Today we welcomed our Kindergarten through 8th grade students as we began our exciting 50th year of serving the educational needs of students and their families. No small feat for an independent school!
Today we returned to a campus that is lovingly cared for and tended by an amazing team of faculty and staff.
Today we embraced our strong traditions of teaching, learning, and caring that permeate all we know, see, say, and do.
Today we honor our past, begin this new school year NOW, and anticipate the WOW that the future holds for The Wood Acres School.
Graduation of The Wood Acres School’s current eighth graders followed the next day by an on campus Honors Assembly for all students annually wrap up each academic year @ the Woods. Each event is steeped in tradition and celebration as we bid our graduates a fond farewell and honor achievement in grades fourth through eighth.
While caps and gowns are left to high school and university graduations, Wood Acres mixes a bit of British history with our own twist. Graduates don a “sub fusc” which is a black open short robe with arm length epaulets. This garb originated in the United Kingdom for university undergraduates and that is where we purchase them. Graduates also wear two cords around their necks, symbolic of green for the Woods and gold and green to represent their stellar accomplishment in graduating from our outstanding school. Graduates get to keep one cord as a memento and the other is then passed to the rising eighth graders to wear at their ceremony the following year. A prelude of light classical music welcomes the procession of our graduates to the ceremony led by the Head of School and followed by the Upper School faculty led by the Principal. Faculty wear academic hoods over their shoulders in the colors of their last attended university.
Graduates at the Wood Acres ceremony are seen and heard as they have an opportunity to speak to the gathered family and friends as to their time @ the Woods, their next educational steps, and what the school has meant to them. This year’s class 2019, the largest ever, will speak in groups based on the length of time they have matriculated at Wood Acres. Many have been here for over 5 years- some since they were two years old! The Head of School and Principal share their thoughts as well to send them on their way with pride and accomplishment for a job well done.
Students are awarded their diplomas as well as the US Presidential Academic Excellence Award, International Spanish Academy diplomas given through the Embassy of Spain, and a Certificado de Asistencia from the Universidad de Pontificia if they participated in the study abroad trip to Spain.
The ceremony ends with a much more 21st century vibe as students and faculty recess to pop music the students selected to the cheers and tears of proud family and friends. After group photos, this special day culminates with a catered lunch for all, gifts for the grads, and some fond hugs and farewells.
Three Cheers for the Wood Acres Graduating Class of 2019!
It’s rating sweeps time @ the Woods with #2 wooden Ticonderoga pencils sharpened to perfection and filled with natural lead and all the answers for our students to soar as they complete annual standardized assessments in 1st through 8th grade! Wood Acres administers the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT 10) and the Otis Lennon Ability Test each year to provide us with a nationally normed assessment that both informs our planning and teaching and lets us know how well Wood Acres students fare in comparison to students throughout the United States. Our students really enjoy these two weeks as homework is light, snacks are yummier, pencils are new, and parents give children extra hugs and high fives as they leave carpool each morning. While Wood Acres never brags on student achievement- we just expect it- I do think it is the perfect time to demonstrate a little Wood Acres “pride” in our students’ academic achievement while they are here and future successes as they graduate. Please enjoy these proud academic “snapshots” of our students as they learn, grow, and SOAR!
Wood Acres students historically score on the average in the 84th to 90th percentile in reading and mathematics as well as in the 85th to 95th percentile in the applied fields of social studies and science. (assessed in grades 3rd through 8th grades on the SAT 10)
Wood Acres treats all students as gifted learners and results on the Otis Lennon Ability Test demonstrate that, while many Wood Acres students do score in the gifted range of ability, many are wonderfully average students, too. They ALL achieve in the highest ranges because that is how they are taught.
Wood Acres is one of only 100 International Spanish Academies in the United States and Canada and frequently receives commendation for programming and student progress in second language acquisition. 8th grade students also enjoy the opportunity of a lifetime to study and travel abroad in Spain each spring.
Wood Acres curriculum is nationally aligned with experts in each academic field and we adopt textbooks, technology, and materials that correlate well with our curriculum maps, scope and sequencing of teaching, and inter-grade collaboration of content and teaching approaches. We embrace no band wagon, flighty trends, or state-mandated core programs. The core of our school has always been, and will always be, our students and their overall successes as eager, bright, compassionate, and caring young men and women. They are the collective heartbeat of this uniquely wonderful school.
We are proud to announce that Wood Acres soon-to-be graduates in the Class of 2019 have been accepted at the following high schools and specialty programs in Georgia (to date of posting): Blessed Trinity High School, Mt. Vernon Presbyterian High School, Kings Academy, The Galloway School, Wheeler High School STEM Academy, The ISA Academy at Walton High School, International Baccalaureate Program at Campbell High School, and area public high schools and charter academies such as Pope, Pope STEM and Globalization programs, Lassiter, Kell, Roswell, Mt. Bethel, West Forsyth, Sprayberry STEM and ISLA programs, and Kennesaw Mountain magnet program. We are thrilled with all of their accomplishments and are so excited to watch them SOAR forward in their new high schools!
