I don’t know how it could possibly be the middle of January already! I’m happy to report we’ve had a strong start to second semester, with many exciting things happening:
- We continue to make progress with our efforts to be a Future Ready School! We have plans to upgrade 10 more classrooms with 21st Century technology and furnishings this summer, for a total of 55 upgraded learning environments. We continue to seek feedback from students and staff on our 1:1 initiative, with improvements continuing to be made along the way.
- We are piloting a student privilege program for seniors, the RED Zone, effective this month. Students who meet certain grade, attendance, and behavior expectations will be rewarded with some flexibility in their schedule!
- Thanks to the wonderful work of a few certified staff members, students in our Learning Opportunity Program will gain valuable workplace experience beginning this week. Starbucks will be donating supplies for a weekly faculty coffee cart, run by our fabulous LOP students!
- We are moving forward with preparing for a potential e-learning day. With technology in the hands of students and teachers, we feel we are well positioned to extend learning beyond the walls of the classroom. Teachers are receiving e-learning professional development this month, with a practice e-learning session to follow in the classroom. More details to come on this.
- We are actively working on the development of curriculum for new courses next year:
- Business Incubator
- Introduction to Team Sports
- Introduction to Strength and Conditioning
- Introduction to Advanced Health
- Introduction to Lifestyle Fitness
- Mobile App Design
- Mythology II
- Project Lead the Way – Principles of Engineering
- At the beginning of next month, we will be kicking off the development of a Portrait of a Graduate. We look forward to bringing together students, parents, staff and community members to collectively identify the competencies GCHS graduates need to be successful in a changing economy, workplace, and society. By spring, we look forward to having a visual representation of our “Portrait.”
- We look forward to welcoming our new Bulldogs at Eighth Grade Enrollment Nights next week, which take place on January 22 and 22. Welcome to all of our incoming freshmen!
Enjoy the rest of January and stay warm!
As well roll into the winter months, I wanted to communicate some potential changes regarding the use of emergency days. The State of Illinois now provides schools with the flexibility to utilize e-learning days in lieu of emergency days (Public Act 101-0012). Up to a maximum of five (5) e-learning days may be used annually in place of emergency days. With faculty and students each having possession of a district provided computer, we feel we are well positioned to extend educational experiences beyond the walls of the classroom. To that end, the Board of Education will be considering approval of an E-learning Plan on December 19th. A draft of the E-learning Plan is attached, but here are a few highlights:
- An e-learning day may be utilized on severe weather days when it is possible for the decision to be made regarding closure by 8:00 P.M. the evening prior.
- If it is necessary to close school without ample warning, an e-learning day will not be used and the district will utilize the emergency days reserved at the end of the year.
- E-learning days will be limited in use. If consecutive emergency days are necessary, it is not likely that consecutive e-learning days will take place.
- It is advised that families and staff plan their annual calendar taking into account the potential use of all emergency days rather than plan for e-learning days to be utilized.
- Student learning activities will be valuable learning experiences, tied to the existing curriculum, and each learning activity is expected to be the length of a typical class period.
- The district will provide a practice e-learning opportunity this school year, on a regularly scheduled school day when school is in session, for students and staff to practice e-learning.
We will continue to communicate as we move forward with E-learning planning. As always, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Grant Community High School is undertaking an effort this school year to develop a Portrait of a Graduate. Development of the Portrait will be an inclusive, local, and collaborative process that will identify and prioritize the competencies desired in all students by the time they graduate to enhance their chances of success now and in the future.
We are undertaking this work because we want to ensure our educational system is being responsive to student aspirations and needs. We also have a fundamental desire for all students to have an educational experience here at Grant that prepares them well for college, a career, and adult life.
The Portrait Design Team will seek to include parents, students, educators, business leaders, and community members. EdLeader21 and Battelle for Kids will be facilitating the work of the Portrait Design Team. Through a series of collaborative meetings, the Team will study how a changing economy, workplace skills and society impact our students. A set of competencies, or the knowledge, skills, experiences and attributes, we want students to attain will then be identified. Ultimately, we will define a visual and practical representation of the goals our school and community can word toward to incorporate and ensure 21st century learning experiences for all students.
After the process of developing the Portrait of a Graduate is complete, we will seek to update the district’s goals so that we have forward-thinking strategic goals that includes measurable objectives and action steps that will help ensure that every student is well prepared to be successful in college and/or the workforce and to be “life ready.”
I would like to extend a warm welcome to our students and families as we begin the 2019/20 school year. We couldn’t be more excited to have the start of the school year right around the corner!
There are so many things for our students, staff, school, and community to be proud of as we enter a new year. As a Future Ready School, we have made strides toward each of our Future Ready goals, including:Providing authentic and relevant learning experiences that meet the curricular needs of all learners.
- Guiding students to become more self-sufficient and responsible by developing 21st century skills focused on collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving.
- Increasing student engagement, student achievement, and academic rigor through personalized learning, differentiation, and equal access to technology.
- Teaching students to be productive and ethical through digital citizenship and global awareness.
- Empowering students with a voice and ownership in their education.
- Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of education.
To that end, students are currently in the process of receiving a District provided Chromebook. Our focus isn’t on the technology, but rather providing the tools necessary to meet the needs of all learners. These devices also work towards providing anywhere, anytime learning opportunities for all students.
We renovated an additional twenty (20) classrooms this summer to provide 21st Century technology and furnishings that embrace student mobility and collaboration. We also completed renovations on the rooms that will be hosting two of our new courses, Tech Support Internship and Project Lead the Way – Introduction to Engineering. Lastly, we updated a number of our older restrooms.
Teachers have been hard at work this summer, planning improvements to curriculum, instruction, and assessments. You can expect to see an increased use of Schoology, providing valuable feedback on student performance.
Communication between home and school has always been important, but I believe it to be even more so as we continue on our Future Ready journey and seek out changes to improve the educational experience for our students. I encourage you to be in communication with your student’s teachers, members of the Student Services Team, and school administration, who are all here to see your student be successful. We look forward to a great school year!