During the school year, there are designated days when students can participate in a self-designed exploratory experience. Students could choose to carry out a service-learning project, shadow an adult working in a career that interests them, create / complete an extension project in a particular content area, or perhaps go on a curriculum-related field trip...the possibilities are limited only by the students' creativity. The Phoenix staff believes Discovery Days are an important way to include student voice in our school's curriculum.
Our first Discovery Day is an opportunity for all students to experience the process of designing and planning with teachers and parents. Every Phoenix student is required to participate in the first Discovery Day.
For the remainder of the year, students who have mastered all classes will participate in the "Discovery Days" program at Phoenix. Students who are not at mastery in all classes by the Mastery work deadline listed above will use the Discovery Day to stay at school and consult with teachers on missing work, as well as assignments that need to be revised and resubmitted.
"Mastery work deadline" is the last day that a student can turn in revisions to be considered for Discovery Day eligibility. Students and parents can keep track of progress toward Discovery Day eligibility on Phoenix MAP, our online assessment program.
Discovery Days are scheduled for March 8 & 9, 2017.
How can families help their Phoenix student with Discovery Days?
No one knows middle school students better than the adults that live with them. Adult family members can support their Phoenix student by:
- Marking Discovery Days together on the family calendar;
- Informally discussing ideas and dreams with the students about what those days could involve;
- Looking over brainstorming / pre-planning paperwork that the student work on at school and bring home to complete.
- Taking time to carefully read the student's plan before signing off on it. A parent's signature on the plan tells the advisory teacher that families have read the plan, have full knowledge of all it entails, and are willing to support their Phoenix student in carrying it out. Furthermore, a parent signature indicates that families believe the plan to be meaningful and worthwhile for the student (not just something to "fill time" before going to the mall.) **Teachers take their cues from parents...we will not sign off on a plan that families do not approve for their child.**
Accountability for Discovery Days:
At the end of each Discovery Day(s), all students (whether they went on a Discovery Day experience OR worked on mastery at school) will complete a written reflection assignment at home to bring in to share with his or her advisory group the following week. The reflection assignment will be given at school as homework, and will present the following questions:
1. What did you do during your Discovery Day? Give specific details.
2. What was exciting, frustrating, challenging, rewarding, etc. about your experience? Explain.
3. What did you learn from this experience? Explain.
4. What did you discover about yourself? Explain.
5. Would you recommend this experience to other students? Why or why not?
If appropriate to the Discovery Day experience, students are encouraged to bring in an artifact to share; for example, if something was constructed, baked, composed, written, sewn, etc., it would make sense that the student share the finished work with teachers and peers as part of the advisory group discussion. When deciding whether to bring an artifact, students should ask themselves, "Would this make it easier for me to talk about my experience? How can I engage my audience when I talk about what I did for Discovery Day?"