The Jag Mag

  • Jag Academy Grading

    Posted by Melissa Uetz on 10/24/2017 10:00:00 AM

    How is it already the end of the first quarter?! On one hand, it feels like we just started, and on the other hand, we have already come so far! For me personally, this has been the most enjoyable school year in my career.

     

    We have had a few visitors to Jag Academy so far, and the feedback has been very encouraging. To add to the experience of future visitors, we are creating a student panel to share their experiences and answer questions from the learners’ points of view. In addition, we will be having Jag students lead our future visitors on school tours.

     

    We also had our first round of parent-teacher conferences, and I am thankful to everyone who visited. The questions parents had were excellent, and I will address some of the most commonly asked ones through this blog. I will begin by focusing on grading.

     

    Grading

    Grading in the Jag Academy is based on a student's proficiency of measurement topics which are developed from our state standards. Our proficiency scale utilizes a 1-4 scale instead of the traditional A-F grading.


    Level 1 is new information to which students have not yet been exposed. Level 2 is an understanding of foundational concepts such as content-specific vocabulary. Level 3 is proficiency in the measurement topics. All students must reach a Level 3 before moving on to the next course. This level is achieved through completing the online coursework and participating in seminars. Level 4 is applied learning, where students have the opportunity to design a project applying what they have learned.

     

    A Level 4 project needs to be done for each course in which a student wants to earn a 4; however, a project can encompass more than one class's measurement topics. Some examples that students have developed thus far include writing a research paper on how tides affected the timing of D-Day (English, History, and Science), making a video tutorial of how to measure angles by using structures in the city of Arthur (Geometry, English), and analyzing the diaries of Lewis and Clark for their geographical data (English, History, Science). In addition, these Level 4 projects will be presented to an audience upon completion. In general, a written report would be expected to be at least five paragraphs long, as that is the writing structure that we have learned thus far. Grades will be awarded as students complete classes. For example, if the first semester of English 9 is completed in December, the 1-4 grade will be recorded, and credit awarded in the case of high school level courses. Then students will be enrolled in the next class in their progression through the curriculum.

     

    Thanks for reading, and please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions!

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  • Off to a Great Start!

    Posted by Melissa Uetz on 9/14/2017 9:45:00 AM

    I can’t believe we are already into the fourth week of school! Jag Academy has gotten off to an amazing start and I’m so excited to see how the rest of the year unfolds.

     

    Students have begun sending a weekly goal-setting email on Mondays to their parents and myself. This Friday, they will begin the weekly process of sending a follow-up email to parents, myself, and their academic advisor to provide an update on where they are at in meeting their goals. These emails give students the opportunity to practice their formal writing skills as well as give teachers a more personalized view into where students may need additional help.

     

    We also started a weekly check-in with each student to analyze how far they have gotten in each of their classes over the past week. This meeting allows students to know if they are on pace with where they should be in their classes, or if they are behind. We have a handful students between 30-60% done with a semester class already!

     

    We have also begun adding in seminars for students. These are small or large group gatherings that touch on topics embedded in the curriculum. For example, Mr. Krinke led writing seminars for all students, physical science students participated in a density lab, and students learned about either the Constitution and Articles of Confederation with Mr. Senn or early Egypt with Mr. Sitte, depending upon their current social studies class. In addition, Mrs. Lokken, our College and Career Counselor, is leading seminars this week on career interests which will be used to plan field trips and job shadowing experiences for students based on their personal goals and preferences.

     

    Last Friday we held a Jag Academy meeting to answer questions that students had.  We also began building our Jag Academy Guidelines, or J.A.G.s. These are our standard operating procedures developed through student input for items such as noise level, food and drink, and advocating for yourself. It was nice to have the chance to be together as a whole group to answer questions, provide clarity, and just enjoy each others’ company.

     

    If the first few weeks of school are any indication of how the rest of the year will be, we are in for an amazing learning adventure! Thanks for joining us!

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  • Welcome to Jag Academy!

    Posted by Melissa Uetz on 8/28/2017

    Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year and Jag Academy! My name is Melissa Uetz and I will be serving as the Customized Learning Lead Facilitator. Many people, both inside and outside of the Northern Cass family, have asked about Jag Academy. I’m hoping this blog will serve to give everyone a glimpse into the amazing learning that has already begun taking place.

    One of Jag Academy’s main goals is for learners to take ownership of their own learning. It is no longer about simply completing a worksheet for a grade or cramming the night before a test to regurgitate as many facts as possible. We are living in a world where most students have a supercomputer--their phone--with them at all times to look up any fact they may ever need to know. Our job as educators in the 21st century is to teach learners how to use this knowledge, and how to bend it and shape it into something new and amazing. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 65% of today’s students will be employed in jobs that do not yet exist. What can we do today to prepare students for this future?

    Jaguar Academy is based on the idea of mass customized learning (Schwahn and McGarvey, 2012). In traditional classrooms, time is the constant and learning is the variable. If the class is moving on, so are you--ready or not. Customized learning allows students to master content while moving at their own pace. Learners who excel at a certain subject can move quickly through the material and onto more advanced topics. Other learners who would like to take more time, work in smaller teacher-led groups, or have the opportunity to re-learn and re-assess are able to access any or all of these personalized approaches to learning--and more.

    Jag Academy students are enrolled in a combination of traditional classrooms and online learning. Learners take at least three classes that have been built utilizing Edgenuity, a web-based platform that has allowed us to customize each class to our state standards as well as build in activities that will allow for in-person collaboration and projects among learners.

    Grading will look very different in the Jag Academy. We will not be utilizing a 0-100 scale. Instead, learners will be assessed using proficiency scales comprised of four levels. Level one will indicate a beginning level of knowledge. Level two will correlate with an understanding of vocabulary and concepts. Level three is our goal: proficiency. Students at this level will be able to demonstrate proficiency of the measurement topic, which is made directly from our state educational standards. Level four will be for learners who want to go above and beyond understanding the material and want to apply their learning to real-life projects and other demonstrations of learning. Students will have the opportunity to design and implement these Level 4 projects, with the expectation that all Jag students will complete at least one during the course of the school year.

    At Northern Cass we start every staff meeting with our why: We believe every child can change the world, therefore we will provide a world class education. Jag Academy strives to do just that. I look forward to the amazing school year we are beginning and I can’t wait to see what learning is in store for our students.

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