Council Meeting: April 17, 2014 – Addendum

Faculty presentation at the Meeting April 17


Gave an overview/ structure of our conversation


Talked about the history of the progressive nature of Horizons K-8 and emphasized the

longstanding commitment to being on the forefront of education reform.

What is progressive education?

What is progressive about Horizons?


Liz gathered several resources for us throughout our decision making process and had these

available for the Council meeting. See the end of this missive for the links.


Jim gave a brief history of Horizons K-8- focus on class size, teaching kids about making a

difference in the world, choice based curriculum, student involvement. He noted that there have

been many iterations of grade configurations over the years with a consistent focus on what is

best for kids.

Jim talked about, why this decision now?

Stable staff, inspired community; staff open to change and improvement; wanting more multi-
age; awesome students; family support; faculty desire to work in new teams as a measure of

school improvement.

Jim then explained a bit about why did this decision come after open enrollment? With the

compelling features of what this change will bring to Horizons K-8, it was decided upon that it

would not be in the best interest of our students to delay this reform effort toward improving our


Lauren spoke about how we came to this decision? What has been the process?

She filled us in on the visioning process, faculty meetings every Friday, listing of possible grade

level groupings, critical mass wanted change, no one asked for grade level groupings to stay

the same. Faculty concordance was reached.

Lauren spoke about parent involvement in this process. We trust that you trust us and our

process for gathering your ideas (survey, visioning, council conversations). Curriculum, grade

configuration, and class placement are under the purview of the faculty. Teachers hold

professional education as their expertise. Didn’t feel genuine to ask parents for more than their

general feelings about grade configurations and teachers, when they are not fully informed and

it is not the role of parents to make programmatic decisions. Strategic visioning, strategic

planning informed the decision. We are a healthy, informed community of educators who are

looking forward in response to the national conversation about what is best practice in schools.

Aubrey, Adam, Peter, and Sarah

Each spoke about placement decisions/process made by team members.

Please see below for an explanation of how this is being done at each new team level and

again, please share your concerns or specific needs with John and Liz.


Grades K-2

Wendy and Beth

Jeanne, Aubrey, Nichole and Elizabeth

Kids will be split based on student balance

Grades 3-4

Adam, Julie, Nel, Sally

Kids that were going to stay will stay, kids that were going to change will change and be mixed


Kids going from 2nd to 3-4 will remain with 2nd grade cohort.

3 and 5 get mixed up as they would have anyway.

Grades 5-6

Jim, Lynn, Lauren, Peter

Kids going from 4th to 5-6 will remain with 4th grade cohort. Kids going from 4 to 5 will stay

intact, kids going from 5 to 6 will scatter.

Grades 7-8

Stacey, Sarah, Katie, Lance, Pat

7-8 Communities will stay intact as much as possible.

We then opened the Q and A to the group. The questions that arose were in alignment with the

following themes that emerged from our survey.

● What are your plans for daily schedule, OE, Winter Sports, etc?

○ 8:30 to 3:30, Friday early release will stay the same. More details to

● How will teams make time to be well prepared for next year?

○ -Friday faculty meetings between now and the end of the year

○ -Two PD days at the end of 13-14

○ -Summer team meetings

○ -All day team release day between now and end of 13-14

● What are the benefits of multi-age learning?

○ Multiage impacts on social emotional, bullying, school culture and

come regarding team level decisions on OE and Winter Sports.

academic achievement. More on this in an upcoming Council meeting.

● How does this impact the idea of middle school? How will this reconfiguration

impact the traditional 5-6 transition both inside and outside Horizons?

○ This will be a living question for us as we work toward both addressing

the key transitional and developmental needs of our students while at the

same time taking full advantage of what it will mean to be the full

expression of a K-8 School.

● Can you describe the curriculum and daily flow for 5-6 and 7-8? Will my child be


○ Daily schedules are to be determined asap. We are confident that this

new configuration will allow us to continue to differentiate our instruction

in a high quality way while giving us the possibility of meeting the needs

of individual learners.

● How will you ensure and evaluate success?

○ Track data such as school discipline referrals, teacher satisfaction,

student achievement. Conferences and anecdotal data will be as

important as ever.

Resources by Topic

K-8 Schools

Holas, I. and Huston A. (2012) Are middle schools harmful? The role of transition timing,

classroom quality and school characteristics. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 41:333-345.

Yecke, C.P. Mayhem in the middle: Why we should shift to K-8. Educational Leadership, April

2006, Volume 63 (7).

Grade Configuration

Cushman, K. (1992). Essential Schools universal goals: How can heterogeneous grouping


Gordon, M., Peterson, K, Gdula, J, and Kleingbeil, D. (2011) Review of Literature on Grade

Configuration and School Transitions.

Gregg, K. Elementary school grade span configuration: New evidence on student acheivement,

achievement equity, and cost efficiency.

Kemmis, M. (2011). Challenges in implementing curriculum and assessing student learning in

multiage classrooms. Concordia University Masters Thesis.

Klump, J. What the research says (or doesn’t say) about K-8 versus middle school grade

configurations: Assessing the benefits of K-8 schools. NWREL Publication.

Progressive Education

Gibson, R. and Peterson, M. (2001). Whole schooling: Implementing progressive school

reform. In, Ross, W. (Ed). The Social Studies Curriculum.

Kohn, A. (2008). Progressive Education: Why its hard to beat. Independent School.

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