The 9th graders have had the opportunity to help prepare and serve the hot lunch now for three weeks. This has been our first attempt to introduce some service learning as part of their experience. I recall that the students were a bit hesitant to volunteer for the first hot lunch Friday, but this week, they volunteered quite quickly and eagerly. Each time following their service, they return to their classroom room with giddy excitement for having the opportunity to interact with all the students. I think that the younger students enjoy being served by their older peers and it has helped draw together the k-9 community a bit more. There is, indeed, some value in encouraging the students to serve.
… but we have been busy!
The past few months have been quite exciting busy as we move forward with preparations for the new high school. Here are some highlights:
- The new MCHS website continues to serve as a source of important information.
- The MCHS Facebook page continues to gather attention.
- I had a chance to meet with the current 8th grade class to talk about high school studies and what we mean by Project Based Learning. We also spent some time discussing school logos.
- We held a well-attended parent information night back in January, and continue to meet with interested parents.
- The tuition rate was set and formally announced.
- Registration for the 2013-2014 school year opened on March 20.
Our prayers are that we will have a large enough freshman class to start in September.
In advance of an upcoming parent information meeting, we have now completed our information website for the new high school. This site will be used to present general information about the school to the public. I am anticipating a separate student portal that will provide links for current students once we begin learning together in September.
The Monroe Christian High School website is now live!
We opened a Facebook page this week to help keep parents and the general community informed of our efforts for the new high school.
Click to view: Monroe Christian High School Facebook page.
We recently held a fund-raising banquet with the goal of generating some essential start-up funding for the new Monroe Christian High School. During this fine evening together, I gave a presentation on the vision for the new high school. I was able to highlight our intentions for engaging students in their learning and equipping them for service throughout high school. I also highlighted what blended learning can look like for Monroe Christian High School, and shared some exciting news regarding the attention that we are garnering as more people learn about our model. (Unfortunately the audio is not strong for this video, so it is necessary to adjust your volume accordingly.)
Click here to watch and listen: A vision for the new Monroe Christian High School
A hybrid school is an institution that offers traditional, on-campus classes as well as online classes for students to select from as part of their studies. For example, students may take an English Language Arts class with an on-campus teacher in the morning and then have a biology class online in the afternoon.
Hybrid schools can vary in the amount of “face-to-face” and online instruction that it offers. The plan for the new Monroe Christian High School is developed on the assumption that approximately 50% of the day will include instruction in the classroom. Students will enroll in online classes for the rest of the day.
I was recently introduced to Challenge Success, which is an organization that works with schools to help create balance and academic fulfillment for students. One of their cornerstones is based on the notion that students need SPACE to learn. SPACE is an acronym for five practices that can help change a student’s experience of school:
S – Students’ use of time
P – Project-based learning
A – Alternative and authentic assessments
C – Climate of care
E – Educate parents, students and faculty
It is worth viewing the recommended SPACE policies and ideas that can positively influence a student’s experience of high school.
Interestingly, we have been advocating for these same principles (minus the fancy acronym!) and planning for many of the recommendations for our new high school. It is rewarding to see how our efforts are aligning with recommendations from the research base for school success.
Of particular interest is focus “C” on developing a caring community for students in which they feel safe and appropriately challenged to learn. This is so central to our plans for Monroe Christian High School, as it is in a Christian community-based learning environment that discipleship and student development can occur. Our high school students need community and a caring advising system in which teachers will get to know their students in order to help them succeed academically We don’t believe that a fully online, virtual high school will lead to the type of academic and personal growth that we desire for our high school graduates. We remain committed to the deliberate blending of on-campus learning experiences and positive relationships with the best that online learning options may offer for high school studies.
Barseghian, T. – Why kids need schools to change