Letter from Our Planning Principal
For the past 45 years, I have worked as a professional educator with the sole objective of optimizing learning opportunities for our children. I discovered these opportunities firsthand as a teacher by learning the dynamics of the classroom, developing the curriculum to better define scaffolding and connecting educational goals, and working closely with teachers and administrators on educational training to identify the most effective strategies for learning.
I’ve experienced the opportunities to work with others to build classrooms that enhance the learning process for students and teachers. Most importantly, I have strived to build relationships with all facets of our community to engage our students and their families in the educational process, emphasize the role of the family in academic success, and promote the process of learning as the most important activity of any society.
For the past six years I have been reinforcing and fine tuning these concepts in the private school context. Together, with a powerful team of educators, we explored the value of strong relationships among students, teachers, and families and how a smaller pupil-teacher ratio could make a real difference in student learning. We learned how to fine tune and connect classroom curricula while effectively integrating technology into the classroom in a productive manner that doesn’t drive instruction. We were able to mobilize community support to benefit the entire school.
Currently, I am collaborating with members of The Hague School, a new independent high school in Norfolk. The school will be based on a foundation of all of the concepts above. It will feature a rigorous academic curriculum where teachers facilitate learning in small groups around tables where students can hypothesize new ideas, incubate emerging thinking, and challenge existing solutions. The school program will rely heavily on strong academic relationships and full use of the local community. I am very excited to be part of this important conversation and what will become the most innovative use of best practices and research of high school education in this area.
Recently, as I followed my normal Sunday ritual of watching Sunday Morning on CBS, I viewed an article on the nature of genius. A case was made that there are a lot of bright and smart people in our world. However, some key characteristics of genius included the ability to create, collaborate with others, connect dots between ideas and concepts, and communicate special content through chosen media. I believe The Hague School will foster these traits in students, allowing them to excel academically while developing character and confidence in their abilities.
I hope this concept is equally exciting to you. The opportunity to invest in our children in a very profound and meaningful way for the future is both thrilling and visionary. If this captures your passion, please reach out and contact The Hague School and join this conversation. We invite your ideas and support as we bring this vision to life in our community.
Michael C. Spencer