to celebrate our staff during Classified School Employees Week (May 19-25). This year, we celebrate how our staff builds connections and inspires lives. Each member of the Compass staff acts as a strong link that connects our entire community. We invite scholars and learning coaches to join us on social media throughout the week, using the hashtag #CSEW2019, to share their favorite memories of the staff at Compass who have been their hero.
There is one more celebration that I cannot ignore. I am elated to share that we have made a proud new addition to the Compass Charter Schools family of public charter schools! Compass Charter Schools of Yolo has been approved and will make its debut in the upcoming 2019-20 school year. We look forward to bringing the Compass experience to scholars in Contra Costa, Colusa, Lake, Marin, Napa, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma, Sutter and Yolo counties!
Thank you for your continued support and belief in CCS. I look forward to continuing our growth together to provide school choice to scholars throughout California. Enjoy the month of May as we celebrate our teachers, staff, and of course, you!
Hopefully, you’re starting to see more sunshine now that spring has arrived! It has been an incredibly rainy season and the flowers have already bloomed, so maybe we can skip the April showers this year?
I would like to extend a thank you, and some good luck to all of our Compass scholars participating in state testing over the next two weeks. Your participation is so important, as it gives us the opportunity to explore academic areas that need strengthening and attention and also measures our success in providing scholars with the best possible instruction, guidance, and support. State testing is a great time to bring the Compass community together as you get to meet with your fellow classmates and teachers that you don’t see in-person as often! Enjoy your time making new connections and I wish you the best of luck!
On another note, your participation in state testing speaks for so much more than just academics. As you may know, this is a vulnerable time for charter schools throughout the state of California. We recently participated in the Stand for All Students Rally in Sacramento — to represent our school and all public schools who put scholars first. Hundreds gathered to support a positive future for public charter schools and to influence our elected officials in their upcoming decisions on charter operations. Your participation shows that you are loud and proud about Compass and the ways in which you’re able to earn your education while getting the most out of your lifestyle. For more information on this topic, visit EdSource.org.
As we continue our ride on the Energy Bus, I hope you will continue to make each day positive by fueling your ride and the rides of those around you. With only a few months left in the school year, this is the time to have fun and enjoy your ride! As always, I would love for you to share your experience on the Energy Bus! Share what you’re doing to have fun and enjoy your ride on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or how you have influenced those around you too!
Our teachers and staff are continuing to plan for both Summer School and the upcoming 2019-20 school year, for both current and prospective scholars. Your voice is needed! Please take a few moments to complete our 2019-20 Planning Survey, which is open for all members of our Compass community. The results from this survey will help with our planning for the upcoming school year. I encourage you to continue working hard through testing and know that spring break is just on the other side! Enjoy your week off to rest and recuperate so that you can come back and finish the school year strong!
We are moving swiftly along through our year of possibility. Last Friday, March 1, was an exciting day for us as it marked the opening of enrollment for the 2019-20 school year! It is always wonderful to add new scholars to the Compass family as we prepare for a new year of learning. We also kicked off re-enrollment for our current scholars! Learning coaches should have received a message in ParentSquare regarding the steps to complete the re-enrollment process. Scholars who complete re-enrollment before March 22 will receive a limited edition proud scholar t-shirt. I do hope you will continue your educational journey with us next year!
March 1 also marked our two-year anniversary celebration of the Compass name, and it was also Employee Appreciation Day. CCS has taken many great strides over the past several years to provide scholars with the strong and engaging education we believe they deserve. I am proud of our leadership, staff, scholars, learning coaches, and community that have joined us on this journey as a high-quality independent study school!
Our staff continues to provide scholars with plenty of new and exciting opportunities. CCS announced last week our most recent adventure: merging with REALM Charter School in Berkeley, CA. This merger will both grow the Compass community and provide scholars in Northern California with access to our virtual learning experience. For more information on REALM Charter School and our merger, please read the full press release. To learn more about project-based learning offered at REALM, visit our website. We are also working with a potential authorizer in Yolo County, which would create Compass Charter Schools of Yolo for the upcoming 2019-20 school year! Check out the locations page on our website, to see which counties CCS of Yolo could serve, and share our Interest Form with family and friends in the region who you believe would benefit from our Compass Experience!
