Last spring, the staff sat in a fairly crowded room and asked if we, as a progressive school, with so many wonderful resources available to us, could engage in a campus-wide experiment. What would it look like if we focused on something that we are already known for? If we all, from kinder through 8th grade, focused on the importance and value of community? How do we interact with one another, with the school, the town, the state, our country? Why is interpersonal communication important and what does it look like? How do we work with one another when we have different ideas and beliefs?
The excitement in the room grew from the seed of an idea into full fledged units this fall. Students all over campus explored these ideas and engaged in conversations that had the ancillary benefit of building the community we live and work in.
We also brought the adults together for a powerful discussion on the same topic at our All PFG meeting in October. The transition to Thanksgiving seemed perfect as we had time to reflect on the good in our lives and spend time celebrating this with family and friends.
Welcome back! We are so glad that you are here. The winter months in California can be fickle, but when the weather gets cold it tends to bring people inside and create opportunities for conversation and inside time together. There are also a number of wonderful things to do outside when the air is crisp and frosty.
What are some activities that your family cherishes during the winter months? Would you share them with us? If you’re open to it, please drop me an email or a quick note in the office and I will share them in our next newsletter.
From time to time it is important that we stop, reflect, and refine our practice. This is a pillar of progressive education. At McAuliffe, our faculty engages in this practice on a regular basis. We consistently seek to improve the learning experiences for your children individually, as grade level teams, and as a whole faculty. The Community unit was an example of this on a macro level, but reflective practice occurs daily with your teacher as they reflect on what learning took place each day, and what they and the aides will need to facilitate student learning for the next meeting. They then plan for those conversations and identify those needed resources to be ready for the next day. It’s daunting work and a work of passion because we know just how much our teachers care for your children.
In addition to the exciting learning taking place in your child’s classroom, our faculty is also engaged in the essential work of evaluating and revising the Learning Targets for students at each grade level. Learning Targets delineate what we want students to learn and be able to do. As we complete this work by grade level we seek to integrate multiple content areas, including social-emotional learning and the progression of learning from grade to grade. As we develop and refine our targets we will share that with all of you and I will provide regular updates on our efforts.
There is much to celebrate and a million things to do.
Have a wonderful weekend!