Greetings Chinook Trail Middle School Community,

Education is inherently about people, and relationships are as crucial as ever.  The power of education relies on the human connections we as stakeholders are able to build and the lasting impact we can impart, not only within our students but with each other as well.  We know trust and respect are essential to creating an environment where we all flourish. 

It is clear that our graduates will need to learn and re-learn all of their professional lives, which means we should equip them with a foundation that helps them manage and direct their own learning.   When we give students the opportunity to solve real world problems, they develop agency, which allows for greater personalization of the learning process and promotes ownership of their learning.  We aim to focus not just on learning, but the process of acquiring and applying new information in an effective way to help our students develop the essential skills to lead, be creative, innovate, problem solve, and collaborate while keeping the human perspective at the center of design and decision-making. 

The first step in realizing this vision is to take a competency-based approach to learning, because we believe it is in the best interest of our students.  At its fundamental core, competency-based learning means being explicit about what students will learn and how they will be assessed on their learning.  There are two major tasks that we are trying to accomplish; to be clear about the learning goals and evaluation criteria for students, and be equitable in providing them choices to demonstrate their learning.  Competency-based learning is part of the vehicle that makes that more possible for our students and our learning community. For us, the state standards are the floor, not the ceiling.  Using both the standards and the competencies, students will be equipped with essential tools in order to deliberately develop knowledge, skills, and characteristics that will transfer to life.

As principal of your school, I am honored to serve your children and families to prepare our learners to meet the challenges of life with vigor and prime them for future academic and life success.  We want to promote a spirit of inquiry, experimentation, action, and reflection.  I hope you enjoy the adventure of opening a new school, and take part in the events, activities, and development with us.  Looking forward to our future together!

Yours in learning,

Tom Andrew     

Philosophy of Education

"Children Need Two Things:  Roots and Wings"  Chinese Proverb

I believe effective learning occurs:

  • By doing
  • With a constructivist approach, because life is inquiry-based
  • In the same manner for all people, regardless of an individual's age or role in our organization

I believe children:

  • Need to see themselves as facilitators of their own learning
  • Require a holistic approach for development of a healthy and successful individual
  • Are a gift of life and an honor to serve

I believe teachers:

  • Should be learners first
  • Must be willing to challenge their constructs of teaching and learning
  • Must collaborate and share dialogue about learning experiences for students

I believe schools:

  • Should be a learning organization
  • Must develop the whole child: emotionally, socially, and academically 
  • Must work collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure the success of our students

I believe the principal:

  • Is the learning leader of an organization
  • Is a steward of the school and community; service over self interest
  • Is responsible to develop and grow teachers just as teachers are responsible for the same in children


We are a Learning Organization

A learning organization is one that seeks to create its own future; we assume learning is an ongoing and creative process, and one that develops, adapts, and transforms itself in response to the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders.  A learning organization does away with the mindset that it is only administration who can and do all the thinking for an entire establishment. Learning organizations challenge all members to tap into their inner resources and potential, in hopes that they can build their own community based on principles of liberty, humanity, and a collective will to learn.