Here’s to some amazing weeks to come celebrating our students, their successes, the families who support them, and The Wood Acres School!
I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend! Tune in for details about week in second grade!
– Open House is January 27th from 2-4PM
– January book reports are due Thursday, January 31st
Language Arts: Reading We will begin this week with a biography My Name is Gabriela.
Vocabulary Strategies: We will be working on suffixes –y and –ful.
Comprehension Skills and Strategies: Understanding Characters and Author’s Word Choice
Phonics: Long e sound for y and change y to an i
Math: The class is doing a fantastic job with our geometry unit! We bumped up our Check Progress to Thursday so as not to overload the class with tests on Friday. They did great! Next week we get into some trickier terrain as we learn about congruent figures, lines of symmetry and flips, turns and slides. This is where some difficulty arises. I will send home some extra practice for students should they need it. Please also keep in mind that extra credit packets are due February 1st for an additional 10 points on their Chapter 6 test.
History: We learned a lot about the gold rush and the first men who found gold in a California river. Next week, we will explore more of how pioneers continued to move west with a discussion on the development of cities and ghost towns.
Science: Study guides were sent home on Tuesday. Please have students study for their test on Monday, January 28th.
What’s that sound coming from our classroom?? Why it’s children chanting, “5 Little Pumpkins Sitting on a Gate.” The class LOVED this chant! I always try to include the words so you can sing along with your young child too. To reinforce Number 5, we made a project by placing 5 pumpkins on a gate……so cute! Besides the five pumpkins, there are five monkeys too! Those five naughty monkeys teased Mr. Crocodile and they jumped on the bed. Ask your child to sing these classic favorites also.
We heard a few stories these past few days on how a pumpkin grows from a seed. We hope you like the fold-out display your child made showing this sequence. Learning to sequence a life cycle or a story is a very important goal in our Early School curriculum. It lets me know if your child comprehended what happened in the beginning, middle and end of the story. We will continue to do more sequencing this year.
Get those costumes ready for Wednesday. A parade and party are planned for the morning…..How Exciting! Please refer to the letter that was sent home about the costumes.
Happy Friday to all! Thank you all so much for spending some time with me talking about your wonderful children. Although we didn’t have much to talk about yet, it was great touching base and learning more about your children. If we were unable to meet, please look for an email within the next few days to schedule an in person conference or a phone conference! As always, if you feel like we need to meet for any reason, conferences don’t have to be just in September and February. Feel free to reach out whenever and we can chat!
With this week being a short week and with many families on vacation, we took this time to review our story The Little Bears, continue working on the sound “B” and working on recognizing our numbers up 13. Next week we will continue with our letter bag and the letter “G”!
Next week, we will be starting our Monday Journals. Monday Journals consists of drawing a picture of what they did over the weekend and then describing what they drew. They will have the chance to write out a short sentence describing the picture by either writing one word, the whole sentence, or just watching how Mrs. Alger and I write a sentence on lined paper. This is a great way to let the students start exploring what writing looks like.This is a great way to get the children thinking about how sounds make letters, letters make words and words make sentences.
Here’s to hoping that the rain clears for a nice weekend!
I wrote the HEADline below two years ago around this time of year. Dr. Carl Glickman and his writing on ceremony and tradition came back to my mind again last week as we celebrated almost a decade of Constitution Day rallies on our campus Quad… a tradition indeed! Our traditions, symbols, and ceremonies are part of the fiber of a Wood Acres education, yet it behooves us to ponder if they really make a difference to our students and their families?
To answer that question, another sage writing of Dr. Glickman came to mind- his work on sightings- formal and informal, negative and positive- as to whether what a school does matters. Formal observations abound in any educational setting- planned class observations, scheduled team meetings, parent teacher conferences, annual kick off events, etc. Informal observations happen much more often- watching a class walk the campus Quad, student interactions at recess, daily teacher student interactions, passing conversations with adults and children, communication from all stakeholders- formal and informal.
The Constitution Day Rally 2018 brought some wonderful sightings to the forefront about the impact Wood Acres has on the school community- our largest attendance by families and guests, book buddies sitting voluntarily with each other to enjoy the ceremony, our Director of Early School sharing her amazing story of discovering a rare family pocket edition of the Constitution dated in the 1800’s, handshakes and hugs from families as they share how valued this day has become, veterans thanking us for recognizing their service, students reciting the Preamble and talking about the Constitution all week long, staff enthusiasm planning the event and tying it to history and culture… the list goes on. Toss into that mix our enduring symbols of acorns, oak leaves and Ginkgo trees, campus buildings named after the Georgia signers of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution as well as noted historical figures in Georgia’s history, Turner Hall named for two self-educated men, a campus compass rose adorning the Plaza, a new American flag posted every year- the list goes on.
