Jon's Weekly Update 11-22-16

posted Nov 22, 2016, 12:41 PM by Cynthia Friedman
Tues, Nov. 22:                              Bring Veggies for Stone Soup
Tues, Nov. 22, 3:15-4:15:             TRUE Rehearsal
Wed., Nov. 23:                                Stone Soup
Tues, Nov. 29, 3:15-4:15:              **First ALL-IN TRUE Rehearsal
Thurs, Dec. 1, 7:30-8:15am          TRUE Performance COSA Law Conference, Eugene Hilton
Thurs, Dec. 1, 3:15-4:15pm          TRUE Rehearsal
Tues, Dec. 6, 3:15-4:15:                 TRUE Rehearsal
Thurs, Dec. 8, 3:15-4:15:               TRUE Rehearsal

Dear Middle School Family,

Years ago, when I taught high school, I was responsible for upwards of 200 students every day, and I saw them for an hour a day in classes with 30+ students.  Some of my classes changed term by term, so I had to get to know a whole new batch of students, or, more accurately, attach names to whole new sea of faces.  It was tough to connect with every individual in that environment. #understatementoftheyear

I mention this simply to emphasize just how special our Middle School program is.  We are at full capacity right now with 50 students in the combined 7/8 grade program.  HUGE, right?  To us, anyway.  (There are 600 students at Roosevelt Middle School--ALL of Ridgeline is only 230 students.)

Class sizes in Ridgeline's middle school are 25 students for our Core Blocks and PE and Spanish.  There are two adults in the Core Blocks, and we spend 105 minutes with each group of students.

The students have at least 8 electives to choose from each term, and the class size between 5 and 15 students.  Right now students are doing everything from Running to Strumming Ukulele to Mythbusting to Collaborative Storytelling to Creative Writing.  And more.

We eat lunch with our homeroom students and spend the morning break with them.

On Fridays, we wrap up academics early, and spend the rest of the day baking cookies, making movies, music and art, programming computers, and playing roleplaying games.

We get to do this with almost every student for 2 years.  (At the end of each year, we spend half a week camping together.)

Most Fridays after school, Carrie, Taylor, Maizzy, and I meet to collaborate and troubleshoot, coordinate and celebrate.  Our conversations are full of joy, and love, and serious, open-minded determination.  It hits me hard every time we sit around the table just how good we all have it: students and teachers alike.  

As positive and successful as our program feels right now, we are constantly collaborating with our students to make it better, more humane, more engaging, more inspiring.  More real.  More honest.  More sincere.

The main difference between human beings and other animals, in terms of evolution, is our ability to manipulate our environment as well as adapt to it.  It doesn't require generations of natural selection for us to evolve.  We just have to pay attention.  Engage.  Act.

Is kind of where we're at right now in the Middle School.  It's an exciting time and place to be.  Thanks for being here with us.

We're in this together,
Jon and Maizzy