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Blog #3: Getting On Track

Getting On Track

 

It is hard to believe it is February already, and we are over halfway through the second trimester.  With just under four weeks left in the trimester, it is time for students and families to reflect upon their current progress in their classes and set some goals.  There is still enough time to turn things around to end strong!

 

At WHS, we know that much more important than grades is a student’s skill mastery.  While students will forget much of the content they are exposed to or the facts they memorize, our academic skill focus of literacy, critical thinking, and innovation, as well as the wellness and career skills we are embedding in our courses - those are the skills we hope will stay with them and help them be equipped to have success in whatever postsecondary path they pursue.  At WHS, our teachers use their content area as the vehicle to teach long lasting skills to our students.  So skill mastery trumps content regurgitation and compliancy grades any day of the week.

 

With our skills focus, however, we know that not all students learn at the same pace and in the same way.  For that reason, we believe in offering students multiple opportunities to improve their mastery and gain deeper knowledge and understanding.  Every Friday, our teachers meet in professional learning communities fully focused on student learning.  Instead of discussing teaching methodologies, they look at disaggregated student learning data to see if their students have “learned the skills.”  If they have not, they discuss how they will reteach and reassess to help the students improve skill mastery.  They discuss how they will utilize CORE time, our daily flex time, to pull students in and how they will connect with students on Friday afternoons to offer remediation and intervention, as well as extension opportunities.

 

Did you know that in each course our students typically have more than one opportunity to take a quiz, or that they can make corrections, or do revisions - that there are always opportunities to improve and grow?  Our teachers have expressed that they are saddened that most students do not take advantage of these opportunities, but I wanted to let you in on that while there is still time!  We encourage students and families to take a look at missing work and the assessments where they struggled and reach out to see where they can improve.  

 

As students reflect upon how they are doing and set goals, we want to remind everyone that they can ask teachers to see them during CORE time and they can sign up to come in or check in virtually with teachers on Friday afternoons.  Additionally, we encourage them to utilize Canvas for reminders and also as an avenue to contact their teachers when they have questions.  To encourage our students and teachers to finish the trimester well and focus on growth, we will be beginning a CORE contest to reward the class of students with the most growth in their grades between now and the end of the trimester.

 

We know that sometimes the greatest barrier to skill mastery and academic success is staying engaged and focused on the virtual days.  Setting a wake up time and planning the day can help students remain focused and productive.  While there are some positives to the flexibility of the virtual days, it is important that students and families still view virtual days as actual school days and prioritize them accordingly.  I would encourage everyone to review the Virtual Learning Tips and the Hybrid Learning Tips we posted at the beginning of the trimester as we grow closer to the end.

 

Finally, we are passionate about supporting our students and we empathize with the challenges our students have faced. We encourage our students and families to reach out to our teachers, counselors, and our leadership team if more support is needed.  Let us help make growth and skill mastery possible!  We can do this, Rocks!