Happy New Year to all our blog readers and friends. Let’s be praying that we, as a nation, will start the process of uniting and showing respect for everyone we come in contact with, without bias or discrimination. Starting with those under our roof would be my recommendation, and I speak from real-world experience … Education and respect surely start in the home…
So we have a “Big Idea” for this New Year. LHCC has seen over the past 8 years that the zest for school seems to dissipate with our graduating fifth graders, as they move on from elementary school. Too often, it’s a downward slope of discouragement and disengagement.
A Gallop poll undertaken some years prior to the pandemic, found a disturbing slope in the wrong direction for fifth- to twelve-grade students in the US. Only 6 in 10 middle school students reported being engaged in school. That number goes further south, 4 in 10, for high schoolers. That metric started out at almost 8 in 10 for elementary school students. Gallop defines engaged as students who feel involved in the learning process and who have positive connections with teachers and the school. Feedback included the view that disengaged students felt they did not get the chance to do the things they are best at doing. Students will stay engaged if the encounter frequent successes, are given chances and have more positive interactions with adults.
LHCC is looking for practical ideas to help our secondary school students in 2021. By this I mean helping middle and high school students find their voice, show them that they matter, and can be trusted. As in-person school attendance has been very limited, or frankly non-existent for most secondary level students this school year, we are looking for ways to motivate them, to help them discover their passion for what they enjoy. We are therefore introducing a different perspectives on academics.
Creating a culture of Leadership
I love this quote by Sir Ken Robinson, from The Element. “The fact that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed. It needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions”
Learning is surely more that going to school and getting an education. Other vital dimensions of growing up include cross cultural exposure and learning life skills. Non scholae sed vitae discimus. We learn, not for school, but for life ~ a sign in a high school entrance declares.
We are dreaming about a LHCC Leadership Academy for secondary school students
Ways to give our students a chance to be leaders. We believe that giving them responsibility can surely change their maturity. Make a concerted effort to ask their opinions and focus on listening and giving them a voice, and teaching them to use it
Pair our younger students with our older student leaders. Ask them to read to their younger siblings or play board games. Let them practice the language they will be graduating from American school, usually different from their home language
We are planning to develop a curriculum that is not just academic, but rather focused on skills like problem solving, public speaking and debating (kindly)
In closing, let me provide two more quotes by folks who are much more versed than I in weighing in on this topic of academics.
What students need to succeed in the 21st century is an education that is both academically rigorous and “real world” relevant. This objective of rigor and relevance is not just for some students, it is for all students ~ Dr. Willard Doggett
The research is abundantly clear: nothing motivates a child more than when learning is valued by schools and families/communities working together in partnership … these forms of involvement do not happen by accident or even by invitation. They happen by explicit strategic intervention ~ Michael Fullan
At LHCC, we desire to inspire and motivate greatness in all our children … one child at a time … After all, the woods would surely be silent if no bird sang but the best. We’d love to have you join us in a united chorus of encouragement and hope as we bring in a new year.
ED of LHCC