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a letter from the head of school

The mission statement of The Cornerstone School begins with the phrase “In an ever-changing world” and the significance of this should not be understated.  In an ever-changing world, the requirements and foundations for our children to be successful are also “ever-changing”, and so should what and how we teach.

Undoubtedly, the world has changed drastically in the last twenty years and continues to change at an unprecedented and rapid pace. The Information and Imagination Age, because of digital technology, has revolutionized collaboration and communication opportunities. The world has become more dependent on knowledge workers, divergent and critical thinkers, creators, innovators and problem solvers.

This is the world for which we need to prepare our children- this is the world for which Cornerstone prepares children, and the need for an independent and progressive schooling opportunity has never been more urgent. The future relies on creative thinkers, experimental doers and inventive makers.
Over sixty percent of the jobs that students in elementary school will work at in the future don’t yet exist, and still our mass education system remains fully entrenched in an industrial model - a teacher-centered classroom as the “sage on the stage”, students in desks patterned in neat rows, a compartmentalized curriculum where students are “standardized” and successes are measured by fill in the bubble “standardized”  pass or fail tests that were designed for their great-great grandparents.

The twenty-first century school promotes a student-centered classroom with authentic, relevant and collaborative project learning where the teacher is the “guide on the side”, the facilitator of learning, and seating is flexible to allow for learning groups. In addition to competencies in core subjects, students will also need to be successful in critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity and citizenship.

Cornerstone is a 21st century school, where every child is seen as a unique individual who can achieve greatness, where parents and teachers partner together to guide children to their fullest potential, and where teachers are committed to providing a unique, meaningful and engaging learning experience.

Small by design, our teachers personally know every child at this school. Research shows that one of the most effective indicators of student achievement is the relationship teachers have with their students.  A positive teacher-student relationship and an intentionally supportive environment allows students to feel safe to take risks and to understand that making mistakes is an integral part of the learning process.  We know that in this context children are more likely to flourish, to be motivated to attempt challenges, and to develop a true love for learning.

Our expectation of academic excellence, coupled with the ability to teach to each child in a way that lends to their individual strengths and unique qualities, allows for the development of a sense of self-worth and a hard work ethic. We are confident that because of our approach to teaching and our partnership with parents, the student who graduates from Cornerstone:

  •  Is a compassionate, socially aware individual who can participate with empathy in a global context.
  •  Is a self-directed, intrinsically motivated lifelong learner.
  •  Is visionary, goal-oriented and ready to perform with distinction at the next academic level.
  •  Understands the importance of collaborative and cooperative problem solving.
  •  Is an innovative, creative and critical thinker.
  •  Is a STEM-centric student who integrates, transfers and applies the use of technology effectively in the real world.
  •  Is a self-confident communicator and public presenter.
  •  Is open and responsive to complex choices and decisions
  •  Demonstrates an understanding of mutual respect, attentive listening, and personal choice.
  •  Is able to reflect and self-evaluate.

In 1982, The Cornerstone School was started by parents who were looking for a responsive educational environment for their children. Structured as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, the school has always relied on the shared vision and generosity of parents and community members to be able to grow and succeed. 

Our final building phase on our current property is an effort to provide the space to match the innovative, creative and inspiring program that the school offers. Our goal is to raise as much of the building fund as possible so that the school does not have to carry the debt into the future and to avoid imposing the cost on parents and families through increased tuition and fees.

Can you support us in our efforts to build buildings, and build children who will lead in this new and uncharted “ever-changing” world, children who can respond to problem solving challenges with confidence, children of character and integrity, and children who are inspired for life with the love of learning? Can you contribute to building and sustaining this unique cornerstone of education for many generations of children to come?
To demonstrate their commitment to the school and to our community, 100% of the Board of Trustees, the faculty, and the staff of The Cornerstone School have contributed to the Capital Campaign. We now ask our parents, families, and community members to show their support for the school and its future by donating to the Capital Campaign.

Your interest and participation are sincerely appreciated.

With heartfelt thanks,

Ingrid Wasserfall
Head of School

P.S. I’d like to share one of my favorite quotes:
“Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth, those who care for and protect our people.”    - Nelson Mandela