Dear Kestrel Families,
Welcome back to the 2021-2022 school year! We truly hope that you had a safe and relaxing summer. We are very much looking forward to working with you and your child(ren) this year. At Kestrel we are committed to sharpening the academic knowledge of all scholars, providing a space for them to demonstrate creative expression, and support them in the development of leadership skills. At Kestrel we take tremendous pride in developing meaningful relationships with all our families and moving our scholars no matter where they start.
We welcome back all returning families, but also welcome over 110 new scholars to the Kestrel community. This year we are starting the school year with just over 460 scholars enrolled in K-8, this is a growth of over 30 scholars from the previous school year. While we are committed to remaining a small charter school located in the RTP area of Durham, we are excited to see increased enrollment at our school.
At the bottom of this letter, I have included the contact information of the leadership team here at Kestrel. Feel free to contact us anytime via email or telephone. We are able to set up scheduled meetings if needed throughout the school year (virtual). For now, here is some important information we will share with you throughout the school year.
We will use a variety of electronic forms to communicate with you throughout the year. Our primary mode of communication will be Class Dojo, so it is important that you sign up for your child’s classroom. While Dojo is an effective tool, we will be sending a virtual Newsletter every two weeks to keep you informed of the key information. We will utilize SwiftK12 (phone call and email system) to make important announcements (weather closures, key information), we try not to use this method a lot because we use Dojo as the primary mode of communication. Finally, be on the lookout via Social Media. Ms. Vargas, our Marketing and PR Coordinator, posts on a frequent basis to keep you and the greater Durham community informed about all the great activities going on at Kestrel.
Changes for the 2021-2022 School Year
Staff at Kestrel Heights engage in Mind Brain Education (MBE) in partnership with Neuroteach Global and the Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning (CTTL). MBE equips Kestrel Heights staff with the knowledge and skills to design instruction with the latest brain science in mind. Through MBE, we will be able to develop strategies to improve scholar achievement, well-being, and the whole-school experience.
After two decades of pioneering work in brain research, the education community has realized that understanding the brain can help open new pathways to improve teaching, learning, working memory, and executive functioning. In addition, neuroscientists have established that the brain has a highly robust and well-developed capacity to change in response to environmental demands, a process called neuroplasticity. By strategically addressing the learning environment, curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment, and scholar well-being, Kestrel Heights staff are empowered to be brain-changers.
Guided Reading and Guided Math are methods by which teachers can re-teach or reinforce specific skills or strategies with a small group of students who have similar needs. Both guided Reading and Guided Math foster critical thinking and deepen conceptual understanding. Through small-group instruction, teachers’ educational decisions are based on student achievement data to plan the Guided Reading and Guided Math lessons.
Guided Reading and Guided Math:
- Allows students to practice with the direct support of the teacher
- Provides an environment where students can work towards independence with support and feedback
- Allows teachers to choose texts, math problems, or objectives that specifically meet the needs of each individual learner
- Creates smaller learning communities within the classroom; these groups are flexible and change as needed
We have a lot more to share about the positive changes to Kestrel this year. We will be sharing in many different ways; from newsletters, on-campus events, and virtual events. I am very much looking forward to a wonderful year at Kestrel. I encourage you to get involved with Kestrel through our PTA (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can answer any questions or assist you and your family. This year we will all SOAR together!
Dr. Mark Tracy
Executive Director/Middle School Director
(w) 919-484-1300 ext 201