Compass Chronicle

Online Middle School | Summer 2018

Happy Summer, Compass Charter Schools!

It has been an exciting fourth quarter for Middle School scholars! Scholars participated in the 2nd Annual Pie Contest, where grade levels went head-to-head in the race for learning lab attendance. The eighth-grade scholars won, for the second year in a row, with an average overall attendance rate of 56%, and they got to watch their teacher get pied in the face! Way to go, eighth-grade scholars! Also, many scholars took advantage of our second round of Parent-Teacher Conferences with the goal of supporting scholars’ academic and social success. Scholars worked hard in collaboration with their teachers and learning coaches to finish the year strong and do their very best!


As I look back on this school year, I reflect on all of the amazing things that have happened: We implemented the new StrongMind curriculum and Parent-Scholar Portal. We hosted weekly, live learning labs, where scholars participated in engaging lessons and hands-on labs. Scholars and learning coaches attended numerous field trips and engagement activities where they met other scholars and families in person and were able to do some really cool things. Throughout this school year, we celebrated Compass’ five core values in various ways: looking at ways in which scholars demonstrate Respect, Teamwork, Achievement, Communication, and Integrity in their lives. As we look ahead to summer, it is a good time to reflect on all that you have accomplished during the 2017-18 school year and start creating your goals for next year!


Sincerely,


Melissa Blitzstein, Middle School Coordinator

mblitzstein@compasscharters.org

@CCSMsBlitzstein

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Scholar Projects & Assignments
  • Family Spotlights
  • Staff Spotlight
  • Counseling
  • Share Your Story
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SCHOLAR PROJECTS & ASSIGNMENTS

Take a look at what our scholars have been up to!

Math & Science Learning Labs

Scholars combine math and science concepts together! In Ms. Angelo’s sixth-grade science class, scholars learned about the layers of the ocean starting with the Epipelagic zone all the way down to the Hadalpelagic zone. This lesson included a discussion about pressure and how it increases with depth. Then, in Ms. Thomson’s sixth-grade math class, scholars continued to discuss pressure using math. In this activity, scholars looked at two-minute videos of each layer of the ocean and then brainstormed organisms that would live there. This data was entered in a table on GoFormative.
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Mrs. Angelo’s sixth-grade science scholars have also been learning about energy, applying their knowledge of potential and kinetic energy to design a skate park. Scholars shared their designs and voted on the safest and most exciting!

Mrs. Thomson’s sixth- and seventh-grade scholars completed a variety of math projects using the engaging tool called GoFormative:


  • Here is an example by Nicole C, where she drew a representation of the Great Pyramid of Giza in order to show her knowledge of calculating the volume of a pyramid.
  • Here is an example by Alexis G, where she had to draw a floor plan of a home to calculate the area of geometric figures.
  • Here is an example from Robbie C, where he measured three circular household objects in order to help him derive the value of pi.
  • Here are two examples from Katya I. and Michelle R, showing their knowledge of plotting points in all four quadrants of the coordinate plane.
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In Mrs. Ross’ seventh-grade science class, scholars have been learning all about our neighborhood -- in space! Scholars modeled how solar and lunar eclipses occur, and explained why they are such rare events. Here are some scholar examples!
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In Mrs. Wood’s eighth-grade science class, scholars were asked to observe the moon for 15 days and record observations in a journal. They looked at patterns, made predictions for the next 15 days, and hypothesized about lunar phases. They recorded another 15 days of observations and were asked to extend patterns, revise their hypothesis, and make connections to course content about eclipses. Here is an example from KristiLynn E.
Mrs. Wood’s scholars continued learning about the solar system by building a scientific model of it. They created a 3D model interactively, as a tool, to construct explanations about the forces at work in our universe and how celestial objects interact. Here is Ava Bella A’s project, where she even added a comet as an additional celestial object.
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In Mrs. McGuire’s eighth-grade math class, scholars are required to take detailed notes to show how they solved equations, which is a necessary skill to being a successful independent study scholar. Here are some examples from scholars: Khaleea V, Khaleea V, Jeannelle R, and Aurora K.

