Through the Telescope…Volume 12

“The most important things are the hardest to say, because words diminish them.”Stephen King

DISCOVERY CHARTER SCHOOL’S COMMITMENT TO BRING A WIDE VARIETY OF TECHNOLOGY to our students and their families continues to expand. We have 17 working computers in each of our school computer labs with all 17 in one room at Mesa Vista and split between the two sides at Hillpointe.  Mesa Vista has a group of students working on setting up a few computers in each of the classrooms there, and we are identifying working computers at Hillpointe that we will be able to move into classrooms that we expand to in the new building at Little Scholar next year.  We are also very pleased to announce that we have purchased 20 new netbook computers for students to use for project research and we have split those 10 for each site.

MESA VISTA FAMILIES CONTINUE TO MEET AT THE SCHOOL each Monday morning following opening exercises.  Plans are underway for a Mesa Vista school carnival this later this spring.

HILLPOINTE FAMILIES CONTINUE TO MEET ON ALTERNATE Wednesdays following school dismissal. The next meeting is this coming Wednesday, March 7th at 3:45 P M. They are discussing the addition of classrooms at the Little Scholar site and making plans for a Spring Festival Celebration.  The celebration will feature a family wide Talent Show and food booths.  Plans are under way to involve the large number of new students and their families as an introduction to the Discovery School Programs.  We are looking forward to sharing family wide talents and performances.   We will also have a presentation by a catering group with a proposal to provide choices for school lunches.

STUDENT COUNCILS AT BOTH SCHOOL SITES are working on offering weekly pizza lunches, and both programs are very successful.  The pizzas are offered with water for a reasonable lunch price.

ELIJAH CHESTER, FROM MESA VISTA, was selected as the winner of the school logo owl contest.  This is his logo owl and it will be used for several school logo projects.  We are working on using all of the submitted owls in a variety of logo projects so that all of the great drawings are honored.  Thank you to all of the student artists who participated, and just as the wise owl tells us, “….. question this and question that and ask and ask and ask, your questions are your answers as you meet each learning task!”

WE CONTINUE TO TAKE ENROLLMENTS AT BOTH SITES for next year, and we are making plans to add classroom space at the Hillpointe campus.  We have 103 currently enrolled at Mesa Vista with the potential to go to 140 to 150 at that campus. We have 141 enrolled at Hillpointe and with the extended lease option of 4 new classrooms at Little Scholar, we have a potential of 178 total at the Hillpointe site.  We are close to full at Kindergarten and at the current time we project that an additional 35 students at Hillpointe will necessitate the formation of waiting lists in all classes.   We are very excited about our potential growth, extended interest and support of our learning model.   We continue to welcome questions and visits at any time and we offer extended facility tours and program orientations each Tuesday afternoon at each site.  The orientations are scheduled for 2:30 PM on Tuesdays.

SCHOOL ATTENDANCE UP THROUGH JANUARY AVERAGED CLOSE TO 94% here at Discovery Charter School.  We were so pleased with that rate of attendance that we set our goal to achieve a 97% attendance for the school year.  We have fallen far short of that goal, as in both January and February; we averaged less than 90% attendance.  We understand that we have faced the cold and flu season at both sites, but we are working hard to stress the importance of school attendance for all families.

Here is our attendance goal and plan for the remainder of the school year.  We would appreciate as much help as possible to help us improve our attendance numbers.

Current daily school attendance is averaging 94.0%.  Charter schools in metropolitan settings face extended attendance challenges because of commuting distances for families.  Charter schools draw from a wide attendance area when compared to neighborhood schools, and no school busing is available.  Traffic issues and expanded distances provide built in reasons for missing a day of school.  In a four day school week with extended school days, we must also note that one day of school missed equates to 1.25 days of instruction.

We must also note that project based instruction includes in its design learning experiences that include community service and community based research.  Teacher monitored and verified project time may include out of classroom research, presentations, and experiences.

With this data in mind, we propose the following programs to promote increased school attendance.

•We will develop and share ongoing parent information stressing the importance of school attendance and the role of school attendance data in determining adequate schools status.

•We will develop weekly attendance data and provide incentives for classes with highest attendance averages for the week, month, and quarter.   We will work closely with our parent support groups to provide a variety of incentives to leading attendance classes.

•We will develop guidelines for students involved in out- of-school project research and presentations.  We will share these guidelines with families and students to minimize the number of school absences.

•We will identify repeated absence problems and counsel with families to eliminate unexcused absences.

•Our goal is to raise our average school attendance to 97% or higher.