A “gifted” student and innovative curriculum does not guarantee success. If students do not approach their learning with a growth mindset, then they simply will not be able to access their learning. Carol Dweck’s research and book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, is still the defining work on the power of mindset in education and the rest of our lives. What is missing from her work, and the initial research of Angela Duckworth on the power of grit and perseverance, is a practical guide. That is where Sebastian Junger’s, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, enters our practice. Junger explains our goal of Self-Determination for our students, in particular, the importance of Relatedness:
“If you want to make a society work, then you don’t keep underscoring the places where you’re different—you underscore your shared humanity,”
At Skyline, we expect students to grow. And we know that growth is inspired in the context of challenge and community. All of this explains the importance of our Foundations course, community challenges, and our retreat days. This week, we experienced our Winter Retreat. On the surface, our day at Hollinshead Barn was a “nudge” for students to make new friends and bond as a class. It also showed that when we create a safe environment, with some challenging events, and a lot of fun, mindset can be cultivated. These experiences open the doors for our students to access the curriculum, and even more importantly, to give their learning purpose.
"Becoming is better than being.” - Carol Dweck
Course Updates: Mathematics!
On Friday in 1st period Algebra 1, Mr. Schep’s class was engaged in an interactive Desmos activity on their iPads, modeled after the board game, Guess Who. After being randomly paired up, one student secretly selects a graph of a line from a large selection and then answers the 'yes' or 'no' questions asked by their partner to determine which graph they chose. As the game progressed, students learned the importance of using precise mathematical terminology to communictae about linear functions. As the games progressed, students developed and refined their language. Below is a screenshot of an early game involving Riley G. Ask your student what words could be used to refer to a line, or any object, that is oriented straight vertically or horizontally. Ask your student to draw a line for you that has a positive y-intercept and explain what that means.
Recently in Mr. Schep’s 3rd Period Algebra 2 class, Mr. Schep had to miss a class for a professional development conference held at Mountain View High School. During the day of his absence, Mr. Schep arranged for Keiran Perret to take over for the substitute for part of the lesson to teach the class part of the concepts on imaginary numbers, which Mr. Schep had previously taught him. Kieran stepped up, captivated the class’ attention, and did a great job. Check out this clip of his peer-teaching!
In Mr. Schep’s fourth period Algebra 1, the current unit of study is Quadratic Functions. On Friday, the class investigated how a quadratic model would apply to the price-setting process of a business in the example of a company deciding how much to charge its customers for a video game to maximum monthly profit. A discussion centered around the graph shown below. Discuss with your student: Why would the company’s profit be negative if they charged $0 for the video game? If the company kept increasing the price, why would profit rise, but then eventually fall at higher prices?
During our Winter Retreat, students had the opportunity to "Roast" our staff. The "split personality" of Mr. Schep was a fun and universally understood topic. Mr. Schep is very serious, focused, and quiet in the classroom. He revealed his unbridled spirit and LOUD enthusiasm for community events on Wednesday. His behavior should not be a real surprise--he understands that appropriate and effective behavior is dependent on context. As an educator, he models appropriate behavior and on Fridays, Mr. Schep recognizes a student in his math classes for exhibiting one of the Character Traits that week in with his Rockin’ Rock Chuck Award.
The Traits are those synthesized by the Character Lab Research Network, analyzing the developable habits of positive and successful people during and after their educational career. A recent recipient was Denali Harvey, who Mr. Schep recognized for exhibiting Self-Control during the just-introduced archery component of the PE class Mr. Schep also instructs. Denali asked thoughtful questions, was respectful of the safety protocols, and was an example to others of how to be safe and have a lot of fun at the same time. Great job, Denali!
“We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.” -Carol Dweck
Our Foundations classes put our philosophy into practice during the ‘Chuck Challenge’ competitions on Wednesday. Advisory groups teamed up to perform improv; teams competed in traditional events like Haka Moa and Hunker Down, and more modern student-built games like Corn Hole and Battle Royale. A Sculpture Contest, as well as Cheer, Trivia, Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Tug-of-War battles were completed between our classes. The positive energy from such a day helps to build sincere relationships, breaks down barriers to learning and increases engagement for everyone at Skyline.
We also had class meetings this week to elicit feedback from students on Skyline topics ranging from Winter Retreat events, lunch policy, and our academic schedule for next year. Relevance, in part, comes from a student’s feeling of ownership in their school and some control in their learning. Our staff truly values the perspective of our students--our most important stake-holders. They will see our academic programs and activities develop and improve as a result of their feedback.
This week and the week after Spring Break will include preparation for Spring Intersessions and ACT testing.
“When people are actively engaged in a cause their lives have more purpose... with a resulting improvement in mental health,” - Sebastian Junger
Although we value a Growth Mindset and Community Health above all else, standardized testing is still a part of our academic culture, and we want our students to be prepared and successful in all aspects of life. All high school students in Bend-La Pine schools will take an ACT assessment on Tuesday, 4/2. We will have a special schedule that day, which includes mindfulness practice to help students have a successful and even enjoyable testing experience! 9th grade students will complete the ASPIRE; 10th grade students will complete the Pre-ACT. Both tests offer students the opportunity to fulfill their essential skills requirements for graduation and practice for the summative ACT that they will take as 11th graders--accepted by most universities as the admissions exam and free to Bend-La Pine students.
“In effect, humans have dragged a body with a long hominid history into an overfed, malnourished, sedentary, sunlight-deficient, sleep-deprived, competitive, inequitable, and socially-isolating environment with dire consequences.” - Sebastian Junger
“Humans don't mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary.” -Sebastian Junger
In addition to recognizing our class of 2021 for victory in the 2019 Chuck Challenge, we highlighted a few outstanding individuals at our Friday Appreciations and Awards Ceremony. The following awards are for students illustrating our core character standards.
- CURIOSITY: Jack Skovborg, for his willingness to try new things and make the most out of every moment.
- GRIT: Malana, for her perseverance in competitions
- GRATITUDE: Carlie, for SHOWING her appreciation by making the extra effort to help out without being asked
- ZEST: Ruby, for leading creative events with enthusiasm
- SELF-CONTROL: Michael, for his focus and determination during competition
- PURPOSE: Ella Boyd-Brocker, for engaging with and leading activities by finding and drawing out the strengths in her team
- LEADERSHIP: Kaden Miles, for leading by example, with humility and joy.
"Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical." -Yogi Berra
Recycled Sculpture Contest
3/25 - 3/29 Spring Break
4/2 - ACT Test Day
4/8-4/11 - Spring Expeditions
4/11 - End of 3rd Quarter
4/11 - Parent Information Night
4/15 - Pursuit Dat (10th Grade)
4/17 - Student Showcase Night
4/18 - Parent Conferences / Advisory Reports
5/27 - Memorial Day
6/13 - Last Day of School
“The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.” - Albert Camus