As you may also know, CCS has been on a special journey as an Energy Bus school this year. As an Energy Bus school, we bring positivity to each day and operate from seven basic principles to hold ourselves, our scholars, and our learning coaches responsible for our own successes. This month, I encourage you to focus on principle 7: “Enjoy the Ride.”
I would love for you to share your experience on the Energy Bus! Share your positive vision with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or how you have applied the seven principles in your academic and/or personal life! Keep up the great work in your classes, finish the school year strong, and don’t hesitate to reach out to our amazing Compass team for any additional support!
Scholars and families,
The second semester is upon us! It is hard to believe February has arrived and we are more than half-way through the school year. Our scholars finished the first semester strong and I encourage you all to use the new semester as a fresh start! Whether you need to set goals to stay organized or are continuing on a strong path, remember that your teachers and Compass staff are here to support you with whatever you may need.
You may have noticed a lot of celebration lately! We recently wrapped up National School Choice Week, an entire week dedicated to the importance of choice in education. We loved sharing this week with many of you at our Breakfast in the Park meetups. We also spent the month of January recognizing our Board of Directors for School Board Recognition month! Our board members guide the mission and vision of Compass, and devote their time to help us meet our goal to support each scholar along their educational journey. Please join me once more in thanking our Board for all that they do to support our Compass community!
The celebrations continue this week with National School Counseling Week! I would like to highlight the hard work of our Counseling Services Team as they ensure our scholars have a positive Compass experience. This team is driven by the power of February’s core value, communication. Communication is an essential part of our Compass community, which is why we highlight it as a core value. It is a means of expression and also a means of understanding. It is also an important tool you can use to achieve your goals. If you are struggling with your school work, having a conflict with a deadline, or just need advice, communicating with your parents, teachers, and counselors can be of great help!
How has your Compass counselor positively impacted your year? I would love to hear your feedback on the goals and plans you have developed together. Download this poster, decorate it with your response, and email it to Danielle Del Negro, our Marketing Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be highlighted on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages!
Finally, I offer you The Energy Bus’ Principle 6 – Love Your Passengers! To help participate in this key principle, please join us as in The Energy Bus’ Love Your Passengers campaign! The PDF has an activity or challenge for each day of the month of February.
It is a great honor to serve and support our scholars along their educational journey. As a believer in school choice, I am acutely aware of the number of choices our scholars, families, and staff have to meet their educational needs. Thank you for your trust in Compass as your partner in education.
2019 IS HERE!
I hope all of our scholars and their families are enjoying a very restful Winter Break. A lot of excitement lies in the year ahead and I look forward to sharing it with each of you!
2018 has ended and our first semester is also coming to a close. I encourage you to enter this new start by reflecting on the goals you had for yourself in 2018, and creating new goals to achieve, both academically and personally, in this new year! Our staff is ready to support all of our scholars in creating action plans to achieve those goals and to succeed in their academics and other aspirations. I know that all of our staff are truly proud of our scholars’ hard work thus far and look forward to guiding them toward continued success.
We spent the beginning of the school year focusing on our core values of achievement, respect, and teamwork. This month, we focus on our core value of integrity. In general, integrity means to be honest and demonstrate strong moral principles, which we demonstrate through our words, deeds, and actions. At CCS, we put integrity at the forefront of everything we do. We believe having integrity is an essential part of a healthy life and sets the foundation for our decisions, behavior, opportunities and overall success.
Personally, I continue to exercise my own integrity and set an example for others by being transparent with our staff and families and by listening and acting on constructive feedback. There are many resources available to our stakeholders to receive important, honest, and direct information from me, including our quarterly Parent Town Hall meetings and our monthly Scholar Leadership Council and Staff Advisory Committee meetings, in addition to our bi-monthly Parent Advisory Council meetings. My motto has always been, if I know, you should know too. These are just a few of the ways I am trying to live and model integrity for our Compass family.
We’re encouraging scholars, learning coaches and staff to share what integrity means to them and why it’s important. How will you carry integrity with you into the new year? Let us know here!
As shared by Melody Beattie, “The new year stands before us like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written.” I wish you continued success and growth in 2019, and I look forward to seeing how you write your own next chapter. Happy New Year!
J.J. Lewis - a blog sharing the journey throughout SDSU's MA.EL. program.