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St. Paul Lutheran School uses the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Growth as one tool for assessing student progress. Of course, teachers use other assessments and observations to develop a more complete picture of each child’s achievement and growth.
The performance of SPLS students in grades K-8 is compared to millions of other students all over Florida and across the nation. The norms used were established before the COVID-19 crisis and the shutting down of in-person learning in the spring of 2020. In light of this, we are particularly proud of the progress of our students.
Here are some highlights from the most recent NWEA MAP Growth tests on campus.
Compared to other classes across the nation at the same grade level:
Compared to students across the nation:
*The language test is only administered to students in grades 3 and up.
Dear parents and other readers, I have a confession to make. I was a terrible student through junior high and much of high school. Not terrible grade-wise. My grades were actually decent. Certainly I was not a poorly behaved student although bad jokes were part of my nature even way back then.
No, I was pretty terrible because I could skate. And skate I did. Until Miss Colby.
Which are you? Which do you want your kids to be?
In the adult Bible class I lead we were looking at the three Gospel accounts listing the twelve disciples. What a ragtag group!
One of the interesting components of the gospel accounts is the use of the categories disciples and apostles. In Luke it talks about Jesus selecting twelve from among the many disciples and how he only called those his apostles. So while the terms seem interchangeable they apparently were not.
For the past decade(s) schools have encouraged female students to expand educational horizons, to pursue interests that are outside the box of the traditional. That has been a good thing overall and it shows in statistics that indicate the majority of college students are female and even the majority in medical school are as well.
Unfortunately, sometimes it seems to build someone up there is a negative impact in others being put down. We see in schools that boys are facing some real challenges. No one would argue that the very system of education is particularly geared toward how boys’ brains work. But things have deteriorated in many ways for young men beyond the expectation to sit at a desk and do brain work.
It seems that in much of the culture that makes its way to TV screens and YouTube videos, young men are told they have all these unfair advantages. Yet in real life things are getting harder for them to be treated fairly and to be judged by their character rather than simply their gender.
2019-2020 SPLS School Year Theme: All In
First Term: Dive In
Second Term: Dig In
Third Term: Abide in
Theme for the year? I get it. Do all in the name of Christ and do nothing halfway.
First Term? Makes sense. Let’s get started. Don’t hold back. As a student. As a child of faith.
Some co-workers were recently sharing the little conflicts over tradition that can become stressors, or even worse, battlegrounds.
It is ironic, but true, that a holiday that emphasizes God’s loving gift to us can become a point of argument.
I know it seems like we at SPLS keep returning to this theme: We harm our kids by trying to protect them from obstacles, struggle, disappointment, failures and losses. If we present these tough situations in the right way we will help our children immensely in the long run.
There are times when I look back on my childhood and realize that if I share my experiences I will sound like the old folks who claimed they walked to school two miles every day…barefoot….in the snow… and it was uphill both directions.
At the risk of sounding like a caricature, let me share one brief life experience.
I told my parents I wanted to play Little League baseball. I was probably in fifth grade. Other kids, of course had started much earlier, so I would be behind the curve, so to speak. They said OK but I had to do the leg work. Teams were organized around the local elementary schools. However, when I went to the first practice for the school one block from my home I was told there were no open places. If I wanted to play, there was a team needing players at a neighboring school two miles away.
About once a year over my 40+ years leading schools, someone will share the following insight:
“If you believe half of what your child says happens at school, I will only believe half of what he says happens at home.” While I have never been particularly fond of the snarky sentiment, I think it does remind us that kids share things from their perspective. While it may not be intentionally wrong it is seen through very self-focused eyes. That is just natural.
But the end result of taking what a child says as complete and accurate can often produce hurt feelings and misunderstandings or worse.
Several years ago at another school, I had a teacher on staff who was one of the most diligent, prepared, efficient teachers I had ever worked with. Some folks had problems with the teacher’s personality. That could be understood and we worked on building strong relationships.
More than a few years ago, Christian performer Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song about taking that leap of faith and diving into a trusting relationship with the savior.
Here is the chorus:
I’m diving in, I’m going deep, in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush, lost in the flow, in over my head I want to go
The river’s deep, the river’s wide, the river’s water is alive
So sink or swim, I’m diving in
Now as parents and educators, we are all about student safety. And as Florida residents we know the dangers of backyard pools, rip currents, sharks, jellyfish, and so on. So the image of children diving in may make us fearful or send us scrambling for water wings and life jackets.
And yet our theme for this first term of the 2019-2020 school year is Dive In. As Mr. Nick Moss shared in chapel this week, once someone has left the diving board there is no turning back. You are All In. Gravity is taking over and there is no turning back.
We are hoping and praying that within the SPLS community, we are ready to Dive In this first term. No just sticking the toe in to test the temperature of reading class or science. No fearful approach to being a friend. No clinging to past non-productive habits like clinging to the side of the pool.
We want to be fully committed and Dive In to academic pursuits, to sports and band and 4H and chess, to building relationships, to leaving bad habits on the riverbank. We want to Dive In to God’s Word and be immersed in the promises and hope found there.
Here’s to diving in, going deep!
In His Children’s Service, Robert C. Boyd
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (ESV)
Have you seen people who are All In when it comes to fishing?
How about the All In fans of the Bucs or the Lightning?
Anyone know someone who is All In when it comes to a hobby, like photography, or scrapbooking, or collecting?
Even kids can be All In when it comes to dinosaurs, or a certain video game, or American Girls dolls.
With that in mind, it should not be very hard to envision what it means for someone at St. Paul Lutheran School to be All In for the 2019-2020 school year.
We might picture a student who is so devoted to his or her studies that fun activities are delayed until work is done and done well. But we also might see a student who cares deeply for classmates and treats them with empathy and respect.
There might be an image in our mind of a teacher who plans lots of extra engaging activities to make lessons much more exciting. Or we might have an image of a teacher who makes sure to find ways to integrate the message of Christian faith and hope into lesson in a very natural way.