Wood Acres School is about a million little things that are purposefully and lovingly woven into the fiber of our school, the talk of the day, and the walks about campus. It also permeates the formal and informal happenings on campus. It is not about a school; it is about a Wood Acres education. THAT is what matter most and that is what counts. Eureka! And that is what we intentionally- formally and informally- do each and every day!
Archived HEADLINE: October 2016…
It’s here! Can you see it? Can you feel it? Can you hear it? It is the cadence and rhythm of a school year in place and humming its autumn song as we turn the calendar to October. Students have found the first acorns on campus, sketched the first fallen leaves, and gazed at the amazing blue sky that arches over our campus. It feels so good inside and outside of our classrooms.
And before you know it the perfect trifecta of holidays will soon be upon us occupying the main aisles of stores from Hallmark to Dollar Tree and making October, November, and December filled to the brim with decorations and celebrations. Woo be the child who has a birthday during these three months as their parties are often overshadowed by the holiday du jour! While the commercialism of holidays is certainly omnipresent, the intrinsic importance of tradition and ceremony is vital to a child’s development of time, family, and community.
Dr. Carl Glickman, outstanding Professor Emeritus of the University of Georgia in the field of educational leadership, once spoke on this very topic and made a great impression on me in my developing years as an educational leader. His writing led me to metacognitively know why I always thought that ceremonies and traditions in the smallest family or the largest school were not “fluff” but critically important to the home and school climate and its ability to embrace its occupants with meaning and memories for a lifetime.
Ceremonies and traditions serve as punctuation marks in our lives. They make us pause, stop, “be”. They move us emotionally and spiritually. They help us tie the past, present, and future together in a way that helps us keep time, reflect, enjoy the moment, and wonder about the future. These events also help us visually demonstrate values and connections among generations. Ceremonies and traditions bring us together, across miles as well as across periods of absence. And they open the larder to prepare treats and food, open the boxes to deck the halls and walls with pumpkins, turkeys, menorahs and garland, open the photo albums to visit past ceremonies and make certain the traditions are well preserved. They make us sing, laugh, smile, cry, look wistfully, and sigh in contentment. Ceremonies and traditions make the time, energy, effort, planning, and often expense worth it in the long run. They matter to us. Remember, where our hearts are, so are our treasures!
So here’s to pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, trick or treating, and candy! Here’s to turkey and all the trimmings, football, naps, and holiday shopping. Here’s to stockings hung with care, candlelight services, cookies and milk, dreidels, and gifts from the heart. And here’s to the ceremonies and traditions of the Woods- Meet and Greet, conferences, Rally Round the Flag Constitution Day, Field Day, field trips, book fairs, book buddies, graduation ceremonies, and so much more. Here’s to our school traditions and ceremonies helping us mark the seasons of the Woods in our hearts and minds.
Hope you all had a nice weekend. We have a busy week ahead…ready, set, go!!
We will focus on the letter S, as we continue with our Alphabet unit. As always, please remember to review with your child the letters covered thus far. We especially ask that you concentrate on those of his/her name.
The additional topics of learning will be Seeds/planting and Earth Day. We have several hands on activities/experiments planned for the week. We are asking for your help to complete one such project…it’s a simple (and tasty) task. We need seeds of all kinds to use on a display board, as we will compare seeds. Please either enjoy a delicious food with a seed or purchase a packet to send in with your child. Please put in zip lock bag, and label with child’s name and type of seed. This can be sent in any day this week, this is an ongoing display through the week.
As always, thank you for your continued support! We will have pictures to share of our week of learning and fun.
• Friday, March 16th
Please dress your child in the color GREEN in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. We will have themed snacks provided by The Perry Family.
• Thursday, March 22nd
P is for Picnic. Please pack your child a “brown bag picnic lunch” for this special event. Rain (indoor picnic), but hopefully SHINE and we will have an outdoor picnic.
• Thursday, March 29th
Spring Party!! We will have our Annual Egg Hunt this day as well! Please send in 12 plastic eggs, stuffed with goodies of your choice! Make sure to tape these eggs closed, as they often break open unexpectedly.
• Please have the eggs stuffed and delivered by March 28th.
• Friday, March 30th
EARLY DISMISSAL for Wood Acres. For Early School, this means NO TREEHOUSE. Please make plans to pick your child up during car-line. After Pizza Friday, we will have car-line at 12:45.
• Let Spring Break begin!! April 2-6 Wood Acres will be closed for break. We hope you enjoy sunshine and good family time. We look forward to welcoming sun-kissed faces back on Monday, April 9th
• As always, thank you for your support. We make a great team!!