Jon's Weekly Update 3-18-16

posted Mar 18, 2016, 9:13 AM by Cynthia Friedman

IMPORTANT DATES:

Mon, March 21-Fri, March 25       NO SCHOOL: SPRING BREAK

Mon, March 28:                              Classes Resume

Tues, March 29, 3:15-4:15:            TRUE Rehearsal

Thurs, March 30, 3:15-4:15:          TRUE Rehearsal

Tues, April 5, 3:15-4:15:                 TRUE Rehearsal

Thurs, April 7, 3:15-4:15:               TRUE Rehearsal

Sat, April 9, 5-5:30pm:                   TRUE PERFORMANCE: Park St. Cafe (No Cover)

Sat, April 9, 7-8pm:                        TRUE PERFORMANCE: Cozmic Pizza (No Cover)

Tues, April 12, 3:15-4:15:               TRUE Rehearsal

Thurs, April 14, 3:15-4:15:             TRUE Rehearsal

Sat., May 7, 2-3pm                          TRUE PERFORMANCE: Junction City (No Cover)

Wed., May 11, 6:00-6:30pm            TRUE PERFORMANCE: Sam Bond's Garage ($5 Cover)

Thurs., May 19, ALL DAY             7th Graders: Canopy Connections; 8th Graders: Tree to Tree

Sat., June 4, 11:30-12:30pm           TRUE PERFORMANCE: Spencer Creek Grange

Thurs, June 9, 6:30-8:30pm            8th Grade Graduation

Mon, June 13-Thurs, June 16         Middle School Adventure Trip--Florence

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Dear Middle School Family,

And I'm back!  Just in time to wind things down for Spring Break.  I don't get sick often, but when I do, wow.  Whamo!  Thank you, Genie, Emma's mom, for filling in for me last week.  

One of the unplanned benefits of having the students record their "Making of America" Presentations was that the show was able to go on without me there, and I was still able to view and evaluate them.  One of the planned benefits was that the handful of students who either completely freak out and don't complete their project, or who panic when they present and fall apart in the moment were able to participate in a way that better demonstrated what they learned during their long process of research. 

This was a difficult, multi-faceted project.  Memorizing information had nothing to do with it.  The students literally had to master a new set of skills and tools in order to make something meaningful out of what they learned.  And each of them demonstrated growth and excellence in ways that were unique to them as individuals.  

Learning is easy.  All you have to do is burn yourself on the stove, or walk a new route to school to learn.  Demonstrating what we have learned is a more complicated process.  Sure, you could show me the blister, or draw a map of the route, but is that all you learned? No.

It's the decision making process we employ before, during, and after the experience of Learning that matters.  Faced with a dilemma/problem/opportunity, I must first acknowledge what I don't know (or didn't know), make critical plans and take action to improve my situation, and honestly take measure of my personal progress if I want to Persevere.   Perseverance is what we're after.  Burning yourself on the stove doesn't mean you stop cooking altogether.  And the new route to school isn't the only route.  

The Work we are doing together is NOT about points or grades.  The Work we are engaged in, mainly, is Learning How to Persevere. The points and the grades are merely milestones to help mark the progress your student is making.  The processes we are engaging your student in aren't just strategies for academic learning, they are strategies and habits for life.  Yes, they need to do the math.  Yes, they need to do the science, the writing, the reading...  Yes, they need to do the Work of Perseverance.  It's not just the content itself that they're mastering.  

They are learning to Master their Self.  

Science and Social Studies provide us with the context and experience we need to understand the World we live in.  Math and written and oral Language are the tools we use to communicate and engage in each other's experience of the World.  It's all necessary Work.  Essential Work.  (At least as Essential as the music, PE, self-care, media literacy, and practical skills the students are engaging in.) 

Carrie, Maizzy and I are tremendously proud of the growth these emerging Adults have demonstrated so far this year.  We are completely in love with these human beings you have shared with us, and their wacky, diverse contributions to our community.  We are deeply committed to supporting your child's transition from 'childhood' to 'adulthood.'  

Our job as teachers is to know and love your children for who they are, yes.  But our most important job is to lift and pull and push and encourage each of them through the uncomfortable Work towards their potential, towards who they are becoming.  In this, we will remain persistent.  

We do not perceive or interact with our students as if they are Children.  We engage with them as Peers in a community of emerging Adults.  

The final Trimester begins the Monday we get back from Spring Break.  Fresh Start.

We're in this together.  

Sincerely,

Jon

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