Letter from Lara Zelski – September 11, 2019

Dear ANCS Families and Friends,

I hope you are enjoying your week so far. This week at school we are focused on our fifth Guiding Principle, We Celebrate Our Individual and Collective Successes. Students are deepening their understanding of what it means to have good sportsmanship, support their learning and the learning of others, and in general recognize small and big accomplishments throughout the day. Talk with your child about how he/she is celebrating learning and growth at school each day.

Mrs. King and I are excited about hosting our first Curriculum Conversations this year on Wednesday, September 25 at 8:15, just after morning meeting, in the cafeteria. We want to engage in a discussion with families about the various components of our curriculum and our approach to teaching and learning here at ANCS. The first topic we will discuss will be literacy at ANCS, specifically what Reading & Writing Workshop looks like in your child’s classroom each day.

We decided to have these conversations to help our community better understand the “what” and the “why” behind the ANCS way. As constructivism is a philosophy of teaching and learning, it is difficult at times to put into words what exactly this looks like in practice. I think the best way to describe this is through the Coalition of Essential Schools common principles. These illustrate very nicely what all constructivist teachers strive to create in their classrooms – small, personalized instruction, depth of content over breadth, interdisciplinary instruction, “real-world” learning experiences, and performance-based assessment. Learning occurs in whole-group, small-group, and individual settings, and can change from day-to-day as needed for optimal student learning.

We believe that by asking students to take an active role in their learning, to think critically & creatively and communicate about what they are learning, and be able to apply their learning to new content and situations we are preparing them to be productive and effective citizens. Ultimately, we want our students to be thinkers and creators and ready for a challenge. Our curriculum supports these principles. This is what we are trying to illustrate and share with you in these conversations. We hope you will be able to make it on the 25th.

Another way to understand your child’s learning experience is through the parent teacher conference. The fall conference window opens next Monday. Please make sure you have signed up for a time to meet with your child’s teachers. This conference is an integral part of our student reporting process and is required twice a year for families.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful rest of your week!

Lara