New Leadership and Revised Mission for Cascade Canyon School

Today, Cascade Canyon School is excited to announce new leadership and a new mission that builds on the school’s strengths and introduces new structures that support student learning. Beginning next year, a refreshed K-8 program will focus on four core principles: meaningful relationships, personalized instruction, beautiful work, and deeper learning. The work at Cascade Canyon will be guided by six Deeper Learning Competencies, developed by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation: mastering core academic content, thinking critically and solving complex problems, working collaboratively, communicating effectively, learning how to learn, and developing academic mindsets.

On February 13, the Cascade Canyon School Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve Amanda Massey Mattea and Trevor Mattea as co-leaders for the 2019-2020 school year. The school’s new mission states that “Cascade Canyon provides a nurturing environment that supports each child’s academic, social, and emotional growth. We believe that every child learns when they have meaningful relationships and are engaged in work that is authentic, complex, and relevant to both their personal goals and communities.”

The leadership team was also approved by the board to implement project-based learning and performance assessment across all grades next school year.  While some Cascade Canyon School teachers have successfully piloted some of these practices, the new leadership team will prioritize their implementation in every classroom. Project-based learning provides students with authentic tasks that are multidisciplinary, require more time, and culminate with products or performances as opposed to isolated daily school assignments. Students are then assessed on the quality of their product or performance, rather than their scores on tests. Each year, Cascade Canyon students will engage in two ten-week projects to be exhibited for the local community. Students will also play a greater role in assessing their own learning, through curating their work samples and reflections into digital portfolios, facilitating conferences with their parents and teachers, and presenting their learning to their peers at the end of each year. CCS fifth and eighth graders will participate in higher-stakes passage presentations, which will require them to present evidence to their peers, families, and community members demonstrating their preparedness for middle and high school.

The incoming Head of School, Amanda Massey Mattea, is passionate about high-quality school physical environments, play, and beautiful student work. She believes that all children have something of beauty and value to contribute to the world. Amanda has been the K-8 principal at Tomales Elementary and Bodega Bay Schools since 2017. She was previously the founding director of High Tech Elementary North County, a K-5 project-based school within the High Tech High charter network in San Diego, guided by the principles of equity, personalization, authentic work, and collaborative design. Prior to being a school leader, Amanda taught Kindergarten and first grade at High Tech Elementary Explorer, Carol Morgan School in the Dominican Republic, and Horace Mann Elementary School in Washington, D.C. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and M.T. in Elementary Education from the University of Virginia, a M.A. in School Counseling from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a M.A. in Educational Leadership from the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.

Trevor Mattea, the new Director of Community Engagement, has been the second and third grade teacher at Cascade Canyon School since 2017. He previously taught at High Tech Elementary Chula Vista, a project-based school in San Diego, and Stevenson PACT Elementary School, a progressive school with parent participation in Silicon Valley. For the past six years, Trevor has consulted throughout the country to support teachers and administrators implementing the deeper learning competencies, digital portfolios, project-based learning, parent engagement, and technology integration. He is also a host of the New Books in Education podcast as well as the former director of Imagineerz Learning, a Bay Area summer camp integrating social-emotional learning with making and design thinking. As an educator, his interests include supporting student-directed learning, fostering community, and sharing high-quality student work outside the classroom.  He holds a M.A. in Education from Stanford University and an A.B. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis.

Amanda Massey Mattea and Trevor Mattea are currently collaborating with the current Head of School, Michelle Herron, to make plans for the coming school year. They will officially take their positions in July.