Hello MC families,
I hope that you all are well. One element of our mission is to “CHALLENGE each student to take an active role as an informed citizen in a global society.” As a school that understands the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion we often talk about current events at school. When difficult things occur in the world, Advisory is a great place for us to talk about issues and process them. On Monday, before heading to Morning Meeting we spent some time in Advisory discussing the racially motivated shooting of three black people in Jacksonville, Florida this past Saturday. We know that our middle school students often discuss the events going on in the world around them, and we know that we have a diverse student body. As such, we proactively seek to create safe spaces for students to discuss issues at school. On Monday we shared information about the incident, gave students an opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings, and then held a moment of silence before heading to Morning Meeting. It was a sobering start to the day, but many students (and adults) expressed their appreciation for being able to process this difficult situation with their school family.
Switching gears to our upcoming calendar: on Monday, September 4th we are off for the Labor Day holiday. As a reminder, on Tuesday, September 5th students will have an asynchronous day of school, in which they will stay home while they do school work (the building will be closed to students). This will be a teacher work day during which teachers will spend the day planning, grading, meeting with teaching partners, generally catching up on work, and working to improve their practice. The asynchronous day will be an A day and teachers will be posting work for your students’ A day classes, for Advisory, and for Power30. This work will post to Google Classroom at 8:00am on Tuesday. Teachers will be providing work for students to do that is meaningful, but also work that students can do on their own without teacher or parent assistance. In Advisory this week students will come up with a work plan for the day and they will be instructed to share this plan with their parents/caregivers. Look for that work plan to come home before the Labor Day weekend.
As a reminder, on Thursday, September 7th we will have Meet the School Family Night. That evening is a drop-in event from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm in which we all gather in The Backyard, and parents have an opportunity to spend some time meeting their students’ various teachers. Prior to the event I will send out a link with a collection of videos from each teacher (the videos will be no more than about 4 minutes in length) that parents can look at to learn more about their students’ teachers, what they are learning (and will learn) in class, and some video of what the classroom space looks like.
All told you should be able to gain familiarity with your child’s classes within about 30 minutes of watching these videos. Then during Meet the School Family Night you can put faces to names, get to know the teachers a little more, and ask clarifying questions. That said, you will be one of many families wanting to spend time with each of the teachers that night. We ask that everyone recognize that this night is not for individual conferences, but rather to learn more about your child’s teachers and other school family members at the Middle Campus.
Finally, I’d like to touch base with you all about student progress. As students progress through a unit of study (a unit is a collection of learning experiences that are connected by theme or topic, for example a Math class may have a unit on fractions), they work towards demonstrating their knowledge on a summative assessment. A summative is a culminating assessment in which students demonstrate their knowledge after the completion of a unit. Along the way as students progress through a unit, teachers administer formative assessments which are check-ins to see how each student is doing. Teachers are giving feedback on these formative assessments that let students (and parents, because it is posted in ManageBac) know if the student is making “limited,” “adequate,” or “substantial” progress towards the aims of the unit. The students also get feedback on their formative assessments that they can use to improve. You will start seeing formative data posted in ManageBac soon if you have not seen it already.
If your student is at the level of “limited” or “adequate” progress at a given point in time it’s ok! It’s just a check-in and a snapshot of where the student is at that moment. Students can also take that feedback to show improvement as they move towards their summative. We don’t want kids chasing grades anyway – we want them to simply focus on doing their best. We’re all growing! We also all have our individual strengths and weaknesses across subject areas. If you aren’t where you want to be at a given point that’s fine, but formative assessment data helps us to know where we are along the path and it helps us grow. As formative and summative feedback comes in, and as you talk to your kids, hopefully this gives you some context for what you are hearing, and for what you are seeing on ManageBac.
Also FYI, we will be posting fall MAP results in ManageBac by next week some time.
As always if you have any questions feel free to reach out.