In this week’s newsletter, I want to highlight a few examples of students’ voices and projects. These include interviews with students about proficiency based learning, the new website for The Buzz, and students sharing their passions through the adopt-a-shelf program at WUHSMS library. I also want to share the updated Innovation Study Group blog posts in which students, teachers, and board members share their reflections and reactions after visiting a variety of schools. The theme is continual growth and improvement. We aspire to become an ever more student-centered learning environment.
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All School News and Events
December 1, 2, and 3, Yoh Players perform: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
December 13, Coffee with the Principal 5:30-6:30 pm, Teagle Library
December 13, WUHSMS School Board - CANCELLED
December 23-January 1, Holiday Recess: School Closed
Students Talk About Proficiency-based Learning
As we near the end of the third checkpoint, we decided to ask some students what they think of learning under this new proficiency system. We value their insight into how this system is working for them and are gratified to hear that they appreciate the opportunity to practice skills and receive feedback several times before the summative assessments. We will use their comments about the timing of summative assessments to evaluate other options for the future. Check out what the students have to say:
Additional context and definitions for terms used in the video
Tenth grade students are in their second year of proficiency-based learning and have been joined by 9th graders this year. Under this system, students work on skills for Anchor Standards (such as Reading, Writing, Language, Speaking/Listening for English class) completing practice work called formative assessments and receiving feedback on how to improve prior to completing the larger summative assessments.
The assessments are scored as follows:
1= beginning work on the standard
2= approaching the standard
3= proficient on the standard
4= distinguished on the standard
Students are given checklists and rubrics on assignments that tell them what needs to be demonstrated to reach these levels and only the summative scores are placed on report cards. A teacher will use summative Anchor Standard scores, along with their professional judgment about student achievement and growth over time, to determine the end of year assessment.
The Buzz Club is happy to announce that we now have an online site for The Buzz! We will post articles frequently on this site, so check in often for student news!
Also if anyone is interested in writing or taking photos for The Buzz, The Buzz Club meets every Friday during ARE time in Room 19!
Contact Kennedy Moore or Ms. Fountain for more info!
This year, the adopt a shelf program in the library has really been spearheaded by Momo Biele. She was the first to do so this year and so far, sixteen students have followed her lead. When given the opportunity to adopt a section of the library, Momo chose the neuroscience section as a result of her interest in the human brain. She takes her responsibilities very seriously and said, “Adopting a shelf in the library has added a fun new element to each day at school. I make sure my books are in the right order, look presentable, and have no dust, so they can be enjoyed by the students.”
Savannah Carr has also adopted a section based on her interest in medicine. She said, “I actually chose to co-adopt the medical section because I have plans of becoming a doctor and what better way to delve deeper into the topic than to have a section!” Savannah also mentioned that, “It's nice to be able to have input in the library, especially on something you are passionate about!”
Most of the sections that have been adopted so far are in the non-fiction section. For example, Rory Haff adopted the Environmental section, Carissa Kinsmen co-adopted the Medical section with Savannah Carr, Natalie Carr adopted the Nature section, Claudia Mills and Morgan Bertholdt adopted the Cookbooks, Claire Coates and Morgan Willis have adopted the Art Corner, Justin Kopf and Caleb Webb have adopted the Sports section, Cami Rediker has adopted the France section, Robert Grots and Kennedy More have adopted the Africa section and Kiara Buker and Emma Walker have adopted the American history section. And, Julia Kowalski has adopted the M section of Fiction because her favorite author is Sarah J. Maas.
There are still plenty of sections to be adopted! The responsibilities are straightforward and manageable: check on your section when you enter the library, straighten the books and dust the shelves. One of the perks of adopting a section is making suggestions and recommendations of new titles that should be added to our library’s collection. Finally, when asked about the benefits of adopting a section of the library, Momo said, “The benefits of adopting a shelf would be a chance to be a little goofy in the library without the shhh-wand consequences, a feeling of recognition like a celebrity, and a great relationship with our awesome librarians. I am a very proud library shelf parent, and my shelf has greatly increased the quality of my Snapchat stories.”
This week members of the WCSU Innovation Study Group visited schools in Boston and Philadelphia. Follow this link to the team blog to learn more about what the team experienced during their visits.