Lighthouse School Newsletter

February 17, 2021

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Mr. B's Corner

It was great to reconnect with Lighthouse families during conferences last week. During conversations I was reminded of a topic that I have shared in past years . . . executive functioning, safe-failures, and homework.


The Harvard Center on the Developing Child explains Executive Functioning as akin to “air traffic control.” Just as an air traffic control officer manages arrivals and departures at a busy airport, a child’s brain needs skills to manage their learning by filtering out distractions, managing their impulsivity, prioritizing tasks, and setting goals. To achieve this tricky task, one must call upon three distinct, but interrelated functions; working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control.

  • Working memory - governs our ability to retain and manipulate distinct pieces of information over short periods of time.
  • Mental flexibility - helps us to sustain or shift attention in response to different demands or to apply different rules in different settings.
  • Self-control - enables us to set priorities and resist impulsive actions or responses.


In tandem, these functions work wondrously, but asynchronously, they can be problematic. For instance, a student with ample working memory and mental flexibility, but a lack of self-control may have the ability to stray off-task in really interesting ways. Sound familiar? Likewise, a student with ample self-control may not necessarily be doing anything interesting, but they are compliant. The goal, however, is to help our learners develop all of these skills to a high enough level to find success.


With this in mind, our Lighthouse students are given numerous opportunities to exercise their executive functioning skills through self-directed learning. We believe that a student does not gain these skills without the authentic need to utilize these skills. At our youngest level, students are given ample opportunities with just a bit more scaffolding added to support their learning. As students develop these executive skills they are given more freedom to pursue their interests on their schedule. With such work, there are the inevitable successes and failures. These “safe failures” are extremely important for our gifted learners. Many of them have not met a challenge during their educational experiences, thus these “safe failures” can feel devastating to both parents and students. It is, however, extremely important to understand that these “safe failures” are opportunities to learn and move forward rather than an end-point in one’s learning. This is precisely why we utilize the “not yet (NY)” as one of our grades. It is a non-threatening grade that states that a student has “not yet” met their goals, but they are expected to continue to strive to meet goals in future endeavors.


“Safe failures” are part of learning, but we must be willing to allow GT students to have these “safe failures” without curating their learning so much that such “safe failures” are avoided. This is part of the reason that the Lighthouse School does not require homework. In fact, we discourage homework for all activities besides the occasional Inquiry and Book Challenge deep-dive. For all work at the Lighthouse, there is enough time built into our school day for students to accomplish all of their goals. Although this is an extreme generality, it is important to note that the students who do have homework do so because they have chosen to socialize, play games, or deep-dive into specific topics during their school day. Although this may seem to be a contradiction, I encourage parents to discourage homework so that students utilize their time to work on their negotiated work plan during the day. Given our learning model shifts this year, we are seeing that now more than ever, students are craving social time. This social time is extremely important, but to help students find academic success at school, we must prioritize family and fun time at home. For those working from home in our Extended Flexible Learning model, this may mean ensuring that there is a dedicated time and place for Lighthouse learning throughout the day AND a time and place for family fun.


I do realize that there are exceptions that relate to every individual child, but I have had this conversation with a quite a few families, and wanted to share my thoughts on how to encourage executive skills to blossom. Hopefully, by focusing on fun family time at home and scheduling fun time for students outside of school, students will be able to utilize their school time to dive into their work fully.


As always, thanks for entrusting your child(ren) to the Lighthouse School for Gifted and Insatiable Learners,

Kevin

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Requests to change learning model at trimester transition

LH Families who have chosen Extended Flexible Learning (EFL) and want to request a change to Modified Campus (grades 7-12) or Face-To-Face (grades 1-6) will be able to request that change by contacting the school office Monday, February 22 – Friday, February 26.


We are asking for requests to be in by February 26 to ensure we have the space to maintain COVID Safety Precautions and time to adjust class rosters in time for the beginning of trimester 3. Families may continue to choose Extended Flexible Learning at any time during this school year.

Funds for food through Pandemic EBT

Students who are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals in our school will get Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) funds through the 2020-2021 school year. P-EBT funds can be used to help you buy healthy food for your student and family. A new P-EBT card will be mailed for each child who qualifies for free and reduced-price meals.


It's not too late to complete an application for free and reduced-price meals. If you previously did not qualify for free/reduced-price meals and your financial circumstances have changed, you are welcome to reapply. Be sure to sign up before February 28 to get the P-EBT benefits as soon as late March.


