Our first trimester has been wonderful! We started with the strongest results from last year’s Educational Record Bureau (ERB) tests, and have already built upon that success across the grades. Strong teaching leads to solid learning, and I thank our teachers for all of their work to design and implement personalized learning plans while achieving excellent results. Success of the last trimester are below:
First trimester measures of success
We started the year with some impressive results from the spring ERB tests on which 73% of students in grades 3-8 scored 90% or better on at least one subtest of this assessment, qualifying them for consideration by The Center for Bright Kids’ Western Academic Talent Search (WATS). Henderson International School is in process of becoming a testing site for the region. More on this soon, but we are targeting the test dates in January and February. Taking the Explore, SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test), or ACT (American College Testing) at a young age prepares exceptional students to be challenged above the confines of grade level assessments, letting them know about challenges above and beyond.
Grades 5 and 6 attended Astrocamp in Idyllwild, CA and grades 7 and 8 went to Pali Adventures in Running Springs, CA. These annual outdoor education experiences, which rotate among several venues, provide exceptional opportunities for class bonding, off campus study with different instructors than our faculty, and a trip away from the comforts of home. It provides the opportunity to develop independence and personal responsibility, which are necessary to expand executive functioning during late childhood and early adolescence. Within our Mission of developing Global Citizens finding personal confidence and appreciation for our opportunities and obligations seems an obvious rationale.
We have experienced several on-campus “field trips” and science explorations in Early Childhood classes, including parents sharing their international connections with our young Wolverines. This term the 4th graders traveled to Carson City and Virginia City for their on site study of the Capital Region of Nevada – an experience many adults have not had.
Our Learning Commons is now complete. The transition from a secondary school library to a primary school learning commons is noticeable in the appropriately sized shelving units, color scheme, updated technology, and comfortable seating. During this process many older volumes were donated to local Title I schools and organizations, along with the former furnishings. Our goal has been to help others at each step of the transformation!
Pumpkin plants are growing in the Elementary School garden and we are planning for our Henderson Arbor Day and second annual Earth Day celebrations in April.
We are delighted that 3D printers are in use, as is our Maker Space for learning how things work. Students are designing and printing on the two PTA sponsored 3D printers.
Grade 7 and 8 created a magnificent recycled art project that will be on display at The Palazzo, and we are entered into the statewide art competition.
Grade 4 has completed their first arts rotation among Musical Theatre, Band, and Visual Art. This rotation exposes each child to all three programs over the final year of lower school, and in 5th grade they will choose one area of art study for the year. Performance season is upon us, and the children have been vigorous in their rehearsals to make wonderful music and perform in public.
Our kindergarten has been working on their Thanksgiving show that will debut on Friday, November 20.
Student artwork has been on display at the Henderson Pavilion on several occasions this first trimester.
In our first trimester bridge building elective, the lightest design carried over 200 times it’s weight before breaking. These engineering design projects had to be no more than 500 grams, and were created entirely from popsicle sticks and glue. The held weight of 113 pounds more than doubled last year’s most sturdy design.
Preparations are complete for the Meritas Games competition in Orlando, Florida, which will take place the week after Thanksgiving. The largest contingent of student-athletes will compete this year, 62 strong! A new individual sport has been added – Archery. Several of our middle school overnight trips have included archery, scouts have studied archery for their merit badge, and a few students regularly shoot at archery ranges. We are very excited about this addition!
And so to basketball! The Findlay Prep team defeated the 2015 Jr. College National Champions in Arizona. This was a preseason game. The athletes have started the regular season off well winning the first two games by double the opponent’s score. NCAA College team commitments: Carlos Johnson – UNLV Rebels, Skylar Mays – Lousiana State Univ. Tigers and Tristan Clark – Baylor Univ. Bears.
Our 7th grade flag football team earned their stripes in the 11-12 year old league played on Saturdays at Frias Field in Las Vegas. Thank you to their dedication in making the season happen!
Grade 5/6 volleyball played well all season, and grade 7/8 volleyball earned a spot in the post-season tournament. Our grade 5/6 flag football also earned 2nd place in the league. Congratulations to everyone! During trimester one, we also hosted our first cross-country race on campus, receiving rave reviews about our campus and the organization!
We hosted our Henderson International School Triathlon, thanks to organization by the PTA and Mr. Mike Chinn. We also hosted our annual Autumn Fun Run with varying distances based on grade level.
While standardized testing is only one metric of many we use to personalize academic progress, it is a reality that taking tests is something that our generation of students will be doing for most, if not all, of their academic and professional careers. In addition to starting the year with strong ERB results from the spring we have additional strong indicators about our curricula and programs:
Initial writing assessment (WrAP test) results in grades 3-8 were very strong relative to Independent School norms (the strongest comparison/competition across the country). While we have a range of abilities demonstrated, the strong majority are in the middle to top Stanines, with over half of each MS grade in the top half of the top 2% of the country! Students will take these again in late winter at which time we look for improvements and also have time for further growth prior to the end of the year.
Elementary grades on the CPAA:
- In the area of Phonemic Awareness, 42% of Kinder students met or exceeded expectations back in late August. Now, by the end of Trimester 1, 81% of students meet or exceedThe number who exceeded expectations has risen from 28% in August to 67% now.
- In the area of Phonics/Writing, 42% of Kinder students met or exceeded expectations back in August. Now, that number is at 78%. Those who exceed has risen from 22% to 47%.
- In the area of Reading, 64% met or exceeded back in September. Now that number is at 81%. Those exceeding has risen from 8% to 39%.
- In the area of Phonemic Awareness, 80% of 1st grade students met or exceeded expectations back in late August. Now, by the end of Trimester 1, 91% of students meet or exceedThe number who exceeded expectations has risen from 23% in August to 43% now.
- In the area of Phonics/Writing, 77% of 1st grade students met or exceeded expectations back in late August. Now that number is at 95%. Those who exceed has risen from 34% to 50%.
- In the area of Reading, 77% met or exceeded back in September. Now that number is at 95%. Those exceeding has risen from 18% to 43%.
- In the area of Phonics/Writing, 70% of 2nd grade students met or exceeded expectations back in late August. Now, by the end of Trimester 1, 84% of students meet or exceedThe number who exceeded expectations has risen from 24% in August to 43% now.
- In the area of Reading Mechanics, 60% of 2nd grade students met or exceeded expectations back in August. Now that number is at 67%. Those who exceed has risen from 30% to 51%.
- In the area of Reading, 67% met or exceeded back in August. Now that number is at 84%. Those exceeding has risen from 16% to 38%.
This has been a remarkable first trimester, and we look ahead to the following months, where more great progress and activities is expected.