Posted by Robyn Rippel at 11/21/2016
Dear Mill Street Families,
During this season of Thanksgiving, one of the things for which I am thankful is the way District #203 adheres to its mission statement. Decisions regarding implementation of new programs and opportunities for our students always occur while referencing how these future plans relate to the carefully crafted and meaningful mission statement. In case you are not familiar with it, the district’s mission statement is as follows:
The mission of District 203 is to produce students who are self-directed learners, collaborative workers, complex thinkers, quality producers, and community contributors.
Here are a few ways Mill Street School, specifically, is providing opportunities for our students to practice some of these lifelong skills:
Self-directed learners: Teachers often ask their students to identify the learning target/goal of a lesson. When children are able to articulate exactly what it is they should be learning, they have a better understanding of whether or not they are headed in the right direction toward mastering learning objectives.
Collaborative workers: Mill Street School has three expectations: Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful. Throughout the school day, staff and students praise each other when examples of these attributes are being demonstrated. Working together collaboratively to ensure a safe learning environment is one way we provide an inclusive atmosphere for all.
Complex thinkers: District #203 has recently implemented a Digital Learning Initiative (DLI). At Mill Street School, all students in 4th grade have chromebook computers which they use to learn. Students in one 3rd grade class have chromebooks as well and students in one of the 1st grade classrooms have their own iPads. Many opportunities are provided through these investigative opportunities to apply learning to everyday situations as students collaborate with their devices.
Quality producers: Students are always encouraged to put forth as much effort as possible into all they attempt. One example of how this is consistently communicated to students is through the manner in which they self-assess their work. During LRC experiences, students are designing and producing quality products relating to computer coding and robotics, exploring with electrical circuits and craft, developing movies based on narrative pieces they have written, and utilizing a 3-D design and web based tool to create a structure for a collaborative project. All of these are opportunities for demonstrating the ability to be a quality producer.
Community contributors: Mill Street School is continually demonstrating involvement in becoming community contributors. Our most recent endeavor has been the Little Free Library where students are able to borrow and exchange books 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Our Student Council also collected many supplies for our troops overseas to show our support for their selfless acts of serving in our military branches.
I encourage you to talk with your child(ren) in order to learn more about the things we are doing as a learning community to support the valuable strands of the mission in District #203. Most often, true learning occurs in the process rather than the product. If your child does not come home from school with many papers/worksheets, please know he/she is still learning. Throughout the school day, students are working hard in cooperative groups with high levels of engagement relating to problem solving and working as a team. The acquisition of these teamwork skills are true gifts of which we will be thankful our students have gained and mastered.
Enjoy this season of Thanksgiving with your friends and families. Please know I represent the staff in expressing our thanks to you for sharing your children with us each day. They are truly special!
Robyn Rippel, Interim Principal