My efforts as a professional educator over the years have always been focused on ensuring that our students gain and maintain resilience and confidence, as they move from grade to grade, and as our eighth graders will soon, on to high school, and eventually into college and adult life. However, when I read articles like the one linked below from Psychology Today, I become even more committed to partner with you in preparing them for the challenges that lie ahead. Please read the article and email me - email@example.com - with your thoughts.
It’s time to change! Online standardized testing is becoming the norm, and Warren-Walker School is embracing the change a few steps at a time.
We have chosen three grades to start online testing this year – first, fifth, and eighth. First graders will be switched to taking the Educational Records Bureau’s Comprehensive Testing Program (CTP) online, whereas in the last few years they were taking the Stanford 10 which was not adequately aligned to our program. Most likely, next year we will need to incorporate second grade in the online testing program, and we thought it wise to introduce the process this year in first. As I say each year at the Coffees with the Heads of School, much of the point of standardized testing every year is teaching the students how to take tests. Our first graders are used to computer programs where they must choose answers, much like they will be doing when taking the CTP. It makes sense to make the move now.
Our fifth graders are very tech savvy, and should make the switch to online testing quite effortlessly. The content standards of the CTP will not change, so our students should perform well, much like they have in the past. They will also take the Otis Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) online.
As for eighth grade, they will soon be taking high stakes tests, like the college entrance examinations (SAT, ACT, etc.). All of these tests will be administered online, so it’s best for the students to gain experience in the comfort and familiarity of the new computer lab at the Middle School.
We have attended conferences and workshops, purchased testing rights, downloaded the necessary browsers and sample tests, checked and double-checked for adequate bandwidth, and we are as ready as can be for this change on all three campuses. As always, we ask parents to support our efforts to make the testing experience as low stress as possible for our students, by reinforcing that testing is important (but not earth-shattering!), ensuring they get plenty of rest, and eat a good breakfast. In addition, plan ahead and make every effort to avoid scheduling off-campus appointments during school hours from May 13 through 31. Remember, the best state to be in while testing is to have a relaxed body and an alert mind!
The faculty works tirelessly each year to teach the necessary academic skills and test-taking strategies. Come mid-May, let the testing begin!
Miss Representation packed a powerful punch. I was in high school in the ‘60s and college in the ‘70s, a time of great social change, particularly for women. The documentary does a great job of reviewing what happened during that time, but it’s the aftermath that is so perplexing. How could we have gained so much, yet not see the positive results in the workforce, in leadership, and in our society overall that we so desired? In Miss Representation, it is the media that is largely pointed to as the culprit. This again underscores how parents and educators must make sure that children learn strong values about respect and responsibility and the good judgment and willpower needed to withstand social pressure. Here are some of the responses of Warren-Walker School parents who attended the viewing and panel discussion. Hopefully, their “take-aways” will encourage you to note and counteract the negative forces while raising your children to act throughout their lives in a much more constructive way.
The U.S. percentage of women in elected government ranks 94th among the world’s nations.
The 5 corporations that control most media are controlled by boards that have less than 1 woman among 5 men (and one is even worse, 1/16)
Our sons and daughters both need to be shown women leading, or we will never have the women leaders we need. “You can’t be what you can’t see.”
It (Miss Representation) really increased my awareness of the pervasiveness of both gender inequality and objectification of women and girls in our society.
The media’s negative messages are intertwined with the positive. This can be very confusing for young girls who are figuring out how to express their femininity.
It was both disturbing and affirming for me. I am more convinced than ever of the toxicity of our contemporary culture, for girls and boys, and the need to create our children in a better way.
Parents must be vigilant and remember that it is our job to help kids navigate their world.
Like most parents, I agree that TV viewing and programs that we allow our children to watch should be properly evaluated and limited.
In a democratic society the roles of women should be viewed as equal to men, and we should help instill the understanding of this from early on.
