Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Earn a Point - Time to reflect!



Monte Vista School
The Independent Learning Academy
Principal’s Message
December 1, 2016




*** Earn a Point***

My last blog talked about being the ‘Caretaker of the Arboretum’ and I ended the blog with this statement, “To tend the garden also means to coach, with respect; one can’t harvest what one does not sow. My role as a principal is to guide and to show how our school community can harvest the fruit of our toil. At our arboretum we plant our desires, gently nurture our seedlings, and know that we will one day be rewarded with an abundant harvest.”

In keeping with the garden analogy, as we move into our winter and watch as many of our plants take a breather and go into a dormancy period, it’s a perfect time to reflect on what our garden produced last summer and fall, take inventory on our existing crops as well as beginning to plan for the spring plantings.  Likewise, with our students and programs, as we end the 1st semester and having set some roots down at our new campus, it’s a perfect time to reflect back.  What new initiatives worked, what didn’t, what do we need to trim, pruned or even pull out and compost?  Are there any weeds growing that should be transplanted into a new environment where they can flourish and become a prize winning bloom?  What crops require a little extra fertilizer, or perhaps a stake to help them become a bit sturdier and resilient?

We’re no longer being referred to as the old Abe Lincoln campus, but rather just as the Monte Vista campus.  Here’s just a few examples of our growing crops and programs. Our Zen garden provides an opportunity to clear one’s mind, while our Curiosity and Imagination Lab opens the mind to new ways of thinking. Students have an opportunity to explore and learn during our weekly Discovery Days.  Not one but two 3-D printers can be found in our Maker Space labs. World Languages (Spanish, French & Mandarin) are offered to not only to our students but to all students that attend SVUSD.  The school has been named a Ventura County SHELL (Schoolyard Habitat Educational Learning Lab) and hopefully will become a model to other schools in the county. Thanks to our 4H program, students are able to watch before their eyes young chickens mature into egg laying hens, to harvest crops grown by seeds and even hand feed turtles.  Struggling students (again district-wide) are provided the opportunity to make up math and English credits with some of the best teachers that we have in the district.  Students can be found on campus in our English, math, and journalism labs and hopefully soon in our Study CafĂ©.  Classes and instruction are being delivered by on-line programs (APEX & Shmoop), Google Classroom and of course by a core of talented and passionate teachers. Hands on science programs that include Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning.  Monthly floral classes have grown from a handful to over 50 active participants. Monte Vista also is the district’s Professional Learning Center and home to the very popular WHAMv workshops.

Are we done, I certainly hope not…I expect to see our ‘Arboretum’ to continue to grow and flourish, and evolved to meet the needs of our students.  I hope that we continue to dream and to follow our passions. As Harriet Tubman proclaimed, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

***Now let’s earn your ‘point’, reply back to the blog and let me know what are your dreams for Monte Vista, and/or reflect back on the past year and what needs to be trim, pruned or even pull out and composted?

33 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I love your gardening metaphors and the opportunity to #reflectback.

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    1. Stop by my office and I have a 'poin'settia for you...thanks for responding!

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  3. Well we certainly have made great progress in so many areas. My goal is to get all our courses to be on google classroom for the high school students. I would also like to see new courses developed, old courses either deleted or improved. I am also looking forward to having some cooking classes when we get our new culinary arts class going. I am excited and invigorated knowing all that will come.

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    1. Can't wait to see how our culinary arts class progresses!

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  4. I love earning points! We've trimmed a bit of paperwork, streamlining our process. I'm looking forward to putting the "new way" into practice in January. I'd like to work on pruning our Middle School History class, particularly 8th grade, as there seems to be more required than needed. We have a few older classes that perhaps should be composted. I'd like to see Monte Vista get a greenhouse! I'm very much looking forward to our "Study Cafe" and I can't wait to help. If you can dream it, you can do it! Faith, trust, and pixie dust!

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    1. Prune away! Did you know that we now have a green house, a small one (6x8'), but have plans to get more! And where can I get some of the pixie dust?

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  5. I'm sooooooo proud of Monte Vista! So many GOOD things are happening....... I can't wait for the Study Cafe and our bunny rabbits to arrive! I think we really do a lot of reflecting, modifying, and thinking outside the box at MV......... we are MVM! Monte Vista Marvelous!

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    1. Yes, the Study Cafe! Time to start looking for a rabbit hutch :)

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  6. My goal this coming year is not to "chicken" out of trying new technology while nurturing the garden with a cock-a-doodle-doo.

