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Each school year, the passing of time always amazes me. So much has happened this year, but at the same time, how can it already be the end of another incredible year? Our elementary level celebrates its fifth year anniversary and next year we will complete our school with our first graduating fifth grade class!

I recently read about The Highline Promise, one school’s vow to know every student by name, strength, and need so they graduate prepared for the future they choose. The principal of that school recognized that foundational to this promise “is slowing down to connect, prioritizing relationships, and making time to ensure that young people are not invisible in schools, homes, and communities.” Listening is a part of our innovative, Reggio inspired approaches that has always mattered.  If we want to be learner-centered not only in words, but in actions, we have to listen, elevate, and act on what our learners  are telling us. They have big feelings and great ideas and it’s imperative that we lean in and listen to what they need. Sophia (4th grade)  shared her thoughts about attending a school that was intentionally designed for connection, belonging, and meaningful learning. She said, 

“I feel like I could be myself here, I feel like I could be the real me.”

In addition to our guiding principles about doing what we know is best for children socially and emotionally, we also, of course, strive for academic excellence, rigor and productive challenge. We assess learners on an ongoing basis to understand where they need support and challenge, cognitively. We use both formative and summative assessments to get a true picture. In addition, learners in grades 2-4 take a Map Growth Assessment. The Map Growth Assessment is a test that adapts to children’s  responses in real time to measure a child’s skill level. MAP Growth scores help teachers check student performance by measuring Achievement and Growth. Achievement measures how well a child has learned skills in a subject compared to similar students nationwide, while Growth is a measure of a child’s personal progress over the year. Teachers use results to tailor classroom lessons and to set goals for learners.

100% of our third and fourth graders are reading at our above grade level.

I am proud to celebrate our successes (which have been many) this school year. For example, 100% of our third and fourth graders are reading at our above grade level and 85.3% of learners in grades 1-4 are reading at or above grade level. This is all coming out of 2 years of interrupted learning due to COVID-19. The Map Assessment results are also impressive, especially following a pandemic. 71% of learners in grades 2-4 scored at or above average compared to similar learners, nationwide in reading and math. These results are just a small part of a larger picture. We do not measure progress based solely on this test and we NEVER EVER teach directly to the test. Many schools abandon all of the curriculum months before standardized tests to drill (and “kill”) the learners to learn how to play the game of test taking. The test we give is one measure of where a learner is  and also informs the teachers about any instructional decisions they need to make. Certain tests in the future will require the learners to understand test taking skills and we will be sure to support them, when the time is right. 

Thank you all for your continued partnership. I hope you have a wonderful summer break filled with fun, joy, connection and love. Looking forward to an incredible 2022-2023 school year.

My Best Always,

Stacy