I hope to see you TONIGHT at the Family Paint Night.
Lunch tables: 5-7pm!! See you there!
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Parent Newsletter November 14

Tonight we art! 

Come celebrate our community and make art! Dana Lowe, Allison's mom, is hosting an art fundraising night where for $20 you can buy a blank coffee mug or a trivet to design and raise money for IVA. Ms. Lowe will take and glaze our artwork and - ta da - instant holiday gift. IVA will provide the hot water and cups so bring your favorite tea, hot chocolate or instant coffee and the whole family to cozy up to community artwork time! Blacktop parking will be open. 

To learn and live well, 

Jacquie Bryant, Principal
562-787-4527
Our first Reading Group book! 

Reading Group Meets Next Week - Thursday, November 21st 7:00-8:30pm

Reading through Paul Tough’s book How Children Succeed in preparation for our Reading Group reminds me again why I am so excited to be a part of IVA! In Tough’s chapter on how to build character, two points stand out to me that demonstrate how a school like IVA is on the right track:

1. Our school allows students a realistic hope for growth. Paul Tough quotes Angela Duckworth, who explains to kids that growing character is about developing habits. Some kids have good habits and some have bad and this is easy for kids to digest because, “they know that habits might be hard to change, but they’re not impossible to change” (p. 94).

2. Middle school is the right time! Students develop metacognitition (thinking about how they think) in these years and according to one assertion made in the book, this is the most fruitful time to transform children – before puberty, but late enough into childhood so they are aware of how they think. 

Bring Your Questions!

I know that you are all busy so I want to encourage you to come even if you haven’t completed the book – come with questions and your favorite arguments to explore. We will meet and talk together about how to support kids and how to develop their character and encourage students to face their academic challenge – and know how to support them in this! Some questions I have while reading the book are -
  • How did our teachers develop non-cognitive or soft skills in us? (skills like grit, zest and intellectual tenacity)
  • How do Tough’s ideas about allowing students to fail compare with Dr. Matthew Duggan (the speaker at last month’s Parent Education Seminar)?
  • How does what we (parents and teachers) do in middle school impact high school and beyond?
  • How does character development connect with current IVA struggles with homework?
  • Whose job is it to teach character? And how?
  • In response to the book, which character traits are the most important to you and why?
  • Which character traits do we need to preserve at all costs?
  • Which character traits does our society support?
Encourage your IVA parent friends to come (you are welcome to invite a perspective 6th grade parent-friend too). Talk up the Reading Group, mark your calendar and check out the book!! I hope to see you next Thursday evening 7:00-8:30pm in Mr. McCurry’s classroom.

To Quote Mr. McCurry - 

“In this first year we are striving to create a rigorous curriculum that also fosters a love of learning in our students.  We want our students to work hard and be challenged, but also not be over-whelmed.  Parent input is incredibly helpful in this.  So, thank you!”
 
Mr. McCurry presents a tension that Paul Tough explores in his book, that “the best way for a young person to build character is for him to attempt something where there is a real and serious possibility of failure. In a high-risk endeavor, whether it’s in business or athletics or the arts, you are more likely to experience colossal defeat that in a low-risk one – but you’re also more likely to achieve real and original success” (p. 85). We want our students to be challenged; we want them to love learning because they have earned it
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Field Trips  = Bonding!

Math Club - Way to explore!

IVA kids compete in the Mathematical Association of America. Wednesdays at lunch, students meet with Ms. Noble to explore math – for fun! IVA’s math club is kicking off their problem-solving challenges by participating in the 29th annual American Math Competition. If you see Nixie, Reagan, Elise, Allison or Isaac this week be sure to herald their love of challenge and exploration in the beauty of math. Way to think, kids!
Challenge and exploration in science

Student Emails

Thank you for signing and returning the Student Acceptable Use policy that was sent home on Tuesday! With a signed policy students will be assigned an IVA email today. These emails are protected so that only individuals that use the IVA domain are able to email our students. Students will be able to use their PowerSchool, Edmodo and Khan Academy with a protected email. Please let me know if you have any questions. 
 

Homework Help

Over the summer we predicted that we would give about 30-40 minutes of homework a night – and that our homework would include less items but require more depth of thought. We were right about the latter part of this prediction but have now realized that if students think and consider in depth, they will also be taking more time to work on, struggle through and learn from their homework. On Friday’s faculty-only day our staff determined that appropriate homework that encourages this exploration will require more like 1-1 ½ hours a night for the average student. That said, it is hard to quantify this time commitment because every child and assignment is going to be different. What takes ½ hour for one student will take an hour for another.  We will continue to discuss and work with students to provide supports and strategies. Email our teachers if you need support. 

Thank you for encouraging your child to continue to work through those POW’s in math! A few parents report that they are thinking and pondering through the assignment together with their student. Thank you for modeling this engagement in thinking. This work takes intellectual tenacity – sticking with it and embracing the challenge! The practice of which will develop the habits of character that will allow our kids to know how to work through all sorts of challenges that don’t have immediate answers. 
Science lab experiments

Planners and PowerSchool

You might be aware that our kids have 5 projects they are working on right now!! Teachers are aware of this difficult workload and are resolved to stagger future projects and continue to practice checking drafts to support time management. Planners – our teachers have established the first 5 minutes of class as time to review the agenda, homework and progress on projects. This includes time so that students can track assignments in their agendas. PowerSchool – our teachers will continue to use PowerSchool to post grades and also agreed to post assignments when they are given to students so that both parents and students can check PowerSchool to compare it with the work recorded in the planners. Please encourage your kids to use these two resources and continue to communicate needs and concerns with our teachers. 
Copyright © 2013 Intellectual Virtues Academy Long Beach, All rights reserved.


Faculty & Staff Email Addresses

Cari Noble, Math/Science Teacher
Ian McCurry, ELA/Social Studies Teacher
Michael Johnson, PE Teacher
Cindy Luu, Music – 1st trimester elective 
Danielle Montiel, Program Administrator
Lisa Miller, Administrative Assistant

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