Hello Discovery Parents and Families,

Here it is the end of February and winter has finally arrived! It is difficult to maintain routine and focus when our days are being impacted by snowy or icy weather. I love the snow, but I am looking forward to the signs of spring that are hopefully right around the corner. Be safe during these cold winter days!
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 12 points in grade 6 and 11 points for grades 7 and 8, 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. On this year’s Math iReady fall to winter diagnostic, the average gain in the school was 10 points (remember 6 points is expected at this point in the year). In reading the average was 14 (expected 7). What these numbers indicate is the learning is happening and students are growing. My hope is we keep pushing hard with the academic focus through the end of the school year and we see these averages go up in even more when we look at fall to spring results. Check with your student to see how they did. Recognize their hard work and praise their effort. OR, if need be prod their effort to work a little harder and focus a little more. Either way, we will continue to work very hard every day to provide meaningful learning experiences to push academic progress with all students.
Sometimes, I think it is easy for students 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 students may need to be reminded of periodically:
You are responsible for your iPad. It should not be shared with anyone else and you should never let someone use your log in.
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. Loss of privileges may result if improper use becomes a habit.
iPad are important for learning. Make sure to have your iPad at school CHARGED and ready to use every day.
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.

Empowering students to create a better world,

Mark Cain