English Language Arts & Social Studies

In Mrs. Angelo’s sixth-grade social studies class, scholars studied the Reformation by going on a virtual tour of Hampton Court, which is where Henry the VIII of England established his court and ultimately made his decisions about the reformation. Here are Aleeha M’s observations and questions after the virtual tour.
In Mrs. Angelo’s sixth-grade social studies class, using the six-part writing process, scholars wrote a descriptive essay as if they were Marco Polo. Teagan H. was so engaged in this project, she ended up writing four paragraphs instead of three! Great work, Teagan!
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Mrs. Lomeli’s sixth- and seventh-grade scholars worked on writing personal narratives, using all the essential elements of narrative essays, including characterization, conflict, and resolution. Here is an example from sixth-grader, Helena A., and seventh-grader, Alexander I.
Mrs. Lomeli’s sixth-grade scholars also wrote persuasive essays on topics they were passionate about, urging their readers to take action after hearing their argument. Here is one on the topic of bullying, by Helena A.
In Mrs. Ross’ seventh-grade social studies class, scholars studied the Age of Exploration by putting themselves in the explorer's shoes. Here are some samples of their journals.
Mrs. Tatum’s eighth-grade social studies scholars studied the people, places, and events surrounding the Civil War. Here are two projects, one by Naomi L. and one by Caroline C.
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In Mrs. Wood’s eighth-grade Gaming Unlocked elective course, scholars take on the role of video game designer and work to create their own game. Here are some images created by J’Len W. for his game, which is set in an enchanted forest: Katara, the fox, Mythical Earth Fox, and Sake, the fox. Here are two storyboards, created by Michael S and KristiLynn E., where they map out their games.
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FAMILY SPOTLIGHTS

This month we're featuring scholar, Savannah Froehner

Jennifer, a learning coach, and her scholar, Savannah, share their experience at CCS.

CCS: How long have you been part of Compass Charter Schools?

Jennifer: Savannah has been with CCS for one semester. We are brand new to Compass!


CCS: Can you tell us a little bit about your family?

Jennifer: I am a stay-at-home mom for the first time in a few years while my husband drives trucks throughout the 11 western states. We have five children: Suzanne(16), Becca (14), Savannah (12), Jackson (10), and Makenna (6).


CCS: What is your favorite school subject?

Savannah: My favorite subject is English now because we are studying Greek mythology.


CCS: What do you enjoy most about being part of Compass Charter Schools?

Savannah: I enjoy having a safe learning environment. There is no tolerance for bullying at CCS.

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CCS: What do you like to do outside of school? Do you have any hobbies?

Savannah: I used to compete with my horse. Now I really enjoy painting.


CCS: What is one fun fact that you would like everyone at CCS to know about you?

Savannah: I can recite the movie Phantom of the Opera from beginning to end!


CCS: We know that often, with our scholars, each day is different. What would a typical day look like for you and your scholar?

Jennifer: We ship other kids off to school, go on a four-mile walk, make breakfast, and then she gets to work on her classes. Sometimes Savannah struggles with staying focused and has to be reminded a few times to focus and finish her work.


CCS: What has been your greatest joy in schooling your scholar at home?

Jennifer: My greatest joy is just being able to see her happy. She was bullied very badly at her previous school. Depression and anxiety were starting to become an issue. It's great to see her happy again.


CCS: Share a piece of advice you’d give to a parent thinking about taking their child out of school to school at home?

Jennifer: Don't think about it, just do it! If your child is unhappy at their current school, make the change. I wish we had switched to schooling at home much sooner.

We're also featuring the Hasson Family

Jacques Hasson, a learning coach, and his scholar Isaac share their experience at CCS.


CCS: How long have you been part of Compass Charter Schools?

Jacques: We have been part of the program for almost five years.


CCS: Can you tell us a little bit about your family?

Jacques: We are a family of four, composed of a father (Jacques), mother (Irene), daughter (Sarah), and son (Isaac). We enjoy artistic activities, having movie nights, and eating meals together.


CCS: What is your favorite school subject?

Isaac: My favorite subject is science.


CCS: What do you enjoy most about being part of Compass Charter Schools?

Isaac: I enjoy getting good grades and attending my Learning Labs. I also like that I don't have to wake up early, and I enjoy watching informational videos in my classes!

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CCS: What do you like to do outside of school? Do you have any hobbies?

Isaac: I like to walk in the park, and I enjoy taking drum classes.


CCS: What is one fun fact that you would like everyone at CCS to know about you?

