Fahari's Weekly Staff Memo: 6/08/2015 - 6/12/2015
A Message from Fahari's Principal: Stephanie Clagnaz, Ed.D.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK:
What are some additional benefits of project based learning?
The following points highlight some benefits of project-based learning (PBL) according to the Buck Institute of Education:
Today’s students, more than ever, often find school to be boring and meaningless. In PBL, students are active, not passive; a project engages their hearts and minds, and provides real-world relevance for learning.
After completing a project, students remember what they learn and retain it longer than is often the case with traditional instruction. Because of this, students who gain content knowledge with PBL are better able to apply what they know and can do to new situations.
In the 21st century workplace, success requires more than basic knowledge and skills. In PBL, students not only understand content more deeply but also learn how to take responsibility and build confidence, solve problems, work collaboratively, communicate ideas, and be creative innovators.
The Common Core and other present-day standards emphasize real-world application of knowledge and skills, and the development of success skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, communication in a variety of media, and collaboration. PBL provides an effective way to address such standards.
Modern technology – which students use so much in their lives – is a perfect fit with PBL. With technology, teachers and students can connect with experts, partners, and audiences around the world, and use tech tools to find resources and information, create products, and collaborate more effectively.
PBL allows teachers to work more closely with actively engaged students doing high-quality, meaningful work, and in many cases to rediscover the joy of learning alongside their students.
Current models of PBL are not like some past examples of “doing projects” in which student learning outcomes were not clear. More rigorous and effective models of PBL have been refined and tested in recent years in a variety of settings, subjects, and grade levels.”
Here are some additional resources for project-based learning lesson and unit plans:
This is the website for the state of West Virginia PBL resources. There are many projects that you can sort through by grade and subject.
The Buck Institute for Education provides lots of information about project-based learning in addition to resources for immediate use.
Intel provides projects that are appropriate for students at different age levels.
21st Century Schools has resources that include projects for various grades.
- How can project-based learning enhance student engagement and deeper learning?
Next year our 8th graders will have the opportunity to participate in a program known as Peer Group Connection (PGC). PGC aligns with our BHAG in that it provides opportunities for leadership and service students. It also aligns with our work in restorative practices.
What is PGC?:
Peer Group Connection (PGC) for Middle Schools is a research-based program that supports and eases students’ successful transition into middle school. The program taps into the power of eighth graders to create a nurturing environment for incoming middle school students. Once per week, pairs of 8th graders meet with groups of 8-10 incoming middle school students in outreach sessions designed to strengthen relationships among students across grades. These peer leaders are simultaneously enrolled in a daily, year-long leadership course taught by school faculty during regular school hours.
The students participating in PGC, also known as Peer Leaders, will take on the task of acculturating 6th graders to Fahari. Peer Leaders will serve as mentors, teachers, and community elders to new students as they enter Fahari. This is critical work, as a strong start to middle school is a key indicator for future academic success. Schools that have implemented PGC have seen an increase in students’ academic, social, and emotional skills, as well as improved academic performance, increased attendance, and a decrease in high risk behaviors for participating students.
We know that our 6th graders are faced with peer pressure to engage in undesirable behaviors both in and out of school. Bullying, identity issues, limit testing, and the onset of adolescence are the themes that color students' transition to middle school. What will it mean for our 6th graders to have support from their peers in navigating these challenges? Similarly, 8th graders often feel “grown” and are looking for ways to display their maturity. This often results in challenging authority and rule breaking. What will it mean for a significant number of 8th graders to have authentic responsibility for the well being of our school culture? PGC offers us the opportunity to deepen our work around social emotional learning while providing an outstanding opportunity for our students. Please encourage 7th grade students who you believe have leadership potential to apply.
Thanks for all that you do,
Assistant Principal for Administration and Culture
Family Engagement Updates
This Saturday, June 13th we will have our end-of-year Fahari Festival Fundraiser!!!!!! Come join us from 12pm - 4pm as we celebrate the end of the school year with food, music, fun and games for all! Admission is free and all families are welcome! Food will be available for purchase by guests. Bring your $1's for special activities and purchases such as Art Booth by Mr. Zoboi, Teacher Arm Wrestling station, and much much more! If you are interested in volunteering to run an activity or booth, please reach out to me, Mrs. Halley or Ms. Welch. Location details coming soon. Student flyers will be going out today.
See you this Saturday!
Director of Family Engagement
Technology, Data and Testing Updates
End of Year Technology Collection:
As the end of year is approaching, it is now time to inventory the technology provided to you and backup your files, bookmarks and favorites. All personal information should be removed from your laptops and cell phones as they will be turned in on June 26th and reassigned at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.
If you have files on the “Desktop”, "My Documents", “Downloads” or any location on the computer other than the "H" drive, they need to be backed up. Any files outside of the "H" drive will be deleted during the summer. You should also plan to remove obsolete items from your email and organize your Google Drive files.
Save a copy of your web browser favorites and bookmarks. Directions can be found in the Google knowledgebase at: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/96816?hl=en.
Technology Return Checklist:
- Dell Vostro
- Dell Vostro Charger
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini – Labeled with phone number
- Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Charger- USB cable and adapter
- Projector Carts (if applicable)
- Speakers (if applicable)
- Elmo’s and cables (if applicable)
STANFORD 10 Testing:
STANFORD 10 is a nationally normed assessment delivered by Pearson Education which assesses student performance across core academic subjects. At Fahari, we assess math problem solving skills and reading comprehension. We will administer the Reading Comprehension exam this week to all new students in grades 5 through 8.
Fahari Grading Policy
The Fahari Academy Grading Policy consists of both a numerical grade that reflects the student’s performance aligned to grade-level standards and a PRIDE grade indicating the student’s effort, participation, completion of homework, classwork, and other Fahari core values. We have researched Rick Stiggins effective grading practices which require clear criterion for grading that separates the academic and non-academic factors to ensure we capture accurate measures of student success. These methods cater to the whole child approach and empowers them to be successful in and out of the classroom.
Report Card Timeline:
June 12 - Comments Due by 8AM.
June 19 - End of Marking Period 4.
June 22 - Final Grades in Datacation (Academic and PRIDE) due by 8AM.
June 24 - Report cards submitted to Dr. Clagnaz for review.
June 30 - Report Cards mailed out to all families.
2015 Remaining Testing Dates:
Stanford 10 Math – June 8
Stanford 10 Reading - June 9
Living Environment Regents – June 16
Algebra I Common Core Regents – June 17
This week's schedule updates
Will it be an A or B week?
We will be following a B schedule this week.
Who Will Be Out?
Monday, June 8th, 2015
Kim Hunter (PM Out)
Tuesday, June 9th, 2015
Wednesday, June 10th, 2015
Kim Hunter (PM Out)
Thursday, June 11th, 2015
Friday, June 12th, 2015
Monday, June 8th 2015 to Tuesday, June 9th 2015
Stanford 10 Testing
Friday, June 12th 2015
Honor Roll Breakfast for 7th and 8th Grades
Tuesday, June 16th 2015
Board Meeting @ Fahari Academy - 7:00 PM
Tuesday, June 16th 2015
Living Environment Regents
Wednesday, June 17th 2015
Algebra I Common Core Regent
Monday, June 22nd, 2015 to Friday, June 26th, 2015
12:45 PM Dismissal for All Student
Monday, June 22nd, 2015
5th and 6th Grade Field Day
8th Grade Dance
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
7th and 8th Grade Field Day
Thursday, June 25th 2015
8th Grade Graduation @ Medgar Evers College - 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM