Dear Ignite Middle School Family,
We are nearly three weeks into the 2020-2021 school year. I see happy faces from learners who are excited to be with their peers once again, whether virtually, or in the regular Ignite classroom learning spaces.Teachers are energized by the voices in the hallways, seeing our distance learners online, kids seeing their friends in the classroom and online, and the authentic experiences of building relationships and community as a whole. Learning is very social and what I will describe below outlines two key activities under the umbrella of being Life Ready and Literate. As your Middle School Principal, I respect and value everyone’s continued support, feedback and partnership as we work through some areas that are new to everyone and put ideas on the table to improve upon what we have established since Ignite’s inception.
Middle School is about exploring one’s identity and the ways in which they learn best and plan goals for how they will be successful. It is this gradual release of responsibility that begins to happen in Middle School, where the heavy lifting of learning in all aspects of life shifts from teacher to learner. As such, we must partner together to best support our learners holistically. This means daily teaching schedules where teachers meet together to discuss learner progress, use data to assess where our individual learners are and plan next instructional moves. This Professional Learning Community approach is what Ignite School must have embedded in the fabric of how we teach and learn. Using this community approach, we help learners explore who they are, increase their abilities to consider how they learn, how they think and who they are in the world around them is what I call being “Life Ready.” In essence, this is the definition of literacy. We can build these literacy skills across the curriculum in all content areas, and this is done when we know who our learners are. This will transcend through Middle School into high school, where we are developing a plan with learners and families for life after graduation. We will be intentional in our approach to place emphasis on who our learners are as a Middle School community, and who they are as individual human beings with funds of knowledge. Without that, we cannot achieve academic success to be the best American school in Dubai.
In the beginning of the school year, we place a strong emphasis on ensuring our learners are safe, welcome, and able to access learning that is developmentally appropriate. One of the concepts of the Middle School is having a designated period in the Middle School schedule each week to meet with their homeroom. In Homeroom, we build community while also paying attention to individual goals, where learners are collaborating with peers to establish their “Homeroom Mission.” After learners have worked together as a team with their peers and their teacher to develop a home court for what Homeroom should look like, sound like and feel like, homeroom teachers will work with students to help them complete their Learner Profile, which helps learners to metacognitively to consider and articulate their hobbies, strengths, and opportunities to grow academically. The Learner Profile will help our young adults explore their learning styles and multiple intelligences through a series of short assessments. When our learners know more about the ways they learn and what they need for an optimal learning experience, our teachers can then better plan as a Middle School team to succeed each Ignite Middle School learner every day. This is our foundation that will make the rest possible as we move forward together step by step. You are integral to all of this complex work and you can help by communicating with us and having regular dialogues each day about what your child is excited about, what they are curious about and what they learn about each day. I enjoy working alongside you and remain humbled to do what is in the best interest of our Kids in the Middle here at Ignite School. Please contact me so I may get to know you and support your child and family.
Mrs. Sharin L. Tebo, M.Ed.
Ignite Middle School Principal