Mentoring and 1:1 Check Ins
You should hear students talking about their Learning teams class and their mentor. Maybe they’ve even mentioned that they had a “check in” or a “1:1” meeting. These are some new names for things we’ve done at RCA for ages. We first started exploring mentoring as a component at school when Tad and I were the only two teachers here. It’s exciting to see that those first attempts at mentoring have grown in to a predictable and intentional support for students and their progress.
Our goal is to have every student check in 1:1 every week with their learning team teacher/mentor. Weekly checkins are a way of ensuring that students have an avenue to set goals, develop plans, and most importantly celebrate their successes. These personal connections are just one aspect of RCA that sets us apart from other traditional schools.
During Learning Teams, students and mentors are also working on long-term college planning. This week students were tasked with choosing the category of college they’re interested in attending – from minimally selective to extremely selective. They also set their goal grade for each of their current classes. It’s important for all our students to have their post-high school plan on their radar. From our youngest students who are just learning about the possibilities to our seniors who are already taking their first steps into that post-RCA world, a vital step in the process is planning.
Things to ask your student this week: Did you check in with your mentor? Have you passed any check points or focus areas? What skills are you using to study for the content assessments? And which interim classes did you sign up for?
What a great first week of school we’ve had here at RCA! Our students and staff completed two days of on-boarding for the new Platform. They’ve survived strange, shifting schedules, new activities, and lots of discussions about how to learn. We have completed one full normal day of both the Monday-Thursday and the Tuesday-Friday schedule. And, most importantly, we see progress happening!
As I visited classrooms this week, I saw student presentations, engaging podcasts, lots of individual goal setting and peer help in learning the new model. Some things to ask you student may include “Who’s your Learning Team teacher?”, “What goals did you set?”, “What project did you start in each class?”, “Which focus area have you worked on?”, “Which, if any, content assessments have you taken?”, and “What skills have you used to learn new material”. Hopefully, they can also tell you about some fun that they had this week.
Next week starts our 1:1 student check ins with their Learning Team teachers/mentors. Remember, if you have questions or want to check in on your student’s progress, the Learning Team teacher is your first contact, after asking your student.
This week I’ve spent hours meeting personally with seniors and creating individual schedules to meet their graduation needs. One of the aspects of RCA that sets us apart is the personal attention that our students receive. They are each individuals and we work hard to build a program that meets their needs.
Although we’ve had a few issues with the Summit Platform thus far, we have been able to resolve them quickly and efficiently. Feedback from students has been positive. The conversations and focus on learning is impressive. I am pleased with the decision that our school community made last year to begin this partnership!
My own personal journey with Summit Learning started when RCA was still a fledgling school. It was probably 2010-2012. I heard about a school movement in California that shared many of our own core values and school mission. Finding another school like that was a pretty unique occurrence. Over the years, I watched Summit Schools change and develop their model. In many ways, the changes at RCA paralleled those at Summit. After some dramatic leaps in their implementation of their model and upgrades to the Summit Learning Platform, I was pleased to see that they began offering school partnerships two years ago.
In was in response to those partnerships, that RCA applied for and received status as a Summit Learning Partner school. Our teachers, parents and students were thrilled to begin this journey with Summit last spring.
Part of the partnership agreement includes staff training. The staff and I were privileged this summer to attend a week of training in Richmond, California. During this time, we deepened our understanding of the Summit Learning Platform, reinforced its alignment with our own school vision and began the real work of bring the Summit Learning Platform to you.
It is an exciting journey to begin. The staff is enthused and ready to bring students on-board. We all know that it will be a learning curve. There is a mountain of new information to climb. But the positive impact that it will have on our student progress, student learning, parent communication, and school culture will be the reward.