Dedication to Engaged Learning

Sallie-Wells-headLetter from Head of School
One of my colleagues asked me the other day about the changes that have occurred at Clariden since I took over as the Head of School three years ago. Although I’m constantly thinking about what’s next and I’m pretty good at reflection, I haven’t thought about all of the changes. I know there have been many but I haven’t specifically thought about each and every one. I can tell you – it’s been a busy three years. Upon my arrival, the Clariden Board of Directors decided to move away from being certified by the AMI (Association Montessori International) and remain certified by TAAPS (Texas Alliance of Accredited Private Schools). We moved our educational philosophy from Montessori to Project Based Learning. We’ve adopted a “Best of the Best” approach to our curriculum, using a variety of curriculum that provides our educators with the ability to teach based on current research. We’ve developed and written our own projects and competed in immensely tough competitions and won.

We’ve pronounced our dedication to engaged learning through projects that not only teach concepts but allow for collaboration, creativity, research, innovation and design. Our students have learned to use their voice, to state what they know, what bothers them, what they need and what they think about the concepts and way they’re learning. They have been empowered to own their education. Clariden has continued to promote confidence and independence in our students and, although our students’ SAT and ACT scores exceed state and national averages, we don’t focus on a test. We focus on learning, mastery of concepts, and promote our students’ abilities – the ones they’re comfortable with and the ones they’re not so sure about – like building rockets or creating artwork.

Our educators are experts in their fields, having not only the experience and the education but also the passion to teach. Through this amazing Clariden culture, we have guided and been instrumental in the development of truly amazing students – just ask anyone. I hear it all the time from parents, professors who interact with our students, from students visiting, from travel guides who have spent a week or more with our students, and from judges at competitions. I hear it from our teachers and what’s really cool is hearing the students say it about each other. They know and understand that the peers they interact with are amazing individuals. They know that the friendships they are making are real and will last a lifetime.

School should be a great place to be – A great place to learn – A place to be accepted – A place to grow in all aspects of one’s development – A place to be challenged and supported and – A place where one is respected and cherished for who they are and guided to be their best self whatever that may be.

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