At West Side Collaborative we work together to create a safe and nurturing school community. By beginning our school year with a seven day iConnect schedule, we can welcome our new 6th grade students and parents, and our returning 7th and 8th graders to their school in a calm and thoughtful way. This unique program allows students to meet each other as well as their new teachers through a variety of community building and academic activities. We have found that this process helps to build the trusting and caring relationships so essential to successful middle school years.
The week began with WeMatter Days, our two introduction days that educated students on their new grade communities with academic and community building workshops. Next came iWonder Day, focused on getting to know ourselves as learners and becoming familiar with Common Core Standards and Competencies. Teens-in-Action Day was dedicated to the social-emotional development of our new 6th grade students; while Getting Ready for High School Days prepared 7th and 8th graders for their high school research. Identity Day consisted of various academic workshops with social-emotional workshops related to adolescent and identity development. During iLearn Day, students continued exploring themselves as learners while continuing to familiarize themselves with the Common Standards and Competencies. Finally, on Community Day, students got to know each other and their new WSC school community through a range of community building activities.
Throughout the week, students learned about the WSC staff through short story-telling and research, worked collaboratively in groups, engaged with technology to understand the impact of their digital footprint, wrote short stories, read and discussed literature, and explored new math concepts. Students were thrilled to be beginning the new academic year with a solid grasp of the expectations of middle school students at WSC.
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