Friday, November 21, 2014

Academic Goals for the 2014-15 school year

Each spring, we administer the Terra Nova 3 standardized test to our students. We get the results back and we spend a great deal of time analyzing the results. We look at each subject and each grade. We identify trends, both positive and negative.  
As a school, we surpass national norms in every area. Many of our students score in the top 10%. Out of 300+ students, approximately 100 scored a 90% or better on the total battery or a 95% in a core subject area (reading, language, math, science or social studies).
in all areas.

This year we identified three main areas we wanted to see growth school wide. They are:

  1. Reading Comprehension strategies
  2. Writing mechanics skills
  3. Math computation skills, including Geometry and Spatial skills

To address these areas, we have adopted a school-wide reading focus that concentrates on specific strategies for comprehension each month. These strategies will be incorporated across the curriculum in instruction. We will focus on the strategies with teachers in faculty meetings and trainings. We will also be doing quarterly progress monitoring that will illuminate growth or regression in comprehension levels.

We will do training as a faculty that focuses on improving reading/writing skills. In all subjects and grade levels, we will work on incorporating more writing opportunities. Grammar, sentence structure and analytical writing will be part of our focus. Language Arts exit criteria for each grade level will continue to be met and evaluated.

In Math, we will work to incorporate more hands-on math strategies. Students will master addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts by the time they enter the 6th grade. There is also a need for a specific focus on geometry and spatial skills. Professional Development opportunities will be offered featuring math strategies and hands-on instruction. Teachers will also be sent to the National Math Teachers conference. Math skills will also be assessed quarterly and reported to parents.  

We will reassess overall trends and scores again in the spring 2015 following the receipt of our Terra Nova 3 score reports.  

As a school, we do not “teach to the test”. Our goal and our aim is to provide high quality, Biblically-based instruction that challenges our students at every level. We want to utilize the tests we administer to expose areas of strengths and weaknesses and help us continue to evaluate and guide our curriculum development.

Carrie Beth Tigges, Principal

Prepare Him Room...

Expectation.  Hope.  Waiting.  Patience.  Longing.  Wishing.  
The season of Advent and Christmas is upon us.  As a society, we don’t do waiting well.  We want instant gratification.  If someone doesn’t take off immediately at a green light, we honk our horns.  When we don’t get an immediate response to a text or email, we send another one.  We are the “microwave” generation, not the cook on the stove all day generation.  Yet, as Christians, we are waiting expectantly for the return of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  

In the same way, the Jewish people were waiting expectantly for their Messiah.  There had been silence.  They had turned away from God and rejected his teaching.  He withdrew from them.  Yet, he always intended to maintain his promises.  He WOULD send a Messiah.  It may not have been in the way they thought he would.  

A baby.  A manger.  A stable.  A star.  A girl.  A carpenter.  A promise.  

His story unfolded in a way that none had fathomed, yet all would come to hear.  Even then, it would be some thirty years before HIS son would be fully revealed.  Jesus came that night in a humble way, in a humble place.  His death was equally humbling.  He did not die with a huge celebration.  He died alongside criminals.  Yet, God’s promise still rang true.  His son took our sins.  He bore our shame.  He rose to life.  He ascended and now we find ourselves coming full circle.  Again, we wait.

We wait for His return.  We long for His coming.  We follow Him.  We serve Him.  We lean on Him.

If he says he is returning, we know he is returning.  We wait……expectantly.

As we prepare our hearts for this season, we as a school want to join you in Celebrating Advent with us.

Each week leading up to Christmas has a different theme.  We will focus on joy, peace, love and hope.  We will light the Advent candles each week in chapel and focus on that week’s theme.  The last chapel we will also light the Christ candle.  Traditionally, that is done on Christmas Eve, but we are not here on that day and still want to share the significance with our students.

There are many ideas for keeping the focus on Advent/Christ vs. the commercial aspect of the Christmas season.  I wanted to share a few ideas with you that our family has used over the years.  

·         Make a paper chain for Dec 1-25.  Write people or issues you want to pray for each night.  Another idea is to write the different names of Jesus with the scripture reference and look those up with your kids.  Here is an idea for this:
·         Consider a service idea for each day leading up to Christmas.  Here is a link to a blog with a free printable calendar of service for December:

·         I wrap up books about Christmas and my boys take turns unwrapping a book each night from December 1-25.  I have done this since my oldest son’s first Christmas.  It is one more way to slow down the hustle and bustle, sit down and read with my children.

·         Another great idea is found here:  You take the Jesus storybook Bible and read a specific part each night leading up to Christmas.

·         We will also have bookmarks that we will be sending home/giving to all of our students.  There are verses listed for each day of Advent you can read together as a family.  Consider reading them each day before you leave for work and school or around the dinner table each evening.  

However you celebrate, I pray you feel the excitement of anticipation of Christ’s return.
Blessing to you!

Carrie Beth Tigges, Principal