Although our students enjoyed a short week of school this week, our teachers have spent the last two days in professional development. On Thursday, we split up and visited various local public and private schools to view their programs and share best practices. On Friday we spent the day participating in a Restorative Justice workshop where teachers continued to learn cooperative strategies to support student relationships and to repair hurts or harm that may occur between students at school.
Thank you to all parents and students who were able to attend our 2nd Annual High School Night this week. Sixteen high schools attended this event to share information about their programs and to meet our students and families. I am pleased that most of our 8th grade families were able to attend and hope that those who attended felt that the information was beneficial.
We also hosted Education First, a consulting company who spent two days at school this week filming the social-emotional work we are doing at City and the ways that we develop our teachers to be able to do this work with students. Our school received a $25,000 grant from the Nova Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors for the social-emotional work we are implementing. We were pleased that Education First, having learned about this grant, was interested in filming and creating a website to display some of the social-emotional learning that is happening at City.
In other news, I am very sad to say that we had to cancel (POSTPONE) the 8th grade trip to the Russian River next week due to the fires in Northern California. All 8th graders are expected to attend school next week. We are working with WOLF to reschedule the trip for April 2018. We will update you as soon as dates are set. For those who have paid for the trip, we prefer to be able to keep the checks given and apply them to the April Russian River trip. For those who would like to be reimbursed, please contact Dana at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will arrange to have a check sent to you. Please be advised that any reimbursed checks take 2-3 weeks to process. We are planning an 8th grade outing for Friday, October 20th and will send further information on this during this week.
Lastly, please note that our Annual Giving Campaign is officially ending today. PLEASE don’t forget to make a contribution at: http://citycharterschools.org/thecityschool/support/
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!
We concluded our week of benchmark testing with a busy and eventful day today. Roots and Shoots major hosted “1970’s Dress Up Day”, which was quite fun. Many students and staff dressed up. During All School Meeting, we learned about some of the political events that took place in the 70’s, enjoyed a costume “contest”, danced, and listened to great 70’s tunes!
Later in the day, Mr. Gray’s Advisory hosted our first monthly All School Lunch consisting of tacos, rice, and beans. On the last Friday of each month, we spend the last hour of our day eating, playing, dancing and socializing. All students, faculty, and staff are included in this lunch, which is always a fun and meaningful way to end our month!
As we come to a close of week four, students have begun to settle into their classes and get comfortable in their Advisory and other classes. New friendships are forming while older friendships continue to grow, and in some cases become re-defined. Students are learning the expectations of their teachers and enjoying a rich constructivist-based curriculum, including experiential learning activities, writing, and critical thinking. As I walk through the hallways and classrooms, students are enthusiastically engaged in academic work and conversations amongst themselves and with teachers. Small groups of students are often working in hallways or at the back tables. These students are on task, working diligently, and are happy to share the project or assignment they are working on.
I am aware that our Advisors sent an email to parents this week explaining the online systems used at The City School so that parents can be aware of how to check their student’s grades (Illuminate) and view their daily assignments (Google Classroom). While many middle school students are able to manage their workload, homework, projects, and tests on their own, many students, particularly 6th graders, need some assistance in learning how to manage their time and work. While we try to support students in school with time management and study skills, it can take some time for students to independently manage their time and workload. For these students, it can be very helpful for parents to check their assignments online and help them to stay on track with their assignments. Now that we are in our fourth week of school, many students are discovering that they have already neglected to do or to submit several assignments. It can feel overwhelming to students when they get behind on their work and it is often difficult to get back on track. Please help your student, as needed, to be aware of and complete all classwork and homework assignments. If for some reason, you are unable to access your child’s information on Illuminate or Google Classroom, please contact your child’s Advisor for any Google Classroom help, or Maggie at email@example.com for any Illuminate help.
Please note that our 8th graders will be traveling up north to the Russian River from October 16-20th. ALL FORMS AND PAYMENT FOR THE TRIP ARE DUE ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4TH. We will have a parent meeting regarding this trip next WEDNESDAY evening, October 4th at 7 pm. At this meeting, we will also discuss other upcoming 8th grade events and will gather a committee to help with graduation planning. All 8th grade parents should attend this meeting.
Have a wonderful weekend!
We enjoyed a short but productive week as we continue to solidify our daily routines and settle into the rhythm of the 2017-2018 school year. Next week (September 25-29), we are on track to administer our first round of benchmark testing. We administer the benchmark test two times per year for the purpose of tracking our students’ academic needs, progress, and growth over the course of the school year. This first benchmark will give us a baseline of our students’ current skill levels in math and language arts. We will use this data to determine the specific needs of our students so that we can adjust our curriculum accordingly, as needed.
