"Fall" In Love With School
K12 International Academy Parent Newsletter - September
Message from our Head of School, Leslie Smith
Greetings, iCademy Families!
Can you believe it’s already September? As we move further into our school year, we hope you will take advantage of the support your teachers and coaches are able to provide. Attending Class Connects, Study Halls, and meeting with us in Skype and over the phone will elevate your overall schooling experience. We also know that being engaged increases student success!
We are very excited to kick off monthly school-wide assemblies for our upper school students (grades 6-12). Our first assembly will be on Friday, September 15th. The link and time will be listed in your CC schedule, so be on the lookout! Of course, the assembly will also be recorded for those who can’t make it there live.
Lastly, we know things have been tough for many of you affected by hurricanes, wildfires, and even earthquakes. Please know we are here to support you in the event you need additional help with schooling. Most importantly, stay safe!
Here’s to a super September!
Leslie A. Smith
Head of School
Learning Coaches' Corner
By: Susan Hollingsworth,
Manager of Family and Student Support
It never fails that at the beginning of the school year I get excited! Just the smell of school supplies makes me smile. This is not always the case for everyone. You don’t have to be an early bird to leap out of bed when your alarm clock rings, ready and rarin’ to get to school. You don’t have to be a star student to love your history class. All you’ve got to do is dig a little deeper and look a little harder for the things that make school totally fab. (They’re there, trust me!)
Get to know your teachers
When you start seeing your math teacher as a motorcycle-loving guy with a weakness for really bad knock-knock jokes, you’ll get past the endless word problems he throws at you and start having fun. Really. The best way to do this is to attend Class Connects, Study Halls and contacting your teachers/coaches through Skype. It is during these sessions that you will truly get to know your teacher and get comfortable asking for help.
Can’t figure out how to write a thesis statement? Stop feeling bad about your poor English grades and enlist the help of your teacher. Attend a Study Hall or Skype your teacher to ask for help. You’ll feel like your achieving something, especially when your grades begin to soar. Go you!
Decorate your schooling area
Everyone has bad days, but when you can catch a glimpse of something, anything, that makes you smile, you’ll be able to boost your spirits in a jiffy. Post some ridic pics of you and your buds, an inspiring quote or a dry erase tic-tac-toe board.
Revamp your goals
If your New Year’s resolution was to score all A’s this semester, rethink that goal. Maybe it’s not practical to turn your borderline B’s into a perfect report card, but you can master French verb conjugations or totally dominate your oral presentation in History.
Celebrate small accomplishments
You got a 90 on a quiz in bio? Heck yeah! Give yourself a pat on the back, tape up your paper in your locker or over your desk and reward yourself with a treat. You deserve it.
Find something sensational in every project
Just because the Renaissance isn’t exactly your thing doesn’t mean working on your project has to stink. If you’re an artist, throw yourself into creating the coolest tri-fold poster ever. If you love to write, crank out a top-notch paper. If you love to talk, start making index cards now for your oral report.
Join a club in an area you want to improve in
Too often, academic classes are intended to focus on your strengths rather than improving your weaknesses. Duck a poor grade in art class and still learn how to draw a reasonably life-like hand by joining the art club. Clubs will get kicked off in September so be watching for Club Rush to show on your Class Connect list.
Take a lunch break and pack a truly tasty lunch
Be sure to break up your day. Taking a lunch break and refueling your body (and brain!) is so important. Just because you are at home doesn’t mean you can’t pack a lunch and take it outside or to the park. Set aside ten minutes in the morning (or the night before) and put together a meal you’ll be excited to eat when the lunch.
Even if school is not something that gets you excited, it doesn't mean that you can't make it exciting! Find something (or lots of things) about school that you can get excited about. We are certainly excited to have you with us! If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. You have a village ready to make this the BEST YEAR EVER!
Advanced Placement® News
For High School students taking Advanced Placement courses, we've organized a special section of the newsletter, just for you! Find out all the details about Advanced Placement courses, options, testing, and overall news by viewing the link, below:
News from the English Department
Ready, Set, Discuss!