The moderator made an excellent point about voting with our dollars and choices.
Overall, I feel bringing noted speakers and showing documentaries like this brings awareness to parents and thus better education to our children, forming a better society and better future for us all.
Warren-Walker School has taken on the cause, not only by hosting the Miss Representation viewing for WeCare, but by taking our Character Education and Life Skills programs very seriously and embracing both the Middle School “Sisterhood” and the Point Loma Lower School “Lil’ Sisters” programs. One parent emailed me afterward to say, “I was so impressed that this would be a topic acknowledged and addressed by Warren-Walker for the parents and the students. I feel strongly that this is a societal message that should be shared, and admire the group that brought it.” As a working parent, she had missed the presentation and panel discussion. Mr. Volker and I are happy to host another viewing in the evening to ensure that this essential message is appropriately shared. Please let us know if you are interested by calling 619-223-0805, ext. 306.
Here it is already February, the Super Bowl is upon us, Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day are around the corner, and if you are like me, you are still finding remnants of the holidays in your house! Now, Warren-Walker School has added to it all by mailing both our second quarter Report Cards and our 2013-2014 Enrollment Agreements for current students on the same day. I don’t remember that ever happening in the past, but it seems to me to be a sign that life, in general, is pretty busy!
So, let’s all take a collective deep breath! In this way, we take control of what we can…ourselves. We can also focus on the moment we are experiencing…hopefully a moment of calm and an opportunity to enjoy a pleasant pause. Your children can learn to do this, too. It helps them soothe themselves, and relax. This day and age, being able to do that is a gift you give yourself.
We look forward to the second half of this school year with lots of enthusiasm and a sense of wonder at what has already been accomplished. Having just met in Grade Level meetings with the teachers, the current theme is that those special “A-ha!” moments are happening in every classroom. Students are accomplishing the uniquely human feat of “getting it” - making sense of what just a bit ago was muddle.
It’s good to get un-muddled! It releases our creative energy and allows us to look at the world with fresh eyes, feel imaginative or inventive, and embrace what the world has to offer.
I hope your New Year is off to a great start, and that many enlightened moments are yours to enjoy going forward!
on Saturday February 2 at 02:11PM
I am thrilled to be looking ahead into 2013 and seeing lots of enthusiasm for learning and growing, as is one of the benefits of being surrounded by children. Our students always manage to keep us moving forward by their very natures. They are eager to develop new skills, run faster, make new friends, overcome challenges. After all, they have already learned to walk and talk and use their imaginations, which in and of themselves are remarkable feats. They put their energy into focusing forward and growing up! This energy fosters curiosity, persistence, courage, creativity and other traits that drive success.
In welcoming a new class of prekindergarten students to the Point Loma campus today, I noted how quickly:
they connected with their classmates and teacher - Mrs. Loftus
they figured out where to find the new toys
they manipulated them to make them work or build something anew
they listened to and followed directions
they played wholeheartedly on the playground
and how they slept soundly at naptime, because they wore themselves out!
I think the lesson in all this for adults is...focus forward!
The Holiday Teas always put me in the spirit of Christmas - peace, love, joy, and celebration! Regardless of your religious beliefs, I do hope you feel the spirit, as well.
The teas demonstrate what a wonderful community of people we have gathered at all three Warren-Walker School campuses. The students shine like stars, the parents find joy in how their children perform, all of us feel safe, cared for, and loved! Best of all, we get to celebrate all that is good in our lives!
In my heart of hearts, I wish you a wonderfully happy holiday!
on Thursday December 20, 2012 at 06:37AM
Dr. Michele Borba’s WeCare presentation was one of the best ever. She took the results of a survey of member-school students and designed a talk that addressed their concerns about stress, time-management, problem-solving, etc. She used recent research about the characteristics of college freshman to ensure that her message was riveting and relevant, and her points were well-honed to an audience that assumes their children will not only go on to fine colleges, but will do well.
