Thursday, February 1, 2018

What Makes Conant Special?

Conant is a very special place. Here is a piece of my K-Night presentation that, I think, shows our strengths as a learning community.

The motto here at Conant for many years has been “the whole child is the whole idea”. We truly believe that each person (student, parent, and staff member) should feel valued and respected as an individual. We believe that lifelong learning is essential and that a stimulating and nurturing environment should be provided so that students experience success and feel the challenges and joy associated with learning. Students must be emotionally ready to learn, if they are in crisis or attention is required to support a student’s mental health, we make that our focus and make academics secondary. Once the student is back on track, then we can shift the focus back to learning.

We all know that within a classroom, there are many types of students with many different strengths. Instruction here at Conant is designed to allow all students, no matter what their learning style, strengths or challenges may be, the opportunity to experience success. The teachers here at Conant are masters at matching instructional methods with the needs of the children in front of them. Students at Conant experience project based learning, cooperative learning, independent challenges, long term projects, varied assessments and differentiated opportunities to share their knowledge. Because of our rich curriculum and more importantly the ability of our teachers to vary instructional methodologies, all students here at Conant experience the joys of success through strong effort and become internally motivated to learn rather than motivated by external factors like grades.

So what does this look like? In any given week,one can enter a classroom several times and see students performing a scene to show an understanding of the book they are currently reading, a group project, students working independently with a Math app with iPads or chromebooks, students working in a small group with the teacher and a whole class discussion about a topic from history. I also see, no matter what the assignment or project may be, students being praised for effort, students supporting each other and comfortable, yet respectful conversations between students and adults.

Conant is a community. Parents are vital to our success and are welcomed. Our PTO and staff work together to bring us all together throughout the year for a variety of events like our upcoming ice cream social, our annual craft fair, movie nights, pumpkin fest, breakfast with families and many more. Parents can chair events, hold officer positions on the board or simply volunteer an hour or two at an event. Parents often volunteer in our classrooms and our Library as well.

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