I am excited to share with you that Mt. Mourne School will soon bring a new position called Blended Learning Coach to our campus. This individual’s job will include infusing technology into classroom instruction, and fostering our teachers’ ability to differentiate instruction through multiple models of blended learning.
Our teachers at Mt. Mourne generally do a good job of using technology to engage our students. We are, however, ready to take this engagement to the next level. We realize that technology is dramatically changing the role of the classroom teacher. We realize that the resources that technology offers to our profession mean that our profession is at a crossroads. We must take technology resources to the next level in the classroom, or be passed by.
I invite you to watch the TED Talk by Michael Wesch entitled from Knowledgable to Knowledge-ABLE. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeaAHv4UTI8
In a economically bleak climate, this is certainly something to be grateful for. It is important to know that the funding for this exciting new program is a result of our school district seeking grant funding. In a time when our state and our county continually question the public schools' ability to meet the needs of children, we choose to quietly soldier on and, as a result, provide an exemplar program to your children.
We are excited to announce our new partnership with World View at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. World View is an international program for North Carolina educators that strives to help schools and universities prepare students to succeed in an interconnected, diverse, and multicultural world. Through the partnership, Mt. Mourne School will have access to a speaker’s bureau at both Duke and NC State, opportunities for assistance with developing curriculum regarding global issues, and various workshop seminars and symposiums for our faculty. This availability to link with university resources will be invaluable to our staff and students.
As principal, I realize that in order to teach globally, educators must have global experiences. Did you know that 90% of all the public school teachers in the United States do not have a stamped passport? How difficult it is to teach globally when many of our teachers have never been afforded the opportunity to learn about other cultures outside their own. I’m not talking about traveling as a tourist. I’m talking about immersing oneself in a cultural experience so unlike what you are accustomed to that you are forced to step back and realize the world in a whole new way. Creating a critical mass of faculty members who have experienced global travel and cultural awareness is critical to our success at Mt. Mourne. The mission of the International Baccalaureate program is to “encourage students across the world to become active, compassionate, and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.”
For those who are unable to travel, World View will assist our faculty in developing a greater understanding of world regions and integrating a new perspective on what we traditionally teach in the classroom. Assistance comes in the form of culture kits, currency kits, global connections to other educators around the world, and international studies specialists. To learn more about World View, visit their website at www.unc/edu.world.
In October, we’ll send four of our teachers to the “Global Issues Global Solutions” Symposium in Chapel Hill. The symposium, co-sponsored by the NC State Board of Education and the Department of Public Instruction, will cover topics including the environment, the global finance crisis, water, peace and conflict, and economic development.
It is our hope that Mt. Mourne parents will embrace this partnership as we encourage our students to become global citizens. We welcome your suggestions and ideas as we continue to grow!
The need to express ourselves artistically is a human quality. We, as a human race, have used artistic expression for a multitude of things that go beyond aesthetic vanity. Art provides a window into our history as well as unlocks our future potential. Artistic expression through music, visual art, theatre and dance distinguishes many diverse cultures around the globe. However, the universal language of these art forms serves as an unwavering bond between these cultures.
Unity celebrated through diversity...ART.
The global conversation this month asks the question, “How do the Arts Unify Our World?" Teachers will use the Art Beyond Borders traveling exhibit to enhance their global conversations. The Art Beyond Borders exhibit is a partnership between Teacher’s Discovery and TIMOTCA, The International Museum of Twenty-first Century Arts. It was born from a series of international exhibits that premiered at the United Nations Headquarters. The goal of TIMOTCA is to collect one piece of art from an artist in every country in the world to serve as a catalyst for peace and cultural understanding through the universal language of art. To date, 63 countries are participating. This exhibit will feature 24 of those works of art in a vibrant, educational, eye-opening exhibit. The students and staff will enjoy the 7 piece spectacular exhibit during the week of March 5-9. To learn more about TIMOTCA, visit www.timotca.org.
This traveling exhibit has been made possible to Mt. Mourne School through a monetary donation from the Brawley Area Youth Athletic Association (BAYAA). It is through partnerships like these that we are able to bring exciting programs to our students during these difficult economic times.
Students will have a scheduled time to view and study the exhibit and eventually discuss how they can go beyond borders and foster peace through understanding and communication. Parents are welcome to come and view the exhibit. It will be on display in our media center and throughout the hallways during the week of March 9.
Today, an installation crew is hard at work installing wrought iron fencing near the parent drop off area, as well as at the front of the school. The fencing will not only beautify our campus, but was also a suggestion from the Iredell County Sheriff's Department for safety purposes. The fencing that you will see at the front of the school acts as a buffer for our students as they change classes throughout the day. Special thanks to Lisa Delano for her hard work on securing this donation for our school!
In an effort to further provide a safe environment for your child, we have painted colored stripes in each of our hallways. Because our building is so old, it is sometimes difficult to give directions to visitors. These color coded hallways are a means for giving directions to visitors or to law enforcement should there be an emergency situation.
Your PTO board has been hard at work to make good use of the generous funds you have provided. Please drop by sometime and take a look at our improvements. We would love to show you around!
Boen Nutting, Ed.D
10 Learner Profile Traits (Balanced, Caring, Communicators, Inquirers, Knowledgeable, Open-Minded, Principled, Reflective, Risk-Takers, Thinkers)
and 7 Approach to Learning skills (Collaboration, Communication, Information Literacy, Organization, Reflection, Thinking, Transfer)
But a funny thing happened on the way to that message being received.
One very brave freshman raised his hand and said, “I have gone home and told my parents about this many times. But how do I convince them of this when they only ask about my grades?”
I paused because I was so impressed by such a maturely handled, brilliant question. I looked around the auditorium and saw that his question received well over 100 student nods.
I realized at that moment that the toughest sell of the difference of IB might not be teachers, who often have to fundamentally undo practices that they have used effectively for as long as they’ve been in the classroom. The toughest sell isn’t students, who, even though they often feel uncomfortable in this new learning environment, are much more resilient than adults. The hardest sell is for families because they are not in these classrooms every day so they may not know what questions to ask. So instead, they default to the questions they’ve always asked or the questions that were asked of them when they came home from school.
Shifting the focus means instead of treating subjects such as Math or Humanities or Language B and their contents as the end game to using the contents of those subjects as tools to grow students in the 17 places list above. This is a huge difference from the way over 99 percent of the readers of this email were educated. This is not how the writer of this email was educated.
Because of this profound paradigm shift, we must all think differently about many of our preconceived notions about education, most specifically, the frequent student-parent topic about grades. Yes, grades are an important, albeit imperfect, measure of students. Yes, colleges and programs use them as tools to sift through massive piles of applicants. But here’s a more important yes.
Yes, if a student grows and turns areas of weakness into areas of strength that pays dividends in each class, not just in a single one. If I focus on a trait as a learner, I can target one entity and improve in multiple classes, grades included. If I focus only on a single class’ grade, the best-case scenario is that I fix that class’ grade for that marking period. The worst-case scenario: I sacrifice other subjects in the process.
More importantly, the dividend of being trait-focused, rather than grades-focused is that the improvement lives in a student forever, not just until the next report card. Too many students, families and teachers view the Learner Profile Traits and Approaches to Learning in this fashion:
“If you grow in the Learner Profile Traits or Approach to Learning and still bring home a 97, fine. Otherwise, bring home the 97.”
I challenge you to invert that.
I know you might be afraid to take a step away from the comfortable position of valuing the number. School cultures are often built around assessing qualities through quantities. However, people choose IB because they want something different. This is that difference and everyone involved with a student (the student, the teacher, the family) must value that difference for it to have its maximum effect.