May 12, 2016
We have had two build days to this point and our garden is coming to life! Please join us on May 14th and May 21st to lend a hand! Our community garden will soon become the center piece at the heart of our school and community. Come be a part of it’s creation!
- Project Based Learning and Authentic Assessment
This is the time of year when we all have an important role to play as participants in the learning that is happening here at Horizons. We become an “authentic audience” for our students. Last week, our 3rd and 4th graders presented their Dream Homework projects and 7th graders will be sharing their Learning Challenges on May 25th. On Friday of this week, our 5th and 6th graders will be presenting their Learning Without Walls units and on Wednesday night, the culmination of 8th grade projects were presented publicly at Aperture Night! This K-8 experience for our students is not to be missed. Even if you do not have a student at one of these particular grade levels, you are encouraged to come see the depth of learning that is taking place here at Horizons. And to learn more about Project Based Learning please see the following link: http://bie.org/
Last week our full faculty had an opportunity, over the course of three days, to participate in Instructional Rounds. This is our second rotation for this practice and our “problem of practice” or area of focus for this set of rounds was Self Directed Learning. Teachers took the time to pre-brief, do classroom visits and de-brief with each other as we collectively explore one of our founding pillars and share what “teacher moves” help to support self direction in our students. Embedded professional development, such as doing instructional rounds, has been sited as one of the most effective forms of learning for educators and we are finding this to be true.
- Kinder and New Family Orientation: Sharing our Passion!
This past week, the Horizons K-8 Community group hosted our annual orientation for our new families. We had a wonderful meet and greet followed by an information session and Q and A. After the gathering, I was grateful that one parent picked up on my passion for who we are and the “why” of Horizons K-8 and our practices. She shared the following column with me after she arrived at home: Putting Grit in Its Place. If you are looking for a short and perfect read that explains the importance and effectiveness of our approach here at Horizons K-8, look no further than David Brook’s thoughtful analysis found here.
This week the Reading to End Racism program comes to our school K-8. The effort has been bolstered this year by the work of our Diversity and Inclusion Committee who has gathered some outstanding books, that are available in the front office, if you would like to extend your child’s learning regarding this critical topic.
The 2016-17 school year will see the full K-12 roll out of the Parent Portal via Boulder Valley School District. We have, in recent years, been using parent portal 5th-8th grade to take advantage of various features that benefit our program and to begin to familiarize families to this interface in preparation for high school. We are now supporting this roll out as a school K-8 beginning in the 2016-17 school year. We will not be using all of the available features at all levels of our program but we do see that moving all of our registration and parent contact information into Infinite Campus will safe us tremendous time, create easier access for families and will save significant amounts of paper on an annual basis. Thank you for letting us know if you are having any issues getting signed up on the Parent Portal.
This group has been squeezing in time over the past few weeks to create a structure to get our purchase orders in to spend both our CDE capital construction monies in addition to funding that remains from FY 16. Stay tuned to see furniture upgrades to our rooms, main areas and common spaces.
- Faculty Meeting Focus for Remainder of the Year and into August
In addition to building our relationships K-8 as colleagues, our focus between now and June 1 include the following and more as we prepare for the 2016-17 school year!
- Daily Schedule K-8
- Annual Calendar
- Math assessment K-8
- Make a Difference
- Arts and Sciences
- Project Week
- Team level proposals
- Class Placement
- Student led conferences
- Annual Unified Improvement Plan goals
- Parent feedback regarding student progress
- Student support systems
- Instructional Rounds
- Curriculum mapping
- 8th Grade Capstone Trip
- Annual strategic planning
- New teacher orientation
This year we will be saying goodbye to veteran educators Jeanne Kipke, Sally Warren and Nel Woller along with long time, beloved paraprofessional, Leanne Roberts, who is also retiring. Each of these women and their heart-centered work, has made a lasting impact on the culture, focus, and long term effectiveness of our school. Please take a moment to wish them well over the course of the next few weeks.
In June, Kevin Holst, Ron Waryznek, and Orion Poplawski, who have each played a critical role in the development of our bylaws and our current board structure, will be moving out of their roles as board members. Their collective hours of work, and commitment to this process and our community, has created a long term, sustainable structure that will support the important work we do here for children for years to come. Thank you!
Next Thursday, May 19th at 6:30 p.m. we will gather for our final Council of the year. Please join us as we will be approving our budget for next year along with voting in our new board members and hearing from our various committees about their work this year!