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Notes from the President March 10, 2019

Enjoy Your Break Falcons!

It is hard to believe that it is already the start of Spring and that we are over halfway finished with our Winter Term. We hope that each of you find time to rest, relax, and enjoy some time away this week as Spring begins. Please remember to move your clocks forward!

March Board Meeting Date Change

Due to scheduling conflicts our March Board Meeting has been rescheduled for Monday, March 18th at 5:30pm.

Acknowledgement of Public Complaint

Please know that we at the Academy and our Board of Governors are aware of the complaint that was shared publicly. We have looked into the complaint fully and are preparing a formal response. I would like to share a message from JPEC's Board of Governors.

A Message from JPEC's Board

By now each of you has seen the “Official Complaint” authored by two active JPEC parents regarding our staffing partner (America’s Back Office), and – by extension – a number of JPEC stakeholders. The list includes concerns over credentialing, teaching techniques, compliance with state requirements, as well as various decisions that have been made to date.

As an initial matter, we on the Board take seriously our roles in governing this public body. We make decisions in good faith with the best interests of all stakeholders at heart. You should all know that we have a track record of acknowledging, addressing and resolving questions from stakeholders. It is always our goal to constructively resolve concerns to ensure JPEC remains a great opportunity for our kids and the community.

Although we had been doing our level best to engage in good faith with the authors to resolve questions, it soon became apparent that our good faith was not being reciprocated. In what we believe to be an effort to embarrass and intimidate the Board, the complaint document was published to the Jackson College Board, the MDE, the ISD, and various other stakeholders. At that point, prudence dictated that we not only continue to do our best to address the issues raised as we understand them, but that we bring in our legal counsel to ensure that all aspects of the complaint were being addressed in a structured fashion. Meeting requests were extended from legal counsel to these parents multiple times in an effort to understand and resolve issues. Each time these requests were rejected.

All along, our intent has been to resolve issues and identify the specific concerns of these parents from out of a number of nonspecific allegations or allegations whose legal basis had not been made clear to us by the parents. Unfortunately, that objective was not met.

On Friday, March 1st, an update regarding the forthcoming “Formal Response” was sent to these parents indicating that JPEC is in the process of addressing complaints formally and thoroughly. We will discuss the status of this response at our next Board meeting. On Sunday evening, after being told that a formal process of response had been initiated, these parents caused the “Complaint” to be posted on a Facebook page created by these parents or their peers. We understand that the way the document was posted on this page has caused some whose names were published in an easily discoverable manner great embarrassment and emotional distress due to the publication of what may be false, misleading and damaging statements. We have also learned that the document was sent to a number of legislators. Again, these actions were undertaken after the complaining parents were told a formal response would be forthcoming.

Your JPEC Board and your leadership team are open to criticism and complaint, and we will address all concerns to the very best of our ability when they are brought to our attention.

Note from the Academy President and Team

The Team at JPEC and I would like to acknowledge the resilience our students have shown, and reassure our students and families that we remain focused on putting our students' success at the center of all that we do. The amount of worry and disruption to instructional time our students have faced recently is extremely regrettable. We also appreciate the verbal and written statements people have shared in opposition to the document and in support of the Academy and Team, and welcome all to participate in the next board meeting’s discussion. The upcoming Board Meeting will be held on Monday, March 18th at 5:30pm.

Intent to Return

Thank you to all that submitted their intent to return for the 2019-2020 academic year. We are excited to see our numbers!

  • 6th grade - 100%
  • 7th grade - 100%
  • 8th grade - 100%
  • 9th grade - 94.3%
  • 10th grade - 98.5%
  • 11th grade - 90.5%
  • 12/13th grade - 58.5%
  • We are excited to see a number of students choosing to remain and utilize the 5th year to take advantage of our partnership with Albion College and/or to finish their degree.
  • We are also excited to see 15 siblings planning to become Falcons in the fall, and 13 of these as new 6th grade students!

Winter Community Forum Follow Up

2019-2020 Seat Caps

During our last forum, it was asked that we share our Board approved seat/enrollment caps for next academic year. Please see these below:

  • 6th grade - 30
  • 7th grade - 55
  • 8th grade - 55
  • 9th grade - 75
  • 10th grade - 70
  • 11th grade - 70
  • 12th grade - 70
  • 13th grade - 38

Student Advancement

Based on questions raised at our Forum regarding clarity on how it is determined that a student may advance through skills and standards at a faster pace, and how this information is made available to students and parents, we will be formalizing this process. We will be working on a policy and procedure document that outlines how this process works for students. We will share this document out once finished.

Learning Management System (LMS)

  • Our contract with Moodle is coming up for renewal at the end of this academic year. We recognize the challenges that using two systems, Moodle and PowerSchool, has created. We will be moving to a new Learning Management System (LMS) for fall 2019.
  • We will be focusing on moving to a system that better provides access and transparency to our students and parents on learning progress and competency performance. We want the new system to also be better aligned to competency-based learning and user friendly. The following timeline is being used.
  • March - Decision made regarding new LMS recommendation to the Board
  • April - Board review and adoption of new LMS. Communication to staff and Falcon Families regarding Board decision.
  • May - Transition plan shared with staff and Falcon Families. Initial training provided to staff, and course materials, Essential Academic Practices, and Course Competencies gathered and initial uploads into new LMS conducted.
  • June - Data transfer continued with new LMS. Additional training provided to staff. New course data uploaded to LMS.
  • July - Data transfer completed. Fall course designs built into LMS.
  • August - Follow up training as needed for staff. LMS orientation and training provided to Falcon Families
  • September - Additional LMS orientation and training provided to Falcon Families.

