September 16, 2018
This weekend, I went on an impromptu motorcycle ride to Maine. On the surface, I went because the weather was great, I wanted to have an actual weekend, and I...could. While I was riding, though, I thought that in so many ways, this 24-hour jaunt modeled what research tells us is a true significant learning experience, and aligns with how schools are starting to look at learning through a proficiency-based lens. Stick with me... this will make sense.
Having never ridden further than Essex, where I bought this motorcycle over the summer, it's an understatement that I have a lot to learn still. We don't expect kids to learn by osmosis, and we shouldn't expect the same for ourselves. The four elements below help to define what makes any learning experience significant and meaningful, and were certainly present for me this weekend.
Uncharted Waters - Except for the time that my battery got low and I became embarrassingly stranded in the middle of the intersection...on the first day of school... I'm getting pretty good at riding back and forth between home and school. The best learning starts with an emotional connection and new problems to solve, in unexpected territory. New roads and distances provided that. At school, it might mean taking a college class, taking on the leadership of teaching a skill to a classmate, or trying out a completely new sport or instrument.
High Stakes Exhibition of Learning - Riding a motorcycle seems to be all about learning. Each turn and traffic experience is a chance to improve, but having very tangible real-world consequences provides strong motivation to take the experience as seriously as possible. The same could be said for school.
Goals and Levels of Assessment - You've probably seen your children coming home with rubrics discussing how they are approaching, meeting or exceeding a standard. In this case, the standard I set for myself was "touching the ocean". Approaching standard was getting to the White Mountains and deciding to turn around, meeting was getting to Harpswell - the most direct ocean access on my route, and exceeding standard would be heading north to Camden with enough time to get home and write all about it. I met the standard, but realized that to try again, and go for exceeding, I would need better time management and more efficient navigation tools.
Opportunity for Failure, Reflection and Growth - Our 11th grade advisory focuses on portfolios - documenting what has been learned, and reflecting on the experience itself. In this case, opportunities for growth were more in my face than a typical school course (need sunscreen next time, that phone charger cord is actually necessary, consider a map), but still... reflection inspires growth, and failure inspires reflection. Part of crafting a strong educational experience is knowing where to build in relatively safe opportunities to fail (sunburn, wasted time) and where to make the learning high stakes (not crashing). In school, that looks like freedom to do poorly on early quizzes (without significant penalty) to find out what you don't know, as opposed to failing a final project.
John Dewey tells us that "education is not preparation for life, it is life itself". As we work to bring the core elements of brain-based, significant learning to the classroom, my hope, as you start this week, is that you recognize and take advantage of the learning all around you, every day.
Principal, Danville School
Enchanted Forest Book Fair - October 9th through 13th
Our Parent-Teacher Group will once again host a fall book fair, a great chance for kids to pick up some great new reading material. PTG members could use a few more volunteers to make the event a success - please consider signing up for a slot here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f48a4a728a7fe3-october
Enchanted Forest Book Fair
Danville School Library
October 9 through October 13
(Saturday will be in the lobby)
Home Cross-Country Meet on 9/21 - Volunteers Needed
Amazon and Price Chopper shoppers - Support our PTG
We also participate in Price Chopper's Tools for Schools program. Go to https://www.pricechopper.com/participating-schools and sign up your AdvantEdge card with our school code, 15408.
Parents' Advisory Group - Wednesday, September 19th
Monday September 17th
MS Girls Soccer vs St. Johnsbury 4:30
MS Boys Soccer vs St. Johnsbury 5:30
(Both on town baseball field. Ken scorekeeper/Steve and Dick)
Tuesday September 18th
Varsity Girls Soccer @Hazen 5:00.
MS/HS XC @Northfield/Williamstown 4:00/4:30.
3/4 Boys Soccer vs Waterford (School Field) 4:00
Wednesday September 19th
Varsity Boys Soccer @Hazen 5:00
Middle School Girls & Boys Soccer @Blue Mountain 4:00
Thursday September 20th
Friday September 21st
Varsity Girls Soccer @Twinfield 4:30
Danville Cross Country Meet 2:30-4:30
Saturday September 22nd
Danville Elementary School Jamboree TBA (Randy should have schedule tomorrow evening)
Dropoff and Pickup - One more time!
Times will be the same as last year. Students who need to arrive early may do so after 7:00 AM, and supervision will be provided in the cafeteria for grades K-7. High School and 8th grade students may wait in the high school hallway, as long as the tone of the hallway is calm, quiet and respectful. Pre-K parents may bring your children directly to their classroom, and Kindergarten parents may escort your children to class for the first few weeks of school, until they feel comfortable navigating the building. Classes for all grades begin at 7:45 AM.
It's working a lot better this week! Everyone coming out at the same time, and people picking up students in only PK-K being able to jump to the front of the line seems to be easing the congestion.
Pre-K and K: 2:30 PM
1-8: 2:40 PM
9-12: 2:45 PM
Pre-K and Kindergarten Only
If you're only picking up PK-K students before 2:40, please feel free to jump out of the line and drive to the pickup area, marked by a yellow curb. Please pull all the way to the front. This will reduce congestion all around. Other cars will be lined up a short distance back. At 2:40, we'll ask everyone to pull forward. If you're later than 2:40, or picking up older students as well, please just stay in the regular line.
Please pull all the way forward, to the end of the yellow curb in front of the door. I know in past years people have been asked to wait back a bit. Please don't - pulling all the way up allows more cars in at once.
If you find yourself with younger children in the car and are waiting for a high school sibling, please feel free to pull into the fire lane, in front of the school building. This will again create as much room as possible and reduce the wait time for those behind you.