real world learning

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Transitioning from School to School

At Mile High Academy we are fortunate to have a full school program that encompasses Preschool through 12th grade. However, that does not mean that students do not feel the stress of transitioning from grade to grade or school to school. Therefore, we have found ways to make these transitions exciting and smooth for students, parents, and teachers.

By definition, transition means the change from one place, state of being, or condition to another place, state of being, or condition (Merriam-Webster Online, 2015). From the moment parents drop their little ones off at Preschool to the day they watch their Seniors graduate high school, every day is a milestone of developmental changes. It’s not just classrooms and buildings but actual hormonal, mental, and physical changes with which each adolescent faces. “Each of these transitions affects young adolescents’ academic experiences, motivation, self-perception, and self-regulatory beliefs (Parker, 2013; Perkins, 1995).” (amle.org)

It’s not only our students that are affected, however, parents and teachers also experience these changes in their own ways. For transitions to occur properly, for programs to develop effectively, the expectations of the students have to be considered by those around them. (amle.org) Because as worries as we are as parents about how our students will fare once they are thrust into unknown environments, how much more stress are they experiencing going into these environments.

And, as the grades progress, the expectations of independence and responsibility also progresses. They go from Preschool, where they are with their teacher 100% of the time, to Kindergarten where they begin to have specials with different teachers, to Middle and Upper schools where students are expected to get to and from classes on their own, manage time wisely, use a locker, organize and keep up with materials for multiple classes, be responsible for all classwork and homework from multiple teachers, and at the same time develop and maintain a social life.

The main thing we can do as parents and educators is provide known expectations. From the moment we tell them they are going to start school, move on to a new grade, move on to a new school, we can provide them with a model within which they can begin to navigate. Giving students true transitions impacts students’ academic performance.

Some of the things we do at MHA:

  • provide Shadow Days where students can experience our classrooms before moving into the environment
  • school tours
  • parent and student receptions where we discuss the differences between elementary, middle school, and upper schools
  • question and answer sessions
  • graduation programs for all levels, Preschool, Kindergarten, Eighth Grade, High School

By implementing transition activities like these, your student, and by extension parents and teachers, will have an easier time moving forward, building community, and feeling comfortable through all stages of their educational career.

(see pictures of 8th Grade Reception below)

 

Works Cited

  1. https://www.amle.org/BrowsebyTopic/WhatsNew/WNDet/TabId/270/ArtMID/888/ArticleID/750/Transitioning-Young-Adolescents-from-Elementary-to-Middle-School.aspx
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Middle School helps Wish For Wheels

Last week was exciting as Middle School headed out on a very special field trip. This was not your typical field trip, though. Instead, students were tasked with learning the value of mentorship, generosity, and kindness.

During our school-wide “Love Matter Most” event, we mentioned that some of our middle school put together bikes for “Wish for Wheels”. Students helped each other piece together the bike kits for 30 new bicycles that would find homes with kids who might not otherwise ever see a new bike in their lives.

The exciting part came when the middle schoolers found out they would actually get to drop off the bikes to their intended recipients. The fact that they would get to see the smiles, the joy, on the faces of these kids, that made the work even more worthwhile.

So, we headed out. teachers, students, excited at the prospect. What we didn’t expect was that some of these kids may have wished for a bike but this was their first bike ever so they didn’t actually know how to ride a bike. Now, middle school students not only became the proud builders of 30 bikes but they became teachers and guides to 2nd graders who had never learned to ride on their own.

Mr. Russell Palmer, middle school teacher said this about the experience, “I have to brag about my middle schoolers for a brief moment here. They were absolutely amazing teachers for these 2nd graders. They were so patient and kind, and encouraging. They talked to the kids about their favorite foods and favorite video games and tv shows. The best part though was how well they taught the kids to ride who had never ridden a bike without training wheels before. I did this a couple weeks ago with a group of teachers and we weren’t even HALF as good as my middle schoolers were with these kids. The children will lead the way! At Mile High Academy we are empowering our students to be teachers and leaders, and giving them opportunities to show examples of love to everyone they meet…just like Jesus did. That is just how we “roll”.”

And it’s true, our students step up. They know that expectations are high and they reach for it, touch that bar because our teachers say they can. Our students step up because every day they see others step up in front of them, modeling and sharing and mentoring right alongside them.

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Grandparent’s Day a Great Success!

Hello Grandparents and Friends,

Thank you for coming out to visit us. You made the day a great success in so many ways. Not only did you make the students so happy by being on campus, spending time in classrooms and eating lunch together, but you made our day with all the smiles you brought to our day. We hope that you had as much fun as we did.

The day started with grandparents bringing in their grandchildren or meeting them at the campus. How great to see the excitement of the kids ready to show off their day to their special visitors. And it wasn’t just grandparents, we know that some grandparents can’t be with their grandchildren on grandparent’s day so there were family friends and parents taking the time to spend with our students. Even those that may not have had someone on campus got to “share” a grandparent with friends. Throughout the day, you could find grandparents with multiple students gathered round for classroom activities. What a special way to get to know a different generation and share wisdom our learners.

We’re blessed to have a community that invests in our students. Thank you for making the day so special for all of us!

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What is your child learning?

Yesterday, Kindergarten spent some time learning about the American flag, symbols of our country, and ways in which they could show respect and love to those who daily sacrifice for our country.

A guest speaker came in and spoke to one of our RWL upper school classes on legislation and how it happens, the affect it has on each of us. Students asked insightful questions as our guest used real world examples of cases on which he has participated.

Tomorrow, the whole school will be participating in “Love Matters Most” an annual event that brings MHA, Centura Health, and the community together in service projects. (Find out more on our Facebook news vlog below)

On any give day, you will find a class involved in learning that takes students into the community or teaches them ways in which they can better affect their community. Isn’t that what we want for our children, future leaders that change the world, kids that don’t just do what’s required of them but look at the needs around them and find ways to make a difference?

By intentionally creating ways for our students to do this on a regular basis, our teachers are modeling and teaching students how to do this. So, if you find your child asking you for ways in which they can help someone today, that’s because we are all working together to make children that think about the world in this way, as citizens of a world that they can affect.

Check out more on CHERISH and how we use it to model and share great values for all!

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CHERISH Worship

This year, CHERISH worships have taken on a new vision for our students. Over the summer, Kindergarten teacher, Ms. Kate Kamarad, was moved to pray over the weekly Lower School (LS) CHERISH worships that bring the youngest in our school together at the end of the end of each week. She then brought her plan to the other LS teachers who jumped right into the idea.

The plan is to inspired our students to lead the worships themselves. These student led – service oriented meets are just what our little ones need to feel encouraged and inspired.

The first few weeks will be led by Upper and Middle School. Already, we’ve had Michael Brodis, a senior at MHA, telling his story and showing the LS students how to stand up and speak. This week, first grade led out in singing and prayer and three of our Middle School students gave the worship. It’s wonderful to see our youth take the stage with their stories and leadership. The confidence students show when they get up front lets our students know they can do it, too.

Going forward, our own LS students will take front and center with service projects, small group discussions, skits, and stories. How exciting to see every part of our school take a leadership role and show that have something to say.

Thank you, teachers, for showing the ultimate leadership by putting our students in the lead. Because when students take ownership of their stories, their learning, their God-given talents, they shine brighter.

After today’s Middle School worship, Kindergarten student, Emma, whispered to Ms. Kate, “Maybe next time we can be up there talking about Jesus?!” Exactly, Emma, that’s exactly what we want you to do.

We are all so excited to see our little ones stand up and lead!

(pictures and quote from Ms. Kate Kamarad)

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College Ready?

Mile High Academy is a college prep school. This means that your child will graduate with the grades, test scores, and skills required to enter college. But what does being College Ready mean? We often think these two are the same thing.

Well, at MHA we want our students to be both college prepared and college ready. This means that they not only have the academic skills but the social/emotional skills to enter college and the next part of their life journey.

A recent article from the New York Times put it this way, in “adolescence, we expect more initiative and investment regarding duties and obligations, but most parents don’t abdicate oversight altogether. In other words, the parent and adolescent co-own the adolescent’s responsibilities.

The most reliable signal that the transition to emerging adulthood has begun is evidence that the child has begun taking sole ownership of these responsibilities — independent of parental involvement.” (1) You can read more about what the New York Times has to say on the subject.

However, here’s what we have to say on the subject. At MHA we create an environment where responsibility is clearly articulated. The distinction between what is the student’s and what is the parent’s responsibility should always be clear.

Preschool through 5th grade is a learning curve of parents involved in the day to day details, folders going home, daily conversations with teachers. But heading into middle school, students start taking on their own schedules. Something as seemingly insignificant as a locker becomes ownership of property and responsibility for the care of it.

And yes, once they are in Upper School, there is a lot more responsibility on our students’ shoulders, but isn’t that what we’ve been preparing them for all along. After all, if your child can take advanced placement classes, can’t they handle the other responsibilities that come with getting ready to enter the world. We know they can!

If you ever have questions about how we prepare our students for the future, contact one of our amazing teachers.

 

  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/26/well/how-to-help-a-teenager-be-college-ready.html
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The facts are in on Real World Learning (RWL)

Real World Learning asks teachers to “guide” students through the learning process. Traditional teaching is re-framed in the context of a project that reaches out into the real world.

Projects within RWL do not mean just presenting a poster or speaking on a subject they learned about in class. Instead, RWL asks students to answer a “Driving Question”, open ended content that they must explore and delve into in order to become experts. This is done in collaboration with a team, guided by the teacher, is a sustained inquiry process that takes them until they have created a product that is authentic to the real world or the student’s life.

Check out more on RWL at milehighacademy.org/realworldlearning.

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