We continue to focus on our mathematics program, and have shared that we are focusing on our entire math program to ensure improvements occur throughout the entire Academy. One way that we are doing this is by focusing on our entry point in College Prep at grades 6 and 7.

We have moved to Illustrative Mathematics and wanted to share some information regarding this open resource program with you.

"Illustrative Mathematics is a curriculum creator committed to creating a world where learners know, use, and enjoy mathematics."

Illustrative Math's "highly respected authors craft and deliver high-quality, problem-based core curricula and educational resources that help teachers and students excel in teaching and learning mathematics."

Please see more information regarding the history, mission, and design of this program by clicking the button below:

Food for our Falcons

With the departure of Miss. Shaw, our administrative team has taken on the necessary work to continue to provide healthy breakfast, lunch and snack options to our students at reasonable prices. A huge THANK YOU to Ms. DuPuis and Mrs. Pilaczynski for their support! We are very happy to be able to take this small step to better meet the needs of our students, and we are excited about the potential for increased food options based upon parent interest and willingness to offer expertise and resources.

We are offering sensible breakfast options like cold cereal, oatmeal, breakfast bars and breakfast shakes. For lunch, we have several different microwavable options like Healthy Choice lunches, macaroni and cheese, ravioli, and soups. As snack options, we offer a wide variety like cheese and crackers, peanut butter and crackers, baked chips, fruit snacks, granola bars, Slim Jim sticks, and fruit cups. We will continue to offer the choice on Wednesday’s for the students to buy pizza and a bottle of water.

It would help tremendously if we could get the following items donated regularly,

  •  Bottled water
  •  G2 Gatorade
  •  Granola bars
  •  Special-K breakfast shake
  •  Carnation breakfast shake
  •  Apples
  •  Cheese sticks
  •  Spoons
  •  Bowls

We truly appreciate your continued support!

Spotlights on our Falcons

Kindness Committee

Students in our Kindness Committee organized clothing for children involved in child welfare interventions as a community service project. These represented JPEC's values of service and community engagement, and gave 20 hours of volunteering for the MDHHS.

THANK YOU to Ms. Guthrie and Ms. Guadagnini for their support in helping to make this opportunity happen and support our amazing Falcons! .

JPEC Performing Arts

Shout out to our performing arts students! Symphonic Band played very well and presented professionalism, poise, and positive energy on stage during District Band Festival. The band received an overall rating of a II.

Additionally, the Select Choir students received Superior ratings at District Choral Festival and are now headed to compete at State! Ten of our Symphonic Band students will be competing at State Solo and Ensemble Festival on March 16th! Kudos to Mrs. Ortell and her performing arts students who are making a statement. They are showing that while we are still a new school, we are here to compete!

Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is an educational framework that is central to JPEC. This framework of learning supports all students as they seek to achieve the knowledge, skills, and characteristics held within a JPEC Falcon Graduate. The core elements of our framework are: a.) student ownership; b.) learner profiles and learning pathways; c.) competency-based learning; d.) flexible learning environments. By fostering each of these elements, student’s education experience is tailored to meet his or her unique strengths, needs, and goals.

STUDENT OWNERSHIP: Students are actively engaged in their own success and have a voice in their education. Responsibility for the learning and culture is shared between Learners and Instructors. Students know what they are learning, why they are learning it, how they will learn it, and how they will know and show when they have learned it. Goal setting and reflection are consistent process steps. Fostering Student Ownership can be found throughout our program:

  • Advising conversations beginning in 6th grade between the Learner and Academic Coach in Focus group
  • Goal setting and reflecting on learning to support with shared Flex scheduling decisions and term-based scheduling decisions.
  • Learners determining pace, independent advancement needs, and taking accountability for meeting proficiency of skills before progressing to new courses

LOOKING AHEAD

MARCH
  • 3/11 | Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • 3/11 - 3/15 | No School - Mid-Winter Break
  • 3/18 - 3/22 | College Prep 1st Year - YMCA Camp Trip
  • 3/27 - Winter Open House for New Families
APRIL
  • 4/1 - 4/5 | No School - Spring Break
  • 4/9 | PSAT/SAT Testing
  • 4/29 - 5/24 | MStep Testing Window
MAY
  • 5/1 - 5/3 | Winter Term Finals
  • 5/4 | Early College Prom
  • 5/6 - 5/10 | No School - End of Term Break
  • 5/8 | Winter Progress Reports Sent
  • 5/13 | Spring/Summer Term Start
  • 5/23 | 2018-2019 Commencement
  • 5/24 & 5/27 | No School - Memorial Weekend Holiday

THANK YOU!

Created By
Shane Malmquist
Appreciate

Credits:

Created with images by Caleb Wright - "White blossom on cherry trees" • Estelle Leroy - "untitled image" • MarkoHeinrich - "light lamp spotlight" • wyman H - "White tree blossom"

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