It is exciting. It is exhausting. It is a time of transition for everyone.
by Eileen Wedegartner, Blended Learning Specialist
It’s that bittersweet time of year again, the start of school. We pack away our summer gear, bags loaded with suntan lotion, flip-flips, towels and sand, and trade them in for book bags stuffed with new notebooks. Schools have been freshly cleaned and waxed and everything has a glimmer of hope. It’s that glorious time when every desk is shining, every pencil is sharp, and every Expo marker works.
Personally, as a student, as a parent and as an educator, I love this time of year. While it is a time of great hope and aspiration for everyone, it is also a time of great struggle. Students need to get to know their new teachers, new classmates and new schedules as they struggle to reactivate the skills mastered at the close of the previous year. It is exciting. It is exhausting. It is a time of transition for everyone.
Meanwhile, there are school administrators who have been working behind the scenes all summer long to set up new programs for students and for teachers. These dedicated professionals ensure that students are placed into courses that will put them on a path to graduation and open paths for new opportunities for both students and teachers.
This year, I am especially excited to be part of that process. As high schools dig into their first year of MCAS 2.0 data, I anticipate urgent needs to help students master the higher standards on the 10th grade exam. As educators, we are ready to help students who did not reach the passing level last year attain that benchmark in the time left before graduation. For those who did reach the goal, this will be a time of great satisfaction. There will be many students who were considered at risk based on their 8th grade performance but will enter the 11th grade having cleared the 10th grade MCAS hurdle because they had effective interventions, instruction, practice and persistence.
For these students, the focus will be on the greater challenges of college and career readiness. JFYNetWorks is excited to partner with schools and offer further assistance toward this goal. Our practice is to meet students where they are and assist them toward excellence at whatever level is before them. For some this will require catch-up, while for others it calls for additional rigor. For all students, the new year offers hope, challenge, and opportunities to continually improve and grow. Working with schools and performance data over the summer has prepared our JFY staff to pick up the pace and match the raised stakes for all students as they confront higher standards for high school graduation and for college and career readiness.