Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Karen Regan, Principal of OLMC, is back on the scene after giving birth to twins. When I went to interview Karen at her OLMC office, she had the photos of the twins flashing on her new computer screen saver. She has a full agenda this year for the school, including extended programs in music, art, and technology, for the middle school.

The music program includes ensemble, chorus and musical drama. The art curriculum features drawing, ceramics and painting. Getting in on the technology levels, OLMC has courses in web design, graphics and commercial general media. Students rotate through all the new electives in addition to their regular studies. Mount Carmel is unique in that the middle grades are mixed in each of the electives, therefore classes have sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders together.

The school has begun a garden project, spearheaded by Karin and Glenn Durflinger, parents of two students at OLMC. Each grade at the school has an 18-foot vegetable planter and area. The garden project is seriously considering using the gardens to grow vegetables and other foods for school lunches. There is also a composting area.

This year’s kindergarten class is the largest in the history of Mt. Carmel, and there is already a wait list for next year.

Cold Spring School

Dr. Bryan McCabe’s focus for Cold Spring School this year is to continue the technology program begun by specialist Christian Garfield. Christian began the tech program at CSS a few years ago, transferred to Crane Country Day School to develop a tech program there, and has returned to CSS this past year.

Last year, the school launched a laptop project, whereby each student in the fifth and sixth grade had a laptop to work on while in school. Dr. McCabe, in noting that there are quality programs in science and social studies online that students can learn new things from, said that while he supports increased student access to the technology, it will not fully replace any classroom teachers.

The program met with much success last year, so Christian and Dr. McCabe have increased the laptop program to include third through sixth grades. The school has WiFi to facilitate Internet interface for the students. There is also a filter on each computer so that unwanted Internet content cannot be viewed by the students.

Mr. Garfield, apparently pleased to be back at CSS where he founded the technology program, boasted that “CSS is one of the only, if not only, schools from San Francisco to Los Angeles that has a one-to-one [ratio] laptop program for grades three through six.”

Dr. McCabe is now evaluating the Math and Science classes at CSS for updating and revisions, as well as checking with the State of California for the updates. CSS has been in compliance with STAR (California Standardized Testing and Reporting Program) and many of their students score high on the STAR tests. Once the evaluations on these courses is complete, they will be updated, including studying and perhaps introducing new methods and textbooks.