As you know, we had picture day this week. This weekend you will receive a link from James Storm Photography that will allow you to order photos of your child online. A hard copy of the order form will be sent home next week for those who prefer the more traditional paper form to place an order. Make up picture day is October 25th.
We enjoyed an entertaining All School Meeting this morning (hosted by Ms. Dees’ Advisory) which featured a “rap battle” between Advisories. It continues to amaze and delight me to see the comfort level of our students as they voluntarily perform in front of their peers. The fact that 350 middle school-aged kids can come together every Friday, not only to share pertinent information about school-related events, but to participate in fun “performance-related” activities without fear of being disrespected, laughed at, or put down in any way is quite inspirational.
On a different note, I spoke to our students at All School Meeting today about their behavior off-campus and the way their behavior can reflect on them and on our school community. Last Friday after school, a large number of our students (7th graders) went to the local mall before movie night. Several students did not exhibit appropriate behavior, and I was notified of this. Individual issues were dealt with at school and parents of some students were notified. I reminded our students today of the expectation that, as City School students, they conduct themselves responsibly and respectfully both on and off of campus. I explained that people in our community see our students off campus and may judge them (and our school) based on their behavior. If people see students with City School uniforms acting disrespectfully, this may reflect badly, not only on the students, but also on our school. We work very deliberately at City on creating a kind, safe, and respectful school culture. We expect our students to adhere to our RISEUP community agreements at all times.
In other news, please note that our 8th grade sweatshirts are on sale and are available to all 8th grade students. You may order a sweatshirt by completing this form
. All forms and checks are due by Friday, September 29th.
Lastly, as you know, our Annual Giving Campaign
kicked off on September 11th. I’d like to give a huge “THANK YOU” to all who have donated this year. For those of you who have not yet made a donation, please know that our goal is to get 100% participation from ALL of our families. PLEASE consider making a donation, in any amount you are able to, in order to support The City School. All donations are greatly appreciated and will be used toward our educational programs, field trips, and extracurricular activities, including our extensive elective/major classes.
Have a wonderful weekend!
We were very grateful to encounter a cooler week as we returned from the three day holiday weekend on Tuesday. As we end our third week of school, students are (mostly) settled and comfortable with navigating their schedules and the school environment. Hence, our attention is now focused on helping students balance their academic work and social relationships, while working together to create and maintain a safe and positive school environment.
I wanted to take a moment to thank all of our parents who made it to Back to School Night this week. I heard that the parking was terrible and I am so sorry about that. (We constantly battle parking issues around our school). Nonetheless, many folks made it to Back to School Night. Our teachers were very excited to meet you and to be able to share their curriculum plans with you. I hope you found the evening enjoyable and informative.
This week all of our students participated in grade level workshops on cyber safety with cyber expert, Lori Getz. Ms. Getz also hosted a parent workshop (thanks to all who attended) and a teacher workshop after school. Ms. Getz has been working with The City School for the past several years. We find her workshops to be very informative and effective in helping students (and parents) to understand the many complexities and safety issues of online use. At today’s All School Meeting I questioned the students about whether they felt the cyber workshops were beneficial and informative. Their response was overwhelmingly positive in that the majority of our student body found the information useful AND learned something about cyber safety that they had not previously known.
Although students are not permitted to use cell phones at school, we have dealt with many issues of online bullying, harassment and inappropriate texting and photos being sent over the past several years. These events occur off campus but are often reported to us so that we can help students who have been hurt by their peers online. We take these issues very seriously (whether they occur on or off campus) and when notified, we work to support our students (and families) as we are able to. We also appreciate our parents support in ensuring that your children are not abusing their online privileges by using these privileges to hurt others. I spoke to our students at All School Meeting this morning about this issue and the harmful effects of online bullying. I also reinforced our expectation of kids being careful and thoughtful about their online use. This is a conversation that will be ongoing throughout the school year.
On a different note, we found out late today that we are unable to conduct our benchmark testing next week due to our testing system being down. Hence, next week will be a NORMAL week as follows:
Please inform your kids of this change as they left school today thinking that they will have testing next week. Our testing week has been moved to the week of September 25th – 29th. All previously scheduled Advisory trips for next week will be moved to the week of September 25th.
Have a wonderful weekend!