"With The End In Sight"
"With the End in Sight…"
Opening of school meetings are filled with a variety of feelings: anticipation, nervousness, excitement for the months to come. Perspectives focus upon the immediate days and weeks after the students arrive. This year, the MS opening meetings were titled “With the End in Sight… .” Wait, why start the year focused on the end? This seems anticlimactic; are we a jaded and disgruntled faculty, looking only, even at the start of the year, to the end of the road?
No, instead our faculty is taking its lead from the curricular design work of Understanding by Design. By taking time to determine the end goals we have for our middle school students, we can better plan for the year and identify ways to help the young adolescents in our charge to grow and mature as learners and members of our community.
An exercise the MS faculty undertook during meetings was to identify those qualities we most wanted our departing 8th graders to possess upon transitioning to HS. In three groups, faculty wrote these qualities on a “shadow child” and then shared with the whole group.
Perhaps most telling was the complete lack of content-specific information on each of the three sillohuetes. For a MS that is transitioning away from a strictly departmental scope of thinking and operating, this is the greatest evidence of change and progress.
The three “students” hang in our faculty room, and provide a physical reminder to help carry us into another successful year.