Hello Discovery Parents and Families,
Here it is the end of February and I was driving to school in a bit of snow today. Nothing sticking on the ground, but it was definitely snowing at my house as I left for school. Amazing the weather we have had this winter! Nonetheless, we are getting ready to move into March and the signs of spring are about to begin. The trees in my front yard are showing small signs of sprouting.
As we begin a new month, I want to share some good news from our recently completed winter iReady diagnostic assessment in math and reading. All students take the iReady diagnostic assessment in math and reading three times per year: fall, winter, and spring. This assessment helps teachers diagnose where student strengths and weaknesses lie in order to better inform classroom instruction. It also gives us a baseline for the grade level proficiency for each student as a way to monitor progress. In math, the expected growth for the year is 13 points, and in reading it is 15 for 6th grade and 13 for grades 7 and 8. From fall to winter, that essentially means we are looking for an improvement of 6-7 points to be on pace to demonstrate a year’s worth of growth. Last year, from fall to spring 46% of our students demonstrated a year’s worth of growth in math. This year, 56% of our students are on pace to do so. Even more exciting, nearly half of our students are on pace to demonstrate a year and a half of growth or more. This means if they are below grade level in their proficiency, they are showing enough growth to get back to grade level more quickly. In reading the news is equally encouraging. I am hopeful we continue to demonstrate improvement as we move into spring.
Recently, we sent a reminder to students regarding use of their iPads. Sometimes, I think it is easy to forget that technology can be tracked and our district has filters and tracking systems in place to ensure safe use of the iPads. The iPads are issued to support learning, and the following are key expectations we reminded students of recently:
1. You are responsible for your iPad. It should not be shared with anyone else and you should never let someone use your log in.
2. The district tracks internet searches and red flags concerning vocabulary in emails. The use of these tools needs to remain appropriate and focused on school related topics.
3. If we receive flagged information regarding improper use of iPads, it will be addressed and could result in loss of privileges.
Please join me in reinforcing these expectations for our students. iPads can be a great tool for learning in this day and age…..when used properly. We prefer not to take away privileges for improper use if we don’t have to.
The MYP Learner Profile focus for the month of March is RISK TAKER. Students who are RISK TAKERS approach unfamiliar situations and uncertainty with courage and forethought, and have the independence of spirit to explore new roles, ideas and strategies. They are brave and articulate in defending their beliefs….respectfully. We are not talking about reckless risk taking where you do crazy things for the thrill of it. We are talking about courageously doing the right things to explore the world around us and face the uncertainty life can bring to us. My hope for our students is for them to be willing to take risks to be great citizens and learners. Dare to do the RIGHT thing no matter what others might say. It is not easy sometimes, but it is worth taking the risk to try.
Make a difference for kids,
Mark Cain