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Grateful For Bixby

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As we take a weeklong break from school to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, I reflect on what a special place Bixby is and how grateful I am to be a part of the Bixby community. Thus, I have compiled a ‘Top Ten’ list of Bixby attributes for which I am grateful, with the caveat that there are more qualities to celebrate than I could ever list:

#10  A Healthy Lunch Every Day – Studies find that students learn more and behave better when they have a nutritious diet. Of course, a healthy lunch is important for teachers too. Students and teachers eat together everyday creating a time in which we are all nourished physically and emotionally for strong focus and learning for the rest of the day.

img_2924#9  Lower Yard and Preschool/Kindergarten Yard – What an amazing site these special playgrounds are for students to develop strength, coordination, balance, and to have fun.

img_2947# 8 Small Classes – Most classes at Bixby are nine students or less. This allows each student to have more one-on-one attention and to be known, heard and supported.

# 7  The Pool – Students have swimming twice a week at Bixby allowing kids to develop an important skill. The pool is kept toasty warm so that kids happily get in and get exercise.

# 6  Authentic Assessment – At Bixby, teachers do not give letter grades, but instead provide feedback through in-depth information on not only academic knowledge and skill acquisition, but also on study skills, character development, and interpersonal skills through daily work with students and through three narrative style reports provided to parents during the school year. This type of assessment supports students in developing an intrinsic love of learning rather than simply doing what it takes to make a particular grade.

img_3039#5  Beautiful Grounds and Gardens – Students work with Robert and Nifer to build raised beds and to plant and grow some of the food that we eat at Bixby. The various trees and flowering plants were planned, planted, and nurtured by our founders Pat and Bart. We also have a beautiful memorial garden to commemorate Mia, a student who died way too young in 2014, and whom we will be honoring at our 5th grade graduation this spring. All of this care for our environment with student help provides additional learning experiences for our whole community.

#4 Focus on Progressive Education and Inquiry-Based Learning – I love what inquiry has to offer: intrinsic motivation, trust in a child’s ability to make and use connections, and a focus on authentic learning. Questions invite thinking, well asked questions inspire problem solving.

John with Kindergarten#3 Support for the ‘Whole Child’ – Students are supported in their relationships with each other. Our use of Responsive Classroom emphasizes academic, social, and emotional growth in a strong school community to create a safe and joyful place to grow. Students are provided with a middle school style schedule and access to ‘free time’ in which they have choices, such as building at the building table, playing a board game with a friend, reading in the library, or running outside. Students also have the responsibility of jobs at Bixby in which they help take care of our school through chores, like taking out recycling and setting up for and cleaning up after lunch. Spanish, art, music, sports, and swimming classes as well as traditional academic courses are a part of every child’s schedule.

#2 Caring and Dedicated Staff and Parents – A caring community of adults work together to support students in their journey. I am struck on a daily basis by the thoughtful ways in which the Bixby adults work with students by modeling and supporting them in developing constructive communication habits to help them build the foundation for strong, trusting relationships.

#1 Fun and Fabulous Students – I am so thankful to share my life with the wonderful students at Bixby. I learn so much from them, and they keep my life full of purpose and joy!

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