Monte Vista School
The Independent Learning Academy
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 Café. 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?