Brookstone School

Great Things

There is nothing more important to us than our students and families. We always put them first. Our commitment to them goes beyond just providing the best education we can. We must do it in the best way we can. And when that happens, great things happen, too.

Each week I hope to share with you just one of the many great things going on at Brookstone.

See below for some of our Great Things:

January 9, 2014

Oftentimes around campus, you may see construction, demolition, new athletic fields, or new uniforms and wonder, "how can we find the money to do these things?" We are blessed with many generous donors who like to contribute special designated gifts to the school for intentional needs. Just this past year, we have received special designated funds such as new soccer uniforms, tuition assistance, landscaping, new band equipment, creation of a dance team, new practice fields, and enhanced training facilities for all athletes. During winter break we were able to plant new trees in the upper school parking lot due to a special gift. These are just a few of the gifts we received over the course of a year and we are incredibly grateful to our donors.

Special gifts give us the ability to do many things that the regular operating budget does not sustain. Much of the beautification of the campus as well as increased programs for the students have been made available due to special gifts. Perhaps designated giving is of interest to you, and we encourage you to speak with Lisa White, Director of Development, to see how your gift will have an enormous impact on our campus.

Landscaping at main entrance made possible by a generous designated gift.

December 11, 2013
Study Strategies
There is an old joke about a student reporting for an exam that consists of “yes/no” type questions. She takes her seat in the classroom, stares at the questions for five minutes, and then in a fit of inspiration takes her purse out, removes a coin and starts tossing the coin and marking the answer sheet, “Yes” for Heads and “No” for Tails. Within half-an-hour she is all done whereas the rest of the class is sweating it out. During the last few minutes, she is seen desperately throwing the coin, muttering and sweating. The teacher, alarmed, approaches her and says, “What is going on?” “I finished the exam in half-an-hour. But I'm rechecking my answers.”
Ok pretty funny, but being prepared for exams is no joking matter. Fact is, learning is serious business, even if it is fun and comes easy. At Brookstone our faculty teaches more than just the subject matter – they teach students how to learn. As we approach exams in our eighth grade and upper school next week I wanted to share with you the different ways students are supported in their study plans:

Eighth grade - With this being the first time students take semester exams, we pay careful attention to give them the preparation and the material needed to be successful on the exams.

  • The students are given a calendar schedule to help them study for exams in advance.
  • The exam process and preparation are discussed in several class meetings and in the classroom.
  • The students are given in-class review days leading into the exams. Teachers help students by giving them exam study guides and reviews to help them be successful.
  • The 8th graders are instructed on how to study for an exam that covers accumulated material.
  • The exam information is communicated with the parents so they guide the students at home as needed.

Upper School - This year, we are going to have a new format for exams. Rather than organizing each day by periods, we are going to organize them by subject area. We believe that this will be beneficial to the students for many reasons:

1. Better exam security. If students are taking the exam at the same time, then "word" about the exam can't get out and affect the rest of the exams.
2. Better for students. A majority of our students will be able to take one exam a day. Having one a day is simply better than having two.
3. Better pacing. A complaint we often hear and experience every year is that too many students get fatigued by the end of the week. One a day will help this.
4. Better feel #1. When we have all the same subject exams on the same day, exam days take on a different feel. When everyone is studying English, then "English day" takes on a feel as all students in a grade are studying and working together for the same exam.
5. Better feel #2. Currently, for students who have exams late in the week, there always seems to be this feeling of "I want to get this done!" as they see their friends who took their last exam on Wednesday doing nothing. This hurts their performance. Now, everyone is in the same boat.
6. Better sleep. 9 a.m. start time!
In addition to changing the exam format during advisory time this week, students shared study practices that they found to be effective. Some of the most recommended were:
"Make a plan for study, including knowing what to study, and where you need to focus your time and energy"
"Set goals for yourself"
"Get help from teachers"
"Study in a room that has no electronics in it (i.e., throw your phone in another room")
And under the most unusal category...
"Place your notes in a Ziploc bag and tape it to the wall in the shower so that you can learn while you are your most alert. You think more clearly in the shower and are more likely to retain the information."
Also, many faculty will hold study sessions that students are encouraged to take advantage of to best prepare for exams.
Study strategies, no matter what form they take, are important to students. The emphasis Brookstone places on study skills is a Great Thing!

December 4, 2013

“The arts are an essential element of education, just like reading, writing, and arithmetic…music, dance, painting, and theater are all keys that unlock profound human understanding and accomplishment.” –William Bennett, Former US Secretary of Education

Did you know that Brookstone offers over 70 opportunities for our students to study, learn, and perform in the arts? This includes:

  • Grade level plays
  • Pep Band
  • Cougar Chorus
  • Piano
  • A new rhythm program in the lower school
  • Ceramics
  • Band
  • Suzuki Violin
  • Digital Photography
  • Spring Musical
  • Sculpture
  • Country Fair performance
  • One-Act play competition
  • Hip Hop Dance program
  • School-Wide Band and Chorus performance
  • GISA All-Select Performances
  • GMEA District Honor Band and All-State Auditions
And new this year, the upcoming middle school musical production. Please join us for an adaptation of Charlotte's Web, next Wednesday and Thursday, December 11th and 12th.

