Classes at Headwaters
Between classes there is the normal hustle and bustle of adolescent life, students laughing, gathering their materials and talking to their friends as they head to class.
What does a class look like?Across the school students are engaged in a wide variety of learning activities. As each class starts, doors close, and students and guides take a few minutes to do a simple centering practice. For a moment, we are still and take stock of our day, our mind and our body. Class begins with intention.
Across the school some students will be taking pop quizzes, some will be engaged in silent reading, some will be setting up labs, or typing up papers. Many will be in discussions, some listening to mini-lectures, or doing group projects while others are rehearsing, creating art, or doing self-directed studies. There is no formula for lesson delivery and each guide has the autonomy to respond to his or her class as necessary. At the end of class, however, every class resumes to a united structure. We debrief our classes, taking an opportunity to observe and communicate what worked, or what could be improved in our own process, the classroom environment or in the lesson itself.
AssessmentAssessment at Headwaters happens in many ways. Guides in the Middle School value a student's participation, homework, projects, and tests as part of their class grade. Assignments are recorded by the guide and available to parents and student via Blackbaud, our Learning Management System we call the Nest. Students write a weekly update to their advisor, and their parents, to summarize their academic progress, grades and plans. This ongoing dialogue gives the student consistent opportunities for advisor feedback, as well as self-evaluation. Guides provide formal comments at mid-semester and report cards are sent out at the end of each semester. To give a holistic perspective on a student's academic and character progress, the advisor submits a comprehensive narrative evaluation as well.
Additional SupportIf a student needs or desires additional help from a guide, standing Office Hours happen during the lunch hour. In some cases, guides will require students to come to office hours in order to get such support if they have concerns for their long term success. We find that our office hours structure usually provides the help that many students need to overcome many lingering skill gaps. When more help is needed, our Learning Specialist can help recommend a path with further tutoring or other tools.