February Parent Newsletter

Dear Central Academy students and parents,

Academy teachers are having robust discussions about how we can improve the clarity and timeliness of our communication on student progress during the semester. Many Academy teachers are still relatively new to using Standards Referenced Grading (SRG) because many of the Academy courses are among the last to roll over to the SRG system. I notice that end-of-semester grades continue to be robust and accurate measures of student progress. However, student progress is not always easy for parents to understand during the semester.

One strategy you may notice this semester is the use of new codes in the Body of Evidence. The entries in the Body of Evidence represent specific aspects of the broader learning goal in the topic. The new codes are only for reporting on entries in the Body of Evidence. The overall Topic Scores will still use the familiar scale of 0.0 – 4.0.

​Code ​Stands For ​Meaning
​ET ​Exceeding Target ​Student demonstrates learning above the level of the learning target for the day or has above level skills.
​AT ​At Target ​Student demonstrates learning at the target for the day or has mastered the required skill.
​PT ​Progressing towards Target ​Student demonstrates learning for part, but not all, of the target or some aspect of the overall goal.
NM​ ​Not Met Target (yet) ​Student has made minimal progress towards demonstrating the target or skill.
​M ​Missing ​Student has turned in NO evidence or insufficient evidence to determine skill with the target.

It is also our intention that the SRG system will allow students to better monitor and track their own progress and growth toward their Learning Goals and, thus, increase their agency as learners. The clearer we can be, the more we empower students.  Self-advocacy behaviors we are working to instill include: realizing when to seek out extra help, focusing study efforts on specific skills based on individual progress, recognizing the specific and multiple points of entry to initiate communication with teachers about academic progress, and increasing ownership of learning.  Hopefully, these new codes will better clarify student progress to facilitate these behaviors.

We are now taking orders for AP exams.  (Usually students taking High School AP courses order exams. It is unusual for 7th or 8th grade students to do so.) Click here for DMPS AP Exam information: AP Exam Registration Families 2018.  All DMPS high school students must register for their AP exams through their home high school.  Out of District (and middle school) students register through Central Academy.  Final payment for all AP exams must be received by March 26, 2018 in order for exams to be ordered. More information about exams for Central students can be found here: Academy AP Exam Information

February 19 (Monday):  No classes, teacher professional development.

February 27 (Tuesday): No classes for High School students.  Middle
School students still attend. High School students do not have classes on this day
so that DMPS Juniors can take the ACT at their home high schools.  DMPS 9th,
10th, and 12th grade students do not come to school.  DMPS 11th grade students report to their home school to take the ACT.  Out of District students do not report to classes at all.  However, Tuesday is an A-day for Middle School students in grades 7th and 8th.

February 28 (Wednesday): Feb. 28 is ALSO an A-day for MS (and everyone else).  DMPS 11th grade students are excused from classes but 9th, 10th and 12th attend. Of course, if 11th graders choose to show up on Wednesday, we will not turn them away.  ACT day with no high school classes is the reason MS students go on summer break one day earlier than HS students.

March 1 and 6
(Thursday and Tuesday): Academy parent teacher conferences from 3:30 – 7:30 both nights.

March 9 (Friday)– March 16 (Friday): No school: Spring Break!

March 19 (Monday): Classes resume.

March 26 (Monday): Last day to order and pay for AP Exams.

March 30 (Friday): No classes, teacher professional development

April 4 (Wednesday): Iowa Assessment day in DMPS High schools.  All students are to report to their home schools for annual testing.  It is a normal B-day for Middle School students (Tuesday, April 3 is also a B-day).  MS students
take their tests over several days in the morning, so they don’t miss classes at Academy.  And since this is a school day, unlike the ACT, which is a ‘day off’ for HS students, we will have B-day HS classes for our Out of District students.

April 8 (Sunday): Central Academy Senior Recognition Ceremony, 2 PM, Temple of Performing Arts.

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