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18 Apr

Plastic Straws and Utensils

This is a featured student article written by CMASAS student Anya. 

Over a week’s span, billions of plastic straws are used and thrown out almost instantly slowly making their way into the vast ocean. It might be a small object but it does have a very big influence on the environment. Sophie Hahn, Berkeley’s city Councilwoman, states that “A half-billion straws are used each day in the U.S and may of them end up in our waterways. They are not biodegradable, and there are alternatives.”

Straws are small objects, and when they flow out of the storm drains they end up threatening 500 species of wildlife, and 23 endangered species that live nearby. Not to mention that fish and birds often mistake these objects as food.

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31 Mar

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens: Summary and Takeaways

In our previous post, we explored the final habit in Sean Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” a book that helps teens live their highest aspirations. (You can read about Habit #7 here.) This book is so life-changing, we send it to all full-time students upon enrolling! Today, we’re closing our nine-part mini-series with a brief summary of all seven habits and quick, actionable take-aways our CMASAS students can begin today!

Habit 1: Be Proactive. Take responsibility for your life. For as much as people like to be in control, we also sometimes give away our control to keep from being responsible if things go sideways. In any given day, bad things happen. The sky rain-dumps on your interview outfit, your sister stole your hoodie, the store was out of gumdrops. Covey explains how being proactive (versus being reactive) means understanding that you’re in control of you (and nothing else… i.e. hoodie-stealers or gumdrop-lacking establishments.)

Here’s Seven Actionable Take-aways:

Covey has seven tips to help you become a proactive-master. Over the next week, try implementing one a day, and see how it feels.

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29 Mar

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens: Part #7

Habit #7: Sharpen the Saw 

So you’re walking through the wood, and you see a man sawing away at a tree.

“How long have you been sawing that tree?” you ask.

“Four hours,” he replies. “But I’m really making progress.”

You frown, looking at the saw. “Your blade looks pretty dull. Maybe you should sharpen it?”

“I can’t stop now, you simpleton,” the man scoffs. “I’m in the middle of cutting down this tree!”

You shrug and walk away, knowing that if he just took a break to sharpen the saw, he’d fell the tree much faster.

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27 Mar

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens: Part #6

Do you know why geese fly in a V? Because drafting off each other-- much like cyclists in the Tour de France-- and taking turns being the head bird saves 71% of the energy it would take to fly solo. This, in essence is synergy: when two or more beings band together to create something better than they could have done alone. Covey calls synergy “the delicious fruit you’ll taste as you get better at living the other habits, especially at thinking Win-Win and Seeking First to Understand.”

To glean a better understanding of what synergy is, let’s first take a look, in true Covey-fashion, at what it is NOT:

Synergy is NOT tolerating differences. (Tolerance is oh-so-judgy.) Nor is it working independently, or thinking you’re always right. And surprisingly, it most definitely is not compromising. Tolerating differences, working independently, thinking you’re always right, and compromising are what Covey calls the four roadblocks to synergy.

Synergy IS celebrating differences, working together, keeping an open mind, and finding new and better ways. Some of these may seem like subtle distinctions, but they’re all reflections of the hard work you’ve already done shifting your mindset through the previous five habits.

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27 Mar

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens: Part #5

Most people prefer talking to listening. Why? Because when you’re talking, you’re in control. The center of attention. You’re not bored, because since you’re controlling the topic, you’re guaranteed to only discuss things that matter to you. The problem with valuing talking over listening is that you’re very unlikely to learn something new, expand your world-view, or develop deep relationships. “It’s our tendency to want to swoop out of the sky like Superman and solve everyone’s problems before we even understand what the problem is,” Covey says. “We simply don’t listen.”

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23 Mar

Faculty Spotlight: Shannon Greenland

In an exciting new spotlight segment, students of CMASAS interview faculty members and fellow students! This article was written by CMASAS student, Shannon 

Faculty Spotlight: Shannon Greenland

Shannon Greenland is not only a beloved CMASAS teacher and Personalized Education Counselor, she is also an award-winning published author of many young adult novels and thrillers. This week, I had the opportunity to ask her some questions about her life as an author.

Ms. Greenland, thanks for taking the time to answer some of my questions. When did you write your first full-length novel?

Ms. Greenland: I was in my late twenties when I wrote my first full length novel.

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15 Mar

Take Charge of Your Online Learning With These 7 Habits: Part IV

There are four different mentalities surrounding winning. The first we’ll look at is called Win-Lose. Have you ever caught yourself not wanting to share an idea with your peers because you’re afraid someone might steal and take credit for it? Or heard the story about the two boys being chased by a bear, when afterward, one said: “I realized I didn’t have to outrun the bear… I just had to outrun YOU.” This is a Win-Lose mentality. You only win when other people lose. “Win-Lose,” Covey explains, “is competitive. I call it the totem pole syndrome. ‘I don’t care how good I am as long as I’m a notch higher than you on the totem pole.’ Relationships, friendships, and loyalty are all secondary to winning the game, being the best, and having it your way.” And while competition may be a driving factor for most, creating a world where you only win when someone else loses is a sure-fire way to breed a life filled with negativity and paranoia, a life where you feel awful because you don’t have your friend’s designer jeans, or his flashy job.

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13 Mar

Take Charge of Your Online Learning With These 7 Habits: Part III

By now, you’ve taken to heart Covey’s first habits and are working judiciously to become more proactive in making choices that reflect your personal mission statement/ long-term goals. Like a boss, you’ve now started makin’ your list (and checkin’ it twice!) and know exactly what your goals are each day. You’re so clever that each of these little goals perfectly align with your long-term goals. But then other things arise. Like that story in your newsfeed you’ll never find again if you don’t read it this second. Or your sister needing help building a volcano for science class. Or Bobo the Dog about to make on the rug. Or that trigonometry test tomorrow. (You get the idea.)  

Teens today have too much to do and not enough time. That’s where Habit #3 comes in: harnessing the willpower to put first things first (and, Covey adds, the “won’t power to say no to peer pressure and less important things.”)

The first step in knowing how to put first things first is by learning the difference between important and urgent. Important things are things that further your personal mission. Urgent things are things that demand immediate attention. So what comes first? Urgent, right? Not necessarily! Things can FEEL urgent and NOT BE important. (See: Twitter War, Marvel vs. DC Comics.)

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09 Mar

Take Charge of Your Online Learning With These 7 Habits: Part II

In our previous post, we explored Habit #1 in Sean Covey’s book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” a book that helps teens live their highest aspirations. This book is so life-changing, we send it to all our full-time students upon enrolling. Today, we’re digging into Habit #2 in Covey’s book: “Begin With the End in Mind.”

Habit #2: Begin With the End in Mind

Imagine a 1,000 piece puzzle set. You spill the pieces out onto the floor, then look at the box cover to see the image of what you’re making. It’s blank. How much longer do you think it will take for you to assemble this 1,000 piece puzzle when you don’t know what it’s supposed to look like when it’s done? This is the analogy Covey uses to explain the importance of beginning with the end in mind. If you have no idea where you’re going, it will take you considerably longer to get there.

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08 Mar

A School Wide Skype Chat?

This featured student article was written by CMASAS student Drake

A month ago there were only a few limited ways for students to interact with each other and meet. Homerooms, clubs, and friends of friends of friends. On the 24th of January a new platform was released to the student population of CMASAS. A school wide skype chat!

The idea was formed by Cal Bunders, a former student of Calvert Education, who used to communicate with other students through a school wide skype chat. He simply put the idea by his PEC, Daisy Cheatham and she sent it on to Mr. Guay who approved of the idea.

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