I have gotten feedback from WWS parents who attended the talk, and would appreciate getting more. So far, these points are some of the “take aways” that parents have given me:
Establish “Family Rules to Live By”
Praise EFFORT not intelligence
Teach coping skills (i.e. 1. Remain calm; 2. Take 3 deep breaths; 3. Count to ten)
Use calendars, timers, and alarms to teach time management
Have children complete the hardest tasks first (i.e. homework, chores, etc.)
Nurture the nature; in choosing extra-curricular activities, make sure you take the time to learn what your child enjoys doing and encourage it
Limit time on computers, video-games, etc.
Take time to communicate effectively (i.e. 1. Speak at eye-level with your child 2. Listen (really listen) 3. Respond with empathy and understanding
Love your children unconditionally
I’ll follow up with more “take aways” as I get more feedback from you. Thanks for doing what it takes to be great parents in the 21st Century!
on Sunday October 28, 2012 at 04:24PM
Next up are the Coffees with the Heads! These parent and administration gatherings provide an opportunity for Mr. Volker and me to address your specific questions, concerns, and requested topics. Mrs. Pettigrew joins us for the Middle School Coffee. Typically, we discuss child-development issues, test results, parenting ideas, educational philosophy, etc.
However, what we really want to do is address what concerns YOU THE MOST! Please RSVP on the website and respond accordingly. Also, your answers to the SURVEY that you received via email, will give us great information about what you feel is important. This will help us make sure the presentations at the Coffees are timely, informative, and helpful.
Thanks for sending us super kids and participating in all our kick-off events. It's great to see the students settled in and engaged happily in the educational process at Warren-Walker School.
by Pamela V.
on Tuesday October 2, 2012 at 11:18AM
The importance of Back-to-School Night as a community-building event cannot be overstated. This adults-only event focuses on developing relationships amongst our adult constituencies, just as Orientation and the first few weeks of school focused on building relationships with our students.
As parents arrive, our Lower School specialist faculty will be ready to share information about their programs and expectations. Parents are encouraged to take this opportunity to get to know each of these teachers who instruct your children year-after-year in Spanish, physical education, art, music, drama, and information literacy and technology. Most likely, you chose Warren-Walker for its well-rounded and highly integrated program, for which the specialists' roles are essential.
Thereafter, there will be a short program to welcome you, introduce the goals of our WWPA, and honor a few faculty members for marked years of service. Following this, parents will go to the classrooms for presentations by the teachers.
Our faculty makes the most of this time. They will share information about their programs, clarify expectations, describe ways for you to partner with them to best benefit your child(ren), and introduce their WWPA Room Parents. Our teachers are our most valuable asset, and we are proud to spotlight them this week at Back-to-School Night.
on Sunday September 16, 2012 at 08:38AM
If "Daydreaming is the sweet wonder of Summer" then "Awakening is the joy of Orientation!" *
We have softened the transition into the school year with Orientation for more than 20 years. Children need to awaken to the voice of their teacher, the faces of their classmates, and the expectations of what the first day of school may bring.
The excitement and joy of the coming together of our communities on each campus is a lot of fun. Eager children are ready to go and want to get a hold on what lies ahead. Shy children want to feel welcomed and appreciated for their quiet, sensitve ways. Parents want to see their children happy and connected to their teachers and classmates. Teachers focus on their new students, invite them into their new classrooms, and ensure them that all is well for the start of the new year.
In just forty-five minutes, we can accomplish all of the above and more. With Orientation, we can ease into a first day that informs, inspires, and initiates a fruitful and successful year of learning for our students. All we ask of parents on Orientation Day is for them to show their children that they have confidence in the school that they have chosen for them.
Orientation may end summer daydreams, but it awakens all of us to the wonderful possibilities that lie ahead.
* Quote by Janet Potter Metzelaar
on Sunday September 2, 2012 at 04:31PM