Middle School Focal Points 2017-18

I am excited to transition into the role of Head of Middle School this July as my colleague Chip Houston takes over the Upper School. As part of the transition process, I had the pleasure of conferencing with all faculty before the end of the school year, and I outlined some focal points in research and practice together (which also served as themes in our search for new team members). Stay tuned to learn more of our progress, both as individual faculty members and as a division. The focal points include:

  • Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary learning: how might we make school more connected and reflective of real life for our students?
  • Assessing and reporting progress on Mount Vernon Mindsets (Collaborator, Communicator, Creative Thinker, Solution Seeker, Innovator, and Ethical Decision Maker): how might we share a better understanding of a child’s development in these life-ready skills?
  • Assessment as a whole: how might we design a student progress monitoring and reporting system that comprehensively reflects a student’s learning journey?

Connecting to the focal points of Middle School as well as our new Mount Vernon strategic plan, my stack of books reflects a continued desire to dig deeper into learning, design, and assessment. In addition, a focus on positive student culture has become a focus. Similar to our students, I have a long list of pleasure reads that I have chosen and hope to get to as many of them as possible. In the words of author Vera Nezarian, “Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.” My professional reads include (among others):

  1. Deeper Learning: Beyond 21st Century Skills, edited by James Bellanca (an all-faculty read)
  2. Positive Discipline by Jane Nelson
  3. Hacking Homework: Ten Strategies that Inspire Learning Outside the Classroom by Starr Sackstein
  4. The Perfect Assessment System by Rick Stiggins
  5. Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Devorah Heitner.
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