Vista PEAK staff has an understanding of standards referenced grading in theory and in practice using the standards based teaching and learning cycle as a core construct. Staff understand the potential impact “compelling why” that justifies why this effort is so essential. We have definitions and readings that guide our work. Grades and marks are on a common grading scale, are less subjective and more consistent, accurate, meaningful and supportive of learning. A set scale and method is used school wide and is accessible to everyone.
SALT teams have defined measurement topics by course, have learning progressions articulated, and track those measurement topics across departments and vertically in order to inform instruction therefore allowing for better coaching support. Teachers are sharing information with students and parents to create a collaborative environment where students feel a strong ownership and understanding of their strengths and weaknesses according to standards being taught and all are accessible 24/7/365.
Students understand the growth mind set meaning that they are in control of their destiny and while they may have to work harder in some content areas they control how much they grow based on how hard they work. In time, students have descriptions of proficiency in their hands and exemplars that allow them to compare their own work to what is expected at VP.
Teachers, students, and parents know exactly what proficiency means from unsatisfactory performance all the way to an honors level performance. As a staff we use the descriptions of proficiency to formulate common assessments including: performance based assessments, conversations, projects, student work, and in some cases paper and pencil assessments. Grades are criterion referenced not norm referenced. Work habits are defined, consistent and part of the student’s final grade. We continually working to improve our understanding of the differentiation to best support language learners and accommodations for diverse learners especially in regards to grading and assessment.
VISTA PEAK EMBEDDED HONORS FRAMEWORK
The P-20 Campus emphasizes that ALL students are fully capable of obtaining honors credit. All students on the Campus should be exposed to a rigorous learning experience. Honors coursework will greatly enrich and deepen student’s understandings in content areas and give an opportunity to apply new learning in innovative and inventive ways. Every student should be given the opportunity for honors credit within specific courses. Differentiation for individual students will occur through instruction.
Students must commit to honors by August 15th of beginning of each school year. And they will be loaded into an Honors course in Infinite Campus which will require teachers to open up two sections for each period.
While all students are held to rigorous grade level standards, those students who commit to honors will be engaged in more complex measurement topics that reveal they understand, can apply, evaluate and recreate learning for others.
Through differentiation in classrooms, students should complete and exceed grade level expectations on extensions that may include: projects, products, performances and or demonstrations that reveal a deeper understanding as outlined in the syllabus.
High school English, Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, Humanities, US History, and Civics content will be differentiated for students who commit to honors on August 15th of the beginning of each school year.
To learn more about the Vista PEAK Embedded Honors Program click the following link: VP Embedded Honors Framework.