Notes from the Principal's Desk: October 16, 2018

I would like to thank CASPA, all of the parent volunteers, Mrs. Diemer, Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Mayr, and all of the students who helped make last week’s Open House such a success. I am always amazed about how well our community comes together when we work together on these large events.

Tomorrow is the last chance to purchase tickets at the Early Bird price for the Homecoming Bull & Oyster Roast on November 10th! Homecoming is a wonderful weekend for our entire community, bringing together school families, parishioners, school alumni, friends of Cathedral, and more. I hope to see all of you at some of the Homecoming weekend's events!

On Wednesday the students, faculty and staff will participate in a Severe Weather drill. The drill consists of the students sheltering the hallways in the event of severe weather such as a tornado.  Students, faculty and staff will practice leaving their classrooms and moving to the hallways where they will sit down and shelter and cover themselves away from any windows. 

This Friday school is closed as teachers from across the Archdiocese of Baltimore attend professional development in a number of academic areas. Several Cathedral faculty/staff will be presenting some of these professional development activities. Next Monday, October 22nd, school will also be closed for ALICE training with the Parish staff.

In the past two Notes from the Principal's Desk, I began discussing the process and objectives of student-led conferences (SLC). This week, I would like to continue the discussion. In particular, I would like to talk about goal setting and reflection.

During student-led conferences, students will develop two goals and ask for parent input in setting a third goal.  These goals can be academic or character-based learning targets. The chance to set goals in the presence of teachers and family members is a powerful tool for students to engage their teachers and parents in helping them make progress. Goal setting is a regular, if not daily, part of teaching and learning. When developing goals, students set actionable and measurable learning targets into attainable objectives. In order to make this effective, SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals are developed.

Below is a sample checklist that students and teachers may use to help them develop their portfolios and prepare for the SLC. Take notice how the structure of student-led conferences can help students set goals and reflect on their learning.

❏ I have work from each of my academic classes in my crew folder.
❏ I have completed evaluations for each academic class.
❏ I understand how my work and mastery of learning targets have resulted in my final grade in each academic subject.
❏ I know my strengths and weaknesses as a student.
❏ I know how I can improve for next quarter: I have set goals and created an action plan for each class.
❏ I know how my behavior, attendance, and tardiness are affecting my academic progress.
❏ I have practiced speaking about my work with my parents/guardians.
❏ I feel comfortable talking about my progress.
❏ I am familiar with the conference agenda.

While all of the items in this checklist may not be appropriate or relevant for every grade level, it does help provide a frame of reference for students and teachers to work together to prepare for the SLC. Next week, I intend to talk about the teacher’s role in student-led conferences.

God Bless,
Michael Wright