Discussions play an important role in English courses
When students begin working in an online academic setting, they learn very quickly the differences between virtual and brick and mortar schools. One major difference is peer interaction in the classroom. In a brick and mortar classroom, students speak with other students about the classroom topic at hand, about school, and about life in general. At K12 International Academy, while our students do not speak to each other on a daily basis, they have the opportunity to discuss important topics with their peers.
The English curriculum includes discussions over novels and authors, peer feedback on essay assignments, and the opportunity to share thoughts and topics, such as the ways in which John F. Kennedy used rhetoric in his 1961 Inaugural address.
Students learn and practice important skills such as:
- · Articulating personal insights in written form,
- · Providing effective peer feedback,
- · Formulating and asking open-ended questions,
- · Engaging other students to help them think outside the box.
As students develop these skills, they become a community of learners, working to “hear” and consider other students’ thoughts on a wide range of topics. Students connect over both shared and differing opinions; teachers, meanwhile, become the “guides on the side”, present to redirect or encourage the discussion as needed.
Discussions are an important component of any classroom setting. In the virtual classroom, they provide students the opportunity to connect with peers, share their ideas, and in doing so, discussions help take the distance out of distance education. Ask your student about the last discussion he or she participated in or, the next one listed on their course calendar. You might be surprised by what your student shares, and it might just start a thoughtful discussion between you and your student!
News from the Math Department
MATH Department Stumper Snack break!
The math department thought it might be fun to include a math stumper each month. For this month’s stumper, we thought we would start with a delectable diversion. This has been done in the spirit of fun and relaxation as we prepare for another successful school year.
There is an amazing new line of desserts designed to guess your age!
- To begin, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate, cheesecake, pumpkin pie or whatever tasty treat gets you drooling (more than once but less than 10).
- Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold)
- Add 5
- Multiply this by 50
- If you have already had your birthday this year add 1767. If you haven't, add 1766.
- Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.
You should have a three digit number. The first digit of this was your original number (i.e., how many times you want to have chocolate, cookies, etc each week). The next two numbers are your age!
News from the Science Department
News from the World Language Department
Spotlight on Spanish
At K12 International Academy, we welcome students to study Spanish from Kindergarten through Advanced Placement. At any level of study, studying Spanish doesn’t mean just learning grammar and vocabulary! It’s important (and fun!) to learn the history and culture of the people who speak Spanish, too. Spain is known around the world for its unique festivals. There is “El Colacho,” known as the baby-jumping festival in Murcia, the Running of the Bulls in San Fermín, and the “Concurs de Castells” (the human towers competition) in Tarragona.
Perhaps the most delicious festival is La Tomatina, which takes place on the last Wednesday of August. People from around the world visit a small town in Spain called Buñol for the world’s largest tomato fight! Trucks are loaded with more than 150,000 extra-ripe (extra soft!) tomatoes that have been specially grown for the festival. The tomato fight lasts about an hour, but the festivities surrounding the festival last about a week. For more information about La Tomatina, please visit this link: LA TOMATINA
Fall in Love with Lower School
- Flexibility - in terms of scheduling, you're probably well aware of the many options for flexibility. But, have you considered flexibility of environment? If the weather is amenable, try taking some work outside! A literature picnic, some spelling basketball, math hopscotch, or even cartoons in the world language of your choice can be entertaining and a great way to change up the academic day!
- Fun - Have you been to an iKid Social? What fun! The Lower School Team monitors and facilitates fun games for the children, who get to interact in real time! These sessions are among the most popular at the school, and for good reason!
- School Spirit - Have you sent in a slide yet for our Lower School Community Event?It's coming up on 9/14, and is a great way to come together and share what excites us about school! Club Rush is coming up also, as well as our first school assembly! It is a wonderful thing to take part in your school community and build friendships through getting involved.
Your Lower School team will be here to support you in conferences, Class Connects, and with any questions you may have. We can't wait to hear what you love about school!
Tips and Tricks from the Lower School Team
A few helpful tips and tricks for you:
- Check attendance at the end of the day from the LC account to ensure each lesson of attendance has been accounted for.
- Remember to give the default time, even if it took less to accomplish the lesson. Give additional time if needed.
