Building Something Exceptional
SUPPORTING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT

Under Goal 1: Designing and Demonstrating 21st Century Learning of the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan, Mount Vernon is dedicated to deepening student engagement through meaningful, relevant learning experiences. Program creation, leadership appointments, and administration of assessment tools are demonstrations to fulfill two critical objectives at MVPS. We want to take this opportunity to share how we are “building something exceptional” with our community.

Goal 1: Design and Demonstrate–Student Engagement Plan: Design and expand programs of study before, during, and/or after school that allow students to explore their questions, passions, and interests in a hands-on, experiential learning environment.

PlayMaker Program Director Announced
Recently announced for the 2014-2015 school year, Mount Vernon created a new program, PlayMaker, to combine After-School Activities, Extended Day, and Summer Camps under one umbrella. Serving students in Preschool through Grade 6, the focus of PlayMaker is to extend and compliment the School’s current offerings of innovation, creativity, sport, and play.

Mount Vernon has appointed Jennifer Allen, PlayMaker Program Director. Jennifer comes to us from the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA) where she served as Director of Education and Public Programming. There, she developed and implemented design-based education for children, families and adults as well as facilitated camps for children including LEGO robotics, bottle rocket building and launching, design thinking programs, field trips, design as a tool for invention and creating, and more. Jennifer also led professional development experiences, workshops, and courses. Before working for MODA, Jennifer taught lower and upper elementary school students. Please join the School in welcoming Jennifer Allen to Mount Vernon.

Upper School Launches Innovation Diploma
In August 2014, the first Innovation Diploma Cohort in the Upper School will convene. Mount Vernon’s Innovation Diploma offers an unparalleled opportunity for high school students to observe, question, empathize, experiment, craft, and implement innovations in a variety of fields and contexts before graduating. To earn the Innovation Diploma, students engage in immersive exploration and empathy, experiment as they design solutions to problems they observe and discover, and launch and implement innovative solutions within an environment of feedback and support. In addition, students complete a variety of coursework focused around skills of design thinking, problem-based learning, innovative technologies, and passion-finding. Core components of the program include a cohort of student innovators, accelerator projects, advisement from MVPS and external expert mentors, signature coursework, travel, internships, and retreats. Meg Cureton, Upper School faculty member, has been appointed the Innovation Diploma Director.

Goal 1: Design and Demonstrate–Student Engagement Plan: Create a model that systematically seeks feedback and measures attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs of students about their work, the School environment, and their participation/contribution within the School community.

Founders Campus, Middle School Dean of Students Appointed
The Middle School team serves a growing population of students both on the Glenn Campus (Grades 7-8) and the Founders Campus (Grades 5-6). As the demand for admittance increases, the need for leadership and support for students, teachers, and parents rises. In order to remain high touch on both campuses, Mount Vernon has appointed LaTasha Mines the Middle School Dean of Students for Founders Campus (Grades 5-6 only) for the 2014-2015 school year. While LaTasha will remain a teacher in the classroom, she will be heavily involved in the student life of 5th and 6th grade students, assisting and supporting them during a transformative period in their lives. As a former principal prior to her arrival at MVPS, LaTasha has demonstrated her passion for students and her ability to cultivate strong relationships and partner with parents as they navigate the middle school years with their children. As a point of reference, Suzanne Couvillion will continue to serve in the same capacity as the Dean of Students for Glenn Campus Middle School students. (Grades 7-8 only).

High School Survey of Student Engagement Administered
Mount Vernon desires to measure “attitudes, perceptions, and beliefs of students” because we believe there is strong evidence connecting high levels of engagement with deeper learning and transfer. How might we measure student engagement? On March 31, Upper School students participated in the High School Survey of Student Engagement (HSSSE). This assessment tool analyzes three domains of engagement: 1) cognitive, intellectual, academic engagement; 2) social, behavioral, participatory engagement; and 3) emotional engagement. The items within the HSSSE “measure a range of variables that schools control or influence.” The longitudinal data will assist in strengthening the School’s desired outcomes and will expose trends (positive or negative) as we design meaningful experiences for all learners to be “college ready, globally competitive, and engaged citizen leaders.”

 

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