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November 29, 2015
by: Ted Hamm

Presentations of Learning: Thoughts as a Parent and Advisor

Dear Families,

The end of a trimester always provides me a time to reflect on our Presentations of Learning. I share a unique position with only a few other staff members of being a developer, implementer, and participant in our Presentations of Learning. This perspective makes this time of year especially important to me as a parent and educational leader

We started down the path of Presentations of Learning as a way to deepen the dialogue between student, parents and teacher/advisor around learning. In essence, we saw this as our standards based report card in the form of an oral presentation and dialogue. In many respects we mean to address the issues we see in the standard Parent-Teacher Conference structure, a structure that embodies the students as passive vessel in the learning process. Our goal is to engage our learners in their own learning by putting them at the center of the dialogue about their learning. We do this by challenging them to develop evidence of their learning and then interpret what that evidence means. We ask them to pull evidence of their Habits of Learning/Professionalism and Habits of Mind too. The very nature of the Presentation of Learning (PoL) asks them to demonstrate such habits as communication, work, and reasoning/interpreting.

As an advisor during our first year at IDEAS, I was able to witness this first hand as my advisees prepped, practiced and presented their PoLs. The PoL is an opportunity for growth through reflection on learning, which we have strived for from the beginning. The freshman I had as advisees the first year of IDEAS are now seniors. I still speak with them on occasion about their goals and their learning. It is clear to me that these young people are self aware beyond where I see most young people. They are able to identify their obstacles and present multiple solutions. I often talk about how the Habits of Professionalism are the habits we need to foster in young people for them to be successful in college and other post high school avenues. Through the PoLs, I hear students applying these skills in a mature, self aware manner. It is immensely gratifying.

I also experience PoLs as a parent. The experience of a PoL as a parent is not unlike that of an advisor; on Monday I will participate in my daughter's 10th PoL. The PoL discussion typically starts around the dinner table about one week prior to the actual PoL, reaching a climax of dread the night before. You see, my daughter is the shy one in the family. We spent PoLs 4-6 in deafening silence and tears as she struggled to explain and demonstrate what she learned. It was heart breaking, but this provided an opportunity for growth in a safe environment. . Whether I am an advisor or a parent, I strive to be a champion for the presenter and wish nothing more than for them to succeed; the wish is only augmented for my own child. What the PoL has done for my daughter goes well beyond her as a learner. Despite the impending dread this evening (her PoL is tomorrow), she now speaks in her PoLs with confidence. She is able to explain what she is learning both in and out of the PoL with depth and self awareness. This is invaluable to me.

These two experiences speak to the longitudinal effect of PoLs. The composite picture of a student’s PoLs is one that paints a picture of growth in learning, habits and a general self awareness of learning. I see it in my daughter in her ability to simply understand and communicate the depth of her learning. I see it with my now senior advisees as they move on the college with the ability to understand themselves as learners, diagnose their strengths and weaknesses and develop solutions. This is the value of putting our learners at the center of the dialogue around their learning. This is what we set out to accomplish when we started down this road.

Kind Regards,

Ted


November 25, 2015
by: Ted Hamm

Have A Playful Thanksgiving!

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As we head into Thanksgiving weekend, I want to wish everyone a playful Thanksgiving and encourage everyone to take time for a little free play. Free play is cited has helping build resilient children in a recent article titled, "How Free Play Can Define Kids’ Success". The article points out that creative play can help our kids develop resiliency by developing:

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September 1, 2015
by: Ted Hamm

First Day Reflections

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If you set up the right conditions in a school amazing things can happen. Today was one of those days at Mosaic. This year, we opened the school year with mini projects. The remarkable thing I observed today was our students’ ability to provide insightful observations, work collaboratively, and present their ideas in front of others. If today was any indication of the year we will have, it will be a great year for learning using the creative process.

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August 30, 2015
by: Ted Hamm

Creating Space and Time to Establish a School Culture

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The first week of school is an opportunity to convey our beliefs and expectations not only through our words, but by what we do. Since the inception of the Étude High School, we have put a great deal of time and thought into how we start the school year - involving students in the processes of creating our school culture and engaging in the intellectual work we expect of them. It is through these actions that we initiate a strong school culture and an in depth intellectual culture.

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August 1, 2015

Welcome Back Night

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Summer learning looks different for all of us, and as part of The Étude Group schools it is exciting to see how each experience of observing, playing, wondering, creating, and exploring that happens in the summer will enrich learning this school year. We hope to start sharing these stories and reconnecting at our "Welcome Back Night."

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March 10, 2015
by: Ted Hamm

Governing Board Meeting, March 2015

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We are always working to increase our communication with you, our families and the larger community we serve. You might have noticed changes in the appearance of our website and in the flow of information from our blogs to social media this year. We have been working with a local design firm, Dynamic, to update our online presence and make it easier to communicate all that happens within our schools. Our approach is to publish information to blogs that will automatically be posted to our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Additionally, you can sign up for our blogs to be sent directly to your email inbox.

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January 23, 2015
by: Ted Hamm

New! Subscribe to get Director's Blog posts by Email

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Thank you for your interest in the The Étude Group schools. This blog features posts from ESAA, Mosaic, and IDEAS, as well as commentary on broader topics in the organization and education.

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December 12, 2014
by: Ted Hamm

What is Gallery Night?

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This Thursday, December 11th, we will be hosting our first Gallery Night. Tad Phippen Wente has already provided an overview of the evening. We are looking...

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December 5, 2014
by: Tad Phippen Wente

Thinking Galleries - Open!

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Student docents and staff will be on hand throughout the galleries at IDEAS Academy and The Mosaic School to talk about the exhibits and describe the...

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October 8, 2014
by: Ted Hamm

The Étude Sessions Part 2

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The central purpose of the sessions is to build community. With that in mind, we want to the funds raised to go towards building a stronger...

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