- Optional Lessons: They do not count towards progress and are often a review or additional info. Skip them and do a required lesson when you see an optional listed. IF you then want to, do the optional lesson. Otherwise in the LC account mark the lesson skipped. Watch this video if you want to know how to mark as skipped: http://screencast-o-matic.com/watch/cDQiqVjjoY
- World Language attendance time needs to be added into the attendance as it does not happen automatically. I suggest entering all 5 hours at the end of the week.
- The daily plan can be done in any order that day. When students schedule the order, they are often more pleased with their day.
- As you get into the routine, find the special ways to do school. The hammock outside, the couch, sitting on the floor instead of the table, using an exercise ball as a chair to allow for more movement. And maybe even do school in your PJ's!
- Students that focus on the Daily Plan each day and communicate with me (LC's too) using Skype often make the most progress and are happiest!
- Remember that finding the process and routine takes a couple weeks. I promise it gets easier and quicker if you keep going each day!
K12 International Academy proudly acknowledges Joshua A.'s fine achievements, both in men's gymnastics and within his academics! Joshua has been with the International Academy for a number of years. This month, we feature an essay written by the powerhouse gymnast, who has recently won gold in the all-around of the Region Eight Men's Gymnastics Championship. Joshua has been a shining star at the International Academy for years now, demonstrating an excellent work ethic and top tier academic skills. His humble attitude and desire to achieve have set him apart from his peers, and endeared him to his teachers. What we more recently learned was how dear the International Academy was to Joshua! Rather than tell you about Joshua and his journey, I turn it over to the Lower School superstar, himself:
Why Homeschooling is Best for a Gymnast
Ever since I was in Pre-K, I went to a private school. When I was about seven years old I wanted to try gymnastics. My parents put me in gymnastics twice a week in the afternoons for one hour after school. After a few months, we decided to look for another gym that had a boys’ competitive team. At the new gym, my new coaches noticed right away that I had potential to become a great gymnast. I was invited within a few months to become part of their intensive boys’ team. To become part of the team, I would have to leave my school and be home-schooled. This was a hard decision to make, but I realized that it was the best decision for myself and my future.
Gymnastics is a sport that requires a lot of hours of practice and conditioning. When a gymnast stops training for too long, they have a higher chance of getting injured. Being home-schooled allows me to be in the gym full-time. I wake up in the morning and train eight hours a day. Since I started this program, I have seen major improvements in my skills and my strength. I have a lot of time to perfect my events and make them the best possible. After only one year of home-school I went to State and Regional Championships and won first place. When I went to these competitions, I saw the difference in the gymnasts who didn’t train full-time. The gymnasts that were home-schooled performed better overall and received higher scores.
After a hard day of training I come home and take an hour break. Once I shower and eat a snack, my schooling begins. It usually takes me about 4-5 hours. I really enjoy doing my schoolwork in my pajamas. I don’t miss wearing uniforms every day. Each day I can choose a different place to do my work. Some days, I will read on my bed or on the couch. Once I understand the lesson I’m able to take the unit assessment and move on to the next lesson. In regular school, I would have to go at the same pace with the rest of the class. At home I have my learning coach to myself. She can sit down with me and help me, one on one. I can ask all the questions I have, and if I don’t understand something she can spend more time with me until I do. In school, there would be twenty to twenty-five kids in a class with only one teacher to teach everyone. Homeschooling doesn’t require me to be in class eight hours a day and then come home and do homework. Being in school all day and then coming home to do more work before going to gymnastics in the afternoon was very exhausting.
Once competition season begins, I travel almost every two weeks. Since homeschooling is so flexible I’m able to go ahead on my assignments and finish my work before leaving to competition. I can also take my computer with me and finish my work while we are away from home. If there is anything that I am not able to finish during the week I can just complete it on the weekend, as well. After competition season is over in April, I try to do more schoolwork than usual. If I do this, sometimes, I even finish the school year early and start my summer vacation.
Home schooling is not for everyone, but for me it has been the most incredible experience. Every day I am doing what I am passionate about. At the same time, I know that I am getting an amazing education at home. I have traveled and learned so much the past couple of years. I am proud of the decisions that I have made for myself and my future. I would not change it for the world.