Isaac: I like acting, and I am very creative.


CCS: We know that often, with our scholars, each day is different. What would a typical day look like for you?

Isaac: First, I eat my breakfast. Then I start my school day, which begins around 8:30 am and goes until about 1:30 pm. Then I go to my drum class, and after that, I take a walk. To finish my day, I usually play video games.


CCS: What has been your greatest joy in schooling your scholar at home?

Jacques: My greatest joy is just seeing how much he has improved academically and his discipline. I like how the classes are organized. It is easy and fun for him to study.


CCS: Share a piece of advice you’d give to a parent thinking about taking their child out of school to school at home?

Jacques: I would advise parents to have patience, be well organized, and attend the classes and seminars for learning coaches. Remember to have fun teaching and learning together!

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STAFF SPOTLIGHT

Erica Angelo, Middle School Science & Social Studies Teacher at CCS.

CCS: What is your role at Compass, and what are your primary responsibilities?

Ms. Angelo: I work with scholars and learning coaches to help each child be successful. I strive to create a community that nurtures learning and growth in a positive, fun environment. Using a multifaceted approach, I help scholars learn about science and social studies. I focus on critical thinking skills, and I help my scholars become independent learners and team players.


CCS: Can you tell us about your family?

Ms. Angelo: My family loves being creative. My oldest daughter enjoys dancing and is on her high school dance team. Plus, my youngest daughter loves gymnastics and competed at the state level this year. They both love choreographing their routines!


CCS: What do you and your family like to do during your free time?

Ms. Angelo: As the mother of two beautiful daughters, I am fortunate to be able to experience life’s joys with them. Together, we love to go on adventures! This past year we went skiing and visited Yosemite and Seattle.


CCS: What is your favorite thing about working at CCS?

Ms. Angelo: As a teacher here at CCS, I am reminded of what I love most: the community that exists here and the way parents and teachers work together. The positive school culture allowing me to witness growth within each of my scholars as they persevere throughout the year.

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CCS: What is your favorite thing about learning labs?

Ms. Angelo: During my learning labs, I get to explore new pedagogical approaches, with the use of technology. My favorite part of learning labs is paring my technological skills with the scholars' skills. We are all able to learn in a safe and respectful learning environment that values and awards scholars' knowledge as well as their contributions. Some of my favorite lessons involve going on virtual field trips!


CCS: As an educator, is there a piece of advice you would like to share with learning coaches or scholars?

Ms. Angelo: Attend the learning labs live or watch the recordings, especially if you feel lost. They give you the ability to pause and take thorough notes or even re-watch parts that you didn’t quite understand the first time. Plus, you can always reach out to your teachers to ask questions about the material.


CCS: Share one thing about you that very few people know.

Ms. Angelo: I like to draw!

Cynthia Ross, Middle School Science & Social Studies Teacher at CCS.

CCS: What is your role at Compass, and what are your primary responsibilities?

Mrs. Ross: Agitator? Just kidding. I'm a middle school teacher. I teach seventh-grade science and social studies, and I supervise 25 awesome scholars. My role is to engage my scholars and hear their voices, then make sure I am meeting their academic needs.


CCS: Can you tell us about your family?

Mrs. Ross: My husband is an IT guy for the Department of Defense. We're a super-techy family! My son, Rex, is a sixth-grade scholar here at Compass! He had a lot of struggles at a brick-and-mortar school -- It was painful! -- but has been doing great at Compass, where all of the peer pressure has been removed. It can be tough to keep him on track, though. After all, I'm busy working with seventh-graders. Like most middle-schoolers, he has a hard time with appropriate break times and gets a bit lost on Youtube or video games. Fortunately, we've developed a good system where we set a goal in the morning -- two lessons of his choice, then check-in several times a day to evaluate progress. I also have a two-year-old daughter, Violet, who keeps me on my toes.


CCS: What do you and your family like to do during your free time?

Mrs. Ross: Free time? What's that? Just kidding. We have a family movie night. We also enjoy hiking and traveling when we have the opportunity.


CCS: What is your favorite thing about working at CCS?

Mrs. Ross: I love how much more personal the teaching experience is as an online teacher. I get to know each scholar's whole family, not just the scholar. When I taught in brick-and-mortar schools, scholars came to class with their 'persona' to impress their peers. Here, scholars don't need pretenses. It is easier to create a safe space where scholars can share their true selves without fear of peer-rejection.

