Sunday, June 29, 2014

New Principal of the GRCDC Announced

June 29, 2014 Dear Families, Staff and Friends of the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center, It is with pleasure that I am announcing on behalf of the Board of Directors, the appointment of Mr. John Robinson as the new Principal of the GRCDC. Mr. Robinson, a GRPS employee for over 15 years, comes to us most recently from Alger Middle School, where he is currently teaching and serving as the Disciplinary Literacy Math Coach. I have received the following message from John to the GRCDC Community: "I feel so honored to be joining the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center! I am excited about being a part of this special place and family. I look forward to getting to know everyone better and joining in on the wonderful journey we are on embracing our mission, vision, and the Reggio Emilia approach!" A special thank you to all of the staff, Board, community partners and parents who gave freely of their time to participate in the search, review and interview process. Many, many hours were devoted by a great many dedicated and passionate supporters of our school and community. This was truly a collaborative and inclusive process, which serves as one more reminder of our strength, commitment, and culture.
Mr. Robinson will begin his official duties as principal on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. He can be reached via email at: I ask that you join me in welcoming John to our community and support him in his practice as he begins the transition to his new role. Sincerely, Erin Melcher Principal & Executive Director

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Principal Position Posting Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center

GRCDC Principal Position Posting March 2014 Deadline to Apply: *MAY 2, 2014 NOTE: Deadline Extended GRCDC School Website The mission of the GRCDC is to continuously expand the potential of children, the experiences of educators and the involvement of parents within the diverse community of Grand Rapids, MI. The vision of the GRCDC is to base all decisions on the principles of Reggio-Emilia incorporating current research on learning as well as developmentally appropriate practice. The Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center is currently accepting applications for Principal beginning with the 2014-2015 school year. The GRCDC is a K-5 Michigan public school academy, inspired by the Reggio-Emilia Approach to education, and whose charter is authorized by the Grand Rapids Public School District. The GRCDC is an independent district, also known as a stand-alone charter, responsible for its own daily operational and administrative decisions as duties. The Principal of the GRCDC is the lead administrator for the school and the district. This position offers an opportunity to be part of a vibrant and engaged school community, a meaningful voice to influence inivative education reform, and competitive salary and benefits. Desired Qualifications: ● Master’s degree or higher in an educational field ● Possession of Michigan State Administrative Certificate or evidence of endorsement in process from an approved and accredited program ● Minimum 5 years successful teaching experience ● Evidence of successful leadership in an educational setting ● Knowledge, understanding, and evidence of experience with the Reggio-Emilia Approach ● At least 2 letters of professional recommendation The Duties include, but are not limited to: Chief Executive Officer: ● Serves as Chief Executive Officer of the School District (school is its own district). ● Provides leadership and researches and seeks out applicable and alternate sources of funding to ensure sustainability. ● Develops relationships and collaboration with other community organizations. ● Manages all instructional and administrative programs and activities of the Grand Rapids Child Discovery Center . ● Submits reports and data to all state and local entities accurately and on-time. ● Represents and advocates the Reggio approach in the educational and wider community. ● Attends meetings off-site at city, county and state level as necessary. General Management/HR: ● Supervises all professional and classified staff members. ● Hires and coordinates orientation and training of new staff. ● Assigns workloads, tasks, and work schedules. ● Directs and supervises duties of assigned staff. [e.g. instructing, assigning, reviewing and planning work of others] ● Reviews work of all employees for completeness, accuracy, and adherence to district and state policies. ● Annually evaluates and makes recommendations as appropriate, regarding the work and performance of all employees. ● Coordinates and assists in planning, organizing and implementing professional development programs for staff. ● Conducts weekly staff meetings. ● Prepares staff and student handbooks. ● Maintains professional development of self on consistent basis. Instructional Leadership: ● Increases student achievement on state and local assessments. ● Maintains state and local standards and benchmarks for instruction and learning. ● Ensures compliance with state and regional accreditation standards and regulations. ● Maintains, supports and nurtures the integrity and philosophy of the Reggio approach within the curriculum, culture, and community of the institution. ● Is knowledgeable and aware of current research and development in education. ● Ensures staff is aware and current with developments and innovations in education. ● Supervises the guidance program to enhance individual student education and development. ● Maintains high standards and expectations of student conduct and enforces discipline as necessary, complying with due process and rights of student. ● Reviews, approves, and exercises supervision over all school sponsored programs, projects, events and publications. ● Creates the school calendar. ● Coordinates key school activities and events. ● Provides leadership and administrative support to families. All other related duties as required All interested and qualified candidates are encouraged to send electronic resume and cover letter to: Erin Melcher, Principal & Executive Director at

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Advice is Like Snow......

