“J-Term” or January school-wide-study-hall

J- Term.

A few years ago, I took a group of AVID Elective students to a nearby university. We toured classrooms of course, but the lessons learned much more sincere and organic when they are unplanned.  The take-away is best when we are able to talk a few students and apply (even replicate). Because it was a transition between terms, we enjoyed some questions / answers with some kids in the dormitories in their down time on a long weekend. We asked some basic questions, such as, “Do you like living in the dorms?”, “What is the most interesting class you have taken outside your major?”

The response was overwhelmingly positive and the more we asked, the more we learned that the culture of learning is what kept students connected.

These students were connected enough to want to stick around during breaks and holidays!

While students had a variety of interests, courses of study and a wide range of long term plans, the learning they experienced as group and their diverse contributions to “J-Term” seemed to have completed the connection for these students to their institution.

In most cases “J-Term” is a Socratic around a particular topic that takes place in the month of January. Students sign up for an elective, sometimes sometimes not, related to their focus or interest.

At Columbia River High School, we are designing a “J-Term” to tailor to individual needs. Many of us have worked in high schools over the last several years and have seen many versions of “tutorial” designed to keep students centered, focused and engaged.  We acknowledge, no model of support is perfect (nor is any kid or teacher), which is why we are choosing to plan, do, study and act on this model of support so that we can continually improve our work.

Our hope with the J-Term effort at River is to provide three Tuesday sessions which will enable students to access help, take time to organize and to plan for success on upcoming semester final exams (Jan 25 & Jan 26).

Again, the River version of J-Term will be:  Jan 9 // 9th grade students reconnect with LINK Crew and rekindle the energy of the launch of the school year. Students will be able to check Skyward and make a plan for the month. {LINK Crew members, may even share their secrets of success and how to study for finals.}

January 16 and January 23 will be an opportunity for all students, 9-12th to take advantage of the precious gift of time in the closing moments of the grading period to retake, redo and ready for the end of the grading period.

In summary, River will be on an Assembly Bell Schedule Jan 9, 16 and 23.  Students will remain in period 2 until released to an intentional and compelling destination.

Students, this is time for you to assemble your best efforts (in the truest sense of the word assemble: to “put or fit together; pull together the parts of” your first 18 weeks of the year) in order to shine during finals.

Thanks for reading!

Photo credits:  3rd Teacher

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Occasional essays, reflections and information regarding Columbia River High School from the Principal's Office.

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