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    1. You're doing fine so far...just keep playing about.....let's start playing w/hyper docs!

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  7. I'm so proud of all the changes we've been making at Monte Vista! Watching all the idea seeds bloom! I like that we've been pruning by moving things over to Google Docs and I hope to see more and more technology being incorporated. Also....we're getting bunnies, WHAT?! Must..pet...

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  8. There is a movie called "Field of Dreams" where the main character says "If you build it, they will come" and that's what I believe Monte Vista is doing. We are building a new way of doing Independent Study and giving families one more option in educating their children. I can't compare to the last year, but I can certainly compare the last 4 months, and in that short time, we have trimmed most of our paperwork in the office and transitioned into Google for almost 90% of our procedures. My "field of dreams" at Monte Vista is to have more labs available to our students such as Crochet, Photography, Knitting, Scrapbooking, Fashion Design, Library Science, etc. We have so much potential and the space to make it happen! I'm really looking forward to reaching and changing our stars!! :)

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  9. Love your analogy about the Field of Dreams! MV has come a long way in the past year and a half...let's continue to dream and build!

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  10. I am looking forward to our growing dreams becoming reality! I am anxious to implement technology in a way that will make life easier, not harder for our staff and families. Cheers!

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    1. Yes, work smarter not harder...let's eliminate duplication!

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  11. My mind has been playing around with an article or ebook entitled "Counter-Culture Revolution in Education." I honestly believe Monte Vista could become the ground zero for creating something significant... if we can overcome the educational inertia resident in the larger system.

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    1. Ground zero....wouldn't be fun to have MV as a model school for others to visit. Would love to collaborate w/you on your ebook - perhaps a chapter or 2!

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  12. We have grown so much since being on our new campus, and it is a great feeling coming to work each a.m. I feel that we are a true family working together. For me, I need to grow in using the technology that we have and will have. I like that so many of my students are benefiting from APEX and the courses offered. I want to see our students use Google docs more to share the work that they do. I also know that we need to find an adaptable way to use AERIES for our program since we are so different from the comprehensive campuses. There are a lot of seeds we are planting, and I want to be part of the growth process as we 'fertilize,' 'nurture,' and 'prune' both the new and the existing.

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    1. A little extra water, fertilizer, etc goes a long way! Google docs could be used for students assignments and shared with other students for collaboration and editing...this way the '1st draft' isn't the final draft. Could also help with cutting and pasting problem.

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  13. Monte Vista has evolved so much in the last 2 years, its honestly so exciting and rewarding to be a part of such an innovative program. I love telling prospective families about the different programs we have to offer (horticulture/agriculture, green screen, discovery day, maker space, and floral design to name a few) and hearing their positive feedback. I look forward to the future at Monte Vista and continuing to be a part of something I can be proud of. :)

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    1. It's an exciting time here at MV....it's fun to see all the changes that we have made...thank you!

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  14. I am just getting up to speed on all of the changes at Monte Vista since last year. I'm jazzed to have put several students on new APEX courses and look forward to seeing/hearing how they're doing. Although this is an independent learning school, with the many daily activities we offer here on campus, students have opportunities for growing, learning, and socializing. The "future" Study Cafe and cooking classes will provide even more reasons for students to come to school. Monte Vista is a fun & productive place!

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    1. Great descriptors of MV...Fun and Productive!

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  15. I think all of us have been hit by the “creative bug” and it has allowed us to try so many new things here! There are a few things we still need to improve on, to include AERIES and increased instruction times for math and science. We have great new ideas and I am excited about a possible “cooking” course and options to create the use of a “new oven” (!!!!). The big question is: Where are the goats and miniature ponies?!! HAH! Love you all so much!!!! We are the best people to work with, right?

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    1. Flattery will get you everything! Of course we'll need the goats for the fresh milk for our cooking class...or even better we can make goat cheese....a hands on chem project!

      And you're right, our staff is the best ever, I look forward every day coming to work to be surround with a group of energetic and enthusiastic educators!

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  16. I'm excited about our increasing the use of technology, current enrichment programs, and future course offerings. It's great to see our students excited about coming to school, having a sense of belonging, and feeling proud of their accomplishments. We can't stop dreaming about the endless possibilities for the future!

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    1. Reminds me of the book I gave the staff at Hillside...The Art of Possibilities. And you might remember in the Alchemist, Santiago was told to “follow your dreams . . . life wants you to achieve your destiny . . . never stop dreaming, follow your omens.”

      And nothing excites me more than to see students engaged in their learning and having a sense of belonging and accomplishments...thank you!

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