As we push into spring I want to update you on a number of things, most notably the tremendous academic accomplishments of our students! 1st Place is the theme this spring!
In annual spring competition among East Texas private schools, All Saints Lower School and Intermediate/Middle School each won 1st Place among the eleven schools competing in the Private School Interscholastic Association (PSIA) academic competition at Green Acres Baptist Church. Congratulations to the many All Saints students who represented us so well last month and to the faculty and parents who coached them!
While Upper School students do not compete within PSIA, they do within the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS). In State Academic and Speech competition, the All Saints Upper School won 1st Place besting 38 other schools! Again, congratulations to our talented students and their teachers.
Finally, continuing our run of many years, all of our Lower/Intermediate School Odyssey of the Mind teams (creative problem solving) advanced from regional to state competition. The 4th/5th grade team won 1st Place at state to advance to world competition in May! In fine arts, six choir students advanced to the Texas All State Choir finals – more than any other school in Tyler. Again, big thanks to teachers and parent coaches!
On other matters, over 90% of our families have re-enrolled for the 2014 – 2015 school year. This continues a trend of several years now. Thank you for your trust and confidence in All Saints! Re-enrollment is very important to us as we set our budget and finalize hiring for the fall. Recruitment of new students is running a bit ahead of a year ago. Some of our grade levels are full or will be shortly. I am pleased to report that our new 3-Year-Old Program is full with a wait list for the fall.
Finally, I wish to thank the Parent Association for the excellent spring gala held on campus last month. Back to the 80s was a major success, and not just for reviving big hair bands, spandex, and Miami Vice. The event exceeded its fundraising goals with generous donors contributing $165K to advance the school in a number of areas.
As always, some recent education articles are attached. It is a pleasure to bring you this good news of our school!
Randal E. Brown
Head of School
The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul
By Todd Balf, The New York Times Magazine (from March 6, 2014)
“By the time he took over in October 2012, Coleman was well versed not just in Perelman’s critiques but also in a much wider array of complaints coming from all of the College Board’s constituencies: Teachers, students, parents, university presidents, college-admissions officers, high-school counselors. They all were unhappy with the test, and they all had valid reasons.
Students despised the SAT not just because of the intense anxiety it caused – it was one of the biggest barriers to entry to the colleges they dreamed of attending – but also because they didn’t know what to expect from the exam and felt that it played clever tricks, asking the kinds of questions they rarely encountered in their high-school courses. Students were docked one-quarter point for every multiple-choice question they got wrong, requiring a time-consuming risk analysis to determine which questions to answer and which to leave blank. Teachers, too, felt the test wasn’t based on what they were doing in class, and yet the mean SAT scores of many high schools were published by state education departments, which meant that blame for poor performances was often directed at them.”
Knowledge Motivates Preschoolers More Than Stickers, Study Says
By Julie Blair, Education Week (from March 25, 2014)
”Preschoolers work harder at seemingly mundane tasks if rewarded with meaningful new knowledge rather than by being given stickers, a new report states, news that should have implications for the way in which teachers and parents motivate young children.
The findings show that very young children are indeed information junkies, motivated best by “ah-ha” moments, wrote Aubry L. Alvarez, a post-doctoral fellow at Northwestern University’s school of communication and Amy E. Booth, an assistant professor there, in their study “Motivated by Meaning: Testing the Effect of Knowledge-Infused Rewards on Preschoolers’ Persistence.”
Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say By Michael S. Rosenwald, The Washington Post (from April 6, 2014)
”To cognitive neuroscientists, Handscombe’s experience is the subject of great fascination and growing alarm. Humans, they warn, seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online. This alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia.
”I worry that the superficial way we read during the day is affecting us when we have to read with more in-depth processing,” said Maryanne Wolf, a Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist and the author of “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.”
Idea of New Attention Disorder Spurs Research, and Debate
By Alan Schwarz, The New York Times (from April 11, 2014) ”With more than six million American children having received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, concern has been rising that the condition is being significantly misdiagnosed and overtreated with prescription medications.
Yet now some powerful figures in mental health are claiming to have identified a new disorder that could vastly expand the ranks of young people treated for attention problems. Called sluggish cognitive tempo, the condition is said to be characterized by lethargy, daydreaming and slow mental processing. By some researchers’ estimates, it is present in perhaps two million children.”
Welcoming New Head of Lower School Erin Leonard