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CCS: What is your favorite thing about learning labs?

Teacher: I love engaging with scholars. I always found lecturing so one-sided, but in a learning lab, I can have scholars interact with the material. I do my best to put on a song-and-dance to keep them tuned in. And I love it when they use their webcams or microphones.


CCS: As an educator, is there a piece of advice you would like to share with learning coaches or scholars?

Mrs. Ross: Education is a shared responsibility. A successful scholar is the result of communication between parent and teacher and scholar; all three need to be involved. Talk to your kids about what they are learning and doing. Keep them accountable for their schoolwork. Don't be afraid to reach out to teachers and ask questions. Encourage your scholar to be a good self-advocate.


CCS: Share one thing about you that very few people know.

Mrs. Ross: Before I became a teacher, I was a production artist for a promotional toy company that made toys for clients including Burger King! Yep, I had a part in making those little toys you get with fast-food meals. I always got to see the artwork for movies a year or more before they came out -- before they were finished even. It was a fun job!

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COUNSELING

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Happy Summer!

Here we are in the midst of summer break. Scholars, teachers, and counselors worked hard to conclude another great school year. The counseling services team has been gleaming with excitement as this summer marks an important milestone for us at Compass, it's the launch of our summer school program! Scholars can remediate coursework, advance, and/or recover credits that will inch them closer to high school graduation. For those whose plans don’t include summer school, we invite you to use your time wisely over the next couple of months by visiting college campuses, taking on internships, participating in academic and sports camps, and volunteering in your community to help you find new interests and passions. Look for those opportunities to grow, build self-confidence, and develop important life skills. Whatever your plans, we hope you enjoy your summer! We look forward to working with you during the 2018-19 school year!


~ Counseling Services Team

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Counseling News

Our graduating class of 2018 is enjoyed their last few days in high school and are ready to embark on a new chapter in their lives. We are proud of the incredible amount of hard work each scholar has invested and the accomplishments they have achieved. They will all be missed!

As part of our farewell celebration for our seniors, our team hosted a Decision Day Virtual Assembly in May! Decision Day allowed us to celebrate the post-high school plans of our graduating class, which included a variety of paths such as trade school, the military, gap-year, 4-year college and universities, community college, and the world of work!


We are thrilled to share with you several of the schools our scholars will be attending this fall:


  • Alaska Pacific University

  • AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts

  • California Baptist University

  • California State University, Northridge

  • Concordia University

  • California State University, Sacramento

  • Vanguard University

  • Whittier College

  • University of California, Irvine


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Family Spotlight

Since this is our last newsletter of the school year, we want to take this opportunity to highlight a few of our graduating seniors and their families! We are pleased to introduce to you Dominic Smith, Sabella Hunter, and Damion Dillard. Before they graduated from Compass, we asked them to share a bit about their experience during their time with us!

The Smith Family

The brick and mortar schools that Dominic attended in the past left him feeling rushed and we found it difficult to get the accommodations he needed for his disability. Luckily, we found virtual learning at CCS that allowed him to set a more suitable and comfortable pace for his learning needs and style. Sometimes it was hard for Dominic to resist the temptation to waste time distracted by other online activities, but overall this program really worked for him!


What we loved most about CCS was the open communication and availability of teachers and counselors. The staff here truly want to see each scholar succeed. They genuinely cared about Dominic’s goals and did everything they could to help him reach his full potential. CCS is a school I that I trust to provide a top-notch education that prepares scholars for college and thereafter. I’m excited to say that he will be attending California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in the Fall of 2018! He will be majoring in the prestigious film program. We are so proud and elated!

The Hunter Family

We chose virtual learning because Sabella was interested in a variety of challenging academic courses offered at CCS. The courses have given her the freedom to explore each subject in as much depth as she would like. While virtual learning has its challenges, like learning to effectively manage time especially when taking AP exams and the SAT, Sabella was able to overcome the challenges with encouragement from family, self-directed research, and support from her teachers and school staff. Her only regret is wishing she participated in more school field trips and clubs.


