Strong Relationships Equals Strong Schools

20140911_094750Research: The Seattle Times sponsored an Education Lab over the last year to look at what works in schools to boost student achievement. They presented their findings in Sunday’s paper. The themes they found included strong relationships with caring adults, teacher buy-in about the school’s philosophy, and flexibility to attend to students’ needs. They conclude, “squeezing 1 million Washington kids through a single curriculum or instructional style is a strategy guaranteed to fail. The most dynamic [schools] trust educators to adapt to the specific needs of the pupils sitting before them.”

Practice: Our teachers are incredible professionals. We trust them to make the right call with their students and allow them the flexibility with their curricula and methods to change gears at any time to respond to student needs, even within the course of a single session. Not only are they highly skilled in the art of teaching, but they also provide mentorship and guidance for their students to help build upon their strengths and character.

One-On-One Instruction

CHS First Day (12 of 15)Research: In 1984 Benjamin Bloom of the University of Chicago concluded that one-on-one instruction was the most effective way to learn. Bloom found that consistent feedback, corrective processes, timely remediation of miscommunication, reinforcement, encouragement, and active participation in learning led to higher student achievement, positive attitudes toward learning, and positive academic self concept. His research remains salient today, as researchers scramble to find solutions that can challenge his results in traditional classrooms.

Practice: Our 30 years of experience endorse the value of one-on-one instruction. People often ask, how can you squeeze a week’s worth of material into one hour of instruction? The power of one-on-one instruction allows us to do just that. Our group classes are small and personal. They necessarily meet for longer periods, but continue to incorporate the elements of instruction that Bloom considered essential to the learning process.

Keeping Technology in Check

education-technology picResearch: Elizabeth Perle, editor of HuffPost Teen, responds to parents’ concerns about their children’s use of online social media in her article “5 Myths About Teens and Technology Every Parent Should Ignore.” She compels us to take another look at their online lives and understand them as new platforms for socialization. As parents this world can be intimidating if we are unfamiliar, but she encourages us to empower ourselves to prevent problems before they start by having them teach us about their online community, share how and why they use it, and help understand who they are within it.

Practice: Our students use technology in a variety of ways at Chrysalis. In some classes they are allowed to use it; in others they have to forgo it…just like in real life. We try to teach them when and where it’s appropriate and when and where it’s not. Parents are encouraged to understand their child’s use of social media, to keep an eye on their use, and to instill technology curfews. Check out Karen Fogle’s video on “Keeping Tech in Check” for more detail.

 

Student Voice

Research: Russell Quaglia, President and Founder of the Quaglia Institute for Student Aspirations, recently conducted a study on the importance of student voice in schooling and student achievement. He found that students who are engaged are 16 times more likely to want to do well in school and concludes that “students who feel respected and have a sense of control and purpose over what they do at school have a much greater chance of doing well.”

Practice: At Chrysalis we recognizDSC_7103e the importance of student voice and engagement in learning. We listen to students’ wants and needs and personalize their educational program to them. They have a say in their schedule, the selection of their teachers, and the direction of their classes. When we receive a new student we’re not only assessing where they are academically, but trying to connect with them on a very human level to understand their goals and help them find purpose in school. All of this adds up to engagement, which forms the basis for any and all academic work that follows.

National Bullying Prevention Month

prevention-awareness-month_imageResearch: October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Unfortunately, bullying is often considered part of the school experience — something that kids are expected to endure and overcome on their own. However, study after study outlines health and academic risks to both the bully and the bullied, including increased indices of depression, anxiety, and risky behaviors. 

Practice: We know that physical and emotional safety is primary to well-being, and that without it learning cannot occur. We take great pride in our ability to maintain a positive school culture, not only for the sake of learning; it also makes Chrysalis a great place for everyone to be!  When situations inevitably arise, we take the time to talk students through them, to help them see new perspectives, and build empathy and community. If you suspect that your child is experiencing any form of bullying, please let us know so that we may deal with the situation appropriately.