From the Heart, Community Voices

Community Voices

From the Heart

February 22, 2024

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Tomorrow is a celebration of Goal 2: a deep respect for intellectual values and Goal 5: personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom, as students and parents will be meeting with faculty for conferences. This week Mrs. Renken shares the significance of these opportunities for student growth and development.

School, at any age, is about growth. It is easy for parents and teachers to see and acknowledge growth in a variety of ways. Our view of our children supports their growth and helps develop confidence; however, we do know that students can quickly create thought patterns that acknowledge growth or create a deterrent toward growth. It is the stories that we tell ourselves that often create our reality. It is important for us to instill in our children the belief that growth requires attentiveness, practice, consistency, grit, mistakes, and do-overs.

As we end the second trimester, students, teachers, and parents will come together to share observations and evidence of growth. Teachers and parents of Little Acorn, Pre-Primary, and Primary students will review the surge in growth this last trimester. There are obvious reasons to celebrate our youngest learners. Students in First through Eighth Classes are prepared for Student-Led conferences. These conferences, prepared and led by the students, have three important components inherent to addressing growth in four key areas: academic, behavioral, spiritual, and emotional.

The first component is the awareness and growing understanding that, “I am responsible for my own learning.” It is important, even at a young age, that students have multiple opportunities and experiences to explore their interests and wonderings and experience successes and challenges. Ongoing conversations and questions about what we learn, why we learn, who has to do the work, what can I do for myself, and others provide a platform for their growing understanding of the important part that is theirs to play.

The second component necessary for conferencing is reflection. Students need time to think about what they are learning, how they like to learn, identify strengths and challenges, and how their learning is impacting who they are becoming at any given time. Our students are guided through the reflection process over the course of several weeks. The reflection process is created at each grade level to ensure that students understand what they are being asked to think about. If this experience is to be meaningful, each student needs time to reflect on the aspects of personal learning, preferences and styles, being a positive member of the classroom community, and identifying what and how he/she contributes to the learning environment. It is affirming to meet with students and witness their inner knowledge of themselves. Even our Lower School students can assess their learning traits.

A student’s ability to share their view of themselves with their parents and teacher is the third component. After reflecting on their skill development, growth, and challenges, the art of presenting with poise and confidence is a skill being developed in our students. Owning their learning and claiming their achievements and yet to be achieved results allows for both celebration and goal setting. The path of learning and growing is a constant.

The Academy has supported Student-Led conferences for many years. It is a highly valued opportunity for our students. They develop important skills as they affirm their learning and share their perspective on their growth. Parents appreciate this style of conferencing and laud their children for their thoughtful and accurate reflection of themselves.

We look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow and celebrating the success and growth of each student!