The 2016-17 school year is well underway and new staff and students are acclimating as we all move past Homecoming and into the heart of the school year. Amongst those new to us this year are staff members Heidi and Ethan White and Candace Johnson. We are also pleased to have two foreign exchange students with us this year. One from Spain and one from Germany. Both these students will enrich our regular studentsÕ learning as they enjoy their immersion experience here in St. John. Imagine, if you will, the depth of learning these students and their host families are likely to share waking up, sleeping and everything in between over the course of the entire school year with one another.
In many cases, not all, the first semester of such an experience is very difficult for all involved as exchange students wrestle with language, new routines and dietary and other cultural issues. Typically, the second half of the year is payoff time as students/host families become more familiar with one another and those parts of our culture that at first may seem very odd become less so. It is at this time folks really begin to get to know one another. Frequently, the relationships initiated through an exchange experience become life-long friendships. Often such experiences later inform educational/professional decisions participants from both sides eventually pursue. As we get to know this yearÕs ÒcropÓ of exchange kids, I hope you might consider enriching your own family through hosting a future foreign exchange student.
Work continues here at school on consideration of testing data and student growth. Teacher work days this year are devoted to maximizing the potential of CPAA and MAPS testing programs as we work toward improved performance on Smarter Balanced Assessments in the spring. While we have been generally pleased with our studentsÕ performance on these tests, we look to find ways to show continued growth. As we look to build upon the programs we offer, we encourage parents to share their thoughts/concerns with us as to how we might better serve our students. Please donÕt hesitate to contact me here in the office or your studentÕs teacher/s should you have questions or suggestions we might consider in our work toward program improvement.