Pause & Reflect

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.” John Dewey

Adults are living increasingly hurried lives, speeding from one obligation to the next. The events seem to be unrelated happenings- certainly not opportunities for learning. We need to keep moving. We don’t have time to pause. Right?

Thankfully, life at school is different.

We pause. And we reflect.

We pause and think back on our experiences, relationships, and academic learning in order to construct meaning. Reflection is the practice of giving careful thought and consideration. Fun Statistic: Seventy-two percent of adults claim their best ideas happen in the shower! While we have not installed showers in every classroom, we have created space, protected time, and honed our skills to support students in the practice of reflecting.

Reflection is a developmental process. Our youngest students reflect by noting their observations. They begin to analyze and make connections between experiences. Older students can evaluate or make evidence supported judgements about their learning. They make recommendations to themselves on how to move their own learning forward. (Also called goal setting.) In the end, student learn how to apply what they know to contexts beyond the original situation. Reflection is a core practice of the ACS experience.

Reflection in Action

Student-Led Conferences (March 19 & 20) are approaching quickly. This is an incredible opportunity for students to share their reflections on meaning and their personal growth.

All School Meetings: (Every Friday from 8:20-9:00 a.m. All are welcome.) The best venue in town to view student learning! A new tradition is developing. Each week, an eighth grade student bravely presents their reflection on the ACS Experience to our school community. You should definitely read these.



Welcome to Aspen Community School, where the simple things in life can become monumental. Where  a simple act of kindness can make a friendship, adventures can create more bonds, where a splash of water can make a water fight, where rafting the rivers with new people taking a risk can make life easier, where hitting a rock can mend new memories, where jokes can make forever laughs. These simple moments can make a forever connection.


That first day of kindergarten seems so long ago. So much has changed since then. I have become persistent, determined and kind. I have made long lasting friendships. I have worked hard and succeeded. And I have failed a lot, but I have picked myself up and tried again. I have had the opportunity to travel to Bariloche, Argentina. And all of this has helped craft my character. I have become more than a shy little girl. And I have this school to thank.


“This school is like no other, and I have made some of my best memories here. This is where I’ve laughed so hard that I cried. This is where I’ve pushed my limits and challenged my own levels of what is comfortable. This is where I’ve conquered my fears. This is where I have crafted my character. This is where I’ve grown. This is where I have found my voice.”


“Throughout my 8 years here, the hurdles have started to get bigger, but I have gotten bigger as well. I have grown about a foot, but I have also grown mentally, I have gained confidence, I have acquired new social skills, and I have learned to keep going when the going gets hard. And I couldn’t have learned any of these skills without this community, without these teachers, and most of all, without my classmates.”

“My advice to all younger students is to try everything that comes your way. If you avoid an opportunity, you will never know if you like it or not. You could miss a huge chance to experience something new and rewarding. But when you say yes to an opportunity, you just might open a new door for yourself in life and discover something awesome.”