Dear Diary, I opened a campus here in Pooler this year as I saw so many kids that did not love learning in our community. Their schools had agendas of money, testing, and many things that placate city leaders, parents, and make their campus “look” good. These agendas however do not bring a balance to being accountable for learning growth and allowing student to find their joy in learning successes!
So, how’s it going? Well, we are doing great! All of our students are making such gains, not only in how they are growing in their subjects, but how they think of themselves as learners. When we meet as a faculty, our conversations revolve around how well we get to know our students. We can tell they feel safe to try new things. It is common for a new student to start their first days feeling a bit anxious from past learning environments, but in a few weeks we see them tackling problems with gusto and volunteering to explain things to other kids with such great confidence. Our students love to be with us, and we can see this as they frequently run into the building in the morning and regularly have a hard time tearing themselves away to go home. Our students know that this is a safe place not only for their body, but their thinking. The amount of personal sharing of experiences is so exciting. They are making connections to themselves, the world, and what they study!
When it comes to subject growth a few of our new students really stand out. One was working virtually in a lower grade and just not grasping the concepts they needed to be successful. The student has been with us for a not even a month and made half a year growth in getting caught up in reading! Another student has been with us just over a month. This student came to us struggling with early skills and was several grades below in all subjects. The turn around has been amazing as we now listen to the student practice sight words and has confidence in all the letters and sounds. Of course, there are also some other kids that came to us ahead of grade level and they are growing like weeks. In just three months, we have seen a year and a half of growth from a student that was just ready to bloom from their current grade level!
It is so exciting to know that this leap of faith I took is really helping children be excited about learning and growing so much! The incredible teachers I work with really know their craft and love to make learning so fun and challenging to our students. Diary, there are no regrets and I hope that we find even more families that want to partner with us to support their child’s learning journey, especially in a time where it is a challenge to learn just what they need to be ready for the next grade level. We can’t be more delighted!