A Journey Like No Other
In August of 2019, I wrote that education is a journey. None of us had any idea at that time that we would embark on a monumental shift to Remote Learning both to protect everyone’s health but also to give us time to develop a clear path to a safe return to in-person learning. Autumn is here and we are looking at the months ahead in anticipation of possibly seeing our students without the aid of a computer monitor.
Our commitment to partnering with families to support their students learning continues. Expect an email from your child’s teacher to arrange a day and time for an online student goal setting conference sometime October 19-23. It is important that we partner with you to share our assessments and set goals for the first semester of school.
Our School Improvement Plan includes a goal to increase student growth in math and English Language Arts this year. We will focus much of our energy and collaboration on the progressive skills needed for literacy. If you would like to join our Building Leadership Team which helps monitor progress toward improvement goals, please contact me. We are looking for an Emerald Park family member to join us.
We are also paying attention to our students’ social-emotional health. The loss of time with peers and the knowledge of a global pandemic requires even greater care and understanding of those working with and raising children. Emerald Park is committed to being a safe place, even virtually, for students to share their feelings.
We continue working on our goal to improve student performance in language acquisition. Much of the research around how we become proficient in a language helps educators to use different strategies to help students with their core learning, rather than focusing only on vocabulary.
We will continue to increase our skills and implement best practices so that students who have the benefit of knowing more than one language can make sure that they are proficient in English reading, writing, listening, and speaking as they move into secondary education.
Equity is when everyone receives what they need to be successful. We continue to look at our discipline practices, school culture, and safety measures with an eye toward inclusion and equity because that is the Navigator Way. I am pleased that a parent has joined our Positive Behavior Intervention Support committee to work with us on always using an equity lens and finding teachable moments, so we create empowered, thoughtful citizens.
We continue with our daily talking circles that help us create community, increase peer communication, and lay the groundwork for greater restorative practices in our school. We believe in community, connection and diversity are strengths for Emerald Park.
We are sad that we cannot welcome parent volunteers into our buildings as Art Docents, Classroom Volunteers, Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), and event helpers. But we value staying connected and are happy to introduce our online replacement to the Friday Folders: The Navigator News, brought to you using Outlook 365’s SWAY application. We will send this out weekly with updates resources, staff-written articles, and PTSA announcements.
Our Parent, Teacher, Student Association is still an essential part of building connections and providing rich learning experiences beyond the classroom. This year, the PTSA will shift its focus to supporting family needs and staying connected, as opposed to creating events and standard fundraising for Emerald Park classrooms. It is challenging to stay connected without joining for Open House or a band-orchestra performance. Remember, necessity is the mother of invention and a school is the people, not the place. Thus, we will continue to find innovative ways to be together and be here for each other.
Let us use the months ahead to acknowledge that the ship we are in is large, it has room for everyone, and we have a common goal to help our students build their dream.