Home Port (Volume 5: Summer 2016)

Sturgis Documentary

First draft of Sturgis documentary – Challenging Conventional Wisdom: The Evolution of Sturgis Charter Public School

Welcome aboard the 2016 summer voyage of Sturgis Soundings Magazine.

On deck, we are watching crews change as the tides turn. The Class of 2016 recently completed their four-year voyage and signed out. Meanwhile, the Class of 2020 is gearing up to sign the Sturgis ship’s log and come aboard at summer’s end. There are changes at the helm as well. After 12 years at Sturgis in a variety of roles (Lead English teacher, Principal, and Associate Director), Paul Marble was selected for the position of Executive Director in March 2015: Sturgis names new executive director. He and Eric Hieser have shared leadership responsibilities and worked closely together over the last year to assure a smooth transition.

At the end of June, we bid a fond farewell to Executive Director Eric Hieser who had been at the helm of Sturgis since February 2004 and provided guidance and leadership through multiple challenges the school faced in the early years. During his tenure, Sturgis launched an innovative “International Baccalaureate (IB) for All” program, built a second campus to meet growing demand and developed a rigorous plan to disseminate best practices by hosting hundreds of visitors and presenting IB for All workshops at regional and international conferences.

Over the past two years, Mr. Hieser chaired the Sturgis History Project Committee  tasked with documenting the school’s history. Through 40 interviews with Sturgis founders, faculty, students and parents, we videotaped 70+ hours of interviews. One key theme that emerged in many interviews is the importance of student-faculty relationships and school culture at Sturgis. As a former guidance counselor and coach, Mr. Hieser proved highly skilled in building trust, collaborative relationships and motivating students and faculty to “be all you can be.” Mr. Hieser worked with faculty to create a supportive learning environment that encourages academic achievement, intellectual confidence, and personal growth. His guidance helped Sturgis feel right on track with the new 4 R’s of education: rigor, relationships, relevance, and results. To read more about his career and retirement, see: Farewell Mr. Hieser

During the last year, filmmaker Leslie Milsted  (parent of three Sturgis alumni) took on the challenging task of creating the documentary. An abundance of interesting interviews made the project especially daunting. The first draft of the documentary Challenging Conventional Wisdom: The Evolution of Sturgis Charter Public School  was screened at Cape Cinema on June 8 as part of a retirement celebration for Eric Hieser. The documentary tells the story of how Sturgis was created, came close to shutting down in 2000 and managed not only to survive but grow into two campuses and disseminate best practices of “IB for All”with educators worldwide.

The documentary project continues to be a work in progress.  We hope to complete the documentary in the coming months and offer screenings for the Sturgis community. In addition, we plan to create a variety of short videos and podcasts about Sturgis history, philosophy and “IB for All” that will eventually be available on the Sturgis website.

As Sturgis Soundings Magazine sails into summer, we have assembled an interesting cargo of articles, essays, news and photographs for the voyage. Be sure to check out Alumna Heather Shannon Wins Fulbright to Teach in Korea; Faculty Profile: The Path of Patrick O’Kane from Navarra to Sturgis; Lights, Camera, Auction!; Senior IB Art; 2016 Sturgis Extended Essays and Creativity, Activity, Service.

Thanks to our many contributors for their generosity. Like all ventures at Sturgis, Soundings is a collaborative effort. We invite you to participate. Send us your news and suggestions for future issues.

Bon Voyage!

Marion Weeks


Our Boys - Cornish Lugger Thanks to Emerald Laing, National Historic Ships Coordinator of the National Maritime Museum and to the owners of Our Boys for their game support in helping Sturgis Soundings sail on an exquisite vessel.

Our Boys – Cornish Lugger built 1904 by Pearce, Richard, East Looe.
Thanks to Emerald Laing, National Historic Ships Coordinator of the National Maritime Museum and to the owners of Our Boys for their game support in helping Sturgis Soundings sail on an exquisite vessel.

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