Sunday, January 8, 2017

Headmaster Letter

Dear North Phoenix Prep Families,

Welcome back from what I trust was a restful and relaxing holiday!  Vacation is truly important and rewarding, but I am definitely excited to return to my vocation this week!

We will begin the semester with winter conferences, so I first want to say how proud I am of the careful reflection and honest self-evaluation that our students have already done.  I was speaking with one student about the student growth plans and student-led conferences last semester, and she remarked, "I felt like I'd been given a plan for how to succeed, but I also felt like I'd chosen it for myself."  Another student commented, "I was a little nervous at first, and I didn't quite know how to make a growth plan, but now I see that my teachers just want to help me grow, and now I understand how to make better choices."  Our students are truly becoming the captains of their own ships.

By creating the conditions for our students to take ownership of their education, North Phoenix Prep is truly preparing them for a life well-lived.  One educational resource that we have found quite helpful in thinking about this goal is a book called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford.  I'd like to share a quick preview of that book with you.

Dweck posits that our beliefs about our own intelligence or ability can dramatically affect the reality of our lives.  A person can, on the one hand, hold to a "fixed mindset," which is the belief that our intelligence or abilities cannot really be increased significantly.  You are what you are, and there's no changing that.  On the other hand, there's the "growth mindset," which is the belief that one's intelligence and abilities can increase through the application of effort.  This is the belief that if I work hard at something, I can improve.  The distinction between the two mindsets has applications in all sorts of areas, from education to the workplace to relationships.  One important application for us at NPX is that we seek to praise students for their effort.  That's because a well-intentioned statement like, "You're so smart!" subtly encourages students to play it safe and avoid testing the limits of their abilities.  Instead, we encourage our students by praising their effort with a statement like this: "You should really be proud of how hard you worked on that assignment!"  In so doing, we are gradually seeking to teach our students the value of challenging themselves and of finding joy in mastering difficult things.

I would love to discuss Mindset with a group of interested families, so I am considering an evening event to that end.  If you would like to participate in this book discussion, please reach out to me by email.

With Devotion,
Headmaster Weinhold

Conference & Project Week

This first week back, January 9 – 13 is Project Week for all grades, and Student Led Conferences for grades 7, 10, & 11. This will be a busy and exciting week for all.
  • Conference appointments were emailed in December, if you have questions about the scheduled time please contact Ms. Coughlon ccoughlon@northphoenixprep.org 
  • Students must be in full uniform. 
  • Students may bring a non-perishable, wrapped snack for mid-day break. 
  • On Tuesday, all students will attend an anti-bullying presentation by the Attorney General’s Office. 
  • All students will work on their Student Growth Plans, so please print a copy of their report card for them to bring to school - Report Cards are found on Jupiter, a link to your account was sent by email on Saturday. 
  • Students may also bring the Student Growth Plan they worked on in the first quarter. If they cannot locate this, they can use the blank copy of the SPG
  • Review/print the attached Things to Know About Conference Week for your child’s use. 
During the week of half days starting January 9th, students in all grades will be engaging in hands-on collaborative projects. Students will complete these projects on school premises and during school hours, requiring very little at-home preparation. Please take note of possible supplies they may ask to bring from home. Students will discuss their projects on Monday and determine what supplies they will bring. These should be drawn from anything you have readily at hand, please do not feel compelled to purchase special supplies for the project.

Updated Website

Over the Winter Break, Great Hearts pushed out the update to our new website. We are excited about the new mobile friendly design. Take a look!

If you experience any difficulty locating content or come across a broken link, please email tvandeusen@northphoenixprep.org.