Jon's Weekly Update 9-25-15

posted Sep 25, 2015, 12:37 PM by Cynthia Friedman

IMPORTANT DATES:

Tues., Sept 29:                  Laughing Planet Fundraiser

Wed., Sept. 30, 6-7pm:     Middle School Class Meeting

Fri., Oct. 2:                        End of the Warmup Cycle

Mon., Oct. 5:                     Beginning of Trimester 1

Friday, Oct. 9:                   NO SCHOOL - Statewide In-service Day

 

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:

Friday Practical Life Classes!

Every Friday, from 10:20am-12:20pm, students will be participating in either a Gardening/Yardwork group, a MicroEconomy group, or a Home Ec. group.  Each group is 14 or 15 students with one full-time adult.  We absolutely need regular adult volunteers to make these programs successful.  (Best case would be a 5 student to 1 adult ratio for these hands-on, real-life impact, Work projects.)  Please contact me or Carrie for more details!

 

THE STORY THIS WEEK:

Dear Middle School Family,

 

Thank you for your patience as we get our routines and systems in place.  We have one more week in our "Warmup Cycle," and we feel confident that we'll be ready to sail relatively smoothly into the first Trimester.  Thanks to all of you who have asked clarifying questions along the way and even stopped by to check in. It's really helped us figure out what we can do to make things work better for everyone.  Please keep in touch!

 

This week, some Logistics for you:

 

Student Internet Accounts

We've waited on sending out Jupiter Grades login information to families until the students got a little more acclimated to the system (so they can help explain it to you!).  I will send out a separate e-mail after this one that will contain a link for you to log in to Jupiter Grades, where you can monitor your student's progress and performance.

 

All of the students' assignments and grades are recorded in Jupiter Grades.  Many of their assignments, particularly their Communications assignments, are turned in via Jupiter Grades.

 

Your student also has a Ridgeline Google account, which provides them with access to e-mail and to Google Docs (an online 'Office' suite with word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software they can access from any computer).  Their account is the student's firstname.lastname@ridgeline.org.  They have created their own passwords.

 

Grading

We do our best to have all of the assignments for the week in Jupiter Grades by Monday morning, so students can spend part of their Study Hall period filling out their Weekly Planner.  Their Weekly Planner should be coming home to you EVERY MONDAY evening for your signature, unless there's no school on Monday, in which case they'd bring it Tuesday evening.  Getting your signature on their Weekly Planner is a graded assignment.

 

We are committed to having the grading done for the week by the following weekend.  It's just too hard to keep up with the grading during the week.  If you have a concern about whether or not your student has completed an assignment, ask them to show you!  Many of the assignments are completed online.

 

Absences & Missing Assignments

Our attendance and grading systems are separate, unfortunately, so it's hard for us to track both at the same time.  If your student is absent, it is their responsibility to check in with their teachers and get what they need to get caught up.  If a student receives a "zero" or "missing" for an assignment they completed, it's quite possible they either forgot to turn it in, or we made a mistake.  We love fixing mistakes!  Please encourage your student to help us fix those missing assignments.  

 

If a student wants to redo (or complete) an assignment for a better grade, all I have to say to that is, "Pretty please."

 

Late Work

I promise you: We are not in this to punish students with bad grades.  We will bend and flex however we can to support your student's success.  But we also need to help them prepare for the reality of high school and beyond.  It's important that your student stay Current with their schoolwork, so they can benefit from the collective learning we're engaging in each moment.

 

Organizing Paperwork

Your student has a Math Folder, a Humanities Folder, a Personal World Folder, and a Science Folder.  We try to use as little loose paper as possible.  We are checking math daily.  Humanities, Personal World, and Science folders are turned in at the end of the week, so we can get them graded over the weekend. 

 

We have a "Wrap-Up Work Period" every Friday morning before we do our Practical World work.  We spend an hour helping the students prioritize what needs to get 'wrapped up!'  We spend the last 10 minutes of the Wrap-Up period helping the students get all their work turned in to the correct place, and making sure they have everything they've completed turned in.  (And it's still not all getting turned in--work in progress!)

 

All of their Communications work right now is getting turned in on-line.  We started with a bunch of short assignments to help them get accustomed to using Google Apps and Jupiter Grades in unison, learning how to find the work, get the work done, and turn the work in.

 

Whew!  This is a lot to digest all at once, I know.  I'll stop there, for now.  I wanted you to have some logistical information to help you formulate questions for our Middle School Community Meeting next Wednesday, September 30, from 6-7pm.  Your students are welcome to join us (it's their community, after all), but not required.  (Space in the classroom is limited; we may have to meet in the gym!)

 

We're having a blast getting to know our community.  It's a big group, but there's already a strong sense of belonging and commitment to each other.  It's a beautiful process to be a part of.

 

All the best,

Jon

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