November 27,2013

November 17-23 was National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. In support of this concern and in preparation for Thanksgiving, Brookstone held a school-wide focus, Thanks-for-Giving Week. All across campus and the Columbus community Brookstone students and their families gave service through many special activities:

  • School-wide collection of non-perishable food items that will benefit Brown Bag of Columbus, Columbus Dream Center, and organizations in Marion County.
  • School-wide collection of new socks and underwear and new or gently used clothing, jackets, and coats for the Sara Spano Clothing Bank, benefitting students in Muscogee County who do not have adequate clothing.
  • School-wide collection of used shoes, to benefit The Keep Columbus Beautiful Commission's Shoe Recycling Campaign that will divert shoes from our landfill and reuse them by sending them to developing countries.
  • The lower and intermediate school students prepared Sharing Socks for Participants in the Open Door Showering Program.
  • Many middle school students prepared food boxes for distribution at Feeding the Valley.
  • A group of upper school students visited the after school program at Open Door to tutor students.
  • The Art Club went to Open Door to make Thanksgiving crafts with students in the after school program.
  • The football team served at Habitat for Humanity
  • Brookstone Honor Scholars worked alongside Fox Elementary students to plant trees with Trees Columbus.
  • Students supported Typhon Haiyan relief efforts and got an opportunity to “wear pajamas to school” in exchange.

The week culminated in the First Annual Family Day of Service. Families were able to kick-off the holiday season by serving together to benefit those in need. Projects included making placemats for nursing home residents, preparing giggle bags for children in the hospital, making fleece blankets for the homeless, and writing letters of appreciation to the military.

We are thankful that all Brookstone students are connected to the local and global community through service. Although service is not required, all students participate in service and leadership opportunities throughout the year. We give thanks for this GREAT Thing!

November 21, 2013

40 Ways to Play - Sports are a major part of life at Brookstone School. Competitive team sports, by their very nature, teach students to work together. Our athletic program offers, among many things, lessons in life, such as respecting the opposition and learning to win or lose with good grace. Students enjoy the pride of representing their school and being part of a team, working for a common purpose.

Brookstone students have the opportunity to participate in 40 different athletic programs. New this year:

  • Upper School Equestrian Program
  • Middle School Volleyball
  • Middle School Soccer
  • Middle School Softball

Cougar Cub basketball is available for grades 3 -6 and this spring a Cougar Cub track program for lower school grades will take off. In 2014 we are excited to be introducing a swim and dive team.

Recognizing the positive impact sports can play on a student's academic performance we are excited that Brookstone students have so many choices. Many participate in more than one sport. In fact, an amazing 80% of Brookstone upper school students participated in sports last year, with 30% participating in two sports and 14 Cougar athletes participated in three sports.

Go Cougars!!!

November 13, 2013

Lower School

  • Singapore Math - Math in Focus is based on the Singapore Math Approach and uses the C→P→A model for helping students learn new skills. C for concrete means that students will work with counters or any other tool that can be manipulated by the student to help him develop conceptual understanding of the skill. P for pictorial is implemented as a teacher models how to use manipulatives to problem solve or when students draw representations of a problem to help them understand and explain a given task. Once a child has a conceptual understanding of a concept he should be able to transition to the final stage which is A-Abstract. Visualization is an important facet as students need to ‘see' how numbers are related as well as to observe geometric features in their environment. Working together in groups and listening to others explain their thinking and reasoning is another important aspect of this approach.

Intermediate School

  • BFF (Be Friendship Focused class) – BFF is a character education program led each Friday by Trace' Copeland (principal) and Kenneth Hoats (lower and intermediate school counselor). This curriculum surrounds the Brookstone Builds traits of honor, wisdom, courage, loyalty, service, respect, and leadership.

Middle School

  • Cougar Prides – This new middle school program breaks students up into one of three groups called prides. The groups are Loyalty, Wisdom, and Courage and are designed to foster community in the middle school. The Pride Council is formed by four students elected from each pride to lead the middle school. This leadership team increases the number of leaders in the middle school beyond the student government opportunities.

Upper School

  • Focused advisory programs–Each year our advisories cover a range of topics with our students. Here is a sample of the main themes we cover during advisory time with our students:
    • Freshmen: Academics, social concerns, and involvement
    • Sophomores: 7 Brookstone Builds Attributes
    • Juniors: SAT prep
    • Seniors: College and beyond

November 6, 2013

Seniors in the Classroom - Seniors have the opportunity to serve as ambassadors and mentors to lower and intermediate school classrooms during the school year. Forty-three seniors are participating in this year's program. These seniors go into the lower and intermediate school classes and connect with the students by reading, taking part in classroom projects, or simply spending time together on the playground. We are excited about the feeling of community across all grades that Brookstone offers.