I would like to begin with some insight into the COMMUNICATION, UNITE, IMPLEMENT AND A SPIRIT OF RENEWAL statement I ended with in the Friday Facts No. 2.
COMMUNICATION – We must maintain an open, honest dialogue between all of us to insure positive discussion, and in the end, agreement. As we continue along this process, WE NEED YOU! We need your input, energy and willingness to be more involved in the overall program and outcomes of our classrooms. It is our job as a staff, Pastor and administration to clearly state our ‘Beliefs.’
UNITE – As a matter of design, once our ‘Beliefs’ are stated, we must collectively build and support our ‘Vision’ statement for St. Edward Catholic School. In short, the power of our ‘Vision’ leads to a realistic, credible and attractive future for our school. Here it is in short; THE FUTURE OF ST. EDWARD IS NOW BELIEVEABLE, SUSTAINABLE AND ENERGIZING.
IMPLEMENTATION – Total implementation of our new Multiage plan is complex and very involved. The first and most important step is staffing. The overall success of each classroom is solely dependent on who leads. The timeline we established at the beginning of our project has us at the point where staff selection will be made. Once the staff has been selected we will be able to begin publishing details associated with your child’s grade level. Again, please be patient as we are diligently working to be completely prepared for staff implementation.
In conjunction with staffing, forums are being organized with guests from St. Thomas in Philo and possibly Holy Cross in Mendota to discuss with all of us what a typical day is like in their respective classrooms. These dates will be announced. All of our teachers will be visiting St. Thomas in Philo to observe classrooms within the next several weeks.
SPIRIT OF RENEWAL – In the spirit of renewal, all of us must be ‘All In’ for St. Edward. It is a must that we are directly involved on all levels of our students’ education, in and out of the classroom. Again, the most important factor, continuous open communication.
All of us realize the spirit, climate and atmosphere that St. Edward is known for was not created by a single person but ALL OF US. For an understanding of renewal we must be positive, contribute input for the betterment of the child and not react out of fear or false information.
MAP ASSESSMENT/TEST DATA – I was asked about the possibility of securing a comparison in test scores from schools with multiage classes and St. Edward in single age classrooms. I am waiting for information that will give us a relationship between these concepts. I will have to use older data as we no longer use the Iowa Test to Basic Skills (ITBS).
The MAP assessment tool is not a norm referenced test like the Iowa Test to Basic Skills (ITBS). It is an assessment program deciphering information for teachers and parents to work collaboratively on creating educational programs for students with deficiencies on any level. Interventions are designed with aides, classroom group work, reviews and peer tutoring. The goal is student growth.
The Office of Catholic Schools as a matter of policy mandated that every school, elementary through high school, use the MAP assessment. We no longer use ITBS. I agree with this change. It has relevance and directly effects student outcomes in a very positive way. Right now, we assess all students K through 8. However, this is the first year at St. Edward is using MAPS assessments. We’ve only assessed our students twice this year. The data received is not sufficient enough for any base line information to determine trends. At least two years of data is needed to begin determining assessment trends.
I will wait to define and discuss the ‘social – emotional’ component in single age classrooms vs. multiage classrooms next week. We very rarely talk about this subject; however, it is an element that exists in every classroom. I know you will find this topic very interesting.
I will also offer sample ‘Belief’ and ‘Vision’ statements for us to consider.
I’ve heard from several parents that these Friday Facts emails are helpful. I promise to communicate with you in a spirit of transparency and relevant information as we move forward. If you have a topic you feel needs to be clarified for the benefit of our parents, please let me know. I will be more than happy to discuss the topic.
Thank You! Take care and have a beautiful weekend!