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Resilience in the Classroom: When Students Take Ownership of Their Learning

Resilience in the Classroom: When Students Take Ownership of Their Learning 960 639 nccsadmin

By Rika Meyer and Nick Sigler

Teachers in all grades are observing varying levels of learning loss in students after an entire year of instruction online. At Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, new students who attended a public school the previous year have demonstrated that their knowledge is not at grade level. A record four new students are repeating a grade this year after not receiving credit for last year’s high school classes.

One surprising aspect of learning in a COVID world is demonstrated by Rio’s freshman class. This class of 25 students has overwhelmingly taken ownership of their learning and turned their challenges into resilience as they find intrinsic motivation that we haven’t seen before in a freshman class. The freshman class also has a record high number of students who had previously attended an Adventist school—with 22 out of 25 coming from Adventist education, versus about half of all other new students, who have previously attended a public school.

English teacher Nick Sigler (pictured above) explains:

“At the end of most units, I have my students complete a reflection survey. This wrap-up assists them in taking what they learned about the content, the educational process, and themselves and applying it to future subject matter. My hope is always that they will grow both in their knowledge and gain confidence in themselves as students. The comments usually run the gamut: ‘I wasn’t interested in this subject,’ ‘Assign less reading,’ ‘I think I did pretty good.’ This is all normal teenage perspective on school and studying.

“However, this year (and the previous 18 months) has elicited a new perspective from my students that I haven’t seen before. When I assigned the first unit reflection, the comments by and large exhibited a more determined tone than I have ever seen before in my years of teaching. Students commented: ‘I know I can do better and I want to try harder this unit,’ ‘I’m enjoying reading so much more now,’ and ‘I am going to spend more time preparing for class.’

“Two characteristics of this point of view jumped out at me. Number one: their comments were ‘I’ focused. Then took ownership of their efforts and acknowledged what they each individually had put into their unit. If they had not done as well as they could have, they owned their mistakes. Which leads us to number two. These comments exhibited a growth mindset. The growth mindset is an indicator of success because it demonstrates the person is looking at obstacles as opportunities. It is a brave resilience that shows their ability to grow in the face of struggle.

“I believe this resilience is a product of what all our students have gone through this last year and a half. Our Rio students faced school as they have never known it before; they have been ingenious about how to make their lives work in a quarantined existence; they have had to pivot at a moment’s notice. And yet through all of it, they can still see the possibilities for growth and improvement.

“I am hopeful. If a student body can see their own potential, take ownership of their mistakes, and set goals for themselves, then the future of Rio Lindo, our country, and our planet looks like a place we all want to be.”
Rika Meyer is Rio’s vice president of marketing, admissions & development.
Nick Sigler is Rio’s English teacher.

New Beginners Campaign Successfully Raises $77,000 Thanks to the Generosity of NCC Compassionate Givers

New Beginners Campaign Successfully Raises $77,000 Thanks to the Generosity of NCC Compassionate Givers 1200 801 Julie Lorenz

At the beginning of March, we set a goal of $47,000 to cover a portion of tuition for 172 new students in NCC kindergartens for the 21-22 school year. We also set a miracle goal of $30,000 to support an additional 108 new kindergarteners.

Thanks to the generosity of NCC compassionate givers, we have raised the full $77,000 for the New Beginners Educational Fund! With matching funds from the Pacific Union Conference, we have the ability to cover one month of tuition for up to 280 new beginners in our schools.

“This is a great way to introduce new families to our school system,” said Wayne Gungl, associate superintendent of education. “It’s one more reason for parents who have been thinking about Adventist education to say, ‘I’ll give it a try.’”

Parents appreciate the help as they make plans for next school year. “This support is truly a gift from God, and to know that one month is free is a serious blessing,” said one father. “I really would like to thank those who made this happen. You made a difference in the life of my family. Thank you!”

“I am humbled by the act of kindness and am privileged to interact with our compassionate givers,” said Laurie Trujillo, director of communication and development. “They are an incredible group of people who go above and beyond to help others.”

Students in Adventist kindergartens learn more than just the foundations of reading and math. They are learning to follow Jesus and care about others.

An education journal recently surveyed executives at top companies, asking what skills K-12 students need to be successful. “They said they wished kids would learn how to work in teams, how to problem solve, how to adapt when things go wrong – all kinds of things about learning to work effectively with other people,” reported Gungl.

Adventist education has been focusing on these skills since its beginning. “Our whole school system is based around the model of Jesus, who was the most effective collaborator – a great model for how to work with people,” said Gungl. “Our schools are teaching all the academic skills, but they are also teaching the relationship skills that are found in Jesus. When you build on that from kindergarten up, I think it makes a real difference.”

Bible Donors Engage Their Calling to Ministry

Bible Donors Engage Their Calling to Ministry 480 360 Julie Lorenz
When last fall’s Glass Fire burned the main building at Foothills Adventist Elementary School, the students in grades 5-8 (pictured) lost their personal Bibles, which they used each day in class.
When told of their need, a compassionate donor made it possible for each of the 22 students to receive a new Bible of their choice. The children excitedly chose their Bibles online from the Adventist Book Center. Another donor gave funds for each Bible to be personalized with its owner’s name engraved on the cover.
The students were extremely grateful for the donors. “I can’t wait for my new Bible to come,” said Savanna.
“Thank you to the people who are paying for this!” Kolten agreed. “I cannot wait to read my new Bible. Thank you!” he said.
“Do you know Bible plus Heart equals Life?” wrote Fatimah. “Thank you for this gift.”