Director's Note, March 4: Social Media Alerts, Whole Learner Symposium, Coffee Chat with the Directors, and More!

No School Monday March 11th
Please remember that students do not have school this Monday, March 11th due to staff development.

Whole Child Symposium
I had the opportunity to travel up north to Menlo Park several weeks ago to attend a conference on Whole Child Learning that was hosted by the California Department of Education. The purpose of the symposium was to:

  • Discuss challenges in applying the whole learner approaches while ensuring that learners are supported, challenged, engaged, safe, and healthy
  • Identify how we can establish whole learner approaches that can lead to better student outcomes, and 
  • Share promising practices and resources that support whole child tenets. 

Our school was founded upon these principles of whole child learning, and it is exciting to be a part of these conversations happening at the state level that will eventually lead to to shifts in the policies and practices that will inform the priorities of teaching and learning across the state. At the end of this note, you can read more about my key takeaways from the discussions.

School Accountability Report Card
Every year we produce a School Accountability Report Card that provides the public with information about student achievement, school environment, school resources, and demographics. Our SARC was recently published to our website and is available for you to read here:

Coffee Chat with the Director’s Tomorrow, 8:30am, Room 18
Parents, please join us tomorrow for an informal dialogue about topics that matter to you and your child with Dr. Kelly and Ms. Cindy! Tomorrow we will be discussing social media and gather your ideas for effective school-parent partnerships.

Social Media Alerts    
If you have children who are active on social media, please take a moment to visit the following link and read about some popular internet challenges that could severely impact your child’s social, emotional, and physical wellbeing. At the bottom of the link, there are tips for discussing these often very sensitive topics with your child:

Week of Words
We had a very fun week of words last week that was sponsored by Student Council! It involved ten minutes daily of “dropping everything to read! And a very wordy door walk through our classrooms on Friday. We love all the new ideas that our student leaders bring to our school!

Upcoming Dates for your Calendars
Tuesday, March 5th: Coffee Chat with the Directors, 8:30am
Monday, March 11th: Staff Development, No School
Friday, March 15th: Fun Run and Afterparty (Get those donations in!!!)
Thursday, March 21st: Parent Education Night #3 with Shoshanna Wheeler, 6:30pm
Monday, March 25th: Bridges Board of Director’s Meeting, 6:15pm

We hope you have a wonderful week!

Dr. Kelly and Ms. Cindy

CDE Whole Learner Symposium Notes
Below you can read through just a few ideas that stuck with me from the CDE Symposium on Serving the Whole Learner 2/22/19 (Credit to Erik Burmeister, Dr. Brooke Stafford-Brizard, Ryan Smith, Dr. Devin Vodicka, Jose Alvarado, Michael Funk, Flojaune Griffin Cofer, and Katie Brackenridge) 

  • Whole child learning needs to include a ressiancy component
  • Rather than talk about whole child learning generally, we need to see the child who is in front of us and meet their needs where they are at. 
  • As teachers develop norms in their classrooms, ensure that consequences are restorative in nature, not punitive in nature. 
  • Children need to know that they are loved, the adult in the classroom needs to bring their full mindful self and recognize that we are not in the classroom to manage or control behavior, but to meet children and love them for who they are. 
  • Rethink where learning occurs and reconsider who can provide mentorship and guidance, look to the community for resources. 
  • Teachers and any adults who work with children need to regularly examine implicit biases around students -- have conversations in a community of teachers with honesty. 
  • California is lagging behind on bringing social services to schools
  • As long as we are focused on seat time and standardized testing, we are not going to be able to embrace the whole learner.  
  • School is fundamentally about obedience rather than engagement -- there is typically one way to turn things in, one way to write an essay, one way to do…..and that one way is the teachers’ way. Students experience school as an act of obedience.
  • One way to re-think school is through grading practices -- how does grading send messages that we believe are about learning but really are about obedience? 
  • Holistic approaches to learning are 
  • Types of Circles to implement: 
    • Community
    • Response to Harm
    • Celebration Circle
    • Students give value stars to each other (for example, recognize each other for leadership, helping someone else, honesty, etc.)
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