MONDAY
MEMO
from the principals
13 January 2020 | Chartiers Valley High School
Upcoming Events

January 16 - Half day for students
(AM only)
January 20 - No School
Martin Luther King Day


CVSD is Hiring
The Chartiers Valley School District is actively seeking day-to-day and long-term substitute teachers. Individuals with any bachelors degree (not limited to degrees in education) or those who are eligible for an emergency teachers certification are encouraged to apply.  

The District contracts with Precision Education for all substitute needs. If you are interested in becoming a substitute, please contact Kelly Mannering ( kmannering@cvsd.net ) who will guide you through the Precision Education application process. 

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Superintendent's Spotlight
A monthly message from Dr. Vanatta
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students,

As we begin a new calendar year and round the corner on our current school year, the District has been planning and preparing for next fall. It may seem premature, but we try to learn from the current year and determine how we can improve moving forward. I suppose it can be referred to as “ongoing reflective thinking.”  

Reflection has been a key component throughout my professional training, and I strive to incorporate it into my daily practices both professionally and personally. Doing so has led me to ponder whether or not our students reflect on their own school days, learning styles, academic interests, study habits, and so on.

I recently came across an editorial about how one “learns to learn.” That is a tricky phrase and one which I encourage consideration and understanding. The editorial addresses the question, how does one learn to learn? This is a very important concept for educators, students, and parents. The following tips can help you and your student to better understand learning.

  • Demonstrate understanding. When asked, “How do students demonstrate true understanding?” I often use this analogy: consider your own work or hobby. If you truly understand a concept, you can speak to it, explain it in a variety of different ways, teach it to others, and perhaps most importantly, you can do it. So, therefore, the first means of learning is by doing. Consider how we encourage our children from a very young age to learn by doing (e.g. crawling, communicating, eating, etc.). As they mature in their understanding, they are able to then teach others.

  • Focus. We are certainly living in a multi-task world; however, there is only so much stimuli we can take on at a given time. How can anyone be expected to learn when distractions are interrupting the learning process? Studies have found that in order for students to master a concept, distractions should be limited.

  • Think about thinking. Have you or your student ever not done well on a test but thought, “I knew the material”? Sometimes we simply misjudge what we know. As your student studies a concept, discern whether or not they are able to demonstrate true understanding (refer to the first bullet point above).

  • Find the deeper meaning. Of course, the surface of learning is important, but applying real life concepts, personal experiences, and deeper meaning to the context encourages deeper understanding. This, too, provides answers to the argument, “When am I ever going to use this in life?”

  • Embrace feedback.  Any type of feedback fosters learning, but sometimes our students do not ask for it. It is suggested to point out the positives or what they are doing well, then point out areas where practice is needed. Self-feedback is also an important practice to establish. This type of informal coaching is common in sports and can be helpful in academics as well.

  • Know your feelings. Mood swings are common among students of all ages, and emotions can impact learning. When strong feelings are running though one’s mind it can be difficult to learn a new skill or to engage with complex ideas. It is important to address feelings before they become concerning. Techniques such as counting to 10 before making important decisions or taking deep breaths when emotions rise to the top. These simple mindfulness strategies can make a significant difference in a student’s learning.  

  • Use the fourth “R.” The three “Rs”- reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic, also should be paired with reflection. Students who take time to reflect on what they have learned actually learn more. Asking reflective questions helps us to remember what we have learned and as I mentioned initially, reflection assists in solidifying our understanding and sets us up for successful life-long learning. 

I hope you have learned something new about learning and have been encouraged to reflect on your own student’s learning process. It is a concept I truly enjoy and find to be very important, as learning continues long after our students graduate! 

Sincerely,


Johannah M. Vanatta, Ed.D.
Inspiring, achieving and celebrating excellence