“Advice is like snow - the softer it falls, the longer it dwells upon, and the deeper in sinks into the mind”. - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Over the years, I have been very fortunate to have been mentored and encouraged by many thoughtful and supportive colleagues, professors and friends. Each has helped shape me into the person I am today, and each has offered me ‘bits of wisdom’ [i.e. advice] from which I rely on daily. A few of the significant pieces that I find myself repeating internally are: “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” “When your children are little, the days are so long, but the years are so short.”
“You must confront issues directly, but you cannot do so until you are emotionally ready.” “You have two ears and one mouth - one of those is able to close for a reason.” “Every parent, no matter how rich or how poor, only wants the best for their children, and for their child’s life to be better than their own.” One of the things all of us need to always remember is to always be ready, willing and able to ask for, accept, and listen to advice when it is given. The decision to follow advice is up to the individual. The one thing I have always found to be true regarding advice is that if it is given gently, and softly, the person on the receiving end has opportunity to ponder and determine the relevance and benefit. Whether it is an adult giving advice to a child, or a colleague advising a peer, each of us need to learn to listen and reflect before we react. It is also always important that each of us remember to receive advice graciously - even though you may not want it at the moment - accept graciously, because one day you may really need it - and if you have rejected it once, it may be difficult to obtain in the future. This is my advice to you - and it is the result of learning the lesson the hard way.
I have also found this approach to be very helpful in other situations. Reacting too quickly or too emotionally only ends in misunderstanding, hurt feelings, and regret. I know that whether or not we agree with one another at all times, I do know that, as a community, we respect each person’s contribution and view. Again, constant agreement is not the issue - provocation, questioning, and challenging are all productive and important dynamics to help any organization grow, prosper, and remain relevant as the world and society change around it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

“It is the child who makes the man, and no man exists who was not made by the child he once was.” - Maria Montessori
“Life doesn't make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that, the better for us all.” – Erik Erikson
The Social Development of our Children The quotes above point out the fact that humans are social creatures and that social interaction is not only important, it is imperative for our development. We cannot learn in isolation. The richness and variety of our experiences with others is what helps us build our knowledge and guides our growth. A very important scholar on the subject of social development is Erik Erikson. He and his work have been very influential in my philosophy of education, my practice, and especially my parenting. His theory has helped me on many occasions as a teacher, principal and as a parent, in explaining and clarifying the motivation for a child’s or an adult’s behavior [his theory spans the entire life cycle] or the feeling behind their response or reaction to an encounter. Of course, I am not expecting everyone to agree with this one theory, but I am confident you will find many truths as you are reflecting on your own development, and as you observe what each of your children is experiencing at this point in their lives. I am including a link to a brief YouTube video to help explain quickly: Erikson's Stages of Development. There is also a much longer, very dated, but iconic video entitled “Everyone Rides the Carousel” Included below is a partial outline of Erikson’s Framework: Trust vs. Mistrust – Birth to 18 Months – children develop a sense of trust when caregivers provide dependable and reliable care and consistent affection. Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt – 2 to 3 years – Strong need to develop a sense of personal control – physically and socially. The need for independence is high, success brings autonomy, failure brings shame and doubt. Initiative vs. Guilt – 3 to 5 years – Preschool – Exploration of world around them. Asserting control and power over their environment is a priority. Success breeds a sense of purpose. Failure develops into confusion and low self-esteem. Industry vs. Inferiority – 6 to 11 years – Elementary School – There are many new academic and social demands placed on the child during this time. Success allows a sense of competency, while failure leads to low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority. Identity vs. Role Confusion – 12 to 18 years – Adolescents need to develop a sense of self and personal identity in order to continue to build a strong sense of self and understanding of their place in the world.