Dear SPS Families,
As most of you know, our entire team has been engaged in planning to reshape our programing for next year to create more in-depth, 21st-century, hands-on learning environment. As an independent school, we are continuously seeking to enhance learning while balancing common fluctuations in enrollment.
As we implement changes for the 2017/2018 school year, many of our core philosophies and programming will remain the same. We will continue to provide all of the following independent school benefits with an enhanced focus on design thinking for all grade levels:
- Small class sizes
- A focus on social and emotional learning
- A rich offering of “specials” including art, music, language and science
- Rigorous academics to challenge and prepare our kids for the future
- An inquiry-based learning approach that allows students to discover, ask questions and seek answers
The biggest changes will take place at the middle school level. This is where we have done the most work to balance a more innovative learning approach with enrollment projections for next year. Enrollment for private and independent schools nationwide is particularly challenging as families often chose to explore larger, public school options for adolescents. Our goal at Seven Peaks School is enhance our unique middle school IB experience to harnesses the immense potential and curiosity of adolescents. Changes for next year will primarily focus on grades 5 through 8. These include:
- Including 5th grade students in the middle school model to provide a stronger sense of community and a smoother transition to the middle school years.
- Longer instructional blocks (90 vs. 60 minutes) to allow for greater depth of learning, a focus on design thinking, and to minimize transitions throughout the day.
- Blending “special” (elective) blocks including students in grades 5 through 8 grade to provide a larger peer group and more social options.
- Rotating “special” (elective) blocks (quarterly or in trimesters) to allow for more choices so students can explore more interests, and participate more intensely vs. having to chose between two offerings at the same time.
Meantime, the combination of these exciting program enhancements and enrollment fluctuations do come with some staffing changes. While we’ve created positions for each of our SPS team members, not all of the positions we are offering are full time because we are refining and streamline our model. We recognize that some of our teachers will chose to explore other options that meet their individual needs. It’s never easy for our team to make these shifts, but their participation in the process has been extremely professional and student focused. They have helped to design this model to enhance learning with the understanding that it may impact their individual positions. It has truly been an extraordinary process to be part of.
To see a detailed schedule for next year’s teaching teams, please visit our website in the coming week. Thank you all for your partnership in keeping SPS a strong, viable and innovative place for our kids to learn. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions about next year and I invite you to join me for the upcoming coffee on Wednesday, May 3rd at 8:30am to learn more.