If you have questions, contact Nutrition Services, foodservice@district16.org or 763-600-5041.


Need more food help? If you are eligible for P-EBT you might also be eligible for SNAP. Contact the Minnesota Food HelpLine to see if you are eligible 888-711-1151.

Concurrent Registration

2021-2022 Concurrent Course Registration Season is upon us. Although this is really important for rising 8th-12th graders, families of younger students may find it informative too as they imagine the future.


Spring Lake Park High School counselors are working on their 2021-2022 registration process and will begin to register students in the coming weeks. As this process begins, those LH students concurrently enrolled will hear of SLPHS registration events. Lighthouse students, as always, are welcome to participate in SLPHS events, but concurrent registration for LH students is as simple as parents emailing Mr. B, kberdi@district16.org, with SLPHS course selection. Please send email before 3/5/21.

  • 8th Graders may be ready to take 1 concurrent course with parent request AND LH team approval
  • 9th-12th Graders may register for 2 courses with parent request AND LH team approval
    • 9th Graders may take 2 courses AND should ALSO register for 2 terms of PE and 1 term of Health

Although there is flexibility, most Lighthouse students complete their Math, Language Arts, Art, and World Language credits through the Lighthouse. Many students also complete Pre-AP Chemistry utilizing Aleks, and fulfill Human Geography/Civics and US History through LH coursework. Additionally, students often utilize their inquiry to complete Economics, Government, and social studies elective credits.


Please take some time to look through the Concurrent Registration Info slide show to learn more about being a concurrent student. In it you will find:



Please do not hesitate to reach out should you and/or your child wish to schedule a WebEx meeting to discuss registration needs.


Balancing Act

How do most LH students balance LH and SLPHS concurrently to fulfill Grad. Requirements?

  • Language Arts (12 Credits)
    • Lighthouse book challenges, lit clubs, and writing plan
  • Math (9 Credits)
    • Aleks
      • Students who complete Aleks Pre-Calc take Calc at SLPHS
    • UMPTYMP
  • Social Studies (11 Credits)
    • Lighthouse
      • Honors Human Geography/Civics, and US History
      • LH Inquiries: Economics, Government, and Social Studies Elective
    • SLPHS Classes
      • World History
  • Science (9 Credits)
    • Lighthouse
      • Physical Science/Aleks Chemistry (fulfill same credit requirement)
        • Aleks Pre-AP Chemistry
        • Prepares student to take AP Chem at SLPHS later
        • Some choose to take Honors Physical Science through SLPHS
    • SLPHS
    • Honors Physical Science/Aleks Chemistry (fulfill same credit requirement)
    • AP Biology
    • AP Physics/Chemistry
  • Art (3 Credits)
    • Lighthouse (Secondary Students)
      • Songwriting (1 credit/year)
      • Guitar (1 credit/year)
      • Independent Art (0.5 credits/term)
  • PE (2 Credits)
    • SLPHS (9th Graders)
      • Foundations of Fitness
      • PE Elective
  • Health (1 Credit)
    • SLPHS (9th Graders)
      • Health
  • Electives (16 Credits)
    • LH Students complete 9 Credits through Rosetta Stone
    • LH Students complete 4 Credits through Inquiry (may be electives)
    • Extra courses beyond grad. requirements (ie. 4th year of Science, or additional LA credits)

The deadline to order the Lighthouse yearbook is April 2

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Register for the Panthers for a Purpose Silent Auction, show your dance moves for Challenge #3

The Panthers for a Purpose virtual giving event is almost here! Starting this week, you can preview the fantastic Silent Auction items and mark your favorites here. The Silent Auction, featuring 300+ items will open Wednesday, February 24. Packages start as low as $25 with all proceeds going to the Panther Pantry and Weekend Pack Program. This event is free, but you need to be registered in order to bid on the items. Follow this link to register and click "get started" to begin.


As a reminder, Challenge #3 is underway which means it's time to get your groove on, Panthers! Put on some music and show us your favorite moves between now and February 24.


Send videos of your family dance party to PantherFoundation@district16.org to be entered in the prize drawing.


Remember to tune in on Saturday, February 27 at 7 p.m. for the Panthers for a Purpose virtual giving event as we celebrate our Panther spirit, unite our community for a purpose and fill the Panther Pantry. Watch the event at SpringLakeParkSchools.org/giveback.

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