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I. C.A.N. D.O. Program
The I CAN DO program has arrived at Midvalley. Our school has been chosen among a few select schools in the state to participate in this experience with Ballet West. The acronym I CAN DO stands for “Inspiring Children About Not Dropping Out.” It is targeted to 5th grade students in elementary schools. This program offers our students a hands-on dance education experience and several performance opportunities.
During the six-month residency of the I CAN DO program, students will participate in lessons that include moving, investigating, creating and connecting dance concepts as well as life skills and applying those skills to preparing for an end-of-year performance. Dance faculty members, including former professional dancers from Ballet West, professional dance teachers, and graduates from the University of Utah Dance Department conduct weekly, hour-long classes within their respective schools. Students have the opportunity to exhibit tier accomplishments before family, friends, and the community at a year-end performance.
Our fifth graders have been participating for a few weeks now. Several have approached me with great excitement about their experiences so far. I have observed classes in session and can see the excitement on their faces. I have been very impressed with their level of engagement and participation.
Make sure to ask your fifth grader about the I CAN DO program. We hope to continue this relationship with Ballet West in the future and offer it to all of students when they reach the 5th grade.
Midvalley Chess Club
Keep an eye out for more information about the new club coming to Midvalley. School Community Council Chair and parent Mark Price will be starting a chess club in the New Year. Meetings will be held once a week before school. Students will have an opportunity to compete and advance to regional competitions if they are interested.
Families north of 7500 South have expressed interest in forming a parent sponsored group called a “Walking Bus.” A “Walking Bus” is like a car pool without the cars. It works through the cooperation of parents that set up a schedule for walking neighborhood children to school and picking them up. Depending upon the size of the group, one or two adults take turns walking groups of children to and from school. If you are interested in discussing or participating in a “Walking Bus” we will provide a meeting space for parents on Wednesday, December 18th from 6:00-7:00. The “Walking Bus” is not sponsored or supervised by Midvalley or CSD. The parents are responsible for organization and take all liability.
Great Teaching Requires Great Professional Development
Midvalley, along with the rest of the district, is maintaining our focus on continuous improvement. As I shared earlier this year, we are making unprecedented strides in improving student achievement at Midvalley. You can read all the details in the article, “Midvalley on the Rise” at midvalley.canyonsdistrict.org. You will find this article just below my message for this month on our homepage. It takes a lot of work and training to create and sustain this growth.
One of the most important factors in this success and one of the most important features of our school improvement plan is teacher professional development. This year, all of our teachers have attended critical professional development on the new standards-based report cards as well as advanced training in language arts instruction. In order to limit the time the entire faculty has to be out of the building, our Building Leadership Team (BLT) consisting of one teacher from each grade has attended further training with the task of bringing that information back to the rest of the faculty.
Ideally, our teachers would never have to leave the building during instructional time. However, that is not possible due to time and budgetary constraints. As it does in many other professions and industries, funding dictates what is possible. We are doing the best we can to balance the needs in the classroom and the need for professional development. Training teachers in evidence-based instructional practices, even if it occurs during instructional hours, is a force-multiplier that pays extended dividends down the line. If this training weren’t critical to our success, we wouldn’t be doing it.
Thanks for your continued support and understanding. If you have any questions or wish to discuss this topic further, please feel free to stop by and discuss it with me.
We are extremely proud of the progress our school has made over the last three years. Teachers have worked very hard to adapt to our changing community and the individual needs of every student at Midvalley. When we examined the trends at Midvalley over the last 6 years, we knew that changes needed to be made. Of course, change is never easy. We have had great support from the district as we have implemented a new core curriculum in Math and Language Arts. Along with the new curriculum, we have adopted Pearson's Envision Math and Reading Street. The implementation of these two new programs has helped us focus our efforts and standardize the delivery of a common scope and sequence in these two essential subjects. We have also refined teaching skills by focusing on evidence-based instructional practices. All teachers have worked to increase the amount of time-on-task, student engagement, student opportunities to respond and positive as well as constructive feedback. Explicit instruction in Reading, Math and Science is helping us make gains we have not seen in years.