Our biggest advice to families considering virtual learning would be to develop effective time management and planning skills to ensure that the scholar completes their work on time, and to encourage the learning coach to truly embrace their role and remain available to assist their scholars as a backup resource when challenges present themselves.

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We have enjoyed interacting with Sabella’s teachers and other scholars, and we feel CCS has a magnificent support structure to ensure each scholar's success. Perhaps most of all, Sabella has enjoyed working with the counseling staff. Mr. Samples, her school counselor and Ms. Cruz, her College and Career Counselor have had such a positive impact on her journey. Ms. Cruz has proven to be dynamic and holds an energetic spirit! She has been a tremendous support for Sabella and is always ready to investigate, analyze, and share her findings and perspective with us, and keep us informed of scholarship opportunities. She has ensured that our family will be forever bonded to CCS!


Our family is excited to see Sabella go off to college. This summer she will be attending the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Summer Bridge Program and will be a freshman at UCI starting in the Fall of 2018. She plans to major in Visual and Concept Art with a double minor in Game Science and Japanese. She plans to study abroad in the summer of her sophomore and junior years and has aspirations to join the UCI honors program in preparation for a Master’s or advanced degree fellowship in the future.

The Dillard Family

I found virtual learning seven years ago while searching for a safe place to learn, and be myself without fear of being judged or bullied because of who I am and how I choose to identify. It gave me not only the safe space I was looking for but also a better learning experience than the one I had in a brick and mortar school. Doing my schooling online has changed me and I feel I’m a better person as a result. Virtual learning gave me the time and the space to understand who I am, what I stand for, and what I believe in. I will take these values with me for the rest of my life. While I did face some difficulties feeling a bit isolated, I took it upon myself to get involved with my local YMCA teen center to build friendships and socialize with other kids. For me, it was important to socialize for my emotional and personal well-being, it helped me successfully learn online and it made me a responsible social citizen.


My favorite thing about being part of the CCS community was being part of Book Club! It allowed me to get involved in school and it was somewhere I could turn to explore my worth and it gave me something to be proud of.


My next steps include attending my local community college, where I plan to start my course studies in a field that brings together my joy for learning, design, computers, and 3D Graphics and Animation! I’m hoping to get “my feet wet” at the community college before transferring to a 4-year university since I’ve been out of a physical classroom for so many years. For me, this transition represents adjusting to schedule changes, classrooms, teachers, and other scholars, but it’s something I am looking forward to with excitement!

Staff Spotlight

This month we are featuring Karla Gonzalez, Records Technician at CCS.


CCS: What are your primary job responsibilities?

Karla: My primary job responsibilities at CCS as a Records Technician include maintaining transcript records to ensure completeness and accuracy. Specifically for our high school scholars, I request, receive, process, enter, and validate transcripts and work with various counselors to troubleshoot any problems that pertain to records. Most of my work is behind the scenes collaborating internally with other CCS staff. I also assist the records department in maintaining scholar records for all grade levels. I process and issue scholar high school graduation diplomas, once they become eligible, which is perhaps one of my favorite responsibilities!


CCS: Can you share a little bit about your background?

Karla: I have 10 years of experience working in online charter schools as a registrar and enrollment secretary. I have been part of the Compass community in the records department for the past three years.


CCS: What is your favorite thing about working at CCS?

Karla: My favorite thing about working at CCS is having the ability to be part of each scholars education. Even though my job is behind the scenes and I don't work directly with our scholars, seeing and witnessing the amazing things that our teachers and counselors do every day makes me proud and happy to be part of the process. I truly enjoy watching our scholars graduate, move on to the next step in their life, and succeed.


CCS: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

Karla: My family is a central focal point in my life so when I am not working I am spending time with them. We love nature and more often than not we can be found spending time outdoors enjoying all that nature has to offer. When we’re not outdoors, we are practicing Jiu-Jitsu together, or I might be off on my own practicing yoga, reading self-improvement books, and writing.

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SHARE YOUR STORY

Are you enjoying the educational experience at Compass? Tell us! We want to hear from you. Why did you decide to join the Compass family? Or, what do you love most about being part of our community? Share you comments and all of your wonderful experiences at Compass with us! Click here to share.
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Compass Charter Schools

Visit our website for more information about our academic programs. Or, contact Melissa Blitzstein, Middle School Coordinator, at mblitzstein@compasscharters.org.
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