Teacher Blog

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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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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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MHA “Houses” Build Community

Friday, August 24, 2018, kicked off the new “Houses” system at Mile High Academy. Intended to create community and a sense of fellowship within the school, each student was randomly inducted into their house with cheers, hugs, and decked out in their colors as a sign of their new tribe.

Each house represents values that MHA already incorporates every day into its teaching through CHERISH. With the house system, names, colors, values, all work together to unify students with their peers and teachers. For instance, the Red House is named Avodah and stands for honor and service in all things. The Green House is Veritas, its calling is integrity. The Black House is Asmund and it upholds the value of exploration. The Purple House is Leocor, with its strong name and pursuit of heroism. Each student is a part of a house with these strong values that they can internalize and uphold for themselves and their team. And overarching it all is CHERISH, incorporation all the values in one, Christ-centered, Honor, Exploration, Responsibility, Integrity, Service, Heroism.

Over the summer, faculty and staff met to go over plans for implementing the house system. Ideas for names, colors, how to engage students, were round tabled until everyone could agree on exactly how the system would work for MHA students. The faculty had specific goals for MHA students so it was important for everything to be planned perfectly.

From how students were introduced to their houses, confetti spilling from popped balloons, to Upper School students welcoming their Middle School team mates, each step was carefully orchestrated for maximum excitement. The cheers after each student was chosen into their house shook the gym. The school day ended with all houses playing games and eating cookies together.

For all of this to have its desired consequences, team work, growth, enrichment of school spirit, the buy in must be school wide. So, it’s not just students and teachers who are out there wearing their house colors, staff and administration all have houses to which they belong. And really, that’s what this is all about, belonging, because when a child knows they have a place where they can truly be themselves, truly belong, that becomes a safe place, a place they want to be. We want Mile High Academy to be that place for all our students.

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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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