Exciting news! Our topic today combined with the philosophy of our ‘Multiage’ program, expands and solidifies the best educational program for the students of St. Edward. We are expanding our Junior High School program to include ‘Departmentalized’ settings in combination with our ‘Multiage’ format with the addition of a 3rd teacher in the 5th through 8th grade levels.
- In my continuous study of multiage settings I keep looking back to the basic premise of what that means and how it translates to a classroom at St. Edward. In a nutshell, multiage classroom philosophy is based on early childhood education, which stresses the importance of developmentally appropriate material with emphasis placed on the individual child rather than all students receiving the same instruction and instructional support.
As we continue to refer back to the guiding principles of multiage classrooms as stated above, and with continuous input from our entire staff, we feel that the various models of Junior High School schedules we studied did not meet our standards in preparing our Junior High School students for the challenges of high school and beyond. With ongoing communication and approval from Fr. Matt we are implementing the follow change for our Junior High School format for next year:
- Beginning in grades 5, 6, 7, and 8, we will now offer a mixture of ‘Departmentalized’ subjects and ‘Multiage’ classeroom settings. This change does not eliminate any individualized attention a student requires as I’ve outlined in previous articles. This combination has a place in a ‘Multiage’ classroom allowing for an increase in the way subject matter is delivered for students. I will refer to specifics as to what this looks like in a classroom in next weeks ‘Friday Facts.’
- The addition of a 3rd teacher on this level offers the greatest flexibility in providing significant depth of material in preparing each individual student. It creates more opportunities in small and large group settings for research, debate and exploration.
- We are presently working through a master schedule that is complimentary to the structure of the entire day’s activities. I will publish that schedule when it is finalized.
- Staff members have been notified as to their assignments for next year. I will announce those assignments next week.
Our Preschool through 8th grade classes are as follows:
* Preschool is a stand alone program
* Kindergarten is a stand alone program
* Grades 1 & 2 will be in a ‘Multiage’ setting
* Grades 3 & 4 will be in a ‘Multiage’ setting
* Grades 5, 6, 7, 8 will have a combination of ‘Departmentalized’ offerings as well as ‘Multiage’ settings. This program will be taught by 3 teachers. Please refer to the ‘Ability Grouping’ article I outlined in the Friday Facts no. 1. A detailed explanation of ‘Grouping’ will be discussed next week.
Up to this point I’ve outlined the approach we are going to take next year is an exciting chapter in St. Edward’s educational growth as a school. The articles I’ve written are based on proven data and experiences other schools outlined as successes in their settings. The addition of this teaching position takes us to a new level of specific classroom resources and detailed teaching approaches.
As important as all of that information is, our teachers have taken on a role of equal importance. They have been involved from the beginning of this process on numerous levels, working to insure that the spiritual and educational standards our school worked so hard to establish is maintained uninterrupted. Our communication is open and always framed in the premise of ‘what is in the best interest of our students.’ I couldn’t be more pleased with this change as it represents the very best educational program a PreK through 8 school can offer.
Finally, Father Matt; His support and consistent involvement in working with us and the Diocese is consistent and dependable. His philosophy, leadership and dedication in making the St. Edward Parish/School community vibrant and alive, and his faith and trust in knowing we are working together to reach our goals makes everything we face in and out of school exciting and possible. It is an honor to serve Fr. Matt, our parishioners, our students, parents and staff.
Take care and may God Bless you and your family.