On The Point blog
from Rock Point School

CJ Spirito

Recent Posts

Tips for Nurturing a Healthy Teenage Brain

on April 1, 2016 By CJ Spirito | Therapeutic
  When I tell people I’m the Head of a high school, I often get the response “Wow! It must be hard working with teenagers.” As a culture, we tend to be intimidated by adolescents based on some common misperceptions and stereotypes in the media. Let's explore some of the reasons why adolescents can seem intimidating plus tips for nurturing healthy teenage (and adult) brains.
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Supporting Your Teen During School Vacation

on February 19, 2016 By CJ Spirito | Motivation school vacation
                    Post updated 11/14/2022 As we are heading into our vacation, I am thinking about a student at Rock Point from many years ago who really struggled to get back into the school schedule when she returned from vacation. It was impossible to get her downstairs for breakfast before her first class of the day. Jokingly, we made the first day back from vacation “Tara clause” - making breakfast optional that first Monday morning to help students ease back into school. To this day, some students still use the “Tara clause” on the first morning back from break!
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Therapeutic Boarding School, Traditional or In Between?

on February 9, 2016 By CJ Spirito | Therapeutic
The other day, a visitor to Rock Point School noticed the many dogs we have in the building. He asked, “Are these all therapy dogs?” I paused before answering with a grin, “Therapy with a small t …” While our dogs are not certified therapy animals, they serve an informal therapeutic purpose for our students. This is just one example of how a school, particularly a small residential boarding school, can provide therapeutic supports without being a “big T” Therapeutic school.
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Motivating Teenagers in Summer? Impossible (Not)

on September 8, 2015 By CJ Spirito | Motivation
As the bounty in our garden grows, I have been reflecting on our summer program. It was such a sincere pleasure to see our students working hard in the garden and savoring the literal “fruits of their labors” throughout the summer. Students had ownership of their own raised garden beds and learned a lot about growing food, wildcrafting, and stewardship. As we head into a new school year, I want to share a few examples of what I know many of you, as parents and teachers, observe or struggle with daily about how to get (and keep) adolescents motivated.
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Seeing Beyond the Labels

on August 19, 2015 By CJ Spirito | Open & Inclusive
Our school has always been an open and affirming place for students with a wide diversity of identities and backgrounds. In our small, warm, welcoming community, students learn to appreciate themselves and each other as individuals, each bringing a unique perspective and a unique set of strengths and challenges. Each year, as we help students build a cohesive and meaningful community, we also teach them how to respect, include, and value a diverse group of fellow students, seeing beyond labels of race or culture, sexual orientation, thinking style, learning disability diagnosis, economic background, or anything else.
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Core Principles Work: It's not rocket science

on September 18, 2014 By CJ Spirito |
Our culture is obsessed with the cutting edge and innovation––and almost automatically assumes that newer is better. I’m not moved to argue against change; life is change. And many changes are good. Instead, I want to have more thoughtful conversations, especially in education, about recognizing and valuing what’